Film Review

The long goodbye

YSL's legacy looms large in L'amour fou

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Pierre Thoretton's documentary L'amour fou opens with two clips of men bidding farewell. The first, from 2002, is of the French-Algerian couturier Yves Saint Laurent announcing his retirement in a moving and emotional speech worthy of his favorite writer Marcel Proust. The second is of Pierre Bergé, Saint Laurent's longtime business partner and former lover, eulogizing his departed friend at the designer's memorial service six years later.Read more »

The night has a thousand eyes

Elliot Lavine's "I Wake Up Dreaming" series returns with more rare noir

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Cheap genre films targeted for the drive-in or grindhouse aside, very few truly independent features were made in the U.S. before the 1960s, and those that were made seldom found an audience. As a result, most were soon forgotten — in rare instances rediscovered decades later, like the recently restored docudramas On the Bowery (1957) and The Exiles (1961), about Skid Row denizens in New York City and Los Angeles. Foreign films had a tiny theatrical circuit (albeit usually playing in cut and dubbed form), experimental ones none at all.Read more »

Ride the lightning

A metalhead ignites a grieving family (for better — and worse) in Hesher

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Since grunge broke, who hasn't been fascinated by those unwashed, straggly-haired, flannel-clad legions who somehow were recast as Kurt Cobain's minions? In reality they lurked on the sidelines of school functions and adolescent gatherings long before Nevermind, butt hanging from lips, back set to slouch, and coolly assessing everything against some maddeningly precise internal bullshit meter. If you thought all the entertainment was up onstage, you've got another thing comin'.Read more »

Nothing was delivered

Meek's Cutoff travels the unkind road of Manifest Destiny

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Dark slice of life

A too-little-known filmmaker breaks through with Black Bread

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SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL Despite the incredible current spread of festivals and formats by which art films can be exposed internationally, it's still possible for masterful directors with considerable resumes to remain largely ignored outside their own country. Certainly that's been the case with Agustí Villaronga, a fascinating Spanish director whose new film, Black Bread, is the latest in a career of superbly crafted films almost-commercial enough to gain U.S. release. Yet seldom quite enough.Read more »

Breaking point

Henry's Crime's emerging star: middle-aged Keanu Reeves

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FILM When erstwhile Hitchcock (1948's Rope, 1951's Strangers on a Train) protagonist Farley Granger died last month, obituaries kindly forgot that hitherto he'd been judged as a limited-range pretty boy luckily cast in a few iconic films.Read more »

The joy of life

Bill Cunningham New York captures a reticent master at work 

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FILM To say that Bill Cunningham, the 82-year old New York Times photographer, has made documenting how New Yorkers dress his life's work would be an understatement. To be sure, Cunningham's two decades-old Sunday Times columns — "On the Street," which tracks street-fashion, and "Evening Hours," which covers the charity gala circuit — are about the clothes. And, my, what clothes they are.Read more »

Looking glass love

Abbas Kiarostami returns with a surreal take on Tuscan romance

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FILM Abbas Kiarostami's beguiling new feature signals "relationship movie" with every cobblestone step, but it's manifestly a film of ideas — one in which disillusionment is as much a formal concern as a dramatic one. Typical of Kiarostami's dialogic narratives, Certified Copy is both the name of the film and an entity within the film: a book written against the ideal of originality in art by James Miller (William Shimell), an English pedant fond of dissembling. After a lecture in Tuscany, he meets an apparent admirer (Juliette Binoche) in her antique shop. Read more »

Something wild

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, Apichatpong Weerasethakul's shape-shifting Palme d'Or winner, arrives

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Choose or lose

When We Leave's abused wife is torn between family and self-preservation

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FILM With its plentitude of female political stars, the Tea Party finds U.S. feminism at an interesting if inevitable developmental stage — wherein people who never would have gotten this far without liberationists' path-clearing reject progressivism altogether. They no longer identify with a historically oppressed viewpoint, but rather from an angry, gender-neutral stance of entitlement allegedly stolen by cunning have-nots and slippery liberals.Read more »