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The Piano Teacher
An interesting opportunity for local cinephiles will present itself on October 13th and 14th with two screenings at the New York Film Festival of the director’s preferred cut of the new feature, Ismael’s Ghosts, by the extraordinary Arnaud Desplechin, a favorite of the Film Society of Lincoln Center programmers.
The work explores the chaotic impact of the return of the long lost wife—beautifully played by the luminous Marion Cotillard—of a film director—brilliantly realized by Desplechin axiom, Mathieu Amalric—who is embarking on a production. Her reappearance upends the lives of her father—the legendary New Wave actor, Laszlo Szabbo—as well as the filmmaker’s girlfriend—the remarkable Charlotte Gainsbourg, in a memorable role —while disrupting the new project and exasperating the line producer—Hippolyte Girardot, in a comic turn.
Ismael’s Ghostsis well-served by a terrific supporting cast: Louis Garrel as the director’s diplomat brother and Alba Rohrbacher as his wife, along with appearances by Jacques Nolot and Bruno Todeschini. The filmmaking here is uniformly fine, employing elegant dolly shots as well as liberal use of the handheld camera and dynamically edited. The film lacks the freewheeling hilarity of such comparable efforts as Kings and Queen and A Christmas Tale, indicating that for all its splendid qualities, this may well prove to be a minor work in the director’s impressive œuvre.
The Vietnam War
Abacus—Small Enough to Jail
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