Monday, December 10, 2007


FLANDRES (Bruno Dumont, 2006, France) A quiet modest film about two rural stoic French men who go off to war and the emotionally disturbed woman they leave behind. The cross-cutting is abrupt and disconcerting; from a pastoral winter farm to the horrors of an unnamed desert war. We lose track of time in these quick cuts as the farm is now lush and green but the desert always looks the same. Rape, murder, the fog of war as the lone survivor, in a disorienting jump cut, finds himself back home where he finally breaks down and lets go of his pent-up emotions. For the first time, his embrace with the girl has true meaning. (A)
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NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2006, USA) Lacking the smart-allecky jibe of their previous (and often great) films, this adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel whittles the story down to its essence. The long silence between the action is like an exclamation point to the horrors of Chigurh, a force of nature and happenstance who is Death incarnate. Sparse dialogue and the lack of music accentuate the loneliness and despair as the elderly Sheriff Bell tries to comprehend the changing and violent world around him. (A)

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