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My Night At Maud's Review

Every cineaste knows that Eric Rohmer made a series of films called the "six moral tales," but I'd wager that virtually no one has seen them all. Most knowledge of the tales begins with this, the third film in the series (which was inexplicably filmed fourth), and tragically by then they've already started a prodigiously deep decline into preachy bloviating and repetitiveness.

I realize I should expect a good amount of hate mail for panning a "classic," but here goes anyway. See if you think this sounds like a good way to spend two hours: Devout Catholic Jean-Louis (Jean-Louis Trintignant) decides that he's going to marry Françoise, a blonde girl he sees at mass but whom he's never actually met. After half an hour of wandering around their small town, he ends up going with his pal Vidal to the home of Maud (Françoise Fabian), a divorcee with a young child who's actually interested in listening to Jean-Louis drone on and on about his moral choices, only for him to throw them to the winds when he decides to jump into bed with Maud, mere minutes after exclaiming he'd never do such a thing.

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Those Who Love Me Can Take The Train Review

The family, friends and lovers all rush to make it to the train. We're thrown into a whirlwind of over a dozen characters all clamoring to get on board, and we soon learn that they are en route to the funeral of the mercurial painter, Jean-Baptiste. This man was a fixture in their lives - a hostile cad with a miserable sense of humor who kept them attached through sex, his vitality for life and encouragement to keep moving forward, whether he meant it or not.

In a boldly theatrical touch, Jean-Baptiste demanded that those gathering to pay their last respects must make a journey by train to his final resting place in Limoges, knowing full well that the damage he has done within their lives will come to a passionate, tumultuous head. As if to mock them, his body is being transported in a small white car driven on the road alongside the tracks.

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...and God Created Woman Review

This is the movie that made Brigitte Bardot famous -- especially since she appeared nude in the first scene and many that followed.

Her character, a brazen sexpot, loves one brother but marries another. In the sun-drenched French Riviera, Bardot vamps it up and gets poor, poor hubby (Jean-Louis Trintignant) into endless fights and predicaments. And yet the men continue to fawn over her. Such is the point -- timeless and devilishly accurate, but hardly deep. Swept Away threw this idea for a twist, with much better effect (and also on the beach).

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Z Review

When one thinks of political assassinations, a couple of guys driving by a raconteur standing amidst a crowd then hitting him over the head with a pipe before driving away doesn't exactly leap to mind.

And yet Costa-Gravas had the presence of mind to turn the tepid story of thinly-veiled police corruption in 1963 Greece into Z, and somehow the world bought into it.

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Rendez-vous Review

Good news for you pervs out there: Juliette Binoche spends virtually the entirety of Rendez-vous buck naked, usually begging for sex from one of two men she's just met. At 20 years old, she may look like a teenage boy, but hey, that's the price of gratuitous nudity.

Rendez-vous begins with aspiring actress Nina (Binoche) fresh off the boat in Paris, where she immediately falls into bed with both real estate clerk Paulot (Wadeck Stanczak) and his in-your-face roommate Quentin (Lambert Wilson). Soon enough, secrecy is put aside and the whole affair becomes a messy conflagration of emotion and raw sexuality.

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A Man And A Woman Review

French writer/director Claude Lelouch remains a prolific artist (he even made a 9/11 movie), but it's one of his first films, made almost 40 years ago, for which he remains best known.

A Man and a Woman was France's definitive love story for a decade, the Love Story of its generation and a thoroughly French example of its take on romance. Laconic, wandering, and bordering on hopeless, it's easy to see why the film has more fans among the heartbroken than the lovey-dovey.

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Les Biches Review

Claude Chabrol's elegant love story is nonetheless quite the bore, with its beautiful bisexual femmes (one named "Why") and lazy evenings in front of velvet curtains. Jacqueline Sassard's supervixen is quite the eye-catcher, but she's so dull in the role it's hard to get much energy out of her raw sexuality. Stéphane Audran's Frédérique is even more hollow, an aging trollop looking for love on the French Riviera, no matter who it comes from. Story? Forget it.... this half-assed "thriller" is about as thrilling as meat loaf. The conclusion is as uninspired as it is droll.

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Red (Trois Couleurs: Rouge) Review

A satisfying conclusion to Krzysztof Kieslowski's spectacular Polish-French-Swiss Three Colors trilogy (with Blue and White), Red is like a French version of The Twilight Zone, following a young model named Valentine (Irène Jacob) through a series of hypnotic meetings with a retired judge (Jean-Louis Trintignant). A mystery unfolds as Valentine discovers the judge's penchant for eavesdropping on his neighbor's calls, which leads to all sorts of romantic mystery and tragedy as secrets are unwittingly revealed and lawsuits are filed. Not even the audience becomes fully aware of the intricacies of the picture until its fantastic conclusion.

Red stands as Kieslowski's most convoluted and difficult work of the series, exploring far more than the idea of "fraternity" suggested by the color and delving deep into symbolism and our notion of "coincidence." Jacob is wonderfully watchable in her most nuanced role ever, and Trintignant's crustiness is bizarrely engaging, making you want to dig deeper into his oddly apathetic character who wants "nothing" further from life. Red is confusing but compulsively watchable.

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Jean-louis Trintignant

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Jean-Louis Trintignant Movies

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Amour Trailer

Amour Trailer

Anne and Georges are a devoted, elderly couple who both used to be music teachers....

Amour Movie Review

Amour Movie Review

A striking look at a long-term relationship, this film is an antidote to those who...

...and God Created Woman Movie Review

...and God Created Woman Movie Review

This is the movie that made Brigitte Bardot famous -- especially since she appeared nude...

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