Borderlands (Zev Berman, 2007): 6.5/10

The Magic Flute (Ingmar Bergman, 1975): 7/10

La Guerre Est Finie (Alain Resnais, 1966): 7/10

Speed Racer (The Wachowski Brothers, 2008): 8/10

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Monday, December 18, 2006

The Last Metro (Francois Truffaut, 1980)

Catherine Deneuve shines as conflicted wife Marion Steiner in this later-period Truffaut film about the Nazi occupation of Paris. Marion is married to Lucas, a Jewish theater owner who feels he has to flee when the Germans invade. Everyone thinks Lucas has fled, but only Marion knows that he is living in the basement of the theater, so he can still be with his wife and manage the theater. Marion is starring in the theater's current production and is handling all the business affairs of the theater, as well as making sure her husband's whereabouts remain secret. The leading man in the production, Bernard, played by Gerard Depardieu, is an active Nazi-resister and great actor, things that come to conflict in his life. The German censor, Daxiat, is also hovering around the production and is in love with Marion. All this personal drama is swirling in the background of the making of this play, making everyone's lives really stressful and pushed to the boiling point. Think of this movie as Day for Night, only more sober.

The acting is all superb, but the film's pacing leaves much to be desired, something Truffaut is usually brilliant at. The big twist near the end of the film was confusing, as the characters acted the complete opposite of the revelation the entire film. But that's undoubtedly what Truffaut was trying to portray; during this traumatic time in France's history, things are never what they seem, and people cling to what they have or can get in order to find happiness. Deneuve and Depardieu are dynamic together, and they bounce off of each other wonderfully, especially when they fight. One of Truffaut's last films, The Last Metro is a spectacular of style and acting, an exploration of one of France's darkest and least publicized periods in an unconventional way. The plight of the Steiners' theater company mirror those of France, but the end product is not always captivating.


RIYL: late period Truffaut

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