Richard Chandler

Richard Chandler

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Roll on, reels of celluloid, as the great earth rolls on!

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  • Bob Dylan: The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration

    Bob Dylan: The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration

    ★★★★

    The pre-show preamble to Columbia's October 1992 grab bag salute Bob Dylan: The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration is so mercifully brief that I think it's fair to regard it as an outright performance film. A man named Gavin Taylor is credited as director, though the film's stylistic anonymity could have been managed by a robot. The hastily organized event—which commemorates the three decades that had passed since the release of Dylan's eponymous debut album in March 1962—was fittingly held in…

  • The Swindlers

    The Swindlers

    ★★★★

    "I've swindled my way around the world because the world is full of idiots."

    Spoilers on everything—spoilers on wedding ring.

    The tragic story of a resourceful man who sublimates his entire identity to escape the fundamental shamefulness of his way of life, Il bidone (often translated as The Swindlers, though the Criterion Channel subtitles opt for The Swindle) sadly remains one of Federico Fellini's most unheralded efforts—situated as it is between the beloved La Strada and Nights of Cabiria. Other…

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  • A Sunday in the Country

    A Sunday in the Country

    ★★★★½

    "But against those truths that hurt, men have one sure defiance: denial."

    Wistful vibes supplant conflict in Bertrand Tavernier's meticulously observed post-fin de siècle family portrait A Sunday in the Country (Un dimanche à la campagne). At the center of the restful slice-of-life scenario (co-written with Tavernier's ex-wife Colo) is elderly patriarch Monsieur Ladmiral (Louis Ducreux), a refined studio painter of admirable skill whose distinctiveness is nonetheless limited by an unyielding adherence to traditional technique. Since becoming a widower Ladmiral…

  • Toni

    Toni

    ★★★★

    "It's so hard to call it quits."

    Spoilers: you had eighty-six years to watch this.

    Having emigrated from his native Italy to the south of France to perform manual labor in a quarry, red-blooded Toni (Charles Blavette) begins a casual affair with boarding house operator Maria (Jenny Hélia)—though his heart is set on fellow migrant Josépha (Celia Montalván). Despite making some early headway in this department, Toni's dreams of marital bliss with Josépha evaporate when the quarry's wicked foreman Albert…

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  • Pierrot le Fou

    Pierrot le Fou

    ★★★★★

    CRITERION CHALLENGE 2021: 3. Directed by Jean-Luc Godard

    Progress: 21/52

    "Come on—we've played Jules Verne long enough; let's get back to our detective novel, with fast cars and guns and nightclubs."

    Cerebral ass Ferdinand (Jean-Paul Belmondo) whimsically abandons his moneyed, overbearing Italian wife and daughter when the stand-in babysitter turns out to be erstwhile flame Marianne (Anna Karina), an elusive sensualist with murky ties to right-wing paramilitary types. This unshakable association leads the reunited couple to flee Paris for the…

  • Story of a Prostitute

    Story of a Prostitute

    ★★★★

    "So, it means I get a thousand men; I wonder if I can handle them."

    Intent on fucking the pain away at all costs, jilted prostitute Harumi (Yumiko Nogawa) relocates to the Manchurian sector of the Second Sino-Japanese War to volunteer her bodily services as a 'comfort woman' for scores of Japanese servicemen—only to be requisitioned as the primary plaything for barbarous adjutant Narita (Isao Tamagawa). In retaliation Harumi commences a surreptitious affair with Narita's stalwart aide Mikami (Tamio Kawachi),…