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Life Itself

A moving, funny, raucous, wide-ranging look at the man who founded this site.

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Closed Curtain

"Closed Curtain" is invigorating and courageous, yet one wishes its director would soon gain the freedom to make other kinds of movies again.

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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Power to the people

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Q. I'm just curious, what led you to give "Black Swan" a rating of 3.5 stars, while "The Wrestler" got 4? The two films have been compared a lot, so I'm interested to hear why you thought one was slightly better than the other.  (Sarah S. Evans, Indianapolis)

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The Art of Screenwriting Collaboration

Yasujiro Ozu and Kogo Noda understood how to do it. They wrote many screenplays together, including those for some of the greatest films ever made, from "Late Spring" (1949) to "Tokyo Story" (1953) to "An Autumn Afternoon" (1962). Baths are important. And breakfast. And walks and naps. The important thing to remember is that, for the most part, writing isn't what happens when you're at your keyboard. That, to paraphrase embellish Truman Capote, is merely the typing part.

The clip above is from Kazuo Inoue's 1983 documentary about Ozu, "I Lived, But..." -- included in the Criterion DVD edition of "Tokyo Story."

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