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Alice Through the Looking Glass

There is no magic, no wonder, just junk rehashed from a movie that was itself a rehash of Lewis Carroll, tricked out with physically unpersuasive…

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Unlocking the Cage

As its title suggests, Unlocking the Cage is a kind of advocacy journalism, not an attempt to weigh the cons as well as the pros…

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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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View image The most famous phone box in the world.

After the screening of Bill Forsyth's long-unavailable masterpiece "Housekeeping" at Ebertfest (about which more later) somebody asked him why he used the word "moving" in a key piece of dialog rather than novelist Marilynne Robinson's word-of-choice, "drifting." Forsyth said he didn't remember for certain, but imagined it was because "drifting" was simply "too on-the-nose," too "poetic" sounding. Actress Christine Lahti, who played the character speaking the line in question, and who joined Forsyth on stage (neither of them having seen the movie, or each other, for 21 years) confirmed that "drifting" works beautifully on the page of a novel, but wouldn't have sounded right if spoken aloud on the screen. So much artistry is reflected in that simple explanation. What seemed at first like kind of a dumb, nit-picky question was justified by the answer.

Forsyth spun another tale of adaptation that mirrored the oblique and inevitable comic structure of one of his movies:

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