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Far from the Madding Crowd

Whether his film is lush or rolling in the muck, it always has a tactile quality that makes it accessible, which is also true of…

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Ride

Helen Hunt directs herself in this story of a brittle New York book editor who begins healing old wounds by learning how to surf.

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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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Voltaire addresses the voodoo of Pat Robertson across the chasm

From Voltaire's "Poème sur le désastre de Lisbonne," written in response to the Lisbon earthquake of 1755:

What crime, what sin, had those young hearts conceived That lie, bleeding and torn, on mother's breast? Did fallen Lisbon deeper drink of vice Than London, Paris, or sunlit Madrid? In these men dance; at Lisbon yawns the abyss. Tranquil spectators of your brothers' wreck, Unmoved by this repellent dance of death, Who calmly seek the reason of such storms, Let them but lash your own security; Your tears will mingle freely with the flood.

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