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Ready or Not

The film is charismatic and thrilling enough to bypass its shortcomings.

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There’s an honest heart beneath the racy laughs.

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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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The Unloved, Part 51: Mademoiselle

This is a film I've wanted to cover from the minute I read my friend David Cairns' post about it. It seemed too beautiful to be real, so I sought it out the following day and sat dumbfounded as it transpired. From the first shot of Jeanne Moreau, hands in fishnet gloves, turning the wheels of a lock and unleashing a torrent of water into a farm, I was in love. The film was more wondrous to look at than I was prepared for. Of course when that typically happens the public really takes against it. It's why Terrence Malick still needs defending after all these years. 

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"Mademoiselle" is rather like an anti-Terrence Malick movie, where people search for the most destructive and grimy way to fall from grace, rather than grope towards it. The camera hardly moves, standing stock still in a town with marrow-deep distrust of most people and sensations. It's clearly the realm of writer Jean Genet, where a current of dissatisfaction strips the paint off of our illusions and leaves only a hollow facade of law and order. 

Moreau made many maudits in her time, but none with the raw, arch staying power of this meticulously crafted silent scream. 

The Unloved - Mademoiselle from Scout Tafoya on Vimeo.

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