Daily Archives: April 5, 2019


From the Chicago Reader (March 13, 1992). This film can now be accessed online. — J.R.



*** (A must-see)

Directed and written by Katherine Gilday.

Some theorists believe it is the larger North American society that needs healing, that women’s bodies today are the symbolic area in which a larger drama of cultural values is played out. — narrator, The Famine Within

Siskel and Ebert, among others, have been arguing that the documentary nominating committee of the Academy Awards needs a major revamping. Their beef is that the most popular and widely discussed documentaries of the past few years — like The Thin Blue Line, Paris Is Burning, Roger & Me, and Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse — never get nominated. Implicit in this argument is the notion that the most popular movies are usually the best, a notion that the awarding of most of the remainder of the Oscars is predicated upon. To accept any serious challenge to this sacred premise would be to undermine our faith in distributors, exhibitors, critics, publicists — the film industry itself. Perish the thought: if we lost our faith in all of the above, we might actually have to start thinking for ourselves.… Read more »

French for Beginners (UN AIR DE FAMILLE)

From the Chicago Reader (October 2, 1998). — J.R.

Un Air De Famille

Rating *** A must see

Directed by Cedric Klapisch

Written by Agnes Jaoui, Jean-Pierre Bacri, and Klapisch

With Bacri, Jaoui, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Catherine Frot, Claire Maurier, and Wladimir Yordanoff.

Foreign-film distribution in this country often operates on the brand-name principle — as is apparent with Un air de famille (1996), playing at the Music Box this week. Director and cowriter Cedric Klapisch had considerable commercial success here with his third picture, the 1995 When the Cat’s Away (this one is his fourth). I haven’t seen Klapisch’s first two; what I know about him mainly is that he received a degree from New York University’s graduate film school and worked as a director of photography on a dozen short films in New York before returning to France to make his own films.

When the Cat’s Away is an intelligent enough movie, but the adjectives I’d apply to it are “charming” and “slight”; Un air de famille, which I like a good deal more, is neither. The most significant aspect of the film is the couple, Agnes Jaoui and Jean-Pierre Bacri, who wrote the very successful play on which it’s based.… Read more »