Daily Archives: August 21, 1992

The Golden Coach

Essential viewing. Anna Magnani plays the head of a commedia dell’arte troupe touring colonial Peru in the early 18th century who dallies with her three lovers (Paul Campbell, Ricardo Rioli, and Duncan Lamont) in this pungent, gorgeous color masterpiece by Jean Renoir, shot in breathtaking images by his brother Claude. In fact, this filmic play-within-a-play, based on a play by Prosper Merimee, is a celebration of theatricality and a meditation on the beauties and mysteries of acting–it’s both a key text and pleasurable filmmaking at its near best. (Widely regarded as the first in a loose 50s trilogy of Renoir films with related preoccupations, followed by Only the French Can and Paris Does Strange Things, it may well be the best of the lot.) Though this is widely known as a French film, its original and better version is in English, which is the version showing in this restoration supervised by Martin Scorsese. With Odoardo Spadaro, Nada Fiorelli, and Jean Debucourt (1953). (Music Box, Friday through Thursday, August 21 through 27) … Read more »

Cold Heaven

Nicolas Roeg’s tenth feature–rather freely adapted by Allan Scott (who also produced) from a novel by Brian Moore–is characteristically portentous and provocative, beautifully edited and lyrically enigmatic. Roeg’s wife, Theresa Russell, who has starred in four other Roeg films, plays the adulterous wife of a doctor (Mark Harmon) having an affair with another doctor (James Russo) while they’re attending a conference in Mexico. Her husband apparently dies in a boat accident, but his body mysteriously disappears from a local hospital; back in California she travels to Carmel, reencounters her husband, and investigates a vision that may be connected with her husband’s apparent death and resurrection. If you like thrillers with tidy denouements, this may not be your cup of tea. But Roeg’s grasp of his material never ceases to be serious and suggestive, and it carries echoes of such transcendental art movies as Stromboli and Vertigo. With Talia Shire, Richard Bradford, and Will Patton (1991). A Chicago premiere. (Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton, Friday and Saturday, August 21 and 22, 7:00 and 9:00; Sunday, August 23, 5:30 and 7:30; and Monday through Thursday, August 24 through 27, 7:00 and 9:00; 281-4114) … Read more »