Daily Archives: April 8, 2005

Girls From Abc

This 2003 Brazilian melodrama is more mainstream than the others I’ve seen by director Carlos Reichenbach (Suburban Angels, Buccaneer Soul, Two Streams), but his visual flair is still very much in evidence. Set in ABCthree suburban outposts that border Sao Paoloit focuses on the racially mixed working class, chiefly the young women who work the looms in a textile factory and the young toughs who hang out in a cafe pool hall. Racist attitudes and efforts to unionize the factory are highlighted, along with bouts of hot sex, violence, and singing and dancing at a local club. In Portuguese with subtitles. 125 min. (JR)… Read more »

The Ox-bow Incident

William Wellman’s arty film version of Walter Van Tilburg Clark’s anti-lynching novel packed a punch for many spectators in 1943 but has subsequently been written off by many reviewers as awkward and heavy-handed. I remember it as being somewhere between those extremes, and given the unheralded power of Wellman’s equally arty adaptation of Clark’s Track of the Cat (1954), I would imagine that this warrants a second look. With Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, Mary Beth Hughes, Harry Morgan, and Anthony Quinn. 75 min. (JR)… Read more »

Yesterday Girl

Alexander Kluge’s celebrated first feature (1966), regarded by some as the beginning of the New German Cinema, follows the hard times of a young woman from East Germany trying to establish herself in the West. Kluge’s sister Alexandra plays the title lead, and the writer-director himself, generally known as the preeminent filmmaker of the Marxist Frankfurt School, established himself with this film as a Brechtian social analyst. In German with subtitles. 88 min. (JR)… Read more »

In My Country

John Boorman directs a potent, moving, liberal-minded docudrama about South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation hearings of the mid-90s, adapted by Ann Peacock from Antjie Krog’s novel Country of My Skull. The plot focuses on two journalists, an Afrikaner poet (Juliette Binoche) who firmly believes in the South African concept of ubuntu (collective unity) and a Washington Post reporter (Samuel L. Jackson) who’s a lot more skeptical, seeing the hearings chiefly as a way for guilty whites to be pardoned for their crimes. Though the opposition between these characters as well as their growing rapport may seem somewhat diagrammatic at times, the story as a whole is sufficiently nuanced to develop in unforeseeable directions, and Boorman gets the most out of the material. R, 104 min. Esquire.… Read more »