Daily Archives: October 25, 2006

Unforgiven

One of Clint Eastwood’s most accomplished westerns, based on a rather elaborate script by David Webb Peoples (who cowrote Blade Runner). Like Bird, this 1992 film seems at times to equate dark cinematography with artistry (albeit with stunning locations in Canada and California and beautifully composed results), and as with White Hunter, Black Heart its view of reality depends almost entirely on countercliches and their implied critique of the machismo of earlier Eastwood movies. Consequently, there’s not much dramatic urgency apart from the revisionist context. Eastwood plays a reformed alcoholic killer, now a widower, father, and failing hog farmer in Kansas, who’s lured into a bounty hunt by a brash kid (Jaimz Woolvett) and persuades an old partner (Morgan Freeman) to join them. With Frances Fisher, Anna Thomson, Gene Hackman, Richard Harris, and Saul Rubinek. R, 127 min. (JR)… Read more »

Camp Thiaroye

It’s possible that a good half of the greatest African movies ever made are the work of novelist-turned-filmmaker Ousmane Sembene (Black Girl, Xala, Ceddo). Camp Thiaroye (1987), cowritten and codirected by Thierno Faty Sow, recounts an incident that occurred in 1944. Returning from four years of European combat in the French army, Senegalese troops are sent to a transit camp, where they have to contend with substandard food and other indignities. An intellectual sergeant major (Ibrahima Sane) gets thrown out of a local bordello when he goes there for a drink; mistaken for an American soldier, he’s arrested and beaten by American MPs, which provokes his men into kidnapping an American GI. Then when the Senegalese troops discover that they’re about to be cheated out of half their back pay, they launch a revolt. Leisurely paced, this is a novelistic (and often witty) treatment of a complex subject in which all the characters get their due. In French and Wolof with subtitles. 147 min. (JR)… Read more »