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Benjamin Mercer

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A Woman’s Life Directed by Stéphane Brizé Opens May 5 A Woman’s Life, a finely calibrated adaptation of the Guy de Maupassant novel Une vie by the French director Stéphane Brizé, eventually goes on to ripen into a scrupulous inventory of indignities, disappointments, and all-too-ephemeral pleasures in the existence of its protagonist, but it nonetheless opens with a pair of scenes that seem to promise for her a horizon of growth and continuity. On a sun-dappled summer’s...
Graduation Directed by Cristian Mungiu Opens April 7 The protagonist of Graduation, the solid fourth feature film by 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days writer-director Cristian Mungiu, fancies himself to be above all a man of integrity. A physician living in a small Romanian town who dresses crisply, listens to a constant stream of opera, and is fanatical about peeling his fruit, Romeo (Adrian Titieni) certainly seems to be invested in keeping up a smart appearance....
The Death of Louis XIV Directed by Albert Serra Opens March 31 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center It was in the fall of 1958 that François Truffaut, on the recommendation of a fellow Cahiers du cinéma critic, auditioned the 14-year-old son of an assistant scriptwriter and an actress—an eighth-grader who was growing “unmanageable” at school, its head huffily informed Truffaut—to play the autobiographical protagonist of his first feature, The 400 Blows. The rest, as they...
I, Olga Hepnarová Directed by Petr Kazda and Tomás Weinreb Opens March 24 at the Village East A biopic without the triumph, and a bildungsroman without the progress, the European co-production I, Olga Hepnarová, the coolly poised feature debut of writer-directors Petr Kazda and Tomás Weinreb, depicts a drumbeat of humiliations and rejections as they’re processed by an increasingly malignant personality. Shot in steely black and white through a constant plume of cigarette smoke, Olga ably conveys the throttling atmosphere...

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