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A nostalgic and deeply emotional tale, My Golden Days is Arnaud Desplechin’s second film about Paul Dedalus. Very loosely based on the filmmaker himself (his name is a nod to James Joyce’s alter ego in Ulysses), Dedalus is played here by two actors, longtime Desplechin collaborator Mathieu Amalric as a middle-aged man looking back on his youth, in three scenes that frame the adolescent action, and Quentin Dolmaire as the young Paul. In an...
Spartacus (1960) Directed by Stanley Kubrick Sure, Kubrick was technically a director-for-hire on Spartacus, and certainly there’s little evidence in it of the distinctive personality of the auteur that would later in the 1960s fashion an ironically lyrical montage out of mushroom clouds and send human beings through a light-show trip “beyond the infinite.” But if humanity—or, rather, the lack of it—could be said to be a consistent theme of Kubrick’s over the span of his...
A Face in the Crowd (1957) Directed by Elia Kazan Certainly, Kazan and screenwriter Budd Schulberg's attack on media demagoguery remains as scalding as ever, especially with the emerging ubiquity of social media leading us to be as conscious as ever of public image. But even more startling than the film’s continuing relevance is its potency as nuanced drama. This is not a simplistic tale of innocents corrupted by unchecked power. Larry Rhodes (Andy Griffith)—dubbed "Lonesome"...

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