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Beau Travail (1999) Directed by Claire Denis As is her elliptical wont, Denis doesn’t directly announce Beau Travail’s Herman Melville-based inspiration in the opening credits. Sharp-eared viewers, however, will immediately recognize that snatch of operatic music during a montage of French Foreign Legion officers doing calisthenics in the Djibouti desert to be from Benjamin Britten’s opera adaptation of Melville’s Billy Budd; the film itself gradually reveals its kinship to Melville’s novella in its tale of an...
Cameraperson Directed by Kirsten Johnson Opens September 9 at IFC Center “I know you are but what am I?” Ingeniously assembled and dense with points of interest, Kirsten Johnson’s debut feature is nothing if not resourceful: the award-winning cinematographer fashioned her film from cast-off footage she shot for over a dozen documentaries including Citizenfour, Very Semi-Serious, Fahrenheit 9/11, and Derrida. But Cameraperson is also approximately a dozen other things: an expert compilation movie, a manual on documentary technique,...

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