23 November 2009 10:57 AM, PST | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

In “Ways of Love” three vignettes directed by three top film makers add up to the year’s best foreign release. Marcel Pagnol’s “Jofroi” is about a senile farmer (Vincent Scotto) who shams suicide thirty times to protect some lovingly nurtured trees. This director feels that there is nothing more delightful than pondering the virtuosity of character actors—earthy types who immobilize the screen with chattered wisdom and time-wasting mannerisms. In Jean Renoir’s “A Day in the Country,” a pretty Parisian (Sylvia Bataille) is seduced while the camera fastens on the countryside in tender mimicry of Papa Renoir’s paintings. As usual Renoir maneuvers his motorless plot into splendid landscape to press home the idea that man is a handsome spot in nature. Rossellini’s controversial “The Miracle” is a powerful, messy slab of life, starring Anna Magnani as a talkative idiot made pregnant by a silent stranger she believes to be St. »

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