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The story of a cab driver in Yanji City, a region between North Korea, China and Russia. His wife goes to Korea to earn money, but he doesn't hear from her since in 6 months. He plays ... See full summary »
Mei, a young girl whose memory holds a priceless numerical code, finds herself pursued by the Triads, the Russian mob, and corrupt NYC cops. Coming to her aid is an ex-cage fighter whose life was destroyed by the gangsters on Mei's trail.
Robert John Burke
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Giorgio Pellegrini, a former left-wing activist turned terrorist has fled to Central America and fought with a guerrilla movement. Fifteen years later he is fed up with living in the jungle... See full summary »
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As every year, chief inspector Paul Bellamy spends a few days with his wife Françoise in the family house in Nîmes. Jacques, Paul's stepbrother, turns up unawares, which is bad news since the fellow is an alcoholic good for nothing. Also annoying is this stranger at bay who asks Bellamy for protection. Farewell peaceful holiday! Written by
'I regained some self-respect by learning to detest myself'
We commonly speak of 'the elephant in the room'. But what about the elephant on the screen? Gerard Depardieu, talented and magnetic personality that he is, has now grown to such a size that he really should out of delicacy keep himself from public view. The idea of him being even remotely romantic is absurd. In this film, his slender and attractive wife (Marie Bunel) shows him great loving devotion, they are always kissing and cuddling, and he is constantly feeling her in the intimate places of her anatomy while she appears to be thrilled by this attention. But how convincing is that? His stomach is now so gigantic that he appears to be pregnant with sextuplets. In one ludicrous bedroom scene, his wife leaps on top of him while he is lying on his back, and ends up hopelessly stranded on top of his gigantic tummy like a beached ship. I can only presume that Claude Chabrol, in this last film which he made in the year before he died, was having his little joke. Depardieu's face has expanded into a full moon, and one has to struggle to recognise him. Everyone knows that in what passes for 'real life', Depardieu likes his food and wine, but really, one has to choose, and since he has chosen to become so immensely fat through showing no restraint in his inordinate consumption, he must face the fact that his days as a screen Lothario are over. Indeed, it is even difficult to take him seriously now as a character actor. It is such a pity, because he is such a good actor. Perhaps he needs one of those stomach operations to restrain him, as it is probably too late for dieting to accomplish much. However, turning to the film itself, it is even more complex than usual for a Chabrol film. The ostensible story turns out not to be the real story at all. It is not the mystery which the detective tries to solve which is the purpose of the film, but the detective himself who has to be solved by the viewers. And this is also Inspector Bellamy's own greatest challenge as an investigator, to understand the riddle of himself. The film is so multi-textured, with hints and strands running everywhere, that people who enjoy solving puzzles will have a great time. Murder and betrayal are in there, as they appear to have been twin obsessions of Chabrol. But most deeply rooted in this film is the motif of self-detestation because of terrible deeds one has done in the past, which have remained secret, and which have devoured one from within over decades. Depardieu conveys successfully a man destroyed by regrets so bitter that they can never be repaired. His feckless half-brother, a drunk and dropout who stays with Depardieu and his wife during their break from Paris (where Depardieu is said to be a famous detective inspector, and in any case he keeps his gun in a drawer in his kitchen, so he must be a detective), is played with poignant and embittered despair by Clovis Cornillac (how amazing to have the first name of a Merovingian king!) The multi-tasking Jacques Gamblin, who was so brilliant in Chabrol's COLOUR OF LIES (1999, see my review), here plays no less than three characters. Perhaps Chabrol was doing an essay not only on double-identity but triple-identity. Whatever his intentions in this intense and bizarre film, Chabrol certainly was reaching for some profundities, some of which he reached, and some of which remained beyond his grasp. It is as if a drowning man were searching for the ultimate answers to the things which most troubled him and, his hands stretching from the water which is about to engulf him, managed to grab hold of some last insights just before he sank. I suppose the film is ultimately unsatisfying because it is somewhat self-indulgent, but there can be little doubt of Chabrol's earnest intent, so we must respect that. A man making his last film is not struggling for effect, he is gasping for meaning. I can understand some people saying they did not like this film, because it was not made for entertainment purposes, it was made for Chabrol's peace of mind, a kind of anguished testament perhaps. The film contains continuous references to the marvellous song-writer and singer Georges Brassens (1921-1981), as well as repeatedly mentioning his grave at the southern seaport of Sète (a town where they have the most delicious and authentic fish soup, which I highly recommend), which was his home town. I did not 'get' all of this, but it doubtless had a meaning to Chabrol deeper than mere admiration, and for all I know there may be countless Frenchmen who could recount at great length the importance of Brasssens to this story. Brassens could perhaps be described as 'the Leonard Cohen of France', and he has a large and devoted following. He sang with that extraordinarily charming accent of the South which one hears in Marcel Pagnol's old black and white films. The insistence with which Chabrol hammers away at the Brassens motif, his tomb, and its association with a murder, must mean something to someone, though it is all too subtle for me. One also wonders why Chabrol is so obsessed with cars going off cliffs? There must be so much more to all this than meets the uninformed eye. Perhaps some day someone will solve the mystery of Claude Chabrol, or should I say the many mysteries of the man, and why he himself seems to have been so haunted a personality. Or has this already been done by some eager French cinéaste and I just don't know about it?
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