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Across the Bridge (1957)
Powerful, neglected Rod Steiger film
I saw this film, based on a Graham Greene story, 30 years ago on Norwegian TV. Rod Steiger plays a crooked businessman on the lam, who flees across the border into Mexico. The U.S. and Mexican authorities collude to ensure that he won't have access to funds. With nowhere to stay, he is followed by a small dog, whom he first resents; they end up in the desert, where the dog saves his life. A wrenching portrayal of a man who is progressively stripped, first of what he previously valued, and then of everything.
Ya kupil papu (1963)
Unusual Soviet film about childhood
A charming Soviet film about the small son of a single mother. Dimka feels left out at nursery school because the other boys play at emulating their fathers. He believes that when his mother bought him at the store she didn't have enough money to buy a father too. So he plays hookey from nursery school and takes his small hoard of coins down to the GUM (he has seen male mannequins in the window) and attempts to buy a father, but he is merely scolded for holding up the line. A young man rescues him and takes him on a big-brotherly outing before returning him to his frantic mother.
I saw this movie when it was released in the US in the early 1960s, and remember it as being both funny and poignant. I wish it were available on video.
Unnatural Pursuits (1992)
An allegory about the refusal of grace
It's been awhile since I've seen this. I remember it as an odd movie and overlong, but certain elements of it haunt me. A British playwright (Alan Bates) travels from place to place in the US using different theater groups to try out different endings to a play which he is chronically unable to finish. His drinking and chain smoking annoy everybody around him, and clearly get in the way of the fulfilment of a calling, the working out of his own authentic story, which finishing the play represents. I was particularly intrigued with two figures in the movie--an elderly homeless man and a young man on a skateboard--whom I take to be angels, or messengers of death, trying to warn him to mend his ways. I read the film as being not so much about addiction as about the refusal of grace.