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Nadja à Paris (1964)
An American-Yugoslavian in Paris
"Nadja a Paris," a short film from Eric Rohmer, tells the story of a Yugoslavian-born girl (who was adopted by an American family, who goes to study at the Cite Universitaire in Paris. The character development, considering the brevity of the film, is pretty good, but overall, the film doesn't pack much of a punch at all. Rohmer's other films tend to have an overlying meaning (or "point"), often in a moral lesson. This short is basically a love letter to Paris. "We'll always have Paris." We've all heard that before, and we accept it. Hearing a student experiencing the joy of Paris for the first time isn't exactly exhilarating.
J.C. Chávez (2007)
A very well made, stylish documentary about legendary Mexican boxer
I just saw Diego Luna's directorial debut at the Tribeca Film Festival, where it is having its world premiere. Luna, who has already proved himself to be a great actor, in films such as Y Tu Mama Tambien, has crafted a highly entertaining film. Though brief, clocking in at under eighty minutes, it gives you a good feel for Julio Antonio Chavez. Interviews with his friends and family provide a glimpse at his childhood; clips of coaches. boxing promoters (including Don King) and even celebrity appearances ranging from Steve Wynn to Mike Tyson give you a sense of his astounding professional career. With a record of over 100 wins and only six losses, he was a national hero. Luna clearly admired him: what stands out is the closing titles, in which the director reveals how dedicated Chavez is to his children: he is passing on his beloved pastime on to the next generation. This is one of the better documentaries I have seen recently (and trust me, I've seen quite a handful at the festival this year). Luna has infused the film with a lot of style (including good juxtaposition of music and imagery). He has proved himself to be a talented director; I look forward to seeing more of what he has to offer if he takes on a narrative film.