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Triple agent (2004)
115 wasted minutes...
I wouldn't have believed it possible for a boring film to be made out of the Miller/Skoblin/Plevitskaya story - which has sinister Nazi and Soviet spies, impoverished old Russian emigres plotting away in cheap Parisian cafes, a larger than-life popular singer, kidnappings, tortures, murders and betrayals galore - but Rohmer has managed to do exactly that.
In fact other than giving him the excuse to write great turgid gobbets of expository dialogue about the Popular Front, Stalin, Trotsky etc (which must have gained him major brownie points amongst those elderly Paris intellectuals who managed to stay awake through the premiere) it is very difficult to know why Rohmer made this film at all - unless its all a pretentiously backhanded tribute to Vladimir Nabokov whose 1943 short story the Assistant Producer covered the same territory and is written from the point of view of a Hollywood film producer.
As other reviewers have pointed out even by Rohmer's standards this film is anti-cinematic - with by far the most striking visual images being the newsreel clips inserted at various points and which alone break up the verbose tedium.
Worse it completely inverts the true story on which it is supposedly based by making the 'triple agents' wife an innocent.
While the details will remain obscure until the relevant files in the Soviet archives become available (assuming they still exist), historians seem unanimous that the General's wife Nadia Plevitskaya - in reality a popular Russian folk singer and not a Greek painter - was every bit as active a Soviet agent as her husband.
Certainly she had happily served the Reds during the revolution and was singing for one of their army units when she was captured/'liberated' by her future husband - and if she was not a Soviet spy from the very beginning was presumably a cynical opportunist who stayed loyal to the Whites only until their money and hope of ever leading a counter-revolution evaporated and then returned to her previous allegiance taking her husband with her.
Even Nabokov who had met the woman and in 1943 evidently did not believe her to be a Soviet spy, unmercifully mocks her vulgarity and stupidity in his short story.
Anyone further from Rohmer's gentle Greek naif would be difficult to imagine.
Rohmer's Voronin seems rather closer to the real Skoblin - and particularly to Nabokov's version - but even his character never really becomes that interesting as whatever evil he is doing (and can you conceive of anything more evil than having your close friends and colleagues successively kidnapped and tortured to death by their worst enemies)is always kept offscreen and unreal.
All in all a complete waste of two hours and whatever you paid to buy/rent the film.
Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001)
Brilliant but botched
What can one add to everyone that has been said already.
Ultimately a film that is very much less than the sum of its parts.
Brilliantly acted with some superb visual effects (of which by far the most powerful is the way the twin towers suddenly loom at you from a drowned New York - although Spielberg can hardly take credit for that).
I so much wanted this film to succeed but as usual Spielberg could not stop himself from tacking on a ridiculous 'happy' ending.
Just as ET would have been perfect if the alien had stayed dead on the operating table, this would have been near perfect if creepy mecha boy had just been allowed to fade out praying for the impossible - but no he has to be rescued by Disney aliens who literally shake fairy dust over everything to make it all better.
Cut out the last half hour and you'd have a semi-masterpiece, with it there's nothing but a nasty emotionally manipulative mess.
So powerful once will be enough
This is one of the very, very few films that are so overwhelming that you are very unlikely to watch it more than once or twice in your lifetime (other examples are Claude Lanzmann's documentary Shoah and Come and See by the director's husband Elem Klimov - which covers much the same unbearable territory but in a very different way).
I suppose this is just as well given the difficulty of ever seeing a print.
Apparently it's extraordinarily overt Christian symbolism and admission that there were active Russian collaborators, ensured that it was hardly ever seen in the USSR - and of course post-soviet Russia has very little interest in films of that era.
The one time I saw it in London was in a festival of Russian movies shown during the Glasnost era (i.e. probably c.1988) - however it apparently has been shown several times in the UK more recently so at least one subtitled print must exist here.
As far as I know it has never been released in the west on DVD or video so if you haven't seen it, your best chance is probably to join a film society and endlessly nag them to find a print and screen it.