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[whitespace] Film Picks

By Richard von Busack

Beyond the Clouds (1995)
Plays Dec. 10-16 at the Roxie Theater.

Malkovich meets Antonioni in this local premiere of a four-part anthology film (a fifth story was added by Wim Wenders after Michelangelo Antonioni's debilitating stroke). The narrative is held together by the adventures of a filmmaker (John Malkovich) scouting locations for a new film and encountering various characters. Sophie Marceau (who was very good in The World Is Not Enough) plays a patricide. Peter Weller stars in an episode about a man torn between wife and mistress (Fanny Ardant and Chia Caselli). Vincent Perez has an episode as a man beseeching a woman (Irene Jacob) not to enter a convent. The film is based on Antonioni's novel The Bowling Alley on the Tiber.

The End of the Affair
Plays at selected theaters citywide.

Neil Jordan faithfully adapts Graham Greene's novel about a love triangle haunted by Catholic guilt in World War II London. Julianne Moore is, as always, superb as the lady in question. She's the most unselfconscious, unsentimental and flexible actress we have--and certainly one of the most beautiful. By contrast, Ralph Fiennes' trademark reserve is at first mystifying and then tedious. Jordan explains the novel's own tormented feelings about the faith very well, but that doesn't necessarily make those reasons more compelling. The costumes and somber atmosphere cast their own spell. Stephen Rea is powerful as an abstracted, cuckolded husband, and Ian Hart is amusing as a shabby but polite private detective.

Love Reinvented
Opens Dec. 10 at the Castro Theater.

A program of 10 short films from France on the subject of post-AIDS gay love. The films were commissioned as public-service messages and thus suffer from pat, optimistic endings in which the use of condoms is stressed. Moreover, although the series is billed as a gay and lesbian selection, only three of the films are about lesbians. "Seagull" has a poetic, emotional ending. "Un Moment," about that awful moment of realizing one is unequipped with a condom, is one of the best selections; the point-of-view camerawork has an erotic, voyeuristic charge. "The Tears of AIDS," despite the mawkish title, is another winner. It tells the story of a complicated, unhappy love affair that begins on a nude beach.

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From the December 6, 1999 issue of the Metropolitan.

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