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Archive for August 3rd, 2009

flame-og-citron

by Sam Juliano

     This week Lucille, Sammy and I had the honor of meeting up with Movie Zeal’s Phillip Johnston and Joseph Demme, two Pennsylvania college students, who were visiting Manhattan to spend time with some friends.  We met up with them after their Wednesday matinee staging of Mary Stuart, which they enjoyed quite a bit.  We visited The Dish, and took a brief tour around lower Manhattan checking out art house movie theatres.  Both Phillip and Joe are great guys, and we had an afternoon to remember.
 
    Wonders in the Dark had yet another banner week, with Allan’s thread for his #1 pick of the 70’s, Rivette’s Duelle scoring almost 90 comments as of this writing, and some have called it one of the greatest threads ever at the site.  Several other threads, including last week’s Monday Morning Diary did extremely well, and the two weekend posts (Movie Man’s Boston Examiner review of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Tony D’Ambra’s stunning Film Noir Blues) are already up and running.  The post about high school cinema, initiated by T.S. of Screen Savour did fantastically well with over 50 comments, nearly all of a very impassioned, comprehensive quality.
 
     Lucille, Broadway Bob and I got to see Public Theatre’s Departure Lounge, a one-act play with songs, written by Douglas Irvine.  We found the Saturday evening performance modesty entertaining, with a few very fine performances.
 
     I saw three films in theatres this week, and the final one, which I just returned home from is the big winner.  The Danish film, FLAME AND CITRON, will surely appeal to the site’s film noir lovers, Tony, Dee Dee, John Greco and Dave among others.  It contains all the pre-requisite noir elements–double dealings, shadowy alleys and a femme fatale.  It is a true-life story about two resistance fighters, Flame and Citron, in 1944 who deal with traitors to Denmark in the Nazi-occupied Scandinavian country.  It is a riveting spy noir and political thriller, which rightly disavows period realism for noir elements.
 
     The Korean vampire film THIRST has some startling imagery,  but was undone by excessive length, convoluted perversity, a lack of any kind of cohesive focus and rhythm, and an incoherent narrative.  Taking the kids to see this was one of my biggest blunders.
 
     LORNA’S SILENCE was the new entry from the great Dardenne Brothers, but it’s premise, though promising at the outset, segued into contrivances.  It was the least interesting film from the duo, who previously crafted a series of superlative films in their inimitable realism, observational style–LA PROMESSE, ROSETTA, THE SON and L’ENFANT.
 
      Flame and Citron **** 1/2    (Sunday night; Landmark)
      Thirst   ** 1/2                     (Sunday afternoon; Landmark)
      Lorna’s Silence  ***            (Friday night; Cinema Village)
 
      So what did you see?  Hear?  Read?  Eat? Do?
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