La Jetee

Before the outbreak of World War 3, a young boy had a vivid experience wherein he witnessed a man dying at the end of a pier, but it was the expression on the face of a nearby woman that has become indelibly lodged in his brain. Years later, in a post-apocalyptic world where the only survivors live underground, scientists experiment on others in an effort to find someone who can assist with humanity’s predicament by going back in time to before the cataclysmic events.
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Archangel

In 1919, the Russian village of Archangel continued to fight a war they didn’t know was over. Grief-stricken Canadian soldier Lt. Boles (Kyle McCulloch) arrives at the village and assists a family with an injured child, only to see a vision of his dead wife. This vision turns out to be field nurse Veronkha (Kathy Marykuca), who happens to look exactly like Boles’ wife. Veronkha has her own problems though, her husband, Lt. Philbin (Ari Cohen) has suffered a brain injury that makes him think he is always experiencing his wedding night, despite the fact that Veronkha is no longer in love with him.
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An American In Paris

Jerry Mulligan (Gene Kelly) is an American WWII expatriate barely eking out a living as a painter in Paris with his composer friend and neighbour Adam (Oscar Levant). Adam is also friends with successful singer Henri (Georges Guetary), who is madly in love with his young girlfriend Lise (Leslie Caron). When attempting to sell his paintings on the street, Jerry is spotted by the wealthy and entrepreneurial Milo (Nina Foch) who plans to make Jerry a successful artist but, on an evening out, Jerry becomes infatuated at first sight with a girl at the next table, who turns out to be Lise, which doesn’t please Milo at all.
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The Palm Beach Story

Five years into their marriage, Gerry and Tom Jeffers (Claudette Colbert and Joel McCrea) are having difficulties making their financial ends meet, and are soon to be evicted from their duplex for owing too much rent. Despite a sudden burst of unexpected riches, Gerry believes they will have more success separately and plans to divorce Tom so he can continue with his business developing a new airport built above a city (just don’t even think about it) whilst she finds and marries a millionaire who will give her the money to finance it.
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Chariots of Fire

In 1919 several young men develop and nurture a passion for running, and all aim to compete in the forthcoming Olympics in Paris in 1924. Amongst them are the Jewish Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross) and his friends at Cambridge (Nicholas Farrell, Nigel Havers) and a Scottish former rugby player turned Christian missionary Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson).
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The Exterminating Angel

After an upper class dinner, the hosts and guests all adjourn to the parlour for after-dinner drinks and discussions. When the hour becomes late, the guests all decide to stay instead of heading home, sleeping on chairs and the floor instead of to some of the numerous bedrooms. Come the morning, still none of them leave, and they soon begin to wonder if perhaps there is some unseen force keeping them retained within the room.
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Cléo from 5 to 7

Two days ago, singer Cléo (Corinne Marchand) underwent some tests to determine if she has stomach cancer, and how bad it is. She is scheduled to visit the hospital at 7pm, in two hours time, so whiles away the inbetween hours wandering the streets, first having her fortune told before going to a cafe with her maid (Dominique Davray), having a meeting with two musical collaborators (Serge Korber and Michel Legrand) spending time with a friend (Dorothée Blanck) before meeting a soldier (Antoine Bourseiller) in the park and eventually making her way to the hospital to receive her results.
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The Smiling Madame Beudet

Madame Beudet (Germaine Dermoz) lives an unhappy live being mocked and tormented by her husband (Alexandre Arquillière). He works all day as a cloth merchant and ignores his wife when he comes home. He arranges tickets for them for the theatre to a performance of Faust but, when she declines to go, he pretends he will kill himself with a gun he keeps in a top drawer. Evidently he keeps the gun unloaded and uses this trick often to mock his wife. However, when he goes to the show with his associate and his wife (Jean D’Yd & Madeleine Guitty), Mrs. Beudet loads the gun in the hope that the next time he pulls the stunt he’ll follow through and kill himself.
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Vivre sa Vie

This review was originally written for Blueprint: Review.

Over the course of twelve chapters we experience the life of Nana (Karina), an aspiring actress and shop assistant who turns to prostitution when her acting career fails to take off.

There comes a point where you have to just sit back and declare that some things aren’t for you. You’ve tried them, often numerous times, but always with a similar, less than stellar result. No matter how hard you try, it’s just not something you can get on board with. And so it is with me and the cinema of the French New Wave. It’s not the worst I’ve seen – I’d possibly hand that crown to Godard’s À Bout de Souffle – but Vivre sa Vie comes close. It strikes me as a film in which the director is actively challenging the audience to pay attention, providing as he does multiple occasions where surely only the most fervent of viewers can remain engaged. Throughout this film we witness an entire letter being hand written, word by word, with the camera focussed intently on the letter. A poem is recited, in full. A conversation is had with French philosopher Brice Parain. And through all the ambling, overly self reflective, ponderous yet vapid naval gazing I struggle to maintain a grip on my conscious state as Godard hints at, but never fully embraces a narrative.
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