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Searching for a Reliable Signal

Searching for a Reliable Signal

BY STEVE ERICKSON | French director Olivier Assayas has made a few films that could be loosely described as thrillers: “demonlover” and “Boarding Gate.” However, their thrills are always in quotes, filtered through David Cronenberg’s “Videodrome” (in the case of “demonlover”), Hong Kong director Johnnie To’s action movies (in “Boarding Gate”), and, throughout, radical French philosopher […]

Life Relaunched

Life Relaunched

BY STEVE ERICKSON | Thanks to the gods of timing, New Yorkers have the opportunity to see two of French actress Isabelle Huppert’s best performances simultaneously, in Paul Verhoeven’s “Elle” and Mia Hansen-Løve’s “Things To Come.” Hansen-Løve has said, “I rate her as the greatest French actress.” I agree, except that I would take “French” […]

Three Women

Three Women

BY STEVE ERICKSON | Late in French director Olivier Assayas’ “Clouds of Sils Maria,” someone compliments a young actress by saying “She’s modern.” This praise, especially directed at a woman, sounds typically Assayas. For him, women seem to embody the energies and contradictions of present-day capitalism. He’s written memorable roles for Maggie Cheung (“Irma Vep,” “Clean”) […]