Movie Diary 2/11/2018

Nine Days One Year (Mikhail Romm, 1961). Soviets working on a nuclear reactor, with a romantic triangle involved. I saw this film many years ago, but couldn’t remember whether it was the same movie. The only thing I remembered was a scene where the scientists are hurrahing the discovery of neutrons. The two male scientists are superbly played by Aleksei Batalov and Innokentiy Smoktunovsky, representing different angles on the whole work-life balance. The movie has a shiny plainness that suits the Soviet style – it could have been developed in a laboratory out of newly-minted materials.

Lucie Aubrac (Claude Berri, 1997). Occupation France, with Carole Bouquet and Daniel Auteuil as Resistance agents. A good straight-ahead treatment of the melodrama, with Bouquet in excellent nerves-of-steel mode. Berri was good with faces, and there’s a memorable gallery here, notably big-lug Jean-Roger Milo as a soulful Resistance stalwart and director Patrice Chereau as the group’s Mr. Big.

The 15:17 to Paris (Clint Eastwood, 2018). Not going to claim the movie completely works, but there are all kinds of interesting decisions along the way. Eastwood’s gamble to cast the real-life trio of dudes who stopped a terrorist on a train in 2015 puts the film in the ballpark of Kiarostami’s Close-Up, and the whole lackadaisical middle section makes you wonder whether Clint’s been itching to do a Linklater movie for a while. My review here.

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