Forever. Yes, a pleasant, moving, even amusing documentary about a cemetery. Of course it happens to be Père-Lachaise in Paris, resting place of many luminaries. The Dutch director Heddy Honigmann has made the human most of the surprisingly varied visitors and their reasons for being there. (9.24.07)
The Last Winter. Set in a station on an Alaskan oil pipeline, the story quickly moves from physical adventure, which is not scanted, into deeper realms of self--a change brought about by the very setting. The last third or so, while exciting, is not equally rich, but all of it is incisively directed by Larry Fessenden. (10.8.07)
Lust, Caution. Ang Lee creates another work of unique and lasting value. Set chiefly in Shanghai under the Japanese occupation, it presents the unexpected result of a Chinese plot to kill a cruel Chinese time-serving official, a result brought about by the plot's success. Affectingly acted and discreetly directed. (From the upcoming 10.22.07 issue.)
Sleuth. Anthony Shaffer's 1972 two-character script, rewritten by Harold Pinter, recreates the clever twists through the smart directing of Kenneth Branagh. Michael Caine, who was the young man in the first film, is now the older one, and Jude Law vivifies the other man. Nearly unsagging entertainment. (From the upcoming 10.22.07 issue.)
Stanley Kauffmann is The New Republic's film critic.
By Stanley Kauffman