The Duchess of Langeais.
4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days. In 1987 a young Romanian woman is pregnant, and her college roommate helps her to get an abortion. In those days of fascist tyranny, abortion was forbidden. The struggle to get it done, the characters involved, are treated with a skill that bespeaks depth. (1/30/08)
The Silence Before Bach. A surreal work from Spain--set also in Germany--juxtaposes past and present yet makes no attempt to blend them. Each scene is intelligently shaped and completely unexpected. The total effect is an ingenious and lovely tribute to Bach’s majesty. (2/13/08)
Summer Palace. A late 1980s group of Chinese college students encounter the world, both at home and (some of them) in Germany. The adventures, the shocks, and the atmosphere of sex, all dramatize sharply the idea of young people who have lived rather remote lives encountering largeness. (From the upcoming 2/27/08 issue.)
Stanley Kauffmann is The New Republic's film critic.
By Stanley Kauffmann