Cinema; the Best Films

By Clarke, Roger | The Independent (London, England), July 25, 2002 | Go to article overview
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Cinema; the Best Films

Clarke, Roger, The Independent (London, England)

Ivans Xtc (18, Bernard Rose, 93mins)

Rose's updating of Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich is a savage attack on Tinseltown, the best since Robert Altman's The Player. Ivan Beckman is dead: dead, but still narrating this film, which moves in flashback through his life as a Hollywood agent. Danny Huston is outstanding in the lead role, playing Ivan with a skewed charm and genuine gravitas. Shot on high-definition video and with an energetic, tilting-at-windmills style, it's the kind of movie Hollywood would rather you didn't see. Limited release

Vivre Sa Vie (15, Jean-Luc Godard, 83mins, above)

Anna Karina falls into prostitution after hoping for a career in acting, and is soon in thrall to a nasty pimp. Godard's beautiful 1963 film is one of his most inventive and playful, and it's still fresh and seductive after all these years. The director later said that he'd used almost entirely first takes for this movie, and it shows: there's an extraordinary freshness and vitality on display here. Limited release

Nine Queens (15, Fabian Bielinsky, 115mins)

Two small-time Buenos Aires swindlers find themselves thrown together as they race to sell a fake set of rare stamps to a dodgy millionaire. When the fakes go missing, they have to con an avaricious widow out of the real ones. The clever, funny script won a national competition in Argentina (the prize was that it went into production), and the film became a huge box-office hit there.

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