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  • Morocco
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  • The Shepherd of the Hills

  • Young Ahmed

  • Souad

  • On the Edge

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  • The Shepherd of the Hills

    The Shepherd of the Hills

    The Shepherd of the Hills. Visually impressive, but pegged to that tone of rural allegory that Hollywood was fond of: big gestures, big meaning. Lots of people killed and then revived, which seemed strange. Betty Field is rather sexed up as the barefoot love interest - some serious ogling of her butt.

  • Young Ahmed

    Young Ahmed

    Young Ahmed. (Spoilers ahead.) The film establishes its premise quickly: a gentle but intense boy (perfect casting of Idir Ben Addi, perfect acting) under the influence of a violent imam, to the distress of his family and teacher. The Dardennes film the same way always; they don’t change their style or even think in those terms; they shoot purely in response to what’s in front of them. The film is about watching Ahmed move through the world, with the Dardennes…

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  • The Searchers

    The Searchers

    The Searchers. The critical spirit falters before the task of doing justice to John Ford’s 1956 magnum opus, one of those mysterious films that surpasses even what a great director should have been able to achieve. At first remove, The Searchers, the story of a quest to rescue a kidnapped girl from the Comanches, is about the emotional life of the adventurer, the hardened outsider, even the sociopath -- and no one who responds to John Wayne’s chilling performance as…

  • Back Street

    Back Street

    Back Street. From the beginning, total formal control, with icy tracking shots and closeups, scene transitions suspended in the emptiness of the last completed gesture, crowds, weather, everything one associates with mature Stahl. The story is classic Fannie Hurst, with a huge painful contrived coincidence ruining Dunne's life, and love as an immutable sentence condemning the heroine. Stahl and the writers push all of it to extremes: Boles in the middle section is hatefully selfish, and Stahl gazes at his…