by Jeff Niesel
The Cinematheque is showing several great films this weekend. Here are capsule reviews of just two of them.
Forbidden Lies (Australia, 2007) Not long after her memoir Honor Bound becomes an international best-seller, author Norma Khouri has to account for some of the discrepancies in her book about the “honor killing” of her Jordanian friend. Things start to unravel when a Jordanian reporter points out that some of the places mentioned in the book didn’t exist at the time of the woman’s death. Then, Khouri quickly starts to backpedal, admitting that she changed some of the names and dates to protect her friends and family. With a bit more investigation, it becomes clear she made the whole thing up. This is the topic of Anna Broinowski’s fascinating documentary that reveals not only that the book was a work of fiction but also that Khouri has a history of fraudulent behavior. While some of the dramatic re-enactments are rather silly (Broinowski could have just stuck with her interview subjects), the film uncovers surprise after surprise in exposing Khouri’s elaborate con. At 7 p.m. Friday, July 10, and 9:15 p.m. Saturday, July 11. *** (Jeff Niesel)
Frontier of Dawn (France, 2008) Although writer-director Philippe Garrel has been making movies for more than four decades, it wasn’t until 2005’s Regular Lovers — a poetic, three-hour rumination on the student radical movement of the 1960s — that a Garrel film enjoyed a proper U.S. release. One of the leading figures of the post-New Wave generation of French filmmakers, Garrel’s influence can be felt in the work of Arnaud Desplechin, André Téchiné and Olivier Assayas, among others. Frontier of Dawn, Garrel’s most recent movie, was something of a cause celebre at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. Masterpiece or pretentious navel-gazing, the critics couldn't make up their minds, and Dawn seemed destined to suffer the same fate as most of Garrel’s pre-Lovers work that never screened outside of Europe. Shot, like Regular Lovers, in shimmeringly gorgeous black-and-white by William Lubtchansky (Jacques Rivette’s favorite cinematographer), Frontier of Dawn is a movie that defies concise or even rational analysis. What counts are the glorious images (once again, Lubtchansky pays homage to the velvety textures and nicotine stained shadows of New-Wave touchstones like Jean Eustache’s The Mother and the Whore and Jean-Luc Godard’s Masculine Feminine), and Garrel’s uncanny ability to capture the agonies and ecstasies of a love without boundaries. Even if it is from beyond the grave, l’amour fou has rarely been so nutty, or so seductive. At 7 p.m. Thursday, July 9, and 9:10 p.m. Friday, July 10. *** 1/2 (Milan Paurich)