DANTON
1983, Janus Films, 136 min, France, Poland, West Germany, Dir: Andrzej Wajda

Directed by Andrzej Wajda while in exile, the Polish filmmaker's French-language debut is an adaptation of "The Danton Affair," written in the 1920s by Communist playwright Stanislawa Przybyszewska. After the French Revolution, Paris suffers under the Reign of Terror as the government of the ruthless Maximilien de Robespierre (Wojciech Pszoniak) intimidates all opponents. Georges Danton (Gérard Depardieu), former friend of the leader, seeks an end to the bloodshed and, joined by Camille Desmoulins (writer-director Patrice Chéreau in his first acting role), attempts to bring peace to the streets of the capital. For his efforts, Danton is imprisoned, and awaits the guillotine with steely resolve. In French with English subtitles. "I do not know of any play or movie that has ever come so close to suggesting the fascinating complexity of the French Revolution." - Andrew Sarris, Village Voice


BARABBAS
1961, Sony Repertory, 137 min, Italy, Dir: Richard Fleischer

Closer in spirit to Scorsese’s THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST than to the biblical epics of its own day, director Richard Fleischer’s visually stunning drama (shot in Technirama 70) about the thief (Anthony Quinn) given amnesty in place of Jesus is a moving, gritty and harrowingly unsentimental odyssey of one lonely unfortunate’s spiritual evolution. With Silvana Mangano, Ernest Borgnine and Jack Palance.


HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER
1986, Greycat Films, 83 min, USA, Dir: John McNaughton

This disturbing, low-budget indie, loosely based on the story of real-life serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, delivers exactly what its title promises. Brilliantly played by Michael Rooker, Henry is an ex-con living in a Chicago apartment with Otis, a gas station attendant he met in prison. In Henry’s day job he’s a part-time exterminator, but killing is also his hobby - one Otis soon comes to share in a series of gruesome slayings. When Otis’ sister Becky comes to live with them, she and Henry share a mutual attraction, but can any human being survive contact with this cold-blooded killer? The film landed on numerous year-end best lists upon its release, with writer-director McNaughton’s matter-of-fact style and sure hand with performers (many of them nonprofessional) drawing deserved comparisons to Cassavetes. “One of the 20 scariest movies of all time.” - Entertainment Weekly.


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