Monsieur Chariot

Monsieur Chariot
That Dazzling and Luminous California Metropolis known as The City Of The Angels, USA
June 08
Offering Discreet Tutelage in the Metropolitan Arts to Inquiring Gentlepersons of Variously Misguided Social Persuasions


Editor’s Pick
JULY 1, 2009 8:33AM

Cinema for the Lonely

Rate: 67 Flag


· The Finical Filmgoer ·


If, like me, you are single - and a gentleperson of some refinement - you may frequently find yourself feeling a bit lonely. Not that I do, mind you - but you might. In the absence of an Adoring Other, lonely ladies and gentlemen can find themselves engaged in a melancholic search for activities, hobbies, rituals, careers - even, dare I say it, obsessions - to fill the hollowed-out, some might say caverneux emptiness within. Have you ever wistfully cleaned and buffed the antiques on a Saturday evening? Perhaps you've tearfully organized your IRS receipts for the past 8 years alphabetically, that type of thing. Lonely persons have been known to purchase zippable plastic wardrobe bags, into which they've individually zipped their entire wardrobes, all to avoid "moisture" or "a possible invasion of moths". Chilling, but not unheard-of, I can assure you.

The reason M. Chariot does not engage in any such nonsense is that I am in possession of one of the most compelling film libraries imagineable - a library to which I have turned for nourishment again and again, a picture-show repository which has invoked chills, thrills, mirth and sadness, all of the comedy and tragedy of a rich and full and meaningful life - despite having absolutely no one whomsoever to share it with. Yes, that's right. On a Saturday evening in M. Chariot's cloistral apartments, you might very well find the author languishing - alone - on an olive green velveteen fainting couch in front of a gleaming HDTV, resplendent in top hat, smoking jacket and Chinese silk pajamas, surrounded by several tables of scrupulously hand-polished porcelain bibelots, sipping Senna Tea (zestfully seasoned with a thimbleful of Gin) and gripped through-and-through by The Art of Cinema. Absolutely no room for 'loneliness' during these artful interludes, no indeed!

As such it has occurred to me that single gentlepersons may greatly benefit from my Talkie Treasure Trove, my Bloated Box o' Bijou as it were, and I have thus decided to submit, intermittently, a selection of favorites for the discriminating internet perusalist. And so here, without any further adieu, cavalierly uncategorized and in no particular order, my first installment in an exclusive melánge of the Best of the Best! All the thoughtful, lonely gentleperson needs is an account with a meticulously maintained film archive (á la Netflix or Blockbuster) and a link to M. Chariot's Cinema for the Lonely. Do kindly let me know if you find any of them amusing, won't you?*



Antonioni's L'Avventura (1960)

If you have never seen the luminous Italian actress Monica Vitti in a film, you simply must rent this one. Imagine Faith Hill with a Neapolitan profile, a Catholic (as opposed to Protestant) guilt complex and an earthy, almost boyish exuberance. L'Avventura, translated in English to mean The Adventure, is the story of a woman (Vitti) who joins her best friend, her best friend's lover, and a gaggle of wealthy Italians on a boat trip near Sicily. The best friend mysteriously disappears during an excursion to a barren island in the Mediterranean. The remainder of the film examines Vitti's search for her friend, as clues point to the possibility that she left the island on a boat and is spotted, via missing-persons newspaper reports, here and there on the mainland. Vitti is intermittently joined by the misplaced woman's lover (Gabriele Frezetti), with whom she falls in love against her better judgement.

L'Avventura and La Dolce Vita were released in the same year and have similar themes: both focus on the emptiness of the very wealthy and a fruitless search for sensual pleasure. Antonioni's film captures the milieu with unique style: oddly framed camera angles, full depth of focus in every shot, a meandering pace and virtually no music. The film does not have a plot in the conventional sense, and to me seemed like two stories in one. Essentially, it is the study of a woman drowning in an emotionally bankrupt social strata. Lonely, gentle readers will no doubt see their own emotional bankruptcy reflected in this brilliant Italian masterpiece.



Les Revenants / English Title: They Came Back (2004)

One morning, 10 years worth of the dead emerge from the cemetery of a Canadian town. They are not zombies with rotting flesh and murderous intentions, but look much like they did before they died, except perhaps a little blank, dazed, enigmatic. Nonetheless, they are - inexplicably - alive again. The authorities round them up and set up temporary quarters on the outskirts of the town, a refugee camp if you will. Scientists observe them and try to figure out what happened, and what to do.

The dead are carefully studied. A significant percentage are, of course, elderly. They all seem to have experienced memory loss. They appear healthy, though their body temperature is 5 degrees lower than normal. The bewildered townspeople are told that they can visit their loved ones, but are not forced to take them back: it is understood that an enormous personal and emotional adjustment will have to be made, and that in some cases it may be impossible.

Slowly, the dead return into the community. Some are given their former jobs back. We are presented with three stories. A wealthy elderly man whose wife has returned. A young woman, whose husband died in a car accident and is now returned. A middle-aged couple, whose child has returned. We follow the range of emotions: confusion, joy, fear, anxiety, ambivalence. We watch as the dead slowly attempt to adapt to living once again, as if coming out of a coma.

But the dead are up to something. At night, they wander into the streets, to congregate in secret.

Les Revenants is a strange and chilling film, not a horror story in the usual, but in a more psychological sense. In many ways it is a realistic examination of what might happen if such an extraordinary event were actually to occur. But there is an eerie, feverish dream-quality to it, a sense of dread, imbalance, of menace. Much like the eerie, feverish dream we know (all too well) as loneliness.



Ma mère (2004)

A 17 year old student comes to visit his beautiful mother (Isabelle Huppert) and father in their luxurious home on the Canary Islands. There is tension all around: we soon realize that the boy has been raised by his grandmother, in Catholic schools, seemingly due to obscure problems in his parents' marriage.

Suddenly, the father dies in an accident on a business trip. Neither the boy, nor his mother appear to have any feelings for him whatsoever. She tells him to clear the father's things from his office, and to throw it all out unless he finds something of interest. The boy uncovers a vast collection of pornography, which catapults him into an erotic swoon. He furiously urinates on the office furniture, then collapses in fervent prayer.

Lounging about the pool and in various states of undress, Huppert needles her son for being a religious stick-in-the-mud, for not taking part in the pleasures of life in the resort town. Wearing tight, revealing dresses, she goes out nightly to the local clubs, and finally concedes to bring the boy along. Slowly, disturbingly, she reveals herself to her son as an intensely sybaritic narcissist, in the manner that only French women, in particular Huppert, can be. Not only that, she is utterly and unrepentantly sexually depraved, and her depravity is shown to be the reason why her son was taken away from her. But he is back, and he is in love with her. She proceeds to take him down a path that can be described as the raping of an innocent.

Ma mère is based on a work by the pessimistic Georges Bataille, the "metaphysician of evil." The story also very much brought to mind The Sexual Life of Catherine M, by French art critic Catherine Millet, and various novels by Michel Houellebecq. There is much nudity, and various sexual acts are presented. It has been widely panned as over-the-top, a Euro conceit, and I can assure you the film will not be everyone's cup of tea. But being somewhat familiar with the, er... territory, I was fascinated with Huppert's performance, her desire to elucidate the blank, erotic radiance of a remorseless, lonely hedonist.



Mimic (1997)

Let me start by saying I have never been particularly interested in Mira Sorvino's oeuvre, and as such I was not expecting much from this feature. But Mimic proved to be one of the most heart-poundingly frightening features I've ever encountered. Imaginative plot, great acting, arresting special effects, spine-tingling score. Directed by Guillermo del Toro, of Cronos, Hellboy, Blade II and The Devil's Backbone.

The story revolves around a solitary young scientist (Sorvino) who tinkers with cockroach DNA in an effort to stop a deadly disease outbreak in NYC which is killing children. When the plague is defeated she becomes an international heroine; but within three years, a bizarre -- I should say, shocking -- insect mutation emerges. This film literally made crawl my spotless white flesh. Utterly ghastly, grotesque, repulsive proceedings that will scare the living bejebus - to say nothing of the loneliness - right out of you! Consider yourself warned.



Soupçons / English title: The Staircase (2004)

Poor half-wit that I have become, addled by prescription drugs, libations from the very top shelf and meaningless affairs with cold, angry, yet incomparably beautiful women, I was expecting this documentary to be about Scott Peterson, the man who murdered his pregnant wife in 2002 and dumped her body into the San Francisco Bay. Turns out it is instead about Michael Peterson, American author who claimed to have discovered his wife's body at the bottom of a staircase in a pool of blood in their home in Durham North Carolina in 2001. They're both named Peterson; a pardonable mistake, certainly, in light of the grave indiscretions on display. And yet despite my feeble-minded imbecility when it comes to mayhem in the news, I discovered The Staircase to be an utterly gripping, 2-disc documentary - from Academy Award-winning French director Jean-Xavier de Lestrade - and was so overcome with an obscene fascination that I was up practically half the night, watching the entire series in one sitting. Lonely? Me? I hadn't noticed - and you won't either!


Take courage, lonesome reader. Sweet diversion is on its way! For there are more installations of M. Chariot's Cinema for the Lonely to come!



*Particularly if you are a lonely, single gentlewoman possessed of a stunning decolletage


Finical Filmgoer Reviews:

Salt (2010)

Angels and Insects (1995)

Secret Ceremony (1968)

To Each His Own (1946)

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006)

The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009)

The Children (2008)

Antonioni's L'Avventura (1960)

They Came Back (2004)

Ma mère (2004)

The Staircase (2004)

Mimic (1997)

The Golden Bowl (2000)

Last Year at Marienbad (1961)

Edge of Darkness (2010)

Far from the Madding Crowd (1967)

It's Complicated (2009)

 Goodbye Again (1961)

Antichrist (2009)

The Big Lebowski (1998)

Smash His Camera (2010)

~ Discriminating commentary after the ad, below ~


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I was going to post this on the weekend, but realized it might be lost among the holiday posts.
Oh, thank you so much for this. Very much appreciated as we approach a long weekend.
I saw Ma Mere, and generally try to see anything with the luminous Isabel Huppert in it. Certainly an interesting diversion for two hours.

I also enjoyed Mimic, and was a tad surprised to see that M. Chariot's tastes could be, shall we say, so bourgeois. But if one is to descend to pedestrian levels, that is a good film to do it with.

I'll be checking out your other selections!
My dear M. Chariot, thank you very much for sharing this interesting genre of film. I admire your good taste and earnest reviews. I will seek to rent these cinematic gems and look forward to your continuing series on cinema. My very best regards.
Dear God. Do they make movies outside the U.S.?
These all look great! will be checking them out for sure...
My, my - I will have to see which of these I can find in the meager outpost in which we reside. However, the reviews themselves are most enjoyable in and of themselves. Thank you, M. Chariot, for once again expanding our palettes!
Good selections - especially "The Staircase". One of the most gripping documentaries I've ever seen.
I appreciate your reviews of films I have missed. I have seen two of them and thought you did an admirable job of reviewing. Two thumbs up!
What a treat...my day is always more complete with Monsieur graces us with his presence and his words. The timing if fortuitous. I was just going to sign up for Netflix today. Reading your selections (your writing is so good I would sign up for a subscription to your movie reviews alone. But for now, clicking on a few of your ads will have to suffice.) and descriptions made me blush. I look forward to loneliness. Thank you!
M. Chariot, you have returned to us, your humble servants! And wish such verve and wit! O how I have missed your top hat and senna tea...

"meaningless affairs with cold, angry, yet incomparably beautiful women"
Why did you tell them about us? You promised to keep that *private.*

Those movies seem very interesting, especially the one about the dead coming back to life.
Wonderful recommendations. Thank you for posting. I have not seen any of these, and look forward to viewing the entire collection. I am particularly interested in the movie about the dead coming back to life, since this is how I feel every morning upon awakening.

I also look forward to future installments in the series.
Ah, you've got some of my favorites here. As you point out, Ma Mere may not be for everyone though.
Oh, and Owl, I think Netflix has all of these. Even your meager outpost must have a mailbox.
"L'Avventura," is one of my all time favorite movies. Monica Vitti is gorgeous. Vitti's co-star, Lea Massari, is also gorgeous and is in another of my film favorites, "Le Souffle Au Coeur."

Isabelle Huppert looks mean in every movie. She reminds me of that South African actress Alice Krige. And have you read "The Sexual Life of Catherine M?" It's like the woman's perspective in "Story of the Eye" except George Bataille pushes the boundaries of sex while Catherine Millet receive them into her body. Let's just say, I prefer to read her art essays.

can I rate you twice?
lastly, good horror movie: suspiria!
Thank you so much! I've now put The Staircase and They Came Back to the top of my queue.

Don't forget, del Toro also did Pan's Labyrinth, a most amazing film. I think he's brilliant, but may suffer soon from overexposure. We'll have to trust him to take care of himself. He's set to direct, I'm not sure in what order: The Hobbit, Slaughterhouse-Five, Frankenstein, Drood and At The Mountains of Madness. I can now tell (surprisingly) that all of these may appeal to you.

Huppert notwithstanding, Ma Mère was a bit much. But certainly more artfully portrayed and filmed than J. Moore's set piece in Savage Grace....

This is fun! Thanks for the suggestions.
I admire your restraint with the thimbleful of gin in your tea. I languish on my leather black sofa in front of the large screen HD TV, polishing off 3/4 bottle of chardonnay while watching poorly picked NETFLIX choices. Sounds like your single life is deeper and much more refined than mine. Thank you for the movie reviews.
Hrmm, getting most of these may be a bit tricky.

Thanks for the list though. The write-ups are very interesting, as is the theme.
Monsieur Chariot,
Thank you for such a kindly motivated and generously informative article. I am very glad when I see you have posted anything new here at Open Salon. Your pieces are engaging and delightful to read.

I confess that I have not yet seen the majority of your submissions but will search for them now that you have recommended them so highly. Thank you for the time, thought, and care you put into these mini reviews.

Being a fan of well made sci-fi/Horror films I agree with you wholly about Mimic. It was a sleeper of sorts that surprised many viewers who watched it with low expectations. The plot was chilling and Mira Sorvino gave a believable performance. Something not always able to achieve in the sci-fi/horror genre.

Thank you once again Monsieur Chariot for your consistently excellent contributions to Open Salon.
A sizzling list indeed, M. Chariot. And I so enjoy your tags.

Mai, je vous en prie, ou sont Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, Travolti da un Insolito Destino nell'Azzurro Mare d'Agosto (Swept Away... the Wertmüller original, not the appalling remake), or especially the sensual classic Un homme et une femme. The latter has a score to make the pulses pound partout.
Interesting selections all, thank you Monsieur.
Interesting collection. I haven't seen any of these. I'll have to look them up. They Came Back in particular looks good.

Merci, Monsieur. As a recently singled gentleman, I'll be sure to bookmark your Cinema for the Lonely and will move "Ma mére" to the top of my Nexflix queue at once!
Fun post and I added a couple titles to my endless Netflix queue.

Note on The Staircase: It's not at all accurate. They omit several pieces of the most damning evidence against Petersen and do other things to make the point they wanted to all along, which is to indict the US justice system, Southerners and anti-gay bigotry. It's a propaganda film. There's a reason (actually several) that he was convicted and has lost his appeals.
What? No Stooges Serials?
Excellent choices all. I've seen all but two and I think I'll give Ma mere a pass. I disagreed with the basic premise of Staircase -- that the author was found guilty only because he is homosexual -- but it was a fascinating documentary nonetheless.
Oh my! So many interesting choices. I think I shall particularly have to look for L'Avventura. It would be an interesting change from the Audrey Hepburn/Superman pattern the household has fallen into.
Merci, monsieur. An excellent mix of classic and more modern tales. Mimic is the one film I had to stop watching because it was just too frightening.
Any list that starts with Antonioni is gong to get my attention. I'm not much of a horror fan, so I won't be exploring whatever pleasures Mimic might bring. But I'll definitely be queuing Ma Mère.
You are so kind to share your recommendations with us.

Thank you.
the moths are just over and beyond what is an already great post. thanks for the suggestions.
brilliant, as usual, I'll pick up Ma mere. the french still do it better.
Wonderful recommendations M. Chariot. Thank you for the reminder about Les Revenants. Ma Mere is one of the most difficult films I've ever watched - was by myself when I saw it in a theater, not for the faint of heart (I must admit to needing a shower - cleansing not cold - after). Ms. Huppert was both remarkable and remarkably brave for taking on the role.
Dear and Lonely Readership ~ I am so pleased to see that M. Chariot still has a few loyal readers; my negligence with regard to blogging is the result of having become employed on an enormous Shanghai-based fashion project. I remain in the City of Angels but have been extremely busy. Thank you for your indulgence with regard to my absences! I have had only the energy to comment on various blogs since early April when I wrote about Faye Dunaway.
My dear Monsieur Colman ~ Thank you for stopping by, kind sir. Very much enjoyed your recent (and acclaimed) Father's Day tribute.

My dear Mme Yet ~ It is my sincerest hope that my meager recommendations amuse OS's most captivating and adventuresome authoress!

My dearest M. Procopius ~ M. Chariot has a morbid preoccupation with good horror films. Very much enjoyed your recent July 4-inspired essay, The Flames of Liberty.
My dear M. Sheepdog ~ How very nice to see you. Your recent essays are so intriguing I have become curious to see House.

My dear M. Blevins ~ You really do need to get out more, my good man. You can bring your toiletries bag with you.

My dear Mlle Indie ~ So nice to see ladies of an independent bent in my tiny velveteen salon. I look forward to seeing your thoughtful commentaries as you zip from blog to blog on your tiny pink scooter! Charmed.
My dearest Mlle Owl ~ I am so very happy to see you. Thank you for you comment. I was intrigued by your essay on Classic Absinthe.

My dear M. Sheldon ~ Your buttery appraisal was most appreciated!

My dear Mlle W ~ While persons such as myself seek succor in cinema for the lonely, persons such as yourself are bedding Jack Nicholson in Monte Carlo. I am most appreciative of your dazzling appearance in my tiny domain!
My dearest Mme Kelly ~ I am always so enchanted to receive a comment from OS's most celebrated authoress! Your prized appearance lends to my tiny velveteen drawing room a café society cachet.

Kisses to you, my dearest Mlle Remedie! I delight in the scrumptious appearance of Open Salon's Spicy She-Lord!
My dearest Mlle Black ~ I think it is high time our affairs were subject to an exposé! Oh... but you already did that, didn't you?

My dearest M. Mishima ~ If your captivating blog is any indication,
I will be very curious to hear what will no doubt be a most insightful and imaginative commentary on any of these selections. Perhaps we might start a film group: The Dead Gentlemen's Film Society.

One of my dearest old friends, the discriminating M. Leonard! Thank you for confirming the availability of the above through our local archivist.

My dear Mlle Aoaefed ~ Your controversial appearance at my tiny velveteen salon has caused quite the buzz! As has your discerning film and book commentary. I will be sure to access "Le Souffle Au Coeur." But I must point out that I have no idea why you might think Isabelle Huppert looks "mean"!?
My dearest Mlle Mack ~ Always certain to encounter your elegant, cigar-smoking personage in any gathering of sophisticates.
I'm so pleased you will be seeing a few of my selections. I, too am curious to see some of del Toro's upcoming films. Your comparison of Ma Mére and Savage Grace has me intrigued to see the latter.

My dearest Mme Stellaa ~ Your youth in Alexandria has served to form some of the most compelling opinions on Open Salon! Although your brothers appear to have taken some advantage of you, you apparently learned your lesson. No one takes advantage of Mme Stellaa now!

My dear Mlle Young ~ Ah, but the cost of said refinement! Perhaps you are unaware of the properties of Senna Tea! Very much enjoy your captivating material, my dear! Existential angst indeed.
My dear M. Traigus ~ May I recommend Netflix or Blockbuster online? Enjoying your writing on Better than a Sharp Stick in the Eye!

My dearest M. Knight ~ Always a pleasure to receive one of the coterie's most esteemed gentlemen at my humble accommodations. I do hope you get a chance to see a few of the selections, which I am certain you will find most gratifying. Your recent essay, We Need To Be Better Writers is a must-read for all of Open Salon.

My dear Mme Swift ~ Excellent recommendations indeed! I was charmed by your recent comedic essay about bridal hair fashions.
My dear M. Smithery ~ Thank you for your kind appearance! But please take note: some of the selections may be Bad For Ya!

Mon Dieu! Through the blinding flash of a paparazzi swarm, Kaysong, authoress of OS's most celebrated essay makes her way to my blog! I bow deeply before you in a dazzled swoon!

My dearest M. Lazar ~ Recently singled? Let's hope Mme Lazar did not catch wind of any of your shocking reminiscences, which make Ma Mére look like Sesame Street.
Alas M. Charoit, it is not a question of ability, rather a question of finances. My statement was a bit unclear I am afraid.

My thanks for your kind comment.
My dear Mme Silkstone ~ Thank you for your insights into The Staircase. Your provocative blog leaves many of us very curious to read your upcoming "erotic-neurotic" love memoir.

My dear M. Gwool ~ Surely you jest? Your frequently hilarious material leads one to think so...!

My dearest Mlle Peel ~ Many thanks for stopping by and weighing in. Faithful readers of The Peel Report know how discerning your insights can be!

My dear ElvenDaydream ~ Ah yes: the dreaded Audrey Hepburn/Superman pattern. Take two of my selections, relax in front of the television set and call me in the morning.
My dear M. RetroDaddy ~ M. Chariot is deeply reassured by your corroboration on the matter of Mimic. There is nothing like being backed up by the writer of Open Salon's most whimsical entertainment blog.

My dear M. Specular ~ I recently encountered your most fascinating, considered, and creative blog. I am so very pleased to count you among the readers of my humble - and lonely - essay.

My dear Mlle Waking ~ I am so pleased to encounter the lonely poetess at my lonely gathering.

Ah! The enchanting Mme Rego! If Salon's Purveyor of Irony and Due Cynicism recommends La Vie En Rose, I am committed to seeing it at once!
My dear M. Cocoalfresco ~ I have just encountered your captivating blog Smoking is one of the leading causes of statistics. Thank you for your kind appearance in my threadbare yet still elegant quarters!

My dear M. Sen ~ I knew you would find Ma Mére of some interest. I look forward to your upcoming novel, written in the character, the voice, and from the perspective of a woman.

My dear Mlle Nestor ~ We share a fascination with Huppert. Her film The School of Flesh is similarly themed, and excellent. Thank you for stopping by. Your blog, Heterodoxical Musings remains among my new favorites.
Monsieur, I don't think there's a person on the planet that is more gracious and benevolent as you.
Interesting choices. If Netflix has the Canadian one then I am watching it.
My dearest Mme Fox ~ After reading your wonderful essay, The Dead, I think I know why Les Revenants might be of some interest!
Lovely reviews, M. Chariot. I found Les Revenants fascinating, and while I didn't focus on the loneliness aspect that you point out, I was taken with the anxiety and ambivalence that pervaded the movie. Very atmospheric. I enjoyed it as something quite out of the ordinary--for a zombie movie.

I also liked Mimic, even if not as as much as other movies by del Toro (I'm more of a fan of The Devil's Backbone; you'd think that orphanages would lend themselves more to a loneliness theme, but not always).

I've just added L'Avventura to my Netflix queue. Thanks for the recommendation.
My dear M. St. Amant ~ Are you suggesting that I do not interpret these films except through the distorting filter of my own loneliness? This, from someone who recently saw God on a garage floor.
Fabulous good fortune, catching up w/your cinémathèque. I’ve not seen all of these, and owing to your considerable taste in these matters, I’ll have to follow your lead.

(And hello! - I have to give you credit as a gentleman for calling Ms. Sorvino’s work an ‘oeuvre’).

BTW – I think your link to BASIC INSTINCT went awry. I had to uncover it on my own to find your post on that. Nice to see you highlighting the much overlooked (at the time) homages to Hitchcock. Sex does have a natural tendency to cloud things up a bit...
My dear M. Decker ~ Try as I might, I cannot seem to fix the link! But I do appreciate your discreet corrections, of which I counted... two. Ah yes: Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct. Courtney Cox has nothing on her!
intriguing selections~
Just your post has made my day or week or month, we'll see ...
Thank-you. And I'll absolutely watch (or re-watch -- who remembers?!) your recommendations when I'm done w/the first 'day' of 24; speaking of the > melancholic search for activities, hobbies, rituals, ...
I might add "Rear Window."
L'Avventura is now at the top of my netflix queue. Having only recently acquired a "real" television and--I barely believe it--cable, I've sound that figuring out what is on for free is quiet time-consuming. Just last week I watched Ninotchka, Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, and a Place in the Sun in the span of a few short days.

And as for reading: I finally finished the Lazarus Project too.

Lonely...or just by oneself? It is so easy to stay entertained.
I remember viewing 'La Dolce Vita' when it was first released,
and wondered where all these people lived and how come I had never met them.
40 years later I've got the DVD in the player,to watch again.
I hope I will see it through different eyes this time.
'The Staircase' I found to be a riveting view,and at times,thought
Peterson,not to be guilty.
Of course,he was.
More reviews,please.
"The Staircase" is one of my all time favorites. I have watched this more than once, dissecting the on-screen behavior of Mr. Peterson ad nauseum. When viewed as an utter sociopath whose lack of conscience is cleverly disguised, his performance pieces fall into place creating a disturbing whole who could easily be our own lovers or colleagues.

Great list. As expected.
You're on the front page of Salon! Perfection.
Your introductory picture (The Eclipse) brought back some faded memories of a long-ago and disappointing night at the cinema when, at a tender age of 12, I had to learn that (1) Not every movie that with a cosmic phenomenon in its title takes place in a space ship; (2) Not every movie projected on a white bed sheet has a mickey-mousey happy ending, and (3) It may not even be filmed in Technicolor, for god's sake!

This is a sure way to create a future Fellini-fan not an Antonioni-enthusiast .
What's up with all the faggy French movies? Blue Velvet has one of the most romantic scenes in history. When the protaganist and the girl are at the teen party and they finally kiss? C'est Magnifique! What about Melanie when she brushes the hair away from his forehead? I still wait for that day...
I think I am in love with you and we would never have to leave the house. N'oubliez pas "Madame Rosa" ou "Goodbye Lenin". Tu me touche beaucoup.
M. Chariot, I didn't realize you were a fan of the talkies. I will agree, however, that they are better at alleviating loneliness than silent moving pictures.
Mercy boo-coo.

May I recommend to M that he investigate two wonderful Mexican films, Like Water for Chocolate and Y Tu Mama Tambien

The first examines a conflicted relationship between a young woman and her mother and sisters. A huge vomiting scene offers amusement.

The second one should be viewed twice, as many scenes take on new, deeper meaning in light of a revelation made at the end of the film.
My dear M. Scoubidou ~
Delighted to discover that my selections have managed to intrigue the viciously informed!

My dear M. Berkowitz ~
If you do get a chance to see any of the selections, I'm curious to know of any impressions made - on both you and your cousin.

My dear M. Moran ~
How very fitting that 'Rear Window' would be suggested by someone whose blog is entitled, Feverish Ravings of a Middle-Aged Mind.
My dear Mme Paddle ~
L'Avventura is an adult-oriented film that will serve as a welcome reprieve from the children. Mimic may be more fun to share. I'd be curious to read a review of 'The Lazarus Project' if you have an opportunity. Now that summer is here, we in LA really do need to be spending more time indoors, alone, watching great films.

My dear M. Hilton ~
I am delighted to make the acquaintance of the Australian gentleman! Thank you for stopping by and weighing in.

My dearest Mlle Mendel ~
An deeply insightful interpretation of The Staircase! I have thought about you many times since your wonderful essay, No Job No Marriage Road Trip.
My dearest M. GalaxyMan ~

Roman Pasta with Chopped Green Creature

* 3 medium size ripe tomatoes
* 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
* 20 basil leaves, thinly sliced
* 1 cup Green Creature from Space, chopped
* 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
* 1 lb tubetti or ditalini (tiny tubes)
* 1 1/2 cups fresh mozzarella, in small cubes

Cut the tomatoes in half, remove cores. Squeeze out the seeds and chop. Place in a medium bowl and add the oil, garlic, basil, Green Creature. 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and the pepper: mix well. (This sauce can be made ahead and left at room temperature for up to 2 hours).
In a large pot, heat 4 quarts of water to boiling. Add remaining 2 tablespoons salt, then the pasta and cook according to package directions, until the pasta is al dente (tender yet still firm to the bite). Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce. Stir in the mozzarella and toss again.
My dear M. Ross ~
French films in which characters can be seen smoking fags consistently top my list of favorites! 'Blue Velvet' - a great classic - tends to be favored by those "weaned on the paranoid generation"!

My dear Mlle Cartouche ~
Leave the house? In the surgical Los Angeles sunlight? Never! I have not seen 'Madame Rosa' but on your thoughtful recommendation have placed it in my queue!

My dear Monsieur K ~
The only things that seem to captivate me these days are fine films and the avant garde art scene.
My dearest M. Gallant ~
I should have known that OS's Grand Vizier would have a few excellent films to recommend! Thanks for stopping by my good man!
Oui monseiur, cést le "mot juste" a- hahaha-ahahaha...French New wave, Old wave, whatever. Lots of good flicks out there if you're not afraid of a few sub-titles. Some of the films you mention are only made so that certain folk can feel superior to their ogrish brethren. Sorry, it had to be said...
My dear M. Tarheel ~
Ah yes: loneliness does bring "a sense of unease, ranging from the vague to the explicit" - does it not? And yet, how does a gentleman manage to find the companionship he so desperately needs? I have enjoyed your discreet recommendations.
Merci, Monsieur...I have French family members coming early next week and look forward to some interesting film viewing with them.
My dear Mlle Bourgeoisbabe ~
Delighted to make your acquaintance! Thanks for stopping in. Best wishes to you and your visiting family.
Gah! I wish I weren't so tired and drunk. French used to be my second tongue but now it is but a nub of a once fine candle... Anyways, love the reviews and love the personage, Monsieur! Oh by the by, I have seen all but one of your selections so if you can recommend any others I will be sure to check them out.
Delighted that Mme Rego is so appreciative of the gentleman's humble efforts!

My dear M. Ross, the only language that M. Chariot knows fluently is The Language of Love! And look where its got me.

Monsieur Chariot,

We deeply regret to inform you that your friend GalaxyMan is officially reported missing, the Flying Saucer, of which he has been commander, having failed to return to its base after an operational flight.

This does not necessarily mean that he was killed or wounded, and any further information received will be conveyed to you immediately.

Watching Eye PhD.
Chief Administrator
Alien Observatory

We hereby return your personal property in original unused condition:
1 pc - Large "Fits-All" salad bowl;
1 pc - Large "Cuts-All" kitchen knife;
Thank you! These ARE FABulous! Never seen 'em and I would love to. I got the netflix window loading my queue already!
My dear Mlle Joffre ~
I am interested to hear your impressions of the above films! I was so very moved to read your recent, unique eulogies to M. Jackson and Mlle Fawcett.

How did that make this list? It would be the answer to; "which movie doesn't fit?"
My dear M. Duanearte ~

It made the list because it was utterly shudderly! Of that you shall not dissuade me! Very much enjoying your spectacular paintings and drawings of the gliterati, my good man.
Well, wasn't this just enough to convince me that I need NetFlix. Bookmarking for later reference. Well done as always, M. Chariot!

P. S. How did you know that I just bought a bunch of those oversized zip top plastic bags?
My dear Mme Kern ~
I first noticed your presence on OS when I realized I was in total agreement with every one of your clever and thoughtful comments. Subsequently I discovered your blog, which is hilarious and insightful. Since that time, I have been spying on your shopping patterns, and was shocked to discover that you have been buying far too many ziplock plastic bags. I'm sorry to be the one to have to tell you this, but it's for your own good!
Just when you think everything you'd ever want was on your Netflix queue... I'm off to add these now!
What a gorgeous post. Just put Mimic on my Netflix cue.

How did you do that with the moths, Monsieur? I LOVE that effect.
I am beside myself just thinking about L'Avventura. It is one of the reasons to keep living. Dare I say that? Monica Viti makes me feel complete...somehow.
I thought I was the only one who ever heard of, let alone saw, Ma Mere! Great film. Terrific post.
Reading your recommendations, I was by turn:
~relieved when you did not suggest that lonely gentlepersons had zipped themselves into those plastic bags.
~rapturous to remember seeing L'Avventura during it's virgin appearance.
~dizzy from switching between OS & Netflix while adding your other titles to my queue (and it may be suitable to add here that a lonely gentleperson may spend many absorbing moments or more arranging films in such a queue in a suitably satisfying order).
~curious as to whether others have also discovered that watching a film with subtitles (not that Monsieur needs translations) on a laptop makes them easy to read.

Gentlepersons who do not have as
I arrived late to this film fest and then left a trail of typos after a gaping white emptiness. Is there any way we might construe this as mysteriously French?

Didn't think so ...
Well you now have 62 comments, I hope you will get to mine. These are all very intriguing titles and two I definitely will want to see are Les Revenants and The Staircase. I've had the opportunity to watch Mimic and have avoided it but on your sayso I won't avoid it any longer. Thanks, Monsieur Chariot! You have brightened my lonely sleepless night considerably.
Dear Monsiour sp? C: I have had the pleasure of watching all the movies above. I wanted to comment on L'Aventurra but instead will on The Staircase. I was with my other half (before we split) and we opened the two disc set? at 9 PM and were watching in fascination until the morning then talking about whether Michael Petersen was guilty: yes or no. We agreed NON. Then we gave the set to a great friend who thought OUI--as apparently do most in N.C. what is your verdict? Not as easy a call as it may sound. From one longing to know your 'take'... Wendy
It has been several years since I saw the doc, and recall switching back and forth with regard to Peterson's innocence with each new revelation during the course of the trial. I don't recall where I ended up; which leads me to think I need to rent it again. In reflection, I suppose one's opinion on the matter changes with time, experience, mood. I'd make a terrible juror!
Your choices are interesting. I am no prude but after waching The Pianist (with Huppert) yet another depraved woman story with one of my favorite actresses seemed too much. I sent Ma Mere back to Netflix as soon as I opened it.
Delighted to find this post on the first day of the new year! Will get Ma Mere; cannot believe I missed a film with Ms. Huppert.

@ Lisa, you mean Huppert's "The Piano Teacher" - yes, a difficult film to watch at times, but interesting...

I think someone mentioned Yukio Mishima - I remember watching "The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea" with very much curiosity - have seen it several times since that first time...Recommend it.

I hereby add "Spanking the Monkey (1994)" for the oedipal crowd.
Rated. And, Happy New Year!