I Saw Ben Barka Get Killed

Charles Berling as film director Georges Figon in I Saw Ben Barka Get Killed

Ben Barka was a prominent revolutionary activist from Morocco who was “disappeared” by the French authorities in 1965. Co-writers/directors Serge Le Péron and Saïd Smihi tell his story as a dramatic reconstruction of what probably happened and cast the suave Charles Berling as the crooked film producer who is persuaded by the secret services into acting as a decoy and luring Barka (Simon Abkarian) onto French soil. It’s probably of most interest to students of the politics of the era, so the question is whether it’s of any possible use to anyone else. The answer is yes, if you enjoy stylish exercises in French noirist cool. Or if you’re a fan of Berling, who … Read more

Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train

Bruno Todeschini and Vincent Perez in Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train

A bunch of reasonably familiar French faces (Charles Berling, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi among them) all get together in a talky French Big Chill sort of affair, concerned with the interaction of lots of individuals, as was director Patrice Chéreau’s recent Queen Margot. Though here we’re in the present day and Chéreau’s characters are  heading off to the funeral of one of their number, a bisexual painter (Trintignant, who also plays his own brother) who’s had them all, one way or another. And they’re on the train, as his will commanded – he’s controlling them in death as he did in life. En route they expose themselves and each other, to their discomfort and … Read more