KING OF HEARTS
1966, Cohen Media, 102 min, France/Italy, Dir: Philippe de Broca

During World War I, Scottish soldier Private Plumpick (Alan Bates) is sent on a mission to a village in the French countryside to disarm a bomb set by the retreating German army. Plumpick encounters a strange town occupied by the former residents of the local psychiatric hospital, who escaped after the villagers deserted. Assuming roles like bishop, duke, barber and circus ringmaster, they warmly accept the visitor as their King of Hearts. With his reconnaissance and bomb-defusing mission looming, Plumpick starts to prefer the acceptance of the insane locals over the insanity of the war raging outside. Since its debut, KING OF HEARTS has become a worldwide cult favorite and stands out as one of de Broca’s most memorable films.


ARMY OF SHADOWS
L’ARMEE DES OMBRES
1969, Rialto Pictures, 145 min, France/Italy, Dir: Jean-Pierre Melville

Arguably director Jean-Pierre Melville's most personal film (he fought in the French underground during World War II), this shattering portrait of the early days of the French Resistance is not so much a crime film as it is a fascinating companion to the director’s more famous thrillers. The dark, fatalistic tone and the themes are all there from Melville’s noirs: betrayal, the loss of honor and the mechanics of brutality. Legendary tough guy Lino Ventura stars in what Melville called “a nostalgic pilgrimage back to a certain period which profoundly marked my generation.” With Simone Signoret and Paul Meurisse.


VOYAGER
Homo Faber
1991, Westchester Films, 117 min, Dir: Volker Schlöndorff

Walter Faber (Sam Shepard) is a man of logic buffeted by coincidences - a plane crash, a chance meeting of a friend’s brother … and a young woman (Julie Delpy, wonderful here) with a connection to his life that he doesn’t suspect. While the politics of Max Frisch’s source novel are muted in this beautiful 1950s-set adaptation, its focus on mysterious fate and tragic love remains powerful.


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