ROUNDERS
1998, Park Circus/Miramax, 118 min, USA, Dir: John Dahl

Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) loses his money in a poker game against Russian gangster Teddy “KGB” (John Malkovich). Under pressure from his girlfriend (Gretchen Mol), he quits gambling - until his friend, Lester “Worm” Murphy (Edward Norton), gets out of prison and needs to pay off an old debt to Teddy. One of the best poker movies ever made, this underrated gem costars John Turturro, Famke Janssen and Martin Landau.


THE LAST SEDUCTION
1994, Park Circus/ITV, 110 min, UK/USA, Dir: John Dahl

Passion, greed and revenge forge a desperate triangle between Bridget Gregory (Linda Fiorentino), who wants it all; husband Clay (Bill Pullman), a doctor forced to deal drugs to pay off their debt to a violent loan shark; and Mike (Peter Berg), drawn into a steamy affair with Bridget. When Bridget runs off with a cool million in drug money, Clay sends a resourceful private investigator to hunt her down; to keep her fortune, the young woman devises a scheme involving cheating husbands, angry wives, insurance policies and murder.


THROUGH THE OLIVE TREES
ZIRE DARAKHATAN ZEYTON
1994, Janus Films, 103 min, Iran/France, Dir: Abbas Kiarostami

Kiarostami takes meta-narrative gamesmanship to masterful new heights in the final installment of his celebrated Koker trilogy. Unfolding “behind the scenes” of the shooting of the previous film in the series, AND LIFE GOES ON, THROUGH THE OLIVE TREES traces the complications that arise when the romantic misfortune of one of the actors - a lovelorn young man who pines for the woman cast as his wife even though, in real life, she will have nothing to do with him - creates turmoil on set and leaves the hapless director caught in the middle. An ineffably lovely, gentle human comedy steeped in the folkways of Iranian village life, this Pirandellian pastoral peels away layer after layer of artifice as it investigates the elusive, alchemical relationship between cinema and reality.


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