Two Movies

I have two films to recommend strongly. The first, Seven Men From Now, is a Western, one of seven made in the 1950’s made by the production company Ranown (Randolph Scott and producer/director Harry Joe Brown), all starring Scott and directed by Budd Boetticher. It’s a rape/revenge film, but not at all like the tough-guy Charles Bronson or Liam Neeson types it precedes. It’s not about toughness–Scott was 58 years old at the time (apologies to quinquagenarians) -–but obsessed, as driven as the drenching rain that takes up much of the film. It’s memorable and totally compelling . Now streaming on Amazon. A shame to see it in your living room, but its intimacy doesn’t demand a big screen.

The second, Elle, played at the last in-person Lincoln Center Film Festival. Its main reason for existence is its star, Isabelle Huppert, whom Manola Dargis and A.O. Scott recently declared to be the greatest movie actress in the world. It has a director, Paul Verhoven, who is well suited to her specialty which, as some will know, is perversity–moral, or sexual, or both. Bit it is really her movie as much as his, its perverse eroticism reaching heights that she creates and maintains. In this context, what’s most interesting is that it functions as a critique of the whole genre of rape/revenge movies, to which Seven Men From Now belongs.

They’d make an unique double feature!

Emeritus Professor of Gov’t, Smith College, Visiting Professor, The New School, Editorial Board, The Nation,