Nicolas Rapold

Crazy in Love

Nicolas Rapold on Possession

December 2011

DESERVEDLY NOTORIOUS, and now revived uncut by Film Forum, Andrzej Zulawski’s 1981 film Possession plunges into a vertiginous free fall of amour fou, lust, hysteria, and unnameable, uncontainable passion. A perfect match to the destabilizing… READ ON


What About Bob?

Nicolas Rapold on Robert Ryan

August 2011

EVEN IF HE WINS—especially if he wins—he loses. That’s Robert Ryan in The Set-Up (1949), playing beaten-down boxer Stoker, who opts not to take a fall. The first half of Robert Wise’s boldly drawn film, set mostly in the ring’s warm-up room,… READ ON


Keeping the Faith

Nicolas Rapold on Léon Morin, Priest

July 2011

CALL IT MY NIGHTS AT MORIN’S: An attractive widow (Emmanuelle Riva) in a rural village visits a priest’s bare walk-up to mess with him and gets drawn into religious and philosophical debates shadowed by desire. Jean-Pierre Melville helped … READ ON


Together Again

Nicolas Rapold on the 2011 Migrating Forms festival

June 2011

THE NICOLAS PROVOST PROGRAM shown on the second evening of this year’s ten-day Migrating Forms proved a suitable foil to any unified accounts of the festival. Stardust, an uncanny film perpetually verging on narrative intrigue, features a … READ ON


Leisure Principle

Nicolas Rapold on Rohmer’s Summer

June 2011

DELPHINE, the fretful and fussy antiheroine of Éric Rohmer’s Le Rayon vert (The Green Ray, 1986; originally released in North America as Summer), may be at a loss for those all-important July-August vacation plans, but she doesn’t lack for … READ ON


Doc Holiday

Nicolas Rapold at the Tribeca Film Festival

May 2011

WITH A SLATE divided roughly 40/60 percent between nonfiction and fiction films, any foray into the Tribeca Film Festival this year was bound to involve documentary. And an unlucky sampling of dramas could make the docs portion seem all the… READ ON


Senso Sensibility

Nicolas Rapold on Visconti’s Senso

March 2011

IT’S THE CONCEIT of historical melodramas that their characters’ passions overshadow the earth-shattering events going on around them. Luchino Visconti’s Senso (1954), set during the Risorgimento and the foreign occupation of Venice, willfully… READ ON


Mourning After

Nicolas Rapold on Putty Hill

February 2011

STORY OF ABSENCE, OR ABSENCE OF STORY? Matt Porterfield’s second feature, Putty Hill, follows the tried-and-true template of a community brought together by a funeral, our surrogate an expat who has returned home. Set in a leafy, desolate-seeming… READ ON


Second Gance

Nicolas Rapold on Abel Gance

January 2011

KEVIN BROWNLOW’S Abel Gance: The Charm of Dynamite gets its title from one account of the snowball fight in Gance’s Napoléon (1927)—so notable was the French silent-film pioneer’s ability to rally the troops, even in an era when spectacle … READ ON


Pipe Dreams

Nicolas Rapold on Cluny Brown

December 2010

GOING OUT WITH A BANG BANG BANG, Ernst Lubitsch’s final completed film was this terrific, superbly performed 1946 comedy about an eponymous plumbing prodigy named Cluny Brown (Jennifer Jones) and a cadging Czech émigré (Charles Boyer) ignoring… READ ON