Ian Birnie


1. Va Savoir (Jacques Rivette) A luminous comedy of manners that follows six characters in search of an exit—from themselves, their lovers, and their routine. As satisfying as Lubitsch.

2. Werckmeister Harmonies (Béla Tarr) Innocence is destroyed in Tarr’s enigmatic and hypnotic survey of human weakness and cruelty, set in a desolate Hungarian village.

3. My Voyage to Italy (Martin Scorsese) Only a great director could turn four hours of clips—even from these masterpieces of Italian cinema—into a coherent, compelling drama addressing personal, cultural, and aesthetic concerns.

4. L’Emploi du temps/Time Out (Laurent Cantet) The year’s acutest psychological portrait is of an alienated French businessman who goes to abnormal lengths to appear normal.

5. Be My Star (Valeska Grisebach) This little Austrian jewel uses non-professionals from a Berlin neighborhood and nails both the yearning

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