Neither remake nor sequel in any conventional sense of the terms, Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (First Look) takes the basic premise of a cop burning through the job on a high of dugs, sex, violence and larceny out of the Abel Ferrara universe of guilt and redemption and drops it into post-Katrina New Orleans and the Herzog world of indifferent and unforgiving nature. Nicolas Cage delivers a mesmerizingly unhinged performance as the film’s resident Herzogian madman, complete with self-deluded confidence and hallucinatory visions. I review the DVD for MSN here.
La France (Kino), a poignant and unconventional World War I drama from first-time director Serge Bozon, stars Sylvie Testud as a young wife in search of her soldier her husband, whose last letter to her is an abrupt farewell that ends with the words “You’ll never see me again.” She doesn’t accept that and proceeds to hack off her hair, bundle up in bulky men’s clothes and pass (quite convincingly) as a teenage boy looking to join the army. She’s grudgingly adopted by a wandering platoon that haunts the unnervingly serene forests, ostensibly “looking for the front” while suspiciously ducking patrols and periodically singing bittersweet ballads with sixties-era melodies on acoustic instruments. Tender and lyrical and lonely, it’s like a phantom dreamwalk along the borders of war, which periodically intrudes on the quiet odyssey. Pascal Greggory plays the company leader, a gaunt figure whose face looks like its been etched in battle. No supplements, but you can jump directly to the four musical numbers in the film from a “Song Selection” gallery. In French with English subtitles.