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Georges Franju Frankreich, 1963
Judex" is an adult fairy tale, with similarities to both Resnais’s “Last Year at Marienbad,” released while Franju’s movie was in production, and Jean-Luc Godard’s more blatantly pop “Alphaville,” which had its premiere some months later. Most impressive, Franju elaborates on material in the original — or adds his own ideas, as when the hero appears in a fanciful bird mask to release a series of white doves at a masquerade ball.
June 26, 2014
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Cramming five hours’ worth of events into just 97 minutes results in a breakneck pace that only emphasizes the story’s absurdist nature; there’s a one-damn-thing-after-another giddiness here that calls to mind Bill Murray in Tootsie, sitting in front of the TV and muttering "That is one nutty hospital.
June 18, 2014
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The sense of time is precisely what gets suspended in Franju’s Judex. It has always seemed to me a movie out of time, a movie made despite time. It is neither of 1916 nor 1963, and while we are watching it, we seem to be living in an alternate dream time not measurable by the clock.
June 16, 2014
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Tracking and wide shots, especially in outdoor scenes, often isolate characters within the frame or suture spaces together. Take, for instance, a series of shots in which Jacqueline saunters down the impossibly long corridor of her father’s home, gawking into all of the empty rooms. Her glances immediately recall Cocantin, whose earlier, more lecherous gazing at two housemaids through a small opening… intimates the embedded erotic desires inherent to Franju’s impending phantasmagoria.
June 14, 2014
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Feuillade’s grand vision was of a world whose capacity for imminent, explosive chaos resisted the authoritative logic of 20th century narrative; Franju is clearly sympathetic to Feuillade, but goes further in imposing a new authority, one of the lyrical dream image. If only more summer blockbusters had that sense…
January 07, 2009
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[Judex], which goes about its business as if the nouvelle vague never existed, among other things. An homage to the 1915 Louis Feuillade serial about an almost super-powered crime fighter who nonetheless has a fairly arduous time bringing the main evildoes to justice (the defining paradox of such serials, I suppose), it honors Feuillade as a surrealist precursor by introducing (or at least we believe we haven’t seen him before) the title character as something out of a Max Ernst collage.
October 21, 2008
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This weight of normality, of unnotable cinema makes Franju’s masterfully vignette based, tone-jumping 1963 revision of Louis Fuillade’s serial Judex work all the more successfully. It allows the homage to start as a film tracking political terrorism in the guise of surrealist horror, and move from this to trapdoors and automobile getaways, deering-do numbers, a segment centered on the comedic duo of a tramp child and a goofy detective…
March 25, 2008
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The picture’s reverence notwithstanding, the two filmmakers [Franju and Feuillade] are virtual polar opposites — where the old master used documentary aesthetics to record the extraordinary, Franju filters the ordinary through the gauze of ominous lyricism. The results contain all the fascinating tensions that the collision implies.
July 08, 2006
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Franju pulled off his most brilliant coup by casting the master prestidigator of his day… Channing Pollock. Pollock’s skills as a magician were employed to produce a dazzling array of apparent magical occurrences involving, most particularly, disappearing doves, a plot device that Feuillade uses to enable the regular rescue of the heroine and others by Judex. Franju’s Judex is a far livelier, less sombre, more inventive and more mysterious character than that of Feuillade.
July 24, 2005
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Franju’s superbly elegant and enjoyable tribute to the adventure fanatasies of Louis Feuillade sees the eponymous righter-of-wrongs (Pollack) abduct a wicked banker in order to prevent villainess Diana… laying her hands on a fortune the banker’s daughter (Scob) is due to inherit. Cue for a magical clash between good and evil, with the director revelling in poetic symbolism… black-and-white photography that thrills with its evocation of a lost, more innocent era, and surreal set pieces.
January 01, 2000
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Some of what Franju finds here is worthy of Cocteau, and as he discovered when he attempted another pastiche of Feuillade’s work in color, black and white is essential to the poetic ambience.
January 01, 1993
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