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229 Ratings

Ismael's Ghosts

Les fantômes d'Ismaël

Directed by Arnaud Desplechin
France, 2017
Drama, Thriller


The story follows a filmmaker whose life is sent into a tailspin by the return of a former lover just as he is about to embark on the shoot of a new film.

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Ismael's Ghosts Directed by Arnaud Desplechin
 I often find myself so hard put to navigate Desplechin’s multiple allusions to and borrowings from Philip Roth and Woody Allen . . . , much less those from James Joyce, Alfred Hitchcock, Norman Mailer, and Alain Resnais, that I have to forsake any sustained effort to rationalize how these and countless other figures could all belong to the same curious tribe of role models.
January 02, 2019
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The manic pace at which this auteur sifts and slides through tones can be overwhelming, even alienating, but Desplechin’s insistence on wandering down paths most filmmakers wouldn’t dare explore, much less envision, provides a heady, heart-searching pleasure for those of us willing to follow.
March 22, 2018
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Multiple meanings are Desplechin’s bread and butter and the fertile terrain of his mostly wonderful films. Like Ismael, though, he seems to have lost the thread that will tie together his stories and generate something for us to chew over. Instead he noodles around in time and place, testifying to the bewilderment of his protagonists — and, alas — his audience.
March 22, 2018
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