Ismael’s Ghosts simultaneously collapses and expands Arnaud Desplechin’s entire body of work.
Arnaud Desplechin’s Ismael’s Ghosts is a lucid, free-form sprawl of stories nested within stories.
Kino’s Blu-ray wisely doesn’t attempt to explain its layers with copious extras, leaving the viewer to tease out the director’s final head game.
Alain Resnais’s final film dares to push through the ghosts that inhabit the present, standing between the pessimism of an ill-spent past and the optimism of an undefined future.
Costa-Gavras’s new film is more a funhouse-mirror panegyric (albeit on an exhausted topic) than the staid thriller promised by its press materials.
Offers all the ingredients for a great feast of enticing visions and thematic concerns, only to have them be prepared, plated, and served with the grace of Elmer Fudd.
The film works best when it focuses viewer attention most acutely on the story, deflecting it away from the director’s manipulations.
This Christmas, no Arnaud Desplechin fan should be without a Blu-ray player.
In under 20 minutes of screen time, Jeanne Moreau supplies the film with an otherwise absent emotional weight of reconciliation to the anguished history of WWII France.
Dice it any way you want, this material was, is, and will always be pretty cheap.