Stavisky | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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This film represented Alain Resnais' comeback in 1974 after five years' absence (precipitated by the commercial failure of Je t'aime, je t'aime), and like many of his other features, it looks better now than it did when it was first released. Scripted by Jorge Semprun (La guerre est finie, Z), it tells the true story of a notorious international financier (Jean-Paul Belmondo) whose ruin in 1933 led to a major political scandal and his own death. While the script isn't always as lucid as it wants to be--some attempts to counterpoint Stavisky's destiny with that of Leon Trotsky who was given political asylum in France during the time of the events covered) appear a bit forced--the power of Resnais' evocative editing is as strong as ever. Using a gorgeous original score by Stephen Sondheim, elegant sets and locations, and beautiful color cinematography by Sacha Vierny, Resnais successfully models his liquid, bittersweet style here on Lubitsch, and the shimmering, romantic images and rhythms are often spellbinding and haunting. With Anny Duperey, Charles Boyer (in what may be his last great screen performance), Michel Lonsdale, Francois Perier, Claude Rich, and, in an early cameo, Gerard Depardieu. (Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton, Friday and Saturday, May 12 and 13, 7:30, and Sunday, May 14, 7:00, 281-4114)

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