Based on a real event that shocked the civilized world in 1985, The Achille Lauro affair tells how an Italian cruiser, the Achille Lauro, was incomprehensibly hijacked by arab terrorists and an american hostage was tragically assassinated. The film reveals unpublished facts. Halfway between a documentary and a drama, this heartbreaking European and American coproduction not only relates the true nightmare of 450 passengers and crew members who were held hostage on board during 52 hours by four arab terrorists. It also depicts the diplomatic negotiations behind the scenes which led to the terrorists' spectacular capture.
Argentina circa 1880, at the end of the “Guerre du Désert” (Desert War) in Patagonia. Coronel Garay dreams of creating a new country, Argentina, which would be the most modern of the world, uniting the USA gigantic extension and the old European refinement. To reach this goal, a war, that left a dramatic mark on a number of men and women with intersecting destinies, has been necessary.
Somewhere in an Atlantic port. Three stories, three groups of conflicted characters (children, smugglers and actors), three itineraries that sometimes meet with one another.
The film intends to answer some still unanswered questions about this mythical journey: who took part in it, who helped Lenin and his comrades to reach Finlandia station in Petrograd on the eve of the revolution he would then lead? Furthermore, why did the powerful German war machine, being Russia's enemy, help a "red" to return to his country? Which identity did Lenin use? In this train that goes through the world's historic memory, the passengers' tales and memories help us relive the past. Destinies and stories are revealed together with their fears, anxiety, passions and illusions.
Madame Krantz (Daniele Darrieux), who runs with her daughter a ruined hotel on the atlantic coast, has only two passions, gin and gigolo stories. Her neighbour Laurie (Laura Betti) used to tell her about gigolos with voluptuous pleasure until she was murdered by one of them, called Michel (Lambert Wilson). He had just married a young woman (Ingrid Held) for her money, but her sister (Dominique Sanda) also coveted it. Madame Krantz runs after the murderer in a colourful hullabaloo, both comic and dramatic, full of laughter and tears.
The film is based on a manuscript the director received from the author, an old sailor who allegedly related memories from his youth. In 1907 Max (Jacques Penot) had taken a job as a sailor, known as "sailor 512". He then became a captain's (Bruno Kremer) orderly, got the maid (Laure Duthilleul) pregnant and had an affair with the captain's wife (Dominique Sanda)... After a murder story, we find him again in the Legion. He also takes part in World War I... The old man's memories seem slightly exaggerated, no doubt about that. Even though it appears at first sight as a popular novel, the well-balanced profile Allio managed to give it makes the film highly attractive. When Matelot 512 was released, René Allio described in his “Carnets” what he would then claim to be the objective of his life as a film director: To face difficulties, to fight, to overcome obstacles, to start anew (...) To definitely be what one is, an intellectual and an artist, without trying to "elude it", or to fool oneself trying to be "normal", to do "like everyone else", and to make "ordinary cinema".
A meteorite falls down to earth. Considered at first as dust from heaven, could it be that symbol mentioned by a reported missing vietnamese maquis in a message to his wife? The story takes place a long time ago, in 1954, when the Empire is crumbling down in Indochina. Its messengers, impersonated as a French missionary (Dominique Sanda) and a Colonial Army Sargeant (Jean-François Stévenin), convinced of their civilizing mission, will find themselves bogged down in Tonkin. The maquis' message, crushed by the christian one, will be transmitted by word of mouth, from North to South, from generation to generation and will finally reach its addressee. But twenty years have gone by. Vietnam has just come out of another war against another empire. In the freed country, the last image will give the clue to the enigmatic message. It is important to point out that Poussière d’empire is the first fiction film shot in Vietnam since the French left Indochina.
As he did in Lola and Les parapluies de Cherbourg, angels who were both premonitory and tutelary, Demy here mixes destinies and paints a group of characters where everyone is subject to the pain of love, happiness and life. The story takes place in Nantes in 1955, under the protective and threatening shadow of the old transporter bridge across the Loire, while the shipyards are out on strike. A wall of helmets, shields and truncheons rises against the workers who are defending their right to work. The forces of life collide with the police force. François of Nantes, known as François Guilbaud (Richard Berry), was a steelworker and a man in love, too deeply committed to win both ways. Edith (Dominique Sanda) was a mysterious and fatal woman. They both wanted to celebrate love, an impossible love which would be consumed by death... The essence of Jacques Demy's cinema themes can be found here. The film is built as a melodrama, according to the original meaning of the word: a popular, musical, violent drama, with exaggerated characters. The circumstances of life suggest the tragedy: an unexpected encounter, a couple's separation in spite of the unborn child, a strike, unemployment, fellow workers' fraternity, false conflicts with the landlady... Turning a strike and a wild love affair into the core of a successful musical film, is the product of a secret alchemy. In fact the whole story is walking on a tightrope at every moment. Demy makes no secret of it, but fusion does happen and life is born around Madame Langlois (Danièle Darrieux, stunning, miraculous) and her flat, the pivot of the drama. While contemporary cinema lacks frenzy, dream and passion, Une chambre en ville has plenty of them. And in spite of being a tragedy, the film makes you feel good, almost happy. Jacques Demy's genius is precisely his ability to share this desire for happiness, this absolute generosity. (Gérard Vaugeois, Humanité Dimanche N° 143, 10/22/1982)
An original subject, bordering on the fantastic, but an everyday fantastic. 1982, in Paris. A man has heard private radio conversations which were not intended for him. Indiscretion is a wicked fault, and he will be dragged into a succession of enigmas and more and more dangerous adventures by a neighbour who, just like him, lives, furnishes his home, gets sick and shares his bed with the same woman. Jean-Pierre Marielle and Jean Rochefort play the male characters, and Dominique Sanda the female one. (René Quinson, Calais-Nord Littoral, 7/14/1982)
A fifty years old woman writer, Colette (Danielle Delorme) inspires passion to a younger man, Vial (Jean Sorel). She wants to give up being in love ("one of the biggest existence banality") and she pushes him into the arms of a young woman, Helen (Dominique Sanda), that they both like.
In Venice -the city plays the part of a wicked character-, where the old palaces reflect themselves in the canals' stagnant waters, a perverse young woman and a high society girl hit it off with one another and become good friends. The adventuress, who has a lover, hears that her rich friend is seriously ill and there is no more hope for her, so she makes her lover to court and marry her. When she dies, both lovers will get married and become rich. This is, at least, what they're aiming at...
“Le voyage en douce” is about two female childhood friends, Hélène (Dominique Sanda) and Lucie (Géraldine Chaplin) who take a three-day break in Southern France in search of a house to rent for the holidays. They make the most of it to talk about themselves, get to know each other better, take stock of their love life, recall their dreams and desires. When writing his film, Michel Deville made sure fifteen novelists or so would collaborate, each one telling a moment, a memory, an experience, all of them related to sensuality. Then the director wove a canvas to link these anecdotes together and the result is a harmonious and subtle film, with an intimate approach of women, quite original in French cinema. I believe no director has ever gone so far exploring the blurred and fascinating universe of women's sensuality. “Le voyage en douce” is a carnal and poetic hymn where shapes, smells, tastes, sounds, bodies and light are triumphant amid the Provençal beautiful landscapes. (Michel Pascal, Chronique cinéma, 1/2/1980).
J. Lee Thompson, who also directed Les canons de Navarone, L’or des Mackenna, La conquête de la planète des singes, and quite a number of other titles, takes us along in a gloomy story which takes place in a small port on the Peruvian coast. The characters, not recommendable indeed, are desperately trying to regain possession of a fabulous treasure. Charles Bronson's partner is attractive Dominique Sanda who, acting as a french girl in search of her disappeared lover, gets to confuse the issue and trouble the unshakable adventurer's heart. In fact she is a french resistant, sent on assignment to Peru after the war to recover a treasure stolen by the nazis and sunk together with their ship off the Peruvian coasts.