Top Foreign & Indie Picks for November

Xavier Giannoli’s multiple-César-winning adaptation of Balzac’s marathon novel will earn the attention of literary mavens and is just one of the foreign & indie picks this month.

The Innocents. 117 min. In Norwegian w/English subtitles. IFC Films, dist. by RLJ Entertainment. 2021. DVD UPC 014381148206. $18.99; Blu-ray UPC 014381148213. $20.99. HORROR

Four Norwegian children ages seven to 11—Ida (Rakel Lenora Fløttum), Anna (Alva Brynsmo Ramstad), Ben (Sam Ashraf), Aisha (Mina Yasmin Bremseth)—share a growing telekinetic power, but only one is driven by sadistic impulses to use it against a kitten, a bully, a parent and, finally, fellow super-naturals. Eskil Vogt’s (Blind) disturbing depiction of childish innocence coping with newfound power (and an undeveloped sense of morality) excels thanks to a talented cast and superb direction. VERDICT For horror-film fans open to more than a gorefest.

A Kind of Loving. b/w. 113 min. Shout Factory. 1962. Blu-ray UPC 826663227833. $29.99. DRAMA

A working-class Brit, Vic (Alan Bates) moves up to apprentice draftsman and begins dating office typist Ingrid (June Ritchie), who gets pregnant. Feeling trapped, Vic marries her and they move in with his disapproving mother-in-law until a sudden miscarriage throws everything up in the air. The notable debut of John Schlesinger (Midnight Cowboy), this 1960s-era British New Wave “kitchen-sink drama” offers a realistic view of adult themes, appreciating the compromise life requires. VERDICT This seminal film belongs in most diverse collections.

Lost Illusions. 150 min. In French w/English subtitles. Music Box Films. 2021. DVD UPC 751778951734. $21.49; Blu-ray UPC 751778951741. $25.49. DRAMA

Early 19th-century aspiring poet Lucien de Rubempré (Benjamin Voisin) leaves his provincial French village for Paris, where his naiveté about the moneymaking business of publishing leads to his participation in yellow journalism. Writing for bribes ends up ruining his reputation and alienating his high-society admirer (and onetime lover) Louise de Bargeton (Cécile de France), before hard-won lessons are learne. VERDICT dXavier Giannoli’s multiple-César-winning adaptation of Balzac’s marathon novel will earn the attention of literary mavens.

Monsieur Hire. 79 min. In French w/English subtitles. Cohen Media Group. 1989. DVD UPC 738329260583. $19.99; Blu-ray UPC 738329260590. $29.99. THRILLER

A reclusive tailor with the demeanor of an undertaker, M. Hire (Michel Blanc) finds little joy in life except for nightly gazing at his lovely neighbor (Sandrine Bonnaire) in her neighboring apartment. And when she indicates an interest in meeting him despite news of a nearby murder, Hire throws caution to the wind. Veteran director Patrice Leconte calls to mind Hitchcock in this cat-and-mouse story about a desperate man who makes a leap of faith for an unattainable love. VERDICT Fans of the Master of Suspense will rejoice in this restored reissue.

Official Competition. 115 min. In Spanish w/English subtitles. IFC Films, dist. by RLJ Entertainment. 2021. DVD UPC 014381148244. $18.99; Blu-ray UPC 014381148237. $20.99. DRAMEDY

Hoping to leave a lasting legacy, an elderly business magnate (José Luis Gómez) finances a film based on a Nobel Prize–winning novel concerning sibling rivalry. An idiosyncratic auteur (Penélope Cruz) directs a teacher and serious stage actor (Oscar Martínez) whose demeanor is at odds with his big-screen celebrity costar (Antonio Banderas) famous for fluff. And so a battle of egos begins in Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat’s satirical send-up of method acting, directorial indulgence, and other behind-the-scenes tropes. VERDICT A hoot for cinephiles.

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