Film en Stock

Carlos is certainly the best biopic I have ever seen (it profiles the still-living Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, aka Carlos the Jackal, a notorious international terrorist of the 1970s and '80s), and it's one of the highest achievements of one of the greatest directors of our moment, Olivier Assayas. It's long, but not one minute in it is flat or lacking in raw cinematic energy. The whole film is a visual feast of bullets, booze, and beautiful bodies. In one scene, a woman with gorgeous black hair sensuously licks the pin of a hand grenade; in another scene, the young Jackal (Édgar Ramírez) fondles himself as he stares at his handsome nudity in a mirror. In another scene, a beautiful terrorist gives head to a handsome terrorist. Indeed, in the opening scene of the movie, a terrorist thrusts his tongue all down the throat of a young Parisian woman with the pinkest nipples. A moment later, he is blown up in a car. There is some J. G. Ballard in this film, but its eroticism, which, like its violence, is linked to the technologies of that moment (jet planes, rocket launchers, mass communication), never loses sight of the political. This political is not so much about the revolutionary passions of the '70s (this film has no nostalgia for that period), but about the creation or spread of a new global consciousness that's in desperate need of a new, postnational, post-Fordist form of politics. The movie really begins at the end of the anti-imperialist movement—its strategies and ideas have completely run out of steam. Capitalism has taken a new direction, and citizens around the world are being rapidly transformed into consumers. Carlos speaks five or so languages fluently, he is an international man, but his political views are completely out-of-date. He arrived too late. Northwest Film Forum, Fri–Sun 5:30 pm. recommended

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