[VIDEO REVIEWS]A Faraway Island and Some Fast Wheels

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[VIDEO REVIEWS]A Faraway Island and Some Fast Wheels


Directed by Patrice Leconte. Starring Juliette Binoche, Daniel Auteuil and Emir Kusturica.

Known as "Guillotine Tragedy" in Korean (a nickname for the guillotine in French is "the widow") this unconventional love story is based on true events. In the mid-1800s, the island of St. Pierre, off the south coast of Newfoundland, was governed from a distance by France.

Two visiting sailors stab to death a local resident on a drunken bet and are sentenced to death. A guillotine and an executioner are dispatched from Paris because the small island has neither. One of the prisoners dies on the way to prison. The other condemned man, Neel Auguste (Kusturica), awaits his fate.

Pauline, or "Madame La" (Binoche), an officer's wife, is an idealist who rejects convention. She cannot bear to see Auguste locked up and asks him to work with her doing gardening and repairs. She is impulsive, and we wait for her to fall in love with the prisoner, but the story takes a different course.

From a good family, Madame La followed her soldier husband, Jean, the captain (Auteuil), to this forsaken outpost. She is a free thinker, ahead of her time and in love with her husband, who has equally liberal views.

"The Widow of St. Pierre," by the French director Leconte of "Ridicule" and "The Girl on the Bridge," has a balanced touch. Twisted plots, complex issues and lighthearted moments in the middle of the serious mark this movie.

The prisoner becomes a valued member of the community. The captain and most of the villagers, with the exception of the authoritarian establishment, begin questioning his death sentence. Auguste, devoted to his two benefactors, turns down any chance of escaping to British North America. But in choosing to face death, he becomes a catalyst for the fate of the captain and his lady.

DRIVEN (2001)

Directed by Renny Harlin. Starring Sylvester Stallone, Burt Reynolds, Kip Pardue, Gina Gershon, Til Schweiger, Robert Sean Leonard and Estella Warren.

If you're looking for plot and character development, keep looking. "Driven," a glorified B movie written by Stallone, is itself driven by cliches. But if you like race cars and speed, there is plenty of burning rubber to torque your engine. Much of the race footage was shot in real competitions all over the world - Toronto, Chicago and Australia.

The owner of a racing team, Carl Henry (Reynolds), decides to call in the former star Joe Tanto (Stallone) to mentor the young hotshot Jimmy Bly (Pardue).

Jim, however, doesn't think he needs coaching, especially from a washed up has-been. The result is high-octane conflict.

by Joe Yong-hee

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