Volume 73, Number 46 | March 17 -23, 2004

FILM


Koch on Film



“Monsieur Ibrahim” (+)
Since the dearth of good new films continues, I looked back at one that opened some time ago. It is only playing at the Paris Theater, and it was packed on Saturday evening when I saw it. Someone once said, “This movie is less than meets the eye,” and that sentiment surely applies in this case.

The plot is innocuous. A teenage Jewish boy, Momo (Pierre Boulanger), lives with his father, (Gilbert Melki), in a neighborhood replete with ladies of the night. Momo has his rite of passage with one of them, breaking his piggybank to gather the required 35 francs. His father soon abandons him as did his mother when he was an infant. Momo’s only friend is Monsieur Ibrahim (Omar Sharif), the Arab store keeper across the street who ultimately adopts him and takes him home to Turkey. What befalls the two of them on the way to Turkey makes up the balance of the film. The acting of everyone is impeccable.

It was wonderful to see Omar Sharif on screen, and when he first appears, I definitely heard in my head “Lara’s Theme,” from Dr. Zhivago. Regrettably, like the rest of us, time has not stood still for him, and he no longer looks like the handsome Dr. Yuri Zhivago. His eyes are still huge and very luminous, but they are now encased in an old face.

Frankly, you won’t miss much if you don’t’ see this flick. But in this current dull period of good new movies, this one is almost heaven sent for someone like me who, as your humble servant, must see at least one movie a week.


“Robot Stories” (+)
This is a unique four-part film, each segment a separate story.

The first story is about a couple seeking to adopt a baby. The adoption agency gives them a baby robot to take home. Their behavior will be monitored and evaluated at the end of a trial period to determine whether or not they would be suitable parents.

The second tale is of a mother and daughter taking care of the son who is in a coma and whose brain is flat lined. His life had been dominated by robot toys. How this affects his attending mother makes up the central theme.

The third story focuses on the sudden emotion of love between two robots of the opposite sex.

The fourth short centers on the promise of permanent life. Humans, whose brains would be preserved, would continue to function in the bodies of robots.

The stories are intriguing and the acting is excellent. The actors are overwhelmingly Japanese, but the dialogue is in English.


- Ed Koch


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