Beau Travail
directed by Claire Denis
Ready, Set, Cinema
Three Kings should have opened the New York Film Festival as a gateway to the extraordinary fall movie season. This satire about America's 1991 Gulf War against Iraq's Saddam Hussein that killed hundreds of thousands of people and won the closed hearts and narrow minds of sleepy American patriots is actually a wake-up call to how bracing and political pop culture can be. Many people, having forgotten when American pop cinema used to be astute, may have given up the idea that movies can delight, convey meaning and affect the way you see yourself in the world. So they go to film festivals for distanced sober seriousness. Yet Three Kings' war comedy is so incisive?making points with every bomb and shootout?that it startlingly connects to the most erudite and fastidious European art films, like one of this year's New York Fest highlights, Claire Denis' Beau Travail.