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The Proprietor (12). A full-blown disaster, Ismail Merchant's second solo feature reveals a dumbfounding simple-mindedness in almost every scene. Jeanne Moreau plays a famous French novelist transplanted to New York, attempting to (1) purchase her mother's old Paris flat; (2) fend off a young admirer; (3) thwart a vulgar remake of an old friend's film; (4) extinguish memories of the Occupation - in no particular order of importance, it would seem. The script incorporates broad swipes at crass Americans, a character inexcusably named Fan Fan, and an embarrassing show of pseudo-multi-culturalism. Moreau's performance hits so many false notes it appears completely undirected, and the climactic song-and-dance number has an almost halucinatory quality, involving as it does, Sean Young, a fountain and the Inkspot's "If I Didn't Care".

JOctober (Ten Days That Shook the World) (PG). Sergei Eisenstein's silent epic - an antidote to avaricious summer multiplex fare? - chronicles events at Petrograd that led to the Bolshevik uprising. Commissioned by the Russian government for the 10th anniversary of the Revolution in 1927, the film (which Eisenstein co-directed with Grigori Alexandrov) ended up not being shown; emerging troublemaker Trotsky featured prominently in the original cut, and had to be edited out. More theoretician than propagandist, Eisenstein is often lauded (perhaps overgenerously) as the pioneer of film montage, and October certainly showcases his Griffith- inspired editing style along with numerous jolting juxtapositions. Many scenes are mesmerising - the storming of the Winter Palace is justifiably legendary - but the rampant visual rhetoric can seem both ponderous and facile, and the film as a whole has less momentum than you'd imagine.

Vanishing Point (18). This 1971 Richard Sarafian road movie, after which Primal Scream named their monumental new album, hasn't exactly aged well. It follows ex-racing driver Kowalski (Barry Newman) on his arbitrarily defined mission to drive from Denver to San Francisco in 15 hours. The best bits - Cleavon Little's DJ spiels - are sampled by the Primals on "Kowalski". You soon begin to suspect that enjoyment of the film is directly related to the availability of stimulants; the song "Kowalski", and its Irvine Welsh-scripted video, pack more kicks in much less time.

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