costume drama, one movie about dubious government actions, and one costume drama about dubious government actions.For this weekend's Indie Round, we have one
"The Conspirator," the latest movie by Robert Redford,is a legal drama about an overlooked footnote of American history: the case of Mary Surratt, the first woman ever executed by the federal government. In the uneasy weeks following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln's death immediately following the end of the Civil War, eight conspirators, including Surratt, were rounded up. As the film shows, Surratt, played by Robin Wright, was given a trial that didn't adhere much to the constitutional stricture of "innocent before proven guilty." The echoes between that trial and some that have occurred recently are hard to miss. The film, which comes out on the 146th anniversary of Lincoln's death, also features James MacAvoy, Tom Wilkinson, and Kevin Kline. Check out my interview with Redford about the movie.
Veteran French filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier adapts the classic novel with a crispness and an energy that's unusual for a director in his 70s. Marie de Mezieres (Melanie Thierry) is a nubile, young noblewoman who winds up in a loveless marriage with a young prince (Gregoire Leprince-Ringuet), while harboring longings for the rakish Henri de Guise. If you're a fan of period dramas and petticoats, this might be the movie for you.
Zeina Durra's feature debut centers on Asya, a French-born artist of Arab descent living in New York just after 9/11. While at a party, she learns that her childhood friend has suddenly, inexplicably, disappeared. She suspects the CIA. As she tries to carry on with her life, including falling in love with a Mexican PhD student, she starts to believe that she's under government surveillance. This film was a surprise hit at Sundance last year.
See the trailers to this week's movies:
- Mary Surratt