One of the most widely discussed screenings at Cannes this year was Carlos, a lengthy project which falls somewhere between a film and a mini-series. It essentially recounts the life of the famed international terrorist Carlos the Jackal, covering the period 1973-1994 in great detail. Although it was screened as a film at Cannes, its running time (5 hours plus) means that it will be shown as a multi-part TV broadcast in most if not all markets.

Is it good?

Yes, I would say that it is. Let me make the case directly and succinctly. Despite its length and the fact that the dialogue is in at least seven different languages without sub-titles (English, French, Spanish, German, Russian, Hungarian, Arabic), I watched every minute of it without resorting to the fast-forward button at any time. That, ipso facto, is pretty high praise.

The pace does drag at times, but in the course of the film several terrorist missions are presented, and they are all exciting thanks to complete directorial control of the dramatic tension and the comprehensibility of the narrative. Director and co-author Olivier Assayas maintained an assured hand over the complex story, and because of that the film is able to present a vast array of characters and foreign dialogue without confusing the audience. It also features some magnificent cinematography in a vast array of exotic locations. Whether the story takes place in Morocco, Vienna, Paris, Khartoum, Budapest, or any of several other locales, the filming seems genuinely to have taken place within those locations. I haven't been to every one of those places, but I've been to many of them, and recognized several familiar sights in each. Credit also needs to go to Edgar Ramirez, the Venezuelan actor who played Carlos at several radically different stages of physical conditioning, and performed in at least five languages, four of which he actually speaks.

Is it accurate?

Again I must answer in the affirmative. After watching the film I read the entire Carlos entry at Court TV, and found that the film was as faithful as it could possibly be, given the need to compress twenty years into five hours. I noticed only minor and unimportant differences between the Court TV summary and the film's version of the story. You must, of course, realize that it is not possible to present all the details of Carlos' life accurately. While many of the events portrayed in this film took place in public with witnesses, other portions of the film are based on assumptions, prejudiced accounts, second-hand accounts, and Carlos' own dubious claims. From what I could determine, however, the treatment was completely even-handed and fair. Whenever one of the accounts of Carlos' exploits is in doubt, the film tends to avoid pictorializing the incidents themselves, choosing rather to show Carlos describing the action to someone else.

How does Carlos come off?

He's complicated - not likeable by any means, but interesting. He is a highly intelligent man who probably started as a true believer in the Marxist revolution and the cause of Palestine. He had some idealistic goals, a charismatic gift for leadership, a gift for languages, and a cold enough heart to survive as a wanted assassin. In time, however, he was made irrelevant or even embarrassing to the causes he fought for because fame simultaneously stoked his ego and made him too notorious to travel freely. He also had some personality traits which led to ineffectiveness in his later years of freedom. Carlos loved sex, booze, and luxury, thus alienating many of his comrades, from the European socialist idealists who lived in austerity and obscurity, to the devout followers of Islam who considered him a reprobate.

The death knell for Carlos was sounded when the Berlin wall fell and the Soviet Union collapsed. Carlos could then no longer rely on the Hungarian government or the East German Stasi to provide him with save havens. He was thus forced to live entirely in the Arab world, but the West continued to exert various forms of pressure on the Middle Eastern nations to abandon their harboring of terrorists, so Carlos kept getting expelled from country after country until his last and only haven was in the corrupt and unreliable Sudan. Eventually he was betrayed by his own captors, who made him available to French intelligence. His capture occurred in the summer of 1994. Carlos was soon convicted in France for multiple murders, and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Bottom line:

I am not by any means a fan of this director. I have written very harshly about some of his earlier films, but those comments have absolutely no bearing on what he has done here, which is simply to assemble an excellent project. Before you commit to this film, you must be aware of its length and complexity and the fact that it is performed in many languages. Assuming you have no problem with any of that, I think you'll be impressed and educated. I was.

Not pictured in the film:

Carlos the Jackal (actually a Venezuelan named Ilich Ramirez Sanchez) is still in captivity in Paris, and is still relatively young (60) as I write this. He still manages to make the headlines now and then because France is a civilized nation which allows even convicted murderers a relatively liberal assortment of civil rights. In 2001 the newspapers noted that Carlos had married his female lawyer. In 2003 Carlos even managed to publish a book based on his conversations with a visiting journalist. That work ("Revolutionary Islam") shows that Carlos hasn't mellowed, as he staunchly defends radical Islam, and makes several inflammatory remarks in praise of Saddam Hussein, bin Laden, and other unsavory international figures and causes. He has corresponded with Hugo Chavez, who once called Carlos his friend, and has praised his fellow jackal in various public fora. In 2009 Carlos again made the news when he wrote a letter to Barack Obama. Most recently, Carlos has been filing legal actions against the makers of this very film.


There's quite a bit of nudity, including several scenes with full frontal and rear exposure from ol' Carlos himself. For our purposes, the best action involves the first encounter between Carlos and his future wife Madeleine Kopp. (Nora von Waldstaetten). Here are some film clips of their encounters in parts two and three of the three-part presentation. The actress has a very nice body of you don't mind the pasty white variety.

Part 1 also has some exposure from an actress named Emmanuelle Bercot


  • * Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe).

  • * White asterisk: expanded format.

  • * Blue asterisk: not mine.

  • No asterisk: it probably sucks.


Catch the deluxe version of Other Crap in real time, with all the bells and whistles, here.









Body Snatchers


Gabrielle Anwar film clip (samples below)




Back with the so-called Australian classics today. All comments by Johnny Moronic

Shot of Love


Shot of Love (or Dope depending on where you live) was made in 2003 and released in 2006, so 'classic' might be pushing it, anyway this Adelaide set film is set during the high profile trial of two cops who are accused of shooting an Aboriginal man and star footballer and this is fascinating the city. A woman is on a desperate search for love and may have found the one in an Aboriginal man (not the same as above) who is good friends with her best friend and both may also be involved in the shooting. There is also a pusher who wants to go up in the world and steals a fair amount of drugs to help out his junkie girlfriend and friend and this triggers a couple of thugs who will do anything to get it back. This is a highly ambitious film that is about addiction (drugs, love, TV, criminal trials) that is for the most part very good but is let down by the Tarantino-esque plot strand which seems out of place

It has an excellent lead performance from Anastasia Seis who according to IMDB has only been in one film, this film, which is an absolute shame because she is superb here. But, good luck finding the film, it ain't an easy find...

Anastasia Seis film clips (collages below)

Lover Boy


Lover Boy is a 60 minute drama directed by Geoffrey Wright, the director of Romper Stomper, Metal Skin and Macbeth about a relationship between a 42 year-old woman and a 16 year-old boy which starts when he begins mowing her lawn. As with all Geoffrey Wright films there is a hard edge and the usual devastating ending and remnants of his later films can be found here.

Gillian Jones film clips (collages below)



Life is a 1995 film about life in the AIDS division of a prison and like any good prison drama it's hardcore and pretty full on. Starring a bunch of pretty good character actors, it focuses on a prisoner who has newly discovered AIDS and has to come to terms with this as he is transferred to the AIDS ward which is like a foreign world to this hard man. He strikes up a friendship with his cellmate who is dying while remembering his life on the outside including a relationship with a stripper. Pretty much a forgotten Australian film, this low budget drama is stagy (it's based on a play) but a pretty decent film nonetheless.

Libby Tanner film clips (collages below)

Belinda McClory film clips (collages below)



A great nip-slip from Elizabeth Reaser at the MTV movie awards

 Lorri Bagley in Tommy Boy

Selma Brook in the latest episode of The Tudors

Catharina Conti in 2069: A Sex Odyssey

Ellenie Gonzalez in Verschleppt



Jessica Pare (samples below right and center) and Crystal Lowe (sample below left) in film clips from Hot Tub Time Machine

Marianne Denicourt and Isild Le Besco in Sade

Jeanne Moreau in Les Amants

Helen Shaver and Patricia Charbonneau in Desert Hearts