Bolero [1984]

Claude Lelouch (A Man and a Woman) tackles a giant canvas in the sprawling Les Uns et Les Autres, a movie full of brilliant actors and heartfelt moments. To make a coherent whole out of these elements would take a more profound director than Lelouch, however. Following dozens of characters from the 1930s through World War II and into the late '70s, Lelouch struggles to develop a grand theme based on sketchily developed people, all tied together with pop music and Ravel's evocatively used "Bolero." Not surprisingly, the sections dealing with Occupied Paris are the most compelling, with a poignant turn by Nicole Garcia (James Caan and Geraldine Chaplin, each in dual roles, hold down the U.S.-based segments). The film was well-received in Europe, although a cut U.S. release under the title Bolero flopped. If you stick around for the ambitious final sequence, look for an unknown Sharon Stone sitting in bed with Caan. --Robert Horton

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