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FREEZE FRAMES

LA BELLE NOISEUSE - Jacques Rivette stands with the greatest of all French filmmakers, and this exquisite drama finds him still at the top of his form. Based on a bittersweet Balzac story, it tells of an artist whose masterpiece has lain unfinished for years, and a woman whose beauty inspires him to complete it. Some moviegoers may balk at the four-hour length or the extensive nudity. But the film's views of life and love are complex and absorbing, and its cinematic qualities are unfailingly superb.(Not rated) HOMICIDE - Assigned to a seemingly unimportant murder case, a Jewish cop uncovers a web of violent forces involving organized anti-Semites and passionate Jewish resisters, and is forced to reassess his own sense of identity and loyalty. David Mamet's excellent film begins as a routine thriller but deepens into a meditation on complex and deeply personal issues. Joe Mantegna gives a superb performance as the troubled hero. (Rated R)

THE RAPTURE - An extremely sensual young woman becomes a fundamentalist Christian and reforms her life, then allows her faith to carry her past the limits of wisdom and responsibility. Written and directed by newcomer Michael Tolkin, the movie is cinematically flawed, and its story never really adds up. But it deserves credit for delving into issues that are rarely broached by American films, and for pursuing its premises to their logical conclusions, and considerably beyond. (Rated R)

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