Elena (Nadezhda Markina), a dutiful wife to her wealthy husband and a burdened mother to her layabout son, manages to balance the needs of the two, until she learns her husband plans to leave her family nothing in his will.
Credit Zeitgeist Films
Elena cares for her husband Vladimir's (Andrey Smirnov) needs in a relationship whose true nature is not entirely clear.
On its surface alone, Andrey Zvyagintsev's Elena is an intensely compelling slice of noir about moral rot and class warfare in post-Soviet Russia. Deeper down, the movie seethes quietly with the moody influence of other East European masters of the timeless ineffable. If Zvyagintsev were a less inscrutable filmmaker, he might have titled his new film Crime Without Punishment — but we'll get to that.
In seeking the best ways to treat his female patients' nervous conditions, forward-thinking Victorian physician Mortimer Granville (Hugh Dancy, left) enlists the help of his inventor friend Edmund St. John-Smythe (Rupert Everett). They soon stumble into inventing the vibrator.
Credit Sony Pictures Classics
Maggie Gyllenhaal plays Charlotte Dalrymple, the rebellious activist daughter of the physician whose practice Granville joins.
Hysteria, a disappointingly limp ode to the invention of the vibrator, plays like a Merchant Ivory Production of Portnoy's Complaint. Watching it, you'd never know that this revolutionary discovery, by allowing women to pleasure themselves, hammered a crucial nail into the coffin of 19th-century patriarchy. A boon to bluestockings and unsatisfied wives alike, the device rocked sexual politics, even if its full repercussions were not immediately understood.
As humane as it is disturbing, Polisse rifles the files of Paris' Child Protection Unit in search of successes, failures and all the shades of ambiguity in between. If the movie's jumpy edits and raw emotions jangle the nerves, that's intentional: This documentary-mimicking drama is designed to evoke the experience of working a beat that can never become routine.
Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 4:42 pm
For this first season of Ask Me Another, we picked the brains of more than a dozen game writers to devise the puzzles you hear each week on the show. Writers from across the country submitted games to be reviewed by our staff for possible use on the air (and getting one past AMA puzzle editor Art Chung is no small task). Every week at the end of the show, we acknowledge and thank all the game writers for that particular episode. But Shawn Kennedy and Dan Schofield, proved invaluable.
The key witness in the perjury trial of baseball star Roger Clemens is on the stand this week testifying that he injected Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs. Nina Totenberg talks to Melissa Block.
I bet you know this feeling: you bring home a box of perfect, plump, ruby-red strawberries from the supermarket, then you bite into one and you taste absolutely nothing. Close your eyes and you might not even know it's a strawberry at all. Why? Why?
We're hoping Marvin Pritts can help explain. He's a horticulture professor at Cornell University and a berry crop specialist. Professor Pritts, welcome to the program.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
A new technology makes it possible for a quadriplegic to use only thought to move a robotic arm. According to a report out yesterday, a Massachusetts woman was one of two patients to use the arm. She picked up a bottle with coffee in it and drank it, using a straw. This is the first time in 15 years that she was able to feed herself.
Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of Health and Human Services, will address students at Georgetown University tomorrow.
As NPR's Barbara Bradley Hagerty reports, that has created one of several controversies this season over commencement speakers.
BARBARA BRADLEY HAGERTY, BYLINE: Sebelius is Catholic. She's also liberal and pro-choice. And the fact that she's speaking to Georgetown's Public Policy Institute makes conservative Catholics, like Patrick Reilly, see red.
When Facebook makes its initial public offering Friday on the NASDAQ, the stock will be priced at $38 per share, a price that's expected to bring in between $16 billion and $18.4 billion to the company. CNBC reports:
"[The price makes] it one of the most lucrative offerings the Street has ever seen. With that valuation taken into consideration, Facebook goes public with the highest valuation — in the $100 billion range — of any company on record at the time of its IPO."