(M) The Innocents is a confronting French drama based on real events in 1945 Poland. The screaming woman in the opening scene in the convent is a nun who was raped by Russian soldiers. She’s about to have her baby. And she’s not the only one. Young doctor Mathilde Beaulieu knows she must help. This sets up an absorbing, sometimes harrowing exploration of questions of faith and nonfaith, of still raw wounds between people from different parts of Europe and, most of all, the trauma and shame of rape.
Rules Don’t Apply (M) Warren Beatty directs and acts in Rules Don’t Apply, about legendary inventor and filmmaker Howard Hughes. Beatty, who plays Hughes, is almost a marginal character, often remaining pointedly in the shadows when he appears. The focus is on Marla Mabrey, a pretty young starlet from the sticks, religious and virginal, who has arrived in Hollywood because she has been given an acting contract by Hughes. Hughes shows no sign of wanting to meet his new protege. There are so many details to savour in this beautifully produced film that it’s regrettable that it doesn’t quite coalesce into a whole.
Bad Girl Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique Baiba Skride, the Latvian violinist who dazzled audiences with her debut guest appearance in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 2010, is back to play Prokofiev’s First Violin Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s passionate Pathetique Symphony. The pains of life, with fleeting joys and delicate triumphs, are beautifully explored with intense and thrilling emotion.