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A Christmas Tale.
November 14.

Robert Downey Sr. as proto Borat: 1968's No More Excuses
Courtesy Robert Downey and Anthology Film Archives
Robert Downey Sr. as proto Borat: 1968's No More Excuses

We probably know the clichés of the holiday-reunion melodrama better than we know our own dysfunctional families, but French writer-director Arnaud Desplechin (Kings and Queen) has fashioned the subgenre into an engrossing, novelistic feast of sparkling wit, raw emotions, and idiosyncratic visuals (direct-camera narration, clips from classic films, a noir-ish montage, and shadow puppets!). Catherine Deneuve, Chiara Mastroianni, Melvil Poupaud, and soon-to-be 007 villain Mathieu Amalric are among the talents in this crowded ensemble, all loving and bickering and boozing their way into critics' hearts—or at least their Best of 2008 lists. IFC Center, 323 Sixth Avenue, 212-924-7771.

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