Arnaud Desplechin's films are as unstable as they are overstuffed. The 44-year-old French director, who receives his first full U.S. retro at BAM this week, makes bipolar emotional epics that swing freely between unreconciled opposites. Brutal and tender, academic and pop, contrived and realistic, cerebral and visceral, his double-jointed narratives stretch to contain the extremes of human sentiment. Obsessed with death, Desplechin's movies are also violently alive. Their sheer scale and density can be overwhelming, often testing the limits of what we've come to expect from contemporary cinema—hence the tendency on the part of critics to label his movies "novelistic"... More >>>