Cold Mountain

  • Directors: Anthony Minghella
  • Producers: Albert Berger, William Horberg, Sydney Pollack, Ron Yerxa
  • Writers: Anthony Minghella, Charles Frazier
  • Genres: Drama, Romance, War
  • Actors: Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Eileen Atkins, Kathy Baker, Brendan Gleeson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Charlie Hunnam, Natalie Portman, Giovanni Ribisi, Donald Sutherland, James Gammon, Jack White, Ethan Suplee

At the film’s inception Jude Law plays a young man named W. P. Inman at a provincial North Carolina town. He meets Ada (Nicole Kidman) and is at the fledgling stages of a relationship with her when he marches off to war as a Confederate soldier.

The film opens early in the morning of July 30, 1864. Confederate troops are entrenched outside Petersburg during its siege. The teenaged Oakley (Lucas Black) is handing out clothes from a wheelbarrow while Inman reads letters from Ada. The soldiers are tired and bored. Most are seasoned veterans who have been fighting for over three years. But meanwhile Union engineers are filling a mine under the Confederate trenches with gunpowder barrels while above, hundreds Union troops are waiting to attack. Suddenly back at the Confederate siege works, a rabbit hops into the trench. Just as one of the men is about to capture it the ground rises from under him and there is a huge explosion. The Union lit the barrels and most of the trench exploded. As Inman and Oakley get up dazed from the blast they see Union troops charging at them. As the Union charge they run right into the crater where the trench used to be and are trapped in a kill zone. The Confederates fire down at them but the fighting becomes hand to hand and Oakley is pulled down in by a Union soldier and Inman goes after him. Before Inman can reach him Oakley is bayoneted but survives. Inman shoots the Union soldier with a LeMat revolver he finds and pulls Oakley out of the chaos. The battle ends with a huge Union defeat. As the Confederates are cleaning up after the battle, Inman comforts Oakley as he is pulled to the hospital on a cart. Later that day Oakley dies in the hospital with Inman and Stobrod Thewes (Brendan Gleeson) beside him.

The film ends several years later with Ada, Ruby and their families celebrating Easter. Ruby has married Georgia, and the two have an infant child. Her father Stobrod is revealed to have survived, and it is revealed that Ada’s night with Inman had given her a child, Grace Inman.

New York I Love You

  • Directors: Jiang Wen, Mira Nair, Shunji Iwai, Yvan Attal, Brett Ratner, Allen Hughes, Shekhar Kapur, Natalie Portman, Fatih Akin, Joshua Marston, Randy Balsmeyer
  • Producers: Emmanuel Benbihy, Marina Grasic
  • Writers: Fatih Akin, Keenan Donahue, Natalie Portman, Anthony Minghella, Joshua Marston, Jeff Nathanson, Hu Hong, Jiang Wen, Meng Yao, Suketu Mehta, Shunji Iwai, Yvan Attal, Xan Cassavetes, Stephen Winter, Hall Powell, Israel Horovitz, James Strouse
  • Genres: Drama, Romance
  • Actors:

New York, I Love You is a collective work of eleven short films, with each segment running around 10 minutes long. Some of the actors have international status (Natalie Portman, Shia LaBeouf, Hayden Christensen, Rachel Bilson, Orlando Bloom, and Irrfan Khan), with each shooting their part in one of New York’s five boroughs. Similar to the previous film, Paris, je t’aime, the shorts presented together will not relate but will all tie into the common theme of finding love.

The Reader

  • Directors: Stephen Daldry
  • Producers: Anthony Minghella, Sydney Pollack, Scott Rudin
  • Writers: David Hare
  • Genres: Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, David Kross, Alexandra Maria Lara, Lena Olin, Bruno Ganz

The Reader begins in 1995 Berlin, where Michael Berg (Ralph Fiennes) is preparing breakfast for a woman who has spent the night with him. After she leaves, Michael watches a U-Bahn pass by, flashing back to a tram in 1958 Neustadt. A teenage Michael (David Kross) gets off because he is feeling sick and wanders around the streets afterwards, finally pausing in the entryway of a nearby apartment building where he vomits. Hanna Schmitz (Kate Winslet), the tram conductor, comes in and assists him in returning home.

Michael, diagnosed with scarlet fever, must rest at home for the next three months. After he recovers he visits Hanna. The 36 year old Hanna seduces and begins an affair with the 15 year old boy. During their liaisons, at her apartment, he reads to her literary works he is studying, such as The Odyssey, The Lady with the Little Dog, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Tintin. After a bicycling trip, Hanna learns she is being promoted to a clerical job at the tram company. She abruptly moves without leaving a trace.

After seeing the adult Michael, a lawyer, we see him (played again by David Kross) at Heidelberg University law school in 1966. As part of a special seminar taught by Professor Rohl (Bruno Ganz), a camp survivor, he observes a trial (similar to the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials) of several women who were accused of letting 300 Jewish women die in a burning church when they were SS guards on the death march following the 1944 evacuation of Auschwitz. Hanna is one of the defendants.

The film ends with Michael getting back together with his daughter, Julia, at Hanna’s grave and beginning to tell her the story.