Superlatives Abound: Kirsanoff’s “Ménilmontant”

Okay, if you’re a philistine like I am, you perhaps have never watched Dimitri Kirsanoff’s masterpiece “Ménilmontant.” Consider this a most fortunate day, then, because, holy crap, is it amazing. I would go so far as to say nothing about it is short of superb. Sure, the stubborn critic might quibble with the jagged abruptness of the violence that bookends the heartbreaking melodrama of the two sisters, but not I. If anything, it forces us to keep our sentimentality in check by abruptly asserting in the foreground brutality as both a cause and a consequence. Arguably, the ending may not be as fulfilling in this regard, but this is the tiniest possible imitation of a complaint. Because, truly, this is one of the greatest movies I’ve ever seen. Seriously, carve out 37 minutes in your day to acquaint or reacquaint yourself with it.