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For Charlotte Rampling, the outstanding actress and once all-powerful Euro diva, life is serious business. It’s in her heavy eyelids, her penchant for intense and sometimes controversial roles (The Night Porter), and The Look, the biography directed by first-timer Angelina Maccarone. Divided into sections with vaguely pretentious names like “exposure,” “age,” “beauty,” “demons,” and “taboo,” The Look is uninterested in the lighthearted moments of a life in cinema. It’s described as a “self-portrait through others,” showing Rampling in conversation with friends and confidantes about beauty and talent— how they reveal themselves, their purpose, and most of all, whether they fade over time. All those staid conversations can get exhausting over 90 minutes, but everything hinges on Rampling’s look—and that’s fascinating throughout. When Rampling turns her severe grey eyes your way, you shiver. Not just out of intimidation, but in deference to the life that simmers under the surface.
The film shows through Thursday at E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW. $11. landmarktheatres.com. (202) 452-7672.