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Vivid and spare where other films about illegal immigration might sentimentalize, Young’s take is equal parts intimate character study and gripping road movie, a political work that never loses sight of the complex man at its center.
The great Soviet director Mikhail Kalatozov, known for his virtuosic, emotionally gripping films, perhaps never made a more visually astonishing one than Letter Never Sent.
Originally made for German television, this recently rediscovered, three-and-a-half-hour labyrinth is a satiric and surreal look at the world of tomorrow from one of cinema’s kinkiest geniuses.
The Moment of Truth, from director Francesco Rosi, is a visceral plunge into the life of a famous torero—played by real-life bullfighting legend Miguel Mateo, known as Miguelín.
In John Ford’s Young Mr. Lincoln, Henry Fonda gives one of the finest performances of his career, as the young president-to-be, struggling with an incendiary murder case as a novice lawyer. Compassionate and assured, this is an indelible piece of Americana.
Four desperate men sign on for a suicide mission to drive trucks loaded with nitroglycerin over a treacherous mountain route—a white-knuckle ride from France’s legendary master of suspense, Henri-Georges Clouzot.
With its gorgeous widescreen compositions and sophisticated look at American male obsession, this stripped-down narrative from maverick director Monte Hellman is one of the artistic high points of 1970s cinema, and possibly the greatest road movie ever made.
This boldly cinematic trio of stories about love and loss from Krzysztof Kieślowski was a defining event of the art-house boom of the 1990s.
In the swift, cynical Sweet Smell of Success, Burt Lancaster stars as the vicious Broadway gossip columnist J. J. Hunsecker, and Tony Curtis as Sidney Falco, the unprincipled press agent Hunsecker ropes into smearing the up-and-coming jazz musician romancing his beloved sister.
With the three films in this set, Shoehi Imamura, one of the leading figures of the Japanese new wave, truly emerged as an auteur, bringing to his national cinema an anthropological eye and a heretofore unseen taste for the irreverent.
A brother and sister flee persecution at home in Guatemala and journey north, through Mexico and on to the United States, with the dream of starting a new life. A work of social realism imbued with dreamlike imagery, El Norte is a lovingly rendered, heartbreaking story of hope and survival.
One of the first cinematic reflections on the horrors of the Holocaust, Alain Resnais’ documentary Night and Fog (Nuit et Brouillard) contrasts the stillness of the abandoned camps’ quiet, empty buildings with haunting wartime footage.
Faced with a dying mother, an absent, alcoholic father, and a baby brother in need of care, the teenage Mouchette seeks solace in nature and daily routine, a respite from her economic and pubescent turmoil. Bresson’s hugely empathetic drama is an essential work of French filmmaking.
One of the best and most literate movies from the great days of horror, The Most Dangerous Game stars Leslie Banks as a big-game hunter with a taste for the world’s most exotic prey—his houseguests.
In 1977, acclaimed director Barbet Schroeder entered the universe of the world’s most famous primate to create the entertaining, troubling, and still relevant documentary Koko: A Talking Gorilla.
With its aching musical soundtrack and exquisitely abstract cinematography by Christopher Doyle and Mark Lee Ping-bin, this film has been a major stylistic influence on the past decade of cinema, and is a milestone in Wong’s redoubtable career.
In Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s stunningly photographed comedy, Wendy Hiller stars as a headstrong young woman who travels to the remote Scottish Hebrides to marry a rich lord.
An unsung comic triumph from David Lean, Hobson’s Choice stars the legendary Charles Laughton as the harrumphing Henry Hobson, the owner of a boot shop in late Victorian northern England whose haughty, independent daughter decides to forge her own path, romantically and professionally.
How to describe Nobuhiko Obayashi’s indescribable 1977 movie House (Hausu)? As a psychedelic ghost tale? A stream-of-consciousness bedtime story? An episode of Scooby-Doo as directed by Mario Bava? House might have been beamed to Earth from some other planet.
Meet Big and Little Edie Beale—high-society dropouts, mother and daughter, reclusive cousins of Jackie O.—thriving together amid the decay and disorder of their ramshackle East Hampton mansion.
One of the great translations of literature into film, David Lean’s Great Expectations brings Charles Dickens’s masterpiece to robust on-screen life.
In his controversial masterpiece The Great Dictator, Charlie Chaplin offers both a cutting caricature of Adolf Hitler and a sly tweaking of his own comic persona.
A timeless evocation of childhood innocence corrupted, René Clément’s mythical and heartbreakingly real Forbidden Games tells the story of a young girl orphaned by war and the farm boy she joins in a fantastical world of macabre play.
Al Reinert’s visually dazzling documentary For All Mankind is the story of the twenty-four men who traveled to the moon—told in their words, in their voices, using the images of their experiences.
Gorgeously photographed to evoke the medieval paintings of Saint Francis’s time, and cast with monks from the Nocera Inferiore Monastery, Rossellini’s The Flowers of St. Francis is a timeless and moving portrait of the search for spiritual enlightenment.
British director Andrea Arnold won the Cannes Jury Prize for the intense and invigorating Fish Tank, about a fifteen-year-old girl, Mia (electrifying newcomer Katie Jarvis), who lives with her mother and sister in the housing projects of Essex.
Fat Girl is not only a portrayal of female adolescent sexuality and the complicated bond between siblings but also a shocking assertion by the always controversial Catherine Breillat that violent oppression exists at the core of male-female relations.
Roman Polanski orchestrates a mental ménage à trois in this slyly absurd tale of paranoia from the director’s golden 1960s period.
Orson Welles’s Mr. Arkadin (a.k.a. Confidential Report) tells the story of an elusive billionaire who hires an American smuggler to investigate his past, leading to a dizzying descent into a cold-war European landscape.
In Arnaud Desplechin’s beguiling A Christmas Tale, Catherine Deneuve brings her legendary poise to the role of Junon, matriarch of the troubled Vuillard family, who come together at Christmas after she learns she needs a bone marrow transplant from a blood relative.
Vittorio De Sica examines the cataclysmic consequences of adult folly on an innocent child in The Children Are Watching Us, a vivid, deeply humane portrait of a family’s disintegration.
Jacques Becker lovingly evokes the belle epoque Parisian demimonde in this classic tale of doomed romance. When gangster’s moll Marie (Simone Signoret) falls for reformed criminal Manda (Serge Reggiani), their passion incites an underworld rivalry that leads inexorably to treachery and tragedy.
In Kon Ichikawa’s eloquent meditation on beauty coexisting with death, an Imperial Japanese Army regiment surrenders to British forces in Burma at the close of World War II and finds harmony through song, while a private disguises himself as a Buddhist monk.
As hard-hitting as its title, Brute Force was the first of Jules Dassin’s forays into the crime genre, a prison melodrama that takes a critical look at American society as well, starring Burt Lancaster.
Michael Redgrave gives the performance of his career in Anthony Asquith’s adaptation of Terence Rattigan’s unforgettable play. Redgrave portrays Andrew Crocker-Harris, an embittered, middle-aged schoolmaster who begins to feel that his life has been a failure.
This explosive work about the conflict between the spirit and the flesh is the epitome of the sensuous style of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.
Catherine Deneuve’s porcelain perfection hides a cracked interior in one of the actress’s most iconic roles: Séverine, a Paris housewife who begins secretly spending her afternoon hours working in a bordello.
The spectacular visions of enchantment, desire, and death in Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bête) have become timeless icons of cinematic wonder.
Atmospheric and gripping, Army of Shadows is Melville’s most personal film, featuring Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse, Jean-Pierre Cassel, and the incomparable Simone Signoret as intrepid underground fighters who must grapple with their conception of honor in their battle against Hitler’s regime.
A Nazi U-boat crew, headed by the ruthless Eric Portman, is stranded in Canada during the thick of World War II in Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s quick-witted wartime thriller, 49th Parallel.
Told through the eyes of François Truffaut’s cinematic counterpart, Antoine Doinel, The 400 Blows sensitively re-creates the trials of Truffaut’s own childhood, unsentimentally portraying aloof parents, oppressive teachers, and petty crime.
A behind-closed-doors look at the American legal system that is as riveting as it is spare, this iconic adaptation of Reginald Rose’s teleplay stars Henry Fonda as the dissenting member on a jury of white men ready to pass judgment on a Puerto Rican teenager charged with murdering his father.
In the thirties and forties, the young Indian actor known as Sabu (born Selar Shaik) captured the hearts of moviegoers in Britain and the United States as a completely new kind of big-screen icon.
Sacha Guitry was once a household name. Something of a Gallic Noël Coward, this disarming, multitalented artist served up some of 1930s French cinema’s tastiest dishes.
In these four lacerating works of social consciousness—two prewar, two postwar—Mizoguchi introduces an array of compelling female protagonists, crushed or resilient, who are forced by their conditions and culture into compromising positions.
In his three fiction features—Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?, Mr. Freedom, and The Model Couple—William Klein skewers the fashion industry, American empire, and governmental mind control with hilarious, cutting aplomb.
These elegant, bawdy films, made before strict enforcement of the Hays morality code, feature some of the greatest stars of early Hollywood, as well as that elusive style of comedy that would thereafter be known as “the Lubitsch touch.”
These three independent films showed off Samuel Fuller’s genre diversity, gutter wit, and subversive force, and pointed the way to a controversial career in studio moviemaking.
Centered on the modern sensibilities of the younger generation, these delicate family dramas are marked by an exquisite formal elegance and emotional sensitivity about birth and death, love and marriage, and all the accompanying joys and loneliness.
With the discerning eye of a true artist and the investigatory skills of a great journalist, Malle takes us from a street corner in Paris to America’s heartland to the expanses of India in his astonishing epic Phantom India.