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Rainer Werner Fassbinder, already the director of almost twenty films by the age of twenty-nine, paid homage to his cinematic hero, Douglas Sirk, with this updated version of Sirk’s All That Heaven Allows.
The extraordinary, internationally embraced Yi Yi (A One and a Two . . .), directed by the late Taiwanese master Edward Yang, follows a middle-class family in Taipei over the course of one year, beginning with a wedding and ending with a funeral.
Widely regarded as the greatest Spanish film of the 1970s, Victor Erice’s The Spirit of the Beehive is a visually arresting, bewitching portrait of a child’s haunted inner life.
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It’s 1968, and the whole world is watching. With the U.S. in social upheaval, famed cinematographer Haskell Wexler decided to make a film about what the hell was going on. Medium Cool, his debut feature, plunges us into the moment.
In this beautifully shot, psychologically complex western, Van Heflin is a mild-mannered cattle rancher who takes on the task of shepherding a captured outlaw (played with cucumber-cool charisma by Glenn Ford) to the train that will deliver him to prison.
A trio of exceptional performances by Glenn Ford, Ernest Borgnine, and Rod Steiger form the center of Jubal, an overlooked Hollywood treasure from genre master Delmer Daves.
An aging bureaucrat with stomach cancer decides to strip the veneer off his existence and find meaning in his final days. Considered by some to be Akira Kurosawa’s greatest achievement, Ikiru offers a multifaceted look at a life through a prism of perspectives.
Under Kenji Mizoguchi’s dazzling direction, this classic Japanese story became one of cinema’s greatest masterpieces, a monumental, empathetic expression of human resilience in the face of evil.
A mysterious writer of poison-pen letters plagues a French provincial town, unwittingly exposing the collective suspicion and rancor seething beneath the community’s calm surface.
When a pickpocket steals a rookie detective’s gun on a hot, crowded bus, the cop goes undercover in a desperate attempt to right the wrong. Kurosawa’s thrilling noir probes the squalid world of postwar Japan and the nature of the criminal mind.
For his final outing, Monsieur Hulot is employed as an auto company’s director of design, and accompanies his new vehicle (a camper tricked out with absurd gadgetry) to an auto show in Amsterdam. Naturally, the road is paved with modern-age mishaps in Jacques Tati’s Trafic.
The most breathtakingly candid series of interviews that the famously reclusive director ever took part in, Bergman Island features legendary filmmaker Ingmar Bergman sitting down just four years before his death with Swedish documentarian Marie Nyreröd in his home on Fårö Island.
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A deeply felt and luxuriously filmed fairy tale for grown-ups, The Lovers presents Jeanne Moreau as a restless bourgeois wife whose eye wanders from both her husband and her lover to an attractive passing stranger.
A touchstone of the careers of both its star and director, Louis Malle’s debut feature, Elevator to the Gallows, starring Jeanne Moreau, is a richly atmospheric thriller of murder and mistaken identity unfolding over one restless Parisian night.
Unsparing in its portrait of the inner turmoil of a self-destructive writer who resolves to kill himself, The Fire Within is one of Louis Malle’s darkest and most personal films.
Pipe-smoking Monsieur Hulot, Jacques Tati’s endearing clown, takes a holiday at a seaside resort where his presence provokes one catastrophe after another. The first entry in the Hulot series is a masterpiece of gentle slapstick.
This fleet and gripping film is the first of the early thrillers the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, made during the fertile phase of his career spent at the Gaumont-British Picture Corporation.
A quintessential cult film of the 1980s, Alex Cox’s singular sci-fi comedy stars the always captivating Harry Dean Stanton as a weathered repo man in a desolate Los Angeles, and Emilio Estevez as the nihilistic middle-class punk he takes under his wing.
Before he became a sensation with the twisty revenge story Memento, Christopher Nolan fashioned this low-budget, 16 mm black-and-white neonoir with comparable precision and cunning.
Chow Yun-fat stars as a killer with a conscience in John Woo’s exquisite dissection of morals in a corrupt society. Replete with balletic, slow-motion gun battles on the streets of Hong Kong, The Killer mixes genres from both the East and the West.
Sensationally modern, G. W. Pabst’s lurid, controversial melodrama follows the downward spiral of the fiery, brash, yet innocent showgirl Lulu (Louise Brooks), whose sexual vivacity has a devastating effect on everyone she comes in contact with.
With the simplest of concepts and sparest of techniques, Robert Bresson made one of the most suspenseful jailbreak films of all time in A Man Escaped.
One of the great American independent films of the 1990s, the surprise hit Metropolitan, by writer-director Whit Stillman, is a sparkling comedic chronicle of a young man’s romantic misadventures while trying to fit in to New York City’s debutante society.
Claude Jutra’s evocative portrait of a boy’s coming of age in wintry 1940s rural Quebec has been consistently cited by critics and scholars as the greatest Canadian film of all time.
In this captivating, skewed World War II drama from Nagisa Oshima, David Bowie regally embodies the character Celliers, a British officer interned by the Japanese as a POW. This was one of Oshima’s greatest successes.
The hottest day of the year explodes on-screen in this vibrant look at a day in the life of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Spike Lee’s powerful portrait of urban racial tensions sparked controversy while earning popular and critical praise.
Leo McCarey’s Make Way for Tomorrow is one of the great unsung Hollywood masterpieces, an enormously moving Depression-era depiction of the frustrations of family, aging, and the generation gap.
A profoundly felt film about class and conformity in small-town America, All That Heaven Allows is a pinnacle of expressionistic Hollywood melodrama.
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.
Filmed over a five-year period, Hoop Dreams follows young Arthur Agee and William Gates as they navigate the complex, competitive world of scholastic athletics, while striving to overcome the intense pressures of family life and the realities of their Chicago streets.
In this adaptation of William S. Burroughs’s hallucinatory, once-thought-unfilmable novel Naked Lunch, directed by David Cronenberg, a part-time exterminator and full-time drug addict named Bill Lee (Peter Weller) plunges into the nightmarish Interzone.
Swift, brutal, and black-hearted, Allen Baron’s New York City noir Blast of Silence is a sensational surprise, a low-budget, carefully crafted portrait of a hit man on assignment in Manhattan during Christmastime.
One of the most influential, radical science-fiction films ever made and a mind-bending free-form travelogue, La Jetée and Sans Soleil couldn’t seem more different—yet they’re the twin pillars of an unparalleled and uncompromising career in cinema.
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With an innovative color-coded cinematic treatment to distinguish his interwoven stories, Steven Soderbergh embroils viewers in the lives of a newly appointed drug czar and his family, a West Coast kingpin’s wife, a key informant, and police officers on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Dissatisfied in marriage and life, Ferdinand (Jean-Paul Belmondo) takes to the road with the babysitter, his ex-lover Marianne Renoir (Anna Karina), and leaves the bourgeoisie behind in Pierrot le fou, one of the high points of the French New Wave.
New German Cinema pioneer Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire) brings his keen eye for landscape to the American Southwest in Paris, Texas, a profoundly moving character study written by Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Sam Shepard.
My Life as a Dog is the story of Ingemar, a working-class twelve-year-old sent to live with his uncle in a country village when his mother falls ill. There, with the help of the warmhearted eccentrics who populate the town, the boy finds both refuge from his misfortunes and unexpected adventure.
Slapstick prevails when Jacques Tati’s eccentric hero Monsieur Hulot is let loose in the ultramodern home of his brother-in-law, and in an antiseptic factory that manufactures plastic hose. Tati directs and stars in the second entry of the Hulot series, a delightful satire of mechanized living.
In Alain Resnais’ cornerstone film of the French New Wave, a French actress (Emmanuelle Riva) and a Japanese architect (Eiji Okada) engage in a brief, intense affair in postwar Hiroshima, their consuming fascination impelling them to exorcise their own scarred memories of love and suffering.
This Freudian tale of adolescent sexuality set in a postapocalyptic world of shifting identities and talking animals is one of Malle’s most experimental films and a cinematic daydream like no other.
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.
One of the great translations of literature into film, David Lean’s Great Expectations brings Charles Dickens’s masterpiece to robust on-screen life.
Hollywood director Joel McCrea, tired of churning out lightweight comedies, decides to make O Brother, Where Art Thou, a serious, socially responsible film about human suffering. After his producers point out that he knows nothing of hardship, he hits the road as a hobo.
When the mysterious Dr. Anthony Edwardes (Gregory Peck) becomes the new chief of staff at her institution, the bookish and detached Dr. Constance Petersen (Ingrid Bergman) plummets into a whirlwind of tangled identities and feverish psychoanalysis. Spellbound is classic Hitchcock.
Master noir craftsman Jules Dassin’s dazzling police procedural The Naked City was shot entirely on location in New York. As influenced by Italian neorealism as American crime fiction, this double Academy Award winner remains a benchmark for naturalism in noir.
David Mamet’s witty tale of a therapist and best-selling author who must confront her own obsessions when she meets an attractive cardsharp is as psychologically acute as it is full of twists and turns, a rich character study told with the cold calculation of a career criminal.
In director Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited, three estranged American brothers reunite for a meticulously planned, soul-searching train voyage across India one year after the death of their father.
In Shallow Grave, three self-involved Edinburgh roommates take in a brooding boarder, and when he dies of an overdose, leaving a suitcase full of money, the trio embark on a series of very bad decisions, with extraordinarily grim consequences for all.
La promesse is the breakthrough feature from Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, who would go on to become a force in world filmmaking. This is a brilliantly economical and observant tale of a boy’s troubled moral awakening.
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.
A cornerstone in the career of this most economical and profoundly spiritual of filmmakers, Pickpocket is an elegantly crafted, tautly choreographed study of humanity in all its mischief and grace, the work of a director at the height of his powers.
Have you ever wanted to be someone else? Or, more specifically, have you ever wanted to crawl through a portal hidden in an anonymous office building and thereby enter the cerebral cortex of John Malkovich for fifteen minutes, before being spat out on the side of the New Jersey Turnpike?
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.
Kirk Douglas gives the fiercest performance of his career as Chuck Tatum, an amoral newspaper reporter who washes up in dead-end Albuquerque, happens upon the scoop of a lifetime, and will do anything to keep getting the lurid headlines.
Prince Ahmad, cast out of Bagdad by the nefarious Jaffar, joins forces with the scrappy thief Abu to win back his royal place and the heart of a princess in Alexander Korda’s The Thief of Bagdad, an eye-popping special-effects pioneer and one of the most spectacular fantasy films ever made.
Director Jean Renoir’s entrancing first color feature—shot entirely on location in India—is a visual tour de force. Based on the novel by Rumer Godden, the film eloquently contrasts the growing pains of three young women with the immutability of the holy Bengal River.
With the idiosyncratic American fable Harold and Maude, countercultural director Hal Ashby fashioned what would become the cult classic of its era.
In Hitchcock’s Notorious, a beautiful woman with a tainted past (Ingrid Bergman) is enlisted by American agent Devlin (Cary Grant) to spy on a ring of Nazis in post-war Rio. Her espionage work becomes life-threatening after she marries the most debonair of the Nazi ring, Alex (Claude Rains).
Criterion is proud to present these Dreyer masterpieces on DVD for the first time, with brand new digital transfers. Each is an intense exploration of the clash between individual desire and social expectations, with Dreyer’s famously perfectionist attention to detail shining throughout.
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