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Oscar winner Marion Cotillard received another nomination for her searing, deeply felt performance as a working-class woman desperate to hold on to her factory job, in this gripping film from master Belgian directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne.
This affectionate farce from François Truffaut about the joys and strife of moviemaking is one of his most beloved films.
An astounding array of talent came together for the big-screen adaptation of John Fowles’s novel The French Lieutenant’s Woman, a postmodern masterpiece that had been considered unfilmable.
Two-bit hustler Harry Fabian (Richard Widmark) longs for “a life of ease and plenty.” Trailed by an inglorious history of go-nowhere schemes, he tries to hatch a lucrative plan with a famous wrestler.
Stephen Frears was at the forefront of the British cinematic revival of the mid-1980s, and the delightfully transgressive My Beautiful Laundrette is his greatest triumph of the period.
A cornerstone of the French New Wave, the first feature from Alain Resnais is one of the most influential films of all time.
Following Jack Nicholson’s breakout supporting turn in Easy Rider, director Bob Rafelson devised a powerful leading role for the new star in the searing character study Fve Easy Pieces.
A girl on the verge of womanhood finds herself in a sensual fantasyland of vampires, witchcraft, and other threats in this eerie and mystical movie daydream.
A fairy tale grounded in poignant reality, the magnificent, Manhattan-set The Fisher King, by Terry Gilliam, features Jeff Bridges and Robin Williams in two of their most brilliant roles.
Gregory and Shawn’s unique contributions to the cinematic landscape are shape-shifting, challenging, and entertaining works about the process of creation.
The master of the political thriller, Costa-Gavras became an instant phenomenon after the mammoth success of Z, and he quickly followed it with the equally riveting The Confession.
Costa-Gavras puts the United States’ involvement in Latin American politics under the microscope in this arresting thriller.
Charlie Chaplin’s masterful drama about the twilight of a former vaudeville star is among the writer-director’s most touching films. Chaplin plays Calvero, a once beloved musical-comedy performer, now a washed-up alcoholic who lives in a small London flat.
In this anguished yet mordantly funny film, Fassbinder charts the decline of a self-destructive former policeman and war veteran struggling to make ends meet for his family by working as a fruit vendor.
Bette Midler exploded onto the screen with her take-no-prisoners performance in this quintessential film about fame and addiction from director Mark Rydell.
In one of the best performances of his legendary career, Robert Mitchum plays small-time gunrunner Eddie “Fingers” Coyle in an adaptation by Peter Yates of George V. Higgins’s acclaimed novel The Friends of Eddie Coyle.
Taking place largely over the course of one tense night, Carol Reed’s psychological noir, set in an unnamed Belfast, stars James Mason as a revolutionary ex-con leading a robbery that goes horribly wrong.
An intensely felt film that is one of Bergman’s most striking formal experiments, Cries and Whispers (which won an Oscar for the extraordinary color photography of Sven Nykvist) is a powerful depiction of human behavior in the face of death.
A work of meticulous journalism and gripping drama, it recounts the disturbing tale of Randall Dale Adams, a drifter who was charged with the murder of a Dallas police officer and sent to death row, despite evidence that he did not commit the crime.
With its relentless pace, expressive cinematography by the great Russell Metty, and punchy, clever script by Charles Lederer and Ben Hecht, this is an overlooked treasure from the heyday of 1940s film noir.
Truffaut made The Soft Skin at a time when he was immersing himself in the work of Alfred Hitchcock, and that master’s influence can be felt throughout this complex, insightful, and underseen French New Wave treasure.
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 1992 presidential election was a triumph not only for Bill Clinton but also for the new breed of strategists who guided him to the White House—and changed the face of politics in the process.
This is where it all started. John Ford’s smash hit and enduring masterpiece Stagecoach revolutionized the western, elevating it from B movie to the A-list.
The ultimate Italian road comedy, Il sorpasso stars the unlikely pair of Vittorio Gassman and Jean-Louis Trintignant as, respectively, a waggish, freewheeling bachelor and the straitlaced law student he takes on a madcap trip from Rome to Tuscany.
Early in his career, Don Siegel made his mark with this sensational and high-octane but economically constructed drama set in a maximum-security penitentiary.
After making such American noir classics as Brute Force and The Naked City, the blacklisted director Jules Dassin went to Paris and embarked on his masterpiece: a twisting, turning tale of four ex-cons who hatch one last glorious robbery in the City of Light.
Based on a novel by Nobel Prize winner Selma Lagerlöf, this extraordinarily rich and innovative silent classic (which inspired Ingmar Bergman to make movies) is a Dickensian ghost story and a deeply moving morality tale, as well as a showcase for groundbreaking special effects.
Before he turned to the story of Joan of Arc, the Danish cinema genius Carl Theodor Dreyer fashioned this ahead-of-its-time examination of domestic life.
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.
An epic on the grandest possible scale, Visconti’s opulent masterpiece stars Burt Lancaster as an aging prince watching his culture and fortune wane in the face of a new generation during the tumultuous years of Italy’s Risorgimento.
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.
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.
The debut feature by the great Andrei Tarkovsky, Ivan’s Childhood is a poetic journey through the shards and shadows of one boy’s war-ravaged youth.
Called the greatest rock film ever made, this landmark documentary follows the Rolling Stones on their notorious 1969 U.S. tour.
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.
Wes Anderson first illustrated his lovingly detailed, slightly surreal cinematic vision (with cowriter Owen Wilson) in this visually witty and warm portrait of three young misfits.
Federico Fellini’s career achieved new levels of eccentricity and brilliance with this remarkable, controversial, extremely loose adaptation of Petronius’s classical Roman satire, written during the reign of Nero.
The last film by Yasujiro Ozu was also his final masterpiece, a gently heartbreaking story about a man’s dignifed resignation to life’s shifting currents and society’s modernization.
A masterpiece from Nicolas Roeg, Don’t Look Now, adapted from a story by Daphne du Maurier, is a brilliantly disturbing tale of the supernatural.
This bittersweet film from Jean Renoir, based on a story by Guy de Maupassant, is a tenderly comic idyll about a city family’s picnic in the French countryside and the romancing of the mother and grown daughter by two local men.
After a decade in the wilds of avant-garde and early video experimentation, Jean-Luc Godard returned to commercial cinema with this star-driven work of social commentary, while remaining defiantly intellectual and formally cutting-edge.
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.
With a radical take on narrative, disturbing yet beautiful cinematography, and a highly sophisticated use of on- and offscreen sound, Martel turns her tale of a decaying bourgeois family, whiling away the hours of one sweaty, sticky summer, into a cinematic marvel.
A mix of the witty and the utterly absurd, The Palm Beach Story is a high watermark of Sturges’s brand of physical comedy and verbal repartee, featuring sparkling performances.
A work of memory and imagination, the film burrows into what the filmmaker calls “the heart of the heart” of the continent, conjuring a city as delightful as it is fearsome, populated by sleepwalkers and hockey aficionados.
One of the first and best-loved films of this period in his career is The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, which balances a realistic depiction of tormented romance with staging that remains true to the director’s roots in experimental theater.
This multilayered comedy from Sydney Pollack follows the elaborate deception of a down-on-his-luck New York actor who poses as a woman to get a soap opera gig.
From the very beginning of his incandescent career, the New German Cinema enfant terrible Rainer Werner Fassbinder refused to play by the rules.
Robert Downey Sr. emerged as one of the most irreverent filmmakers of the New York underground of the sixties, taking no prisoners in his rough-and-tumble treatises on politics, race, and consumer culture.
Koreyoshi Kurahara’s free-form approach to moviemaking was perfectly suited to the radical spirit of the 1960s, when he was one of the biggest hit makers working at the razzle-dazzle, youth-oriented Nikkatsu studios.
In the late fifties and early sixties, Basil Dearden created a series of gripping, groundbreaking, even controversial films that dealt with racism, homophobia, and the lingering effects of World War II, noir-tinged dramas that burrowed into corners of London rarely seen on-screen.
Canadian director Allan King is one of cinema’s best-kept secrets. It was with his cinema-verité-style documentaries that King left his greatest mark on film history. These startlingly intimate studies of people whose lives are in flux are riveting and at times emotionally overwhelming.
Years before Akira Kurosawa changed the face of cinema with such iconic works as Rashomon, Seven Samurai, and Yojimbo, he made his start in the Japanese film industry with four popular and exceptional works, created as World War II raged.
Often called the Godard of the East, Japanese director Nagisa Oshima was one of the most provocative film artists of the twentieth century, and his works challenged and shocked the cinematic world for decades.
Over the past four decades, Belgian director Chantal Akerman has created one of cinema’s most distinctive bodies of work—formally daring, often autobiographical films about people and places, time and space.
Makavejev’s films about political and sexual liberation were revolutionary, raucous, and ribald. Across these first three films, he investigates love, death, and work; the legacy of war and the absurdity of daily life in a Communist state; criminology and hypnosis; strudels and strongmen.
This bruised and bloody collection represents a standout cross section of the nimble nasties Nikkatsu had to offer, action potboilers modeled on the western, comedy, gangster, and teen-rebel genres.
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 these three films, something like social-realist farces, Kaurismäki surveys the working-class outcasts of his native Finland with detached yet disarming amusement.