Baal: The Nature of the Beast
The careers of three iconic German artists—Bertolt Brecht, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and Volker Schlöndorff—converged in this unflinching portrait of destructive genius.
David Lynch: The Art Life: Go with Ideas
One of the most elusive artists in American cinema opens a window onto his private life and creative methods in this revelatory documentary.
Mysterious Object at Noon: Stories That Haunt One Another
In his brilliantly inscrutable debut, Apichatpong Weerasethakul blends documentary authenticity with wild flights of imagination.
The Before Trilogy: Time Regained
In his most seductive experiment with cinematic time, Richard Linklater wrestles with the joys and challenges of long-term intimacy.
Blind Chance: The Conditional Mood
Krzysztof Kieślowski’s political and philosophical rumination, which marked an important turning point in the director's career, imagines a young man's life branching off in three possible directions.
Safe: Nowhere to Hide
Social satire, women’s melodrama, queer metaphor, or horror movie? Todd Haynes’s elusive masterpiece is all of these and none of them.
Opening Night: The Play’s the Thing
“I’m not acting,” stage star Myrtle Gordon (Gena Rowlands) tells her bemused director after a violent episode with her ghostly muse in Opening Night. That’s a loaded claim to be making in a movie that so conclusively smudges the line between …
Weekend: The Space Between Two People
Andrew Haigh’s boy-meets-boy story reminds us that the biggest pleasures of falling in love come from the little moments of connection.
Secret Sunshine: A Cinema of Lucidity
NOTE: The following essay contains spoilers. Not long into Lee Chang-dong’s Secret Sunshine (2007), a melodrama about suffering, salvation, and the dangerously blurred line between belief and madness, the heroine encounters the first of several …
Still Walking: A Death in the Family
Death looms over the films of Hirokazu Kore-eda. His first fiction feature, Maborosi (1995), is a quiet study of bereavement, about a young woman struggling to move on after her husband’s inexplicable suicide. In After Life (1998), a supernatural …
Strangers in the Night
All writing is travel writing, the axiom goes. And for Jim Jarmusch, perhaps more than any other filmmaker working today, all movies are travel movies. It’s not a slight to call him the epitome of the filmmaker as tourist. In a Jarmusch movie, the …
The Insect Woman: Learning to Crawl
Iconoclasts are meant to kill their idols, and so it’s fitting that Shohei Imamura launched into his career as if on a patricidal rampage. Like Nagisa Oshima, the other towering figure of the Japanese New Wave, Imamura (1926–2006) rejected the or…
Brand upon the Brain!: Out of the Past
Every Guy Maddin movie creates the illusion of a secret history. His willfully primitive cut-rate spectacles seem like artifacts, reanimated bits of cultural detritus, but also like hauntings, the return of the cinematic repressed. From the start, Ma…
Mala Noche: Other Love
“They all say that I’m ‘openly gay.’ But they put that in as a little political footnote . . . They don’t say anything about gayness. They just say, ‘He’s openly gay.’ They relate it a little bit to something, but they just get throug…
Clean, Shaven: Inside Man
Lodge Kerrigan's movies are so often termed "uncompromising" and "unrelenting" that it's worth pondering what exactly lies behind their steadfast refusal to let up. The salient quality of these spare, intense films is th…
Whatever else it may be—a riotous Möbius strip of deranged word games and doppelgänger metaphysics, a scalding allegory of professional and personal disappointment, the missing link between Ferdinand de Saussure and Kentucky Fried Movie—Steven …