Outlier Looking In: Emmanuelle Devos in A Christmas Tale
Amid the tumultuous family dynamics on display in Arnaud Desplechin’s A Christmas Tale, Emmanuelle Devos delivers a performance of remarkable subtlety and lyricism.
Experience Necessary: Deborah Harry in Videodrome
Traveling through the subterranean portals of Videodrome like an introverted wraith, Deborah Harry carries herself with the wry, burned-out, but still titillated instincts of a voyager buying a one-way ticket for the outer limits. A vivid, smallish p…
The Manchurian Candidate: Dread Center
Set during the height of McCarthy-era paranoia and arriving in 1962, in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis, John Frankenheimer’s high-anxiety Communist conspiracy thriller tapped into the darkest fears of Cold War America.
Death by Hanging: Hanging by a Thread
In Death by Hanging, Nagisa Oshima spins a complex aesthetic web around his documentary-like structure, packing detail, history, politics, and emotion into his surrealist inquiry into capital punishment.
The Complete Lady Snowblood: Flowers of Carnage
Toshiya Fujita’s two-film saga set exuberant, manga-inspired martial-arts choreography against a backdrop of a Japanese society in transition to unfold a vivid tale of epic vengeance.
Tokyo Drifter: Catch My Drift
Just what is it that makes Seijun Suzuki’s Tokyo Drifter (1966) so different, so appealing? The cherubic hero in the neat powder blue suit, who looks like he was torn out of a yakuza pop-up book? That hauntingly cornball theme song, permeating the …
Europa: Night Train
Seduction by locomotive. Gliding on silvery reels of steel, tricked out with Lars von Trier’s stated panoply of “front and back projections, double exposure, and clearly choreographed camera movements to break down the realistic frame,” Europa …
Pitfall: Outdoor Miner
Pitfall is the kind of semiuncanny, equivocally realist movie you might hope to duck into in a strange city, stumbling across it in a low-rent theater while escaping a bad date or a debt collector. Impressively anomalous and consistently unpredictabl…
Kill!: Pardon My Dust
Kihachi Okamoto’s dynamic, intricately madcap Kill! is a multitoned send-up of samurai film lore. With its crosshatched plot stitching, zigzag modulations, and dust-blown stock figures (Tatsuya Nakadai as a hobo swordsman, plus a peasant bumpkin tu…
Youth of the Beast: Screaming Target
“Just shut up and watch!” So snarls a frenzied gangster-pimp to baby-faced tough Joe Shishido as the creep whips a prostrate prostitute. There’s plenty for the naked eye to absorb: the delicate calligraphic detail of the bloody lash marks, set…