The Koker Trilogy: Journeys of the Heart
Paving a path from neorealism to playfully deconstructive postmodernism, Abbas Kiarostami’s suite of village fables explores complex philosophical mysteries through disarmingly simple means.
A Brighter Summer Day: Coming of Age in Taipei
Edward Yang’s masterful 1991 adolescent epic telegraphs the tensions and turbulence of 1960s Taiwan, when youth pop culture and teen street gangs became a major societal force.
Close-up: Prison and Escape
This milestone of Iranian filmmaking fuses, in a wholly original way, an unorthodox mix of documentary and fiction, a self-reflexive musing on cinema and its impact, and a simultaneous exaltation and questioning of the auteur.
Ride with the Devil: Apocalypse Then
Just over halfway through Ang Lee’s masterful Civil War drama Ride with the Devil, the small group of men at the story’s center, young, Southern-sympathizing Bushwhackers fighting in divided Missouri, meet up with other ragtag bands of rebels.…
The “Demonic Charisma” of Gimme Shelter
Gimme Shelter is the film I’ve seen more than any other. I guess you could say I was obsessed with it for a spell. I saw it first during its premiere New York run in late 1970. Back home in North Carolina shortly thereafter, I followed it through t…
Bicycle Thieves: A Passionate Commitment to the Real
Viewed in retrospect, much of modern cinema can seem to flow from twin fountainheads: Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane (1941) and Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves (1948). Though separated by World War II, the two movies symbolize the cardinal impuls…
Taste of Cherry
In Abbas Kiarostami’s universe, it might be said, there are no things, only relations between things. Likewise, in his cinema: no films, only relations between films—and within them. And between them and us.Three and one. The most celebrated of I…