On Film

Essays

1243 Results
Devil in a Blue Dress: Crossing the Line

A brutal critique of the American dream, Carl Franklin’s 1995 thriller explicitly confronts the racialized implications of classic film noir.

By Julian Kimble

Drive My Car: Grace Notes

Centered on a grieving theater director and his driver, Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Oscar-winning drama is a quiet meditation on the mysteries of communication, the flexibility of truth, and the search for honesty.

By Bryan Washington

Raging Bull: American Minotaur

Stylistically informed by film noir, Martin Scorsese’s searing drama plumbs male violence and rage through a boxing champ’s self-destruction.

By Robin Robertson

Raging Bull: Never Got Me Down

Martin Scorsese’s long-gestating boxing opus—one of the last films on which he enjoyed unequivocal studio support—emerged from a Hollywood in transition.

By Glenn Kenny

Summertime: Souvenirs

In David Lean’s Venice-set romance, a fleeting love affair prompts a woman’s self-exploration.

By Stephanie Zacharek

Okja: Big Love

Bong Joon Ho’s fantasy blockbuster explores the follies of global capitalism through the lens of the meat industry—and a young girl and her “superpig” best friend.

By Karen Han

Pink Flamingos: The Battle of Filth

Boasting a larger-than-life Divine, John Waters’ underground classic finds the sublime in the ridiculous.

By Howard Hampton

The Worst Person in the World: Lost and Found

Part rom-com, part existential meditation, the final installment in Joachim Trier’s Oslo trilogy dignifies the fluctuating desires of a woman on the cusp of thirty.

By Sheila O’Malley

Shaft: Power Moves

By centering an empowered Black hero, Gordon Parks reimagined the detective genre and exposed its racial politics.

By Amy Abugo Ongiri

Rouge: Love Out of Time

Two eras of Hong Kong history collide in this exquisite ghost story, which solidified director Stanley Kwan’s status as one of cinema’s truest romantics.

By Dennis Lim

Farewell Amor: Coming Over

Ekwa Msangi’s intimate feature debut pushes the conventions of the immigrant family drama.

By Tiana Reid

Chan Is Missing: Lost (and Not Found) in Chinatown

Wayne Wang’s breakthrough feature, a milestone in Asian American cinema, is a humorous and intimate snapshot of San Francisco’s Chinatown.

By Oliver Wang

The Black Heart of Double Indemnity

Billy Wilder’s classic film noir is a powerful meditation on masculinity, desire, and the fantasies of white America.

By Angelica Jade Bastién

Mississippi Masala: The Ocean of Comings and Goings

Mira Nair’s sumptuous second feature explores migration, rebellion, and romance across racial borders in the American South.

By Bilal Qureshi

The Funeral: At a Loss

Juzo Itami’s tragicomic directorial debut has scandalous fun with the Japanese traditions governing death.

By Pico Iyer

Mr. Klein: It’s All in the Name

Joseph Losey’s sumptuous portrait of Nazi-occupied Paris sees an icy Alain Delon as an art dealer on a Kafkaesque quest for identity.

By Ginette Vincendeau

Eyimofe (This Is My Desire): Floating Currencies

In their ambitious debut feature, brothers Arie and Chuko Esiri capture the vibrancy of contemporary Lagos while also showing the desperation with which its two protagonists seek to leave it.

By Maryam Kazeem

’Round Midnight: Return from Exile

A longtime lover of jazz, Bertrand Tavernier honors its legacy by throwing the spotlight on real musicians—including legendary tenor sax player Dexter Gordon—improvising on-screen.

By Mark Anthony Neal

Miracle in Milan: It Is Goodness

Vittorio De Sica’s neorealist fable deploys barbed humor and surreal flourishes to depict class solidarity and human kindness in postwar Italy.

By Christina Newland

The Girl Can’t Help It: The Fame Game

Frank Tashlin directs Jayne Mansfield to her cartoonish limits in this outrageous showbiz satire that is a testament to the power of bad taste.

By Rachel Syme

love jones: Sweet Home Chicago

Theodore Witcher’s moody, sensual romance foregrounds Black artists and their milieu, upending stereotypes about urban life.

By Danielle Amir Jackson

The Last Waltz: Long, Hard Road

At once euphoric and elegiac, Martin Scorsese’s concert documentary captures the members of the Band on the brink of spiritual and physical collapse as they mount their transcendent final send-off.

By Amanda Petrusich

The Flight of the Phoenix: Flight or Fight

In Robert Aldrich’s epic disaster film, James Stewart leads a pack of temperamentally different men as they struggle to survive in the face of the unknown—a template that would go on to influence Hollywood blockbusters for decades to come.

By Gina Telaroli

Adoption: Wayward Faces

A parable of wayward women in a world without mothers, Márta Mészáros’s 1975 feature catapulted the Hungarian auteur to international prominence.

By Elena Gorfinkel