History Is Made at Night: Taking a Chance on Love
The feeling of freedom in this swooningly beautiful blend of melodrama and romantic comedy speaks to director Frank Borzage’s belief in the invincibility of love.
World of Wong Kar Wai: Like the Most Beautiful Times
By marrying the glamour of golden-age Hollywood to a quicksilver formal daring influenced by a wide range of artists, the Hong Kong auteur became one of the coolest and most beloved filmmakers in the world in the 1990s.
Céline and Julie Go Boating: State of Play
Drawing on influences ranging from classic Hollywood to cartoons, Jacques Rivette’s uncategorizable masterpiece plunges viewers into a world shaped by the friendship and imagination shared by two soul sisters.
Touki bouki: Word, Sound, and Power
One of the most striking debuts in film history, Djibril Diop Mambéty’s unconventional picaresque forged new aesthetic paths for African cinema with its dreamlike narrative, discontinuous editing, and jagged soundscapes.
Man Push Cart: A Melancholy Pull
Set in a transient, post-9/11 New York City, Rahmin Bahrani’s feature debut follows the Sisyphean toil of a Pakistani immigrant whose life teeters on the verge of catastrophe.
Smooth Talk: Girl Power
A film that now plays like a harbinger of the #MeToo movement, Joyce Chopra’s first fiction feature shows how the myths that direct how girls come of age threaten their safe passage to womanhood.
Mandabi: Paper Trail
Ousmane Sembène’s second feature departs from his early-career critiques of colonial power, instead focusing on the oppressive forces manifested within postcolonial African society.
The Parallax View: Dark Towers
Alan J. Pakula captured the anxiety of the seventies in this noir-inflected conspiracy thriller, which offers a critique both of American institutions and of the self-made heroes who do battle with them.
The Ascent: Out in the Cold
Set against a forbidding backdrop of war, this masterpiece of Soviet cinema contemplates the sources of evil while also searching for signs of meaning and divinity in a fallen world.
Rolling Thunder Revue: American Multitudes
Combining elements of truth and artifice, Martin Scorsese’s documentary of Bob Dylan’s 1975–76 tour captures the legendary singer-songwriter brimming with confidence and at the peak of his gifts.
Minding the Gap: What It’s About
Bing Liu’s extraordinary debut feature was originally conceived as a documentary about skaters around the country and ultimately became an unflinching exploration of family, trauma, and the filmmaker’s own life.
That Obscure Object of Desire: Desire, Denuded
Luis Buñuel weaved together multiple strands of his artistry in his final film, which blends the surrealism of his early years, the melodrama of his 1950s work, and the elegant erotic comedy of his late career.
The Phantom of Liberty: The Serpentine Movements of Chance
Luis Buñuel lays bare the amorality and illogic of human affairs in the slew of straight-faced absurdities that make up his penultimate film.
Amores perros: The Dogs That Heralded the Millennium
Capturing the tense mood of a new millennium, Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s debut feature explores the hidden spaces of Mexico City at a moment of political turbulence and extreme social stratification.
Amores perros: Force of Impact
With its thought-provoking structure, interweaving story lines, and saturated colors, Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s debut feature represented a quantum leap in the audiovisual grammar of Mexican cinema.
Crash: The Wreck of the Century
In one of the most controversial films of his career, David Cronenberg adapts a scandalous J. G. Ballard novel, radically overhauling its story to address a society paralyzed in the headlights of a new millennium.