On Film


1302 Results
Moonage Daydream: “Who Is He? What Is He?”

Brett Morgen’s portrait of David Bowie is a free-associative hybrid of pop history and imaginative extravaganza—impressionistic, eclectically allusive, and, above all, immersive.

By Jonathan Romney

La Bamba: American Dreaming, Chicano Style

In this vibrant, music-filled portrait of an artist and his community, director Luis Valdez gathers what little is known about rock-and-roll idol Ritchie Valens and fuses it with a lived-in understanding of what it is to be Chicano.

By Yolanda Machado

The Trial: Crime of the Century

In the film he once called his best, Orson Welles found a cinematic language equal to Franz Kafka’s distinctive effects, creating a vertiginous experience that accentuates the writer’s subterranean perversity.

By Jonathan Lethem

Drylongso: A Refuge of Their Own

Cauleen Smith’s debut feature celebrates the bond between two young Black women and the ways that they imaginatively, collaboratively choreograph their lives in the face of their common vulnerabilities.

By Yasmina Price

Bo Widerberg’s New Swedish Cinema: Another Sweden

While frequently drawing from the depths of his private life, the writer-director also sought to shake Swedish cinema out of a state of complacency by engaging with the country’s turbulent social landscape.

By Peter Cowie

Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart: Family Style

For the first of several domestic melodramas in his filmography, Wayne Wang drew on the influence of Yasujiro Ozu and the talent within his own San Francisco community to explore the relationship between a mother and her daughter.

By Brian Hu

One False Move: “Lock Things Up”

A master class in dramatic tension and pacing, Carl Franklin’s neonoir masterpiece explores the desperate energy and desperate deeds that fuel real crime.

By William Boyle

The Outlaw Variations: The Ranown Westerns’ Finely Drawn Antagonists

The protagonists in Budd Boetticher’s five classic Columbia westerns are paired with opponents who, venal though they may be, almost always have their reasons.

By Glenn Kenny

Some Things a Man Can’t Ride Around: Budd Boetticher’s Ranown Westerns

In his five collaborations with actor Randolph Scott and producer Harry Joe Brown, Boetticher presents an unsentimental vision of honor-bound men competing and banding together in a desolate landscape ruled by chance.

By Tom Gunning

After Hours: No Exit

Martin Scorsese drew on the influence of Hitchcock and Kafka for this anxiety-ridden tale of one bizarre night in New York City—a movie that energized him during a tumultuous period in his career.

By Sheila O’Malley

The Watermelon Woman: Faking It/Making It

In her audacious debut feature, Cheryl Dunye blends romantic comedy and staged archival material to explore love, friendship, and early U.S. cinema’s history of exclusion.

By Cassie da Costa

The Elegiac Heart: Pier Paolo Pasolini, Filmmaker

With a divided self that reflected the fissures in his country in the wake of World War II, the most courageous and dangerous Italian artist of his generation transcended dogma and resisted affiliations.

By James Quandt

Medicine for Melancholy: Love in a Hopeless Place

Two young San Francisco residents navigate the potential for romance and their opposing views on race in Barry Jenkins’s moving debut feature.

By Danielle Amir Jackson

The Servant: A Cruel Servility

In their first collaboration, director Joseph Losey and screenwriter Harold Pinter explore the cultural fissures in modern England by dramatizing a kind of role-play in which no role is stable or easy to define.

By Colm Tóibín

Three Routes Through Thelma & Louise

How the West Was Won

Seamlessly blending an array of cinematic traditions, Thelma & Louise is more than anything a western—one that takes advantage of the genre’s elasticity and reflects its preoccupation with justice, liberty, and self-determination.

By Jessica Kiang

Three Routes Through Thelma & Louise

Bringing to Life

What makes Thelma & Louise truly a film for women, despite the fact that it was directed by a man, are its stars, Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon, who imbue their iconic performances with tender, unwavering specificity.

By Rachel Syme

Three Routes Through Thelma & Louise

At the Wheel

Arriving at a fulcrum moment in women’s history in the United States, Thelma & Louise stoked controversy by delivering a boldly feminist worldview in a funny, warm, and sexy package.

By Rebecca Traister

Petite maman: Au revoir l’enfance

In one of her most moving explorations of youth, Céline Sciamma offers the gently radical and reparative chance for a mother and child to share a perspective.

By So Mayer

Targets: American Sniper

Inspired by golden-age monster movies and the story of a real-life mass murderer, Peter Bogdanovich’s debut feature evokes the psychic dread of America in the 1960s, a decade defined by long-distance and increasingly high-profile gun violence.

By Adam Nayman

Triangle of Sadness: The Captain’s Dinner Is Coming Up

In his second Palme d’Or–winning film, Ruben Östlund uses familiar reality-television tropes to stage a deeply unnerving spectacle of obscene wealth and class outrage.

By A. S. Hamrah

Small Axe: Seared into Consciousness

Steve McQueen’s monumental, five-film portrait of London’s West Indian community is a howl of endorsement for political resistance and a vivid indictment of institutional malaise.

By Ashley Clark

Chilly Scenes of Winter: Nowhere Fast

Described by director Joan Micklin Silver as “a kind of weird romantic comedy,” this defiantly ambiguous exploration of amour fou presents its obsessive antihero in all his contradictions.

By Shonni Enelow

Last Hurrah for Chivalry: Long Live Chivalric Brotherhood

A pivotal early film from legendary Hong Kong director John Woo, this martial-arts classic explores the heroic ethos of youxia, Chinese warriors willing to sacrifice their lives to fight for justice and fulfill their promises.

By Aaron Han Joon Magnan-Park

India Song and Baxter, Vera Baxter: In the Thrall of Duras

One of the towering figures of postwar French literature, Marguerite Duras was also an innovative filmmaker whose rarefied cinematic style dared audiences to see less and listen more.

By Ivone Margulies