On Film

Essays

1069 Results

The Inland Sea: Invitation to the Voyage
The Inland Sea: Invitation to the Voyage

In Lucille Carra’s poetic adaptation of a classic travelogue by Donald Richie, an exploration of life in Japan’s Inland Sea becomes a path to self-discovery.

By Arturo Silva

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1984: Coming Soon to a Country Near You
1984: Coming Soon to a Country Near You

Brought to harrowing life in this film adaptation, George Orwell’s dystopian vision continues to ring true today. But so does his belief in the power of love and hope to overthrow the darkness.

By A. L. Kennedy

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Do the Right Thing: Walking in Stereo
Do the Right Thing: Walking in Stereo

Even as it inexorably rolls toward tragedy, Spike Lee’s masterpiece takes in the symphonic scale of the human condition in all its variety and precariousness.

By Vinson Cunningham

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The Baker’s Wife: Bread, Love, and a Trophy Wife
The Baker’s Wife: Bread, Love, and a Trophy Wife

In his first major film to capture the Provençal setting that would come to define his work, Marcel Pagnol brilliantly combined comedy and emotion, theater and cinema.

By Ginette Vincendeau

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Klute: Trying to See Her
Klute: Trying to See Her

Alan J. Pakula’s partnership with a newly politicized Jane Fonda turned what could have been a run-of-the-mill detective movie into a psychologically vivid portrait of a strong female character.

By Mark Harris

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Europa Europa: Border States
Europa Europa: Border States

This darkly comic vision of survival and deception during the Holocaust captures a crisis of ideological fanaticism that continues to plague contemporary Europe.

By Amy Taubin

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War and Peace: Saint Petersburg Fiddles, Moscow Burns
War and Peace: Saint Petersburg Fiddles, Moscow Burns

Sergei Bondarchuk pulled out all the stops to bring Tolstoy’s sprawling vision to the screen, and the result remains one of the most extravagant epic films of all time.

By Ella Taylor

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Hedwig and the Angry Inch: She Sings the Body Electric
Hedwig and the Angry Inch: She Sings the Body Electric

A work of rapturous energy, John Cameron Mitchell’s beloved debut feature is a freewheeling rock-and-roll musical suffused with heartbreak and pleasure.

By Stephanie Zacharek

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L’humanité: Ordinary Human Behavior
L’humanité: Ordinary Human Behavior

In his idiosyncratic, award-winning second film, Bruno Dumont uses the story of an alienated police detective to investigate the most elemental aspects of human experience.

By Nicholas Elliott

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La vie de Jésus: The Sky Above
La vie de Jésus: The Sky Above

Bruno Dumont’s remarkable first feature examines the intermingling of the sacred and the profane in the French provinces.

By Nicholas Elliott

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Swing Time: Heaven Can’t Wait
Swing Time: Heaven Can’t Wait

In their most sublime collaboration, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers perfected a seamless blend of song, dance, and swooning romance.

By Imogen Sara Smith

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Through a Glass Darkly, Winter Light, and The Silence: The Word and the Spirit
Through a Glass Darkly, Winter Light, and The Silence: The Word and the Spirit

In this series of intense chamber dramas influenced by the work of August Strindberg, Ingmar Bergman grapples with Europe’s collective crisis of faith in the modern era.

By Catherine Wheatley

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One Sings, the Other Doesn’t: Bodies and Selves
One Sings, the Other Doesn’t: Bodies and Selves

In one of her most buoyant films, Agnès Varda captured the emotional complexities at the heart of women’s struggle to win autonomy over their own bodies.

By Amy Taubin

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Funny Games: Don’t You Want to See How It Ends?
Funny Games: Don’t You Want to See How It Ends?

With this controversial treatise on violence and media, Michael Haneke created a spectacle that is both intensely watchable and hard to stomach.


By Bilge Ebiri

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The Heiress: A Cruel Inheritance
The Heiress: A Cruel Inheritance

With the help of intense performances by Olivia de Havilland and Montgomery Clift, William Wyler turns the genteel spaces of a Manhattan town house into an emotional battleground.

By ​Pamela Hutchinson

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My Brilliant Career: Unapologetic Women
My Brilliant Career: Unapologetic Women

A celebrated work of Australian cinema, this deeply felt coming-of-age tale is fueled by the independent spirit of three remarkable female artists: novelist Miles Franklin, director Gillian Armstrong, and actor Judy Davis.

By Carrie Rickey

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Police Story and Police Story 2: Law and Disorder
Police Story and Police Story 2: Law and Disorder

With these twin monuments of Hong Kong action filmmaking, Jackie Chan catapulted to international stardom, perfecting a unique blend of athleticism and populism.

By Nick Pinkerton

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A Face in the Crowd: American Character
A Face in the Crowd: American Character

With the current rise of faux-populist demagogues around the globe, this incisive satire of media’s toxic influence on politics is as relevant as it’s ever been.

By April Wolfe

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Diamonds of the Night: Into the Woods
Diamonds of the Night: Into the Woods

Injecting the Czechoslovak New Wave with postmodern rage and formal risk, Jan Němec’s debut feature is a merciless look at human consciousness under siege.

By Michael Atkinson

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Japón: On Seeing Ourselves Seeing
Japón: On Seeing Ourselves Seeing

At a time when Mexican audiences were taught to equate good cinema with foreign cinema, Carlos Reygadas heralded the arrival of something new with his audaciously poetic first feature.

By Valeria Luiselli

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I Wanna Hold Your Hand: All Perfectly Normal
I Wanna Hold Your Hand: All Perfectly Normal

Kicking off a career that would go on to explore the mysteries of pop culture, Robert Zemeckis’s first feature revisits the weekend the Beatles set youth culture ablaze with their American debut.

By Scott Tobias

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Some Detours to Detour
Some Detours to Detour

Obsessed with Edgar G. Ulmer’s B-movie masterpiece from the first time he saw it, writer Robert Polito dives deep into the past to unravel the mysteries surrounding a film that almost never existed.

By Robert Polito

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Wanda: A Miracle
Wanda: A Miracle

In her sole feature-length directorial achievement, Barbara Loden eliminates the boundary between actor and character, crafting a revelatory portrait of a woman without an identity.

By Amy Taubin

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The Kid Brother: Mettle Is Stronger than Muscle
The Kid Brother: Mettle Is Stronger than Muscle

There was more to Harold Lloyd than laughter. In one of his best movies, the silent-film legend deftly balanced elements of action and romance with his signature slapstick set pieces.

By Carrie Rickey

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