The Roaring Twenties: Into the Past
Hollywood legend Raoul Walsh’s first movie for Warner Bros. is an epoch-spanning tall tale that takes inspiration from the New York City of his childhood and closes out a run of influential gangster films he inaugurated in the silent era.
The Heroic Trio / Executioners: To the Power of Three
Combining the influence of the wuxia genre, the Hong Kong New Wave filmmaking of the 1980s, and loony comic-book futurism, these two ass-kicking fantasias are dazzling showcases of female physicality.
Nothing but a Man: What We Can See in Ourselves
Released at the height of the civil rights movement, this deceptively simple tale of a working-class Black man’s search for love and self-worth broke ground with its realism, nuance, and intensity.
Eric Rohmer’s Tales of the Four Seasons: Another Year
Through its echoes, resonances, and intricately branching stories, this cycle of films evokes the feeling that life, like the weather, is based on patterns too complex to ever be fully predictable.
Trainspotting: Beyond the Tracks
Shifting recklessly between realism and surrealism, this drug-fueled odyssey from director Danny Boyle is a propulsive satire of depleted masculinity in urban Scotland.
Mudbound: Friendship, Motherhood, and Redemptive Softness
A kaleidoscopic work of literary adaptation, Dee Rees’s fourth feature film is anchored in a powerful fraternal bond between two men from opposite sides of the color line.
Chantal Akerman, 1968–1978: The Weight of Being
In the first ten years of her extraordinary career, the Belgian filmmaker used the raw materials of quotidian, marginal lives to spark a radical reinvention of cinema.
Lone Star: Past Is Present
Drawing on the influence of a wide range of genres, John Sayles creates a densely layered narrative that unfolds across two timelines and explores the long-hidden secrets of a small border town in Texas.
Branching Out: Guillermo del Toro’s Transformation of an Evergreen Tale
This powerful adaptation of Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio combines the novel’s ever-relevant critique of corrupt institutions with a fierce belief in kindness and selfless courage.
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio: Sculpted to Life
Imbuing stop-motion animation with vivid humanity, this ambitious take on a classic tale grapples with the realities of human suffering, fascism, and the parent-child bond.
Head in the Clouds: The Cinema of Albert Lamorisse
Drawn to high-risk productions and propelled by his own technical ingenuity, French director Albert Lamorisse crafted some of cinema’s most beguiling visions of childhood, animals, and flight.
Mean Streets: Rites of Passage
Martin Scorsese’s breakthrough feature—a rare example of a work of personal cinema with broad popular appeal—delivers all the elements of his future career in one spectacular, bravura throw-down.
Bugs Bunny in the Shaolin Temple
In a string of wildly entertaining films released between the late seventies and the mideighties, Jackie Chan paved the way to his international stardom by turning himself into a real-life cartoon character.
Nanny: Troubled Water
With the full force of her imagination, director Nikyatu Jusu examines the complicated nature of Black motherhood, as well as the importance of Black communion as an antidote to racial oppression.
The Others: Something in This House
Influenced by haunted-house classics like The Innocents and Rebecca, this brilliantly restrained ghost story is a dramatization of extreme repression that builds toward an explosive reckoning.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.