Menace II Society: The Truth Hurts
With the candor and rage of many hip-hop albums of the nineties, the Hughes brothers’ controversial debut feature depicts Watts as a pitiless urban war zone with no exit.
Citizen Kane: The Once and Future Kane
Modern in conception but postmodern in effect, the film hailed by many as the greatest ever made has been the subject of cinephilic passion and intense critical analysis since its release in 1941.
Once Upon a Time in China: The Complete Films: Past Master
Tsui Hark’s epic martial-arts saga revolutionized Hong Kong cinema by presenting a complex portrait of modern Chinese history and setting a gold standard in action choreography.
Life of a Legend: A Brief History of Wong Fei-hung On-Screen
Starting with his first movie, in 1949, the Cantonese folk hero became a pop-culture phenomenon whose personality evolved to suit the times.
Devi: Seeing and Believing
Considered his first directly political film, Satyajit Ray’s 1960 masterpiece explores how the denial of self-knowledge, a void neither religion nor Western rationalism can fill, takes a toll on women in Indian society.
Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song: “I’m Gonna Say a Black Ave Maria For You”
Eschewing the accommodationist tendencies of social-problem films of the sixties, Melvin Van Peebles’s second feature launched blaxploitation film but also stands as a challenge to the blanket presumptions about the genre that exist today.
Don’t Play Us Cheap: The Sacredness of Saturday Night, or the Gospel According to Melvin Van Peebles
The first Black-directed movie musical of the modern film era, Melvin Van Peebles’s drama illuminates the cultural and political concerns of working-class Black people with delight and fancy.
Beasts of No Nation: A Different Kind of African War Film
Cary Joji Fukunaga’s devastating child-soldier movie unflinchingly captures the shock of war without forsaking the complexity of human experience.
Original Cast Album: “Company”: The Little Things You Do Together
D. A. Pennebaker turns his camera on Stephen Sondheim and the cast of his breakthrough musical in this revelatory documentary about artists at work.