Häxan: “Let Her Suffering Begin”
Decades before the witch became a staple of horror cinema, Benjamin Christensen used this gothic figure to explore the oppression of women in different historical periods.
Häxan: The Real Unreal
Integrating fact, fiction, objective reality, hallucination, and different levels of representation, this silent masterpiece invented what decades later would be known as the essay film.
The Circus: The Tramp in the Mirror
During a tumultuous time in his life, Charlie Chaplin captured his own identity crisis with this deeply introspective comedy, which explores the fine line between success and failure.
Local Hero: Our Man in Ferness
Decades before climate change became a mainstream topic of conversation, Bill Forsyth’s beloved comedy asked fundamental questions about humankind’s willingness to conserve the natural world.
Polyester: The Perils of Francine
After a string of punkish subcultural shockers, John Waters set out to make something different with this hilariously foul take on Hollywood melodrama, his first studio picture.
The Cloud-Capped Star: A Cry for Life
In this landmark melodrama, director Ritwik Ghatak channeled his grief over the destruction of his beloved homeland, Bengal, in the wake of the Partition of India.
The Koker Trilogy: Journeys of the Heart
Paving a path from neorealism to playfully deconstructive postmodernism, Abbas Kiarostami’s suite of village fables explores complex philosophical mysteries through disarmingly simple means.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.