Mirror: “All Is Immortal”
The fourth of Andrei Tarkovsky’s seven features is his most oneiric and resistant to interpretation, drawing from the director’s own childhood memories to create a fluid sense of history.
The Signifyin’ Works of Marlon Riggs: Positive Images
The multi-hyphenate artist’s staggering and frequently autobiographical body of work reimagines the depiction of Black people in American culture, encouraging us to question everything we see.
Streetwise/Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell: Qualities of Life
These landmark documentary portraits of intergenerational struggle in Seattle expose social horrors while also revealing the humanity of their subjects.
Nightmare Alley: The Fool Who Walks in Motley . . .
In Edmund Goulding’s gritty cult classic, Tyrone Power casts off his matinee-idol image to play a conniving carnival barker on the flipside of the American dream.
Merrily We Go to Hell: Gingerbread, Cake, and Crème de Menthe
Dorothy Arzner’s deeply cynical portrait of marriage exemplifies the director’s ambivalence toward the norms dictating female behavior, wielding ironic detachment to mask one woman’s simmering inner turmoil.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High: A Kid’s-Eye View
One of the most influential high-school movies ever made, Amy Heckerling’s debut feature is both a raunchy crowd-pleaser and a keen sociological snapshot of teen culture.
Irma Vep: Film in Flux
In what became his biggest hit to date, Olivier Assayas turned his methods of postmodern reflection onto his own medium, which was being drastically transformed by digitization and globalization at the end of the twentieth century.
Memories of Murder: In the Killing Jar
Bong Joon Ho combines gritty crime drama with absurdist comedy in his breakthrough second feature, a dark tale set during a tumultuous period in South Korean history.
History Is Made at Night: Taking a Chance on Love
The feeling of freedom in this swooningly beautiful blend of melodrama and romantic comedy speaks to director Frank Borzage’s belief in the invincibility of love.
World of Wong Kar Wai: Like the Most Beautiful Times
By marrying the glamour of golden-age Hollywood to a quicksilver formal daring influenced by a wide range of artists, the Hong Kong auteur became one of the coolest and most beloved filmmakers in the world in the 1990s.
Céline and Julie Go Boating: State of Play
Drawing on influences ranging from classic Hollywood to cartoons, Jacques Rivette’s uncategorizable masterpiece plunges viewers into a world shaped by the friendship and imagination shared by two soul sisters.
Touki bouki: Word, Sound, and Power
One of the most striking debuts in film history, Djibril Diop Mambéty’s unconventional picaresque forged new aesthetic paths for African cinema with its dreamlike narrative, discontinuous editing, and jagged soundscapes.
Man Push Cart: A Melancholy Pull
Set in a transient, post-9/11 New York City, Rahmin Bahrani’s feature debut follows the Sisyphean toil of a Pakistani immigrant whose life teeters on the verge of catastrophe.
Smooth Talk: Girl Power
A film that now plays like a harbinger of the #MeToo movement, Joyce Chopra’s first fiction feature shows how the myths that direct how girls come of age threaten their safe passage to womanhood.