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Chop Shop: American Hustle
Chop Shop: American Hustle

With novelistic intimacy, Rahmin Bahrani’s follow-up to Man Push Cart illuminates the economic desperation hiding in plain sight in contemporary America.

By Viet Thanh Nguyen

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Man Push Cart: A Melancholy Pull
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.

By Bilge Ebiri

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Smooth Talk: Girl Power
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.

By Honor Moore

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Mandabi: Paper Trail
Mandabi: Paper Trail

Ousmane Sembène’s second feature departs from his early-career critiques of colonial power, instead focusing on the oppressive forces manifested within postcolonial African society.

By Tiana Reid

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The Parallax View: Dark Towers
The Parallax View: Dark Towers

Alan J. Pakula captured the anxiety of the seventies in this noir-inflected conspiracy thriller, which offers a critique both of American institutions and of the self-made heroes who do battle with them.

By Nathan Heller

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The Ascent: Out in the Cold
The Ascent: Out in the Cold

Set against a forbidding backdrop of war, this masterpiece of Soviet cinema contemplates the sources of evil while also searching for signs of meaning and divinity in a fallen world.

By Fanny Howe

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Rolling Thunder Revue: American Multitudes
Rolling Thunder Revue: American Multitudes

Combining elements of truth and artifice, Martin Scorsese’s documentary of Bob Dylan’s 1975–76 tour captures the legendary singer-songwriter brimming with confidence and at the peak of his gifts.

By Dana Spiotta

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Minding the Gap: What It’s About
Minding the Gap: What It’s About

Bing Liu’s extraordinary debut feature was originally conceived as a documentary about skaters around the country and ultimately became an unflinching exploration of family, trauma, and the filmmaker’s own life.

By Jay Caspian Kang

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That Obscure Object of Desire: Desire, Denuded
That Obscure Object of Desire: Desire, Denuded

Luis Buñuel weaved together multiple strands of his artistry in his final film, which blends the surrealism of his early years, the melodrama of his 1950s work, and the elegant erotic comedy of his late career.

By Adrian Martin

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The Phantom of Liberty: The Serpentine Movements of Chance
The Phantom of Liberty: The Serpentine Movements of Chance

Luis Buñuel lays bare the amorality and illogic of human affairs in the slew of straight-faced absurdities that make up his penultimate film.

By Gary Indiana

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The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie: More and Less
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie: More and Less

Crazy things keep happening in Luis Buñuel’s perverse comedy of manners, a film that coolly deconstructs itself at every turn.

By Adrian Martin

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Amores perros: The Dogs That Heralded the Millennium
Amores perros: The Dogs That Heralded the Millennium

Capturing the tense mood of a new millennium, Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s debut feature explores the hidden spaces of Mexico City at a moment of political turbulence and extreme social stratification.

By Juan Villoro

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Amores perros: Force of Impact
Amores perros: Force of Impact

With its thought-provoking structure, interweaving story lines, and saturated colors, Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s debut feature represented a quantum leap in the audiovisual grammar of Mexican cinema.

By Fernanda Solórzano

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Crash: The Wreck of the Century
Crash: The Wreck of the Century

In one of the most controversial films of his career, David Cronenberg adapts a scandalous J. G. Ballard novel, radically overhauling its story to address a society paralyzed in the headlights of a new millennium.

By Jessica Kiang

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The Irishman: The Wages of Loyalty
The Irishman: The Wages of Loyalty

Sprawling across more than half a century of American history, Martin Scorsese’s crime saga combines epic ambition with a mood of isolation and dissolution.

By Geoffrey O’Brien

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Primary Sources
Primary Sources

With roots in Italian neorealism, Federico Fellini’s beguiling body of work moved beyond that movement to embrace the coalescing of real life and dream life.

By Michael Almereyda

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Moonstruck: Life in the In-Between
Moonstruck: Life in the In-Between

In this highly quotable, opera-infused romantic comedy, Norman Jewison finds endless possibilities in a world dominated by constricting binaries.

By Emily VanDerWerff

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Ghost Dog: By the Book
Ghost Dog: By the Book

Two Zen masters of contemporary American cinema—Jim Jarmusch and Forest Whitaker—explore masculine codes of honor in this postmodern mix of the samurai and gangster genres.

By Greg Tate

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Ghost Dog as International Sampler
Ghost Dog as International Sampler

In his final film of the twentieth century, Jim Jarmusch evokes the tragic weight of history while also anticipating the mythical identities of a social-media-saturated future.

By Jonathan Rosenbaum

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Girlfriends: Second Births
Girlfriends: Second Births

With rare immediacy and subtlety, Claudia Weill’s low-budget feature debut explores how the fraught dynamics of women’s friendships can be every bit as complex as a love affair.

By Molly Haskell

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Girlfriends: Fantastic Light
Girlfriends: Fantastic Light

Made after the dawn of second-wave feminism, this tale of two aspiring women artists depicts their sisterhood as resistance against a patriarchal order.

By Carol Gilligan

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Parasite: Notes from the Underground
Parasite: Notes from the Underground

In his tension-filled, black-comic Oscar winner, Bong Joon Ho masterfully mixes tones and subverts genres in order to shine a harsh light on the mechanisms that maintain class inequality.

By Inkoo Kang

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The Gunfighter: You Can’t Go Home Again
The Gunfighter: You Can’t Go Home Again

Subverting the archetypes and redemptive tropes of the western, Henry King’s melancholy tale of violence peers into the soul of a legendary gunslinger.

By K. Austin Collins

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Claudine: A Happy Home
Claudine: A Happy Home

During a pivotal time for Black cinema, John Berry’s beautifully lived-in drama offered a portrait of an African American family that stood in opposition to a long history of harmful stereotypes.

By Danielle A. Jackson

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