sex, lies, and videotape: Some Kind of Skin Flick
Flesh has rarely been as alive on-screen as it is in Steven Soderbergh’s feature debut, an intimate drama that changed the face of American independent film.
No, But I Saw the Game
In this essay originally published in the New Yorker, Roger Angell hails Ron Shelton’s comic ode to baseball as one of the few movies to capture the essence of the sport.
Dragon Inn: Poised for Battle
The martial-arts film was never the same after King Hu got his hands on it, reinventing the genre with subtle editing and dazzling choreography.
Where Credit Is Due
Josef von Sternberg may have been one of cinema’s original micromanagers, but his films are testaments to longstanding collaborations with brilliant artists and technicians.
Female Trouble: Spare Me Your Morals
John Waters’ favorite among his early works is both an assault on political correctness and a no-holds-barred expression of gay militancy.
The Devil Is in the Details
During a period when studios gave him carte blanche, Josef von Sternberg created a sublime cinematic language that shrugged off one orthodoxy after another.
El Sur: A Complete Incomplete Film
At a time when Spain was trying to leave its past behind, master filmmaker Víctor Erice transported viewers back to the post–Civil War era, examining its traumas through the eyes of a child.
Bowling for Columbine: By Any Means Necessary
A galvanizing mix of polemic and entertainment, Michael Moore’s look at the American gun obsession is as chillingly relevant today as when it was released.
Mistress of Ceremonies
Marlene Dietrich’s sexually authoritative, coolly insolent persona was the product of meticulous screen craft.
Manila in the Claws of Light: A Proletarian Inferno
Gritty realism meets Hollywood-inspired melodrama in this portrait of urban poverty, seen through the eyes of star-crossed lovers.
Midnight Cowboy: On the Fringe
John Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy is a milestone along several different paths of movie history, all of which converged at the majestically seedy crossroads of Times Square in the spring of 1968.
Graduation: Where Are You, Romeo?
About halfway through Cristian Mungiu’s Graduation (2016), Dr. Romeo Aldea (Adrian Titieni) finds himself in a patch of woods in the middle of the night, crying. It’s a surprisingly vulnerable moment for a protagonist who is usually all business.…
Beyond the Hills: Offscreen Cinema
Drawing as much from the horror-movie canon as from religious iconography, Cristian Mungiu provoked the ire of the Orthodox Church with this unrelenting account of a real-life exorcism.
Dead Man: Earth, Wind, and Fire
Improvising to Jim Jarmusch’s film in real time, Neil Young created a rich parallel environment that sounds like a force of nature.
The Other Side of Hope: No-Home Movie
In the singular world of Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki, auteurist homage and social consciousness are joined by some of the most lovingly filmed dogs in contemporary cinema.
Moonrise: Dark of the Moon
In his uncharacteristic final masterpiece, the great Hollywood melodramatist Frank Borzage approaches the shadowy violence of film noir with his unique brand of romanticism.
Dead Man: Blake in America
What do we mean when we say a narrative film is poetic? The answer lies in this visionary western from director Jim Jarmusch.
The Awful Truth: Divorce, McCarey Style
With a mix of improvisation, balletic physicality, and slapstick humor, Hollywood master Leo McCarey crafted the most sublime of screwball comedies.
The Virgin Suicides: “They Hadn’t Heard Us Calling”
Sofia Coppola lets us behind closed doors in ways that are beyond the imagining of the novel’s boy narrators.
The Color of Pomegranates: Parajanov Unbound
Soviet filmmaker Sergei Parajanov explored his Transcaucasian roots in this visually spectacular and wonderfully strange ode to the Armenian poet Sayat-Nova.
Eclipse Series 46: Ingrid Bergman’s Swedish Years
Ingrid Bergman’s work in her native Sweden was an early showcase for her dazzlingly precocious talent and emotional depth.
Now You Has King of Jazz
This spectacular and technically ambitious Hollywood musical is a priceless window onto American pop culture’s view of itself in the 1930s.
Women in Love: Bohemian Rhapsody
At the height of his career, Ken Russell brought D. H. Lawrence’s classic exploration of human sexuality to the screen with frank eroticism and visual panache.