Dance, Girl, Dance: Gotta Dance
Pioneering Hollywood filmmaker Dorothy Arzner brought a rare feminist sensibility to this backstage drama that explores the role of ambition, friendship, and love in the lives of two dancers.
Me and You and Everyone We Know: Punk Cars Bodies Movies
Miranda July took her punk spirit and wild imagination to the big screen with this first feature, which explores universal themes of shame and pain through her singular voice.
The Cremator: “No One Will Suffer”
Juraj Herz’s macabre tale of madness epitomizes the artistic and political audacity of Czechoslovak cinema during its golden age of liberalization, a period that would soon prove to be short-lived.
Destry Rides Again: Riding High
After a career drought, Marlene Dietrich roared back to fame and acclaim with this ingenious comedy-western hybrid, made in what is widely considered one of the peak years of the studio system.
Show Boat: Rollin’ on the River
A landmark stage musical receives its greatest cinematic treatment in this beautifully mounted saga that reflects the changing state of race relations across three generations.
The Cranes Are Flying: A Free Camera
A war film that emphasizes personal drama over public platitude, this masterpiece by Mikhail Kalatozov features the vitality and freewheeling cinematic experimentation characteristic of post-Stalin cinema.
Leave Her to Heaven: The Eyes of Ellen Berent
In this Technicolor film noir masterpiece, Gene Tierney stars as one of cinema’s most dangerous and sympathetic femmes fatales, a woman who finds it impossible to conform to postwar gender roles.
Bamboozled: New Millennium, Same Bullshit
For one of the most provocative and eerily prescient films of his career, Spike Lee confronted the racist neo-minstrelsy that continues to pervade mass entertainment.
Three Fantastic Journeys by Karel Zeman: Storm of Craft
One of Czechoslovak cinema’s masters of illusion dazzled audiences with obsessively handcrafted fantasias that combined live action, animation, and the influence of nineteenth-century graphic illustration.
Paris Is Burning: The Fire This Time
New York City’s 1980s drag-ball scene comes to vibrant life in Jennie Livingston’s documentary, a landmark chronicle of the resilience and realness of queer communities of color.
Teorema: Just a Boy
Pier Paolo Pasolini’s seemingly irreconcilable allegiances to Marx, Freud, and Jesus Christ come to the fore in this radical provocation, which marks the midway point of the polymathic artist’s filmmaking career.
The Layers of Roma
In a polarized and violent world, Alfonso Cuarón’s masterpiece offers a pure message of human solidarity that transcends class and race. But its story is also firmly rooted in the historical specificity of 1970s Mexico City.
Fail Safe: Very Little Left of the World
Sidney Lumet brought his vivid sense of the messiness of human experience to this stark nuclear thriller, which centers on a series of earth-shattering decisions made in quiet rooms.
All About My Mother: Matriarchal Society
Of the many odes to motherhood in Pedro Almodóvar’s filmography, this Oscar-winning hit is the most exquisite exploration of maternal love’s all-consuming power.
Le petit soldat: The Awful Truth
One of the lesser-known films in Godard’s extraordinary run of 1960s masterpieces, this severe, angular thriller was the director’s first foray into the political territory that would prove so essential to his later work.