Don’t Fence Her In: On Women of the West
A string of important midcentury westerns, including Johnny Guitar and Rancho Notorious, elevated women from their traditionally marginal role in the genre to more potent and central positions.
Blood and Guts in High School
John Fawcett’s 2001 cult classic Ginger Snaps—a highlight of the Criterion Channel’s High School Horror collection—uses the werewolf trope to explore the psychosexual anxieties of female adolescence.
Hip-Hop’s Big-Screen Breakthrough
As the influence of the New York–born cultural movement began to spread across the country, cinema gave audiences a deeper sense of the sounds and styles that had emerged from it.
The Replacements: AI in the Movies
Over the past half-century of sci-fi cinema, the theme of artificial intelligence has foregrounded our anxieties about sex, reproduction, and labor in the modern world.
Elvis’s Adventures in Hollywood
Over the course of thirty-one feature films, one of the world’s most revered rock-and-roll icons developed a charismatic persona all his own—and created moments of surprising dramatic depth.
Marilyn Monroe was already a brilliant performer before she began studying Method acting, but the immersive techniques she learned from teacher Lee Strasberg gave her a heightened sense of her craft as “a sort of religion.”
Darkness Visible: Anthony Mann and James Stewart’s Westerns
One of Hollywood’s most beloved actors showed a turbulent, sometimes downright sinister side in his collaborations with director Anthony Mann, which include the classic westerns Winchester ’73 and The Man from Laramie.
An Asian American Comedy Milestone Riffs on a Kung-Fu Icon
One of the first hit movies made by an Asian American team, They Call Me Bruce confronts everyday racism with irreverent humor emblematic of its era.
The Good Fight: Deepa Dhanraj’s Visions of Solidarity
Over the course of her four-decade career, the pioneering Indian documentary filmmaker has demonstrated the important roles that joy and pleasure play in the process of political change.
The Wet Dreams and Twisted Politics of Erotic Thrillers
Combining elements of soft-core porn and film noir, one of the most popular Hollywood genres of the 1980s and ’90s captured the fraught aspirationalism and sexual mores of the era.
The Velvet and the Worms: Ester Krumbachová’s Unsung Legacy
Primarily known as a costume and production designer, this multitalented visionary deserves to be more widely recognized as one of the most important creative forces behind the Czechoslovak New Wave.
Under the Sign of Sadness: Zbigniew Preisner’s Three Colors Scores
One of Krzysztof Kieślowski’s closest collaborators, the Polish composer suffuses the quotidian images that appear throughout Blue, White, and Red with deep poetry and sacred meaning.
Bright Lights, Dark Dreams: Alejandro Galindo in Morelia
This great director from the golden age of Mexican cinema drew upon a wide range of styles to explore the conflict between tradition and modernity.
Their Sounds Were Watching God
The films in the Criterion Channel collection Free Jazz chronicle the development of a deeply experimental music that has baffled and enthralled listeners in equal measure.
A Year of Essential Reading on the Current
From deeply researched surveys of great filmmakers’ careers to idiosyncratic takes on under-examined corners of cinema history, the writing we published this year offered an array of entry points into the art form we all love.