On Film

Features

341 Results

Deep Dives

Keaton at the Crossroads: Buster’s Last Silent Comedy, Spite Marriage

Despite the studio system’s stifling conditions, Buster Keaton’s follow-up to The Cameraman remains a testament to the funnyman’s singular style.

By Stephen Winer

The Same Old Song: A Guide to Neonoir

Since its classic-Hollywood heyday, noir has remained a vibrant mode in both studio and independent filmmaking, taking on nostalgic resonances in the highly referential work of Robert Altman, Arthur Penn, Brian De Palma, and the Coen brothers.

By Adam Nayman

Carole Lombard’s Divine Lunacy

A raucous, fast-talking diva, the actor had a remarkable ability to convey both glamour and silliness, a gift that made her the queen of screwball comedy before her untimely death in 1942.

By Molly Haskell

The Stars in Wong Kar Wai’s Universe

Nine writers with roots in the Chinese-speaking world pay tribute to the Hong Kong auteur’s most beloved actors.

First Person

Prisoners of Second Avenue

For reasons this veteran editor and best-selling author can’t fully explain, an unsung film adaptation of a Neil Simon play has become an abiding domestic comfort many years after he first encountered it.

By Benjamin Dreyer

The Femme Solidarity and Queer Allyship of Mädchen in Uniform

Banned upon its release in Germany, Leontine Sagan’s groundbreaking lesbian love story doubles as a cogent antifascist statement.

By Amanda Lee Koe

Performances

Gilded Cage: Robert Ryan in Caught

Postwar Hollywood’s quintessential heavy wields his signature mix of brutality and neurosis to embody an abusive husband in Max Ophuls’s psychological drama.

By Mark Asch

On the Margins: Todd Haynes’s Poison

This touchstone of nineties independent filmmaking is a reminder that true queer cinema is about taking risks and breaking taboos—an increasingly rare thing in our corporatized entertainment culture.

By Michael Koresky

Lois Weber: “It Is Good to Be a Director”

The Hollywood silent era’s leading female director was a meticulous visual stylist whose films were infused with a passion for progressive social values.

By ​Pamela Hutchinson

First Person

Yi Yi Through Time and Space

The author of the acclaimed novel Memorial reflects on how Edward Yang’s epic swan song has accompanied him around the world, through different stages of his life.

By Bryan Washington

Performances

Step by Step: Hideko Takamine in When a Woman Ascends the Stairs

Known for her resilient heroines, the prolific Japanese actor finds agency through moments of hesitation in one of her seventeen collaborations with Mikio Naruse.

By Moeko Fujii

Indigenous Cinema and the Limits of Auteurism

The world’s largest Indigenous film festival challenges the individualist ethos of the dominant cinema culture—and invites us to think outside the exclusionary box.

By Girish Shambu

Beyond the Western: The Staggering Range of Ennio Morricone

The legendary film composer may be best known for his work on Sergio Leone’s iconic visions of the American frontier, but a closer listen reveals his mastery of a wide variety of genres, sounds, and styles.

By Nate Chinen

Deep Dives

Home Is Where the Struggle Is: Victoria Keith’s Activist Lens in The Sand Island Story

Residents of a neglected Hawaiian island fight against eviction and mistreatment in this consciousness-raising documentary from 1981, now playing on the Criterion Channel.

By E. Tammy Kim

One Scene

Chosen Family: The Tenderness in Midnight Cowboy

The director of Test Pattern examines how toxic masculinity gets in the way of the domestic bliss briefly enjoyed by the film’s downtrodden protagonists.

By Shatara Michelle Ford

First Person

Worlds Away

Obsessed with the lure of memory and the stigma of social otherness, Terence Davies’s The Long Day Closes inspires this writer to take her own winding journey into the past.

By Ella Taylor

Looking Through the Veil: The Theology of Movie Afterlives

From Here Comes Mr. Jordan to Defending Your Life (which we recently released in a new edition), cinematic visions of the great beyond often hinge on widely shared anxieties and uncertainties about our earthly existence.

By Donna Bowman

A New India Finds Its Voice in the Films of Bimal Roy

With movies that spoke urgently to the nation post-independence, the director forged a path between the realist tendencies of the era’s art-house cinema and the pleasures of popular genre filmmaking.

By Devika Girish

My Friend Bertrand

One of the world’s most passionate cinephiles, Bertrand Tavernier, passed away last month. His longtime friend celebrates the enduring legacy of his filmmaking, his ideas, and his advocacy of underappreciated artists.

By Volker Schlöndorff

Songbook

Rock and Roll Arrives in Cold War

Bill Haley and His Comets’ generation-defining hit “Rock Around the Clock” comes through like a seismic, uncontrollable force in Paweł Pawlikowski’s meticulously crafted romance.

By Lindsay Zoladz

One Scene

Family Affair: The Dinner Scene in Fanny and Alexander

The Oscar-nominated director of Another Round tells us why Ingmar Bergman has always been a cinematic role model for him and what he learned from the Swedish auteur’s approach to capturing human behavior.

By Thomas Vinterberg

Shadow Sides: The Spiritual Journeys of Nina Menkes

In her hypnotic, uncategorizable films, the director serves as a channel for images that emerge from deep within her unconscious.

By Sarah Resnick

Life Meets Art in Uptight, Ruby Dee’s Groundbreaking Collaboration with Jules Dassin

A rare example of a bold political film released by a major American studio, this portrait of the struggle for Black liberation embodied the great actor’s mission to fuse art with activism.

By Ina Archer

Performances

The Gloomy Side of Sinatra in The Manchurian Candidate

In his middle age, Ol’ Blue Eyes embraced a tired, tormented persona on-screen, one that allowed him to show off his formidable acting chops.

By Christina Newland