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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

Deep Dives

The Sequel to Her Dreams: Hiroshi Teshigahara and Kobo Abe’s Ako

Few films have captured the recklessness and melancholy of youth more vividly than this underappreciated short film, made the same year as Teshigahara’s widely acknowledged masterpiece, Woman in the Dunes.

By Carlos Valladares

Michael Small, Film Music’s Prince of Paranoia

During the 1970s, an incredibly fertile decade for unorthodox approaches to film scoring, the composer of The Parallax View and Klute came into prominence with an out-of-the-box sound that captured the dread of the era.

By Tim Greiving

Looking at Cicely Tyson

Part of a generation of Black artists who believed their vocations were tied to the pride and struggle of their community, the late acting legend lived by her mission to “mirror the times and propel them forward.”

By Danielle A. Jackson

Where the Magic Happens: On Set with Mary Ellen Mark

The celebrated photographer captured some of the most legendary American and European auteurs during the golden age of art-house cinema, including Federico Fellini and Luis Buñuel.

By Rebecca Bengal

First Person

Ain’t Nobody’s Business If the Lady Sings the Blues

In the 1970s, a decade when blaxploitation ruled, Lady Sings the Blues offered a rare tender vision of Black love and masculinity.

By A. Van Jordan

Love’s Labors: The Killing Floor Illuminates the Dream of an Interracial Workers’ Movement

Bill Duke’s feature debut is a rarity in American cinema: a labor film, funded by unions and public money, that balances political urgency with emotional tenderness.

By Blair McClendon

Jean-Claude Carrière, Harvester of Cinema

A close friend and collaborator of Carrière’s reflects on the late writer’s fearless approach to the creative process and the source of his staggering productivity.

By Volker Schlöndorff