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Bobby Womack Turns Up the Heat and the Soul in Fish Tank

Songbook

Bobby Womack Turns Up the Heat and the Soul in Fish Tank

Heard three times in Andrea Arnold’s coming-of-age drama, the R&B legend’s cover of “California Dreamin’ ” highlights the teenage heroine’s yearning for connection and escape.

By Rebecca Bengal

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Mother Monster: Gladys Cooper in Now, Voyager

Performances

Mother Monster: Gladys Cooper in Now, Voyager

Played with icy restraint, the bully at the heart of Irving Rapper’s classic woman’s picture is a prime example of how Hollywood melodramas shaped the archetype of the villainous mother.

By Ella Taylor

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The Ache of Desire
The Ache of Desire

Whether sublimated or made explicit, that longing feeling so specific to the queer experience has always existed in the movies. A new series on the Criterion Channel dives into this richly layered but long-suppressed cinematic history.

By Michael Koresky

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Fever Dreamer: Suzan Pitt’s Feminist Fantasias
Fever Dreamer: Suzan Pitt’s Feminist Fantasias

Taking the spotlight today on the Criterion Channel, the animated work of this legendary multimedia artist is fueled by a wildly surrealist imagination and idiosyncratic perspectives on the female psyche.

By Haden Guest

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Hotel Noir

Dark Passages

Hotel Noir

From the squalid to the generic, cheap hotels serve as a quintessential habitat for the lonely, transitory people in crime cinema.

By Imogen Sara Smith

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MGM’s Stairway to Paradise
MGM’s Stairway to Paradise

With megawatt performers in front of the camera and remarkable talent behind the scenes, the golden-age MGM musical became Hollywood’s most utopian expression of joy.

By Michael Koresky

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The Body Talk in Masculin féminin

One Scene

The Body Talk in Masculin féminin

The director of Synonyms reflects on the subtle physicality of Jean-Pierre Léaud and Chantal Goya during one long, meandering conversation in the French New Wave classic.

By Nadav Lapid

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Godzilla’s Conscience: The Monstrous Humanism of Ishiro Honda
Godzilla’s Conscience: The Monstrous Humanism of Ishiro Honda

In the wake of World War II, the director transformed himself from a maker of warmhearted comedies and dramas into one of the most influential architects of the modern disaster movie.

By Steve Ryfle

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A Cantopop Dream Girl’s First Film Reverie

Songbook

A Cantopop Dream Girl’s First Film Reverie

Hong Kong pop icon Faye Wong made her screen breakthrough in Wong Kar-wai’s Chungking Express, a film that also features her hypnotic cover version of the Cranberries’ hit “Dreams.”

By Oliver Wang

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The Silent Gaze in Satyajit Ray’s Almost-Love Story

Deep Dives

The Silent Gaze in Satyajit Ray’s Almost-Love Story

In one of his most underrated gems, now playing on the Criterion Channel, the Bengali master explored the futility of words and the power of a look.

By Terrence Rafferty

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On the Waterfront

Dark Passages

On the Waterfront

Pessimism, melancholy, and corruption come in with the tide in the greatest seaside noirs, including classics by Josef von Sternberg, Ingmar Bergman, and Marcel Carné.

By Imogen Sara Smith

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Without Motive: The Last Scene in High and Low

One Scene

Without Motive: The Last Scene in High and Low

The director of Audition and First Love dives into the haunting moral ambiguity of Akira Kurosawa’s crime masterpiece.

By Takashi Miike

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This Pretty World: The Films of Val Lewton
This Pretty World: The Films of Val Lewton

In their stillness and melancholy, the B-movie masterpieces of one of Hollywood’s most ingenious producers pushed against the official optimism of American culture during World War II.

By Alexander Nemerov

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Charlie the Ringmaster
Charlie the Ringmaster

Charlie Chaplin earned a remarkable level of autonomy at the height of his career, but he also cultivated a team of loyal collaborators who helped him bring his dreams to the screen.

By Steve Massa

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Jean-Pierre Melville, My Father in the Art
Jean-Pierre Melville, My Father in the Art

Veteran French director Bertrand Tavernier reflects on how one of his greatest mentors fused two seemingly contradictory influences—that of the Resistance and of American genre filmmaking—into a remarkably cohesive body of work.

By Bertrand Tavernier

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Baptized by the Light: “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” at Monterey

One Scene

Baptized by the Light: “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” at Monterey

In one of the most overpowering moments in any concert documentary, D. A. Pennebaker immortalized soul icon Otis Redding as both palpable presence and luminescent mystery.

By Andrew Chan

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Laurence Olivier: The Tragic Comedian
Laurence Olivier: The Tragic Comedian

Working from the outside in, one of the most celebrated actors of his generation infused his majestic, deeply dramatic performances with touches of humor that illuminated his characters’ humanity.

By ​Pamela Hutchinson

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Hidden Histories: The Story of Women Film Editors
Hidden Histories: The Story of Women Film Editors

A new web resource spearheaded by Su Friedrich celebrates women editors from around the world, highlighting work that has long been obscured by the masculinism of auteurist film culture.

By Girish Shambu

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Death’s Angel: Peter Fonda in Easy Rider

Performances

Death’s Angel: Peter Fonda in Easy Rider

The late actor became an icon of his generation with this moody, brilliant non-performance, informed by his intimate knowledge of chaos and death.

By Chuck Stephens

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A Constant Becoming
A Constant Becoming

With their novelistic density and sexual openness, the films of French master André Téchiné introduced director Stephen Cone to a strange new world of contradictions.

By Stephen Cone

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Bitter Harvest

Dark Passages

Bitter Harvest

Three noirs from 1949 plough up the dark underbelly of agriculture, exploring the corrupt system that puts food on our tables.

By Imogen Sara Smith

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A Few Riffs for Penny
A Few Riffs for Penny

The late D. A. Pennebaker once dreamed of being a jazz musician, but he instead found his instrument in a news camera that allowed him to change documentary filmmaking forever.

By Michael Chaiken

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The Master’s First Steps
The Master’s First Steps

In the string of early-career triumphs that established him as the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock captured his native England with a tactile immediacy.

By Geoffrey O’Brien

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Sirk in the Sun

One Scene

Sirk in the Sun

The trashy contrivances of Magnificent Obsession give way to brilliant, high-art mise-en-scène in a memorable scene that plays with the theme of lost vision.

By Zach Clark

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