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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

A Tendency Toward Dirty Laundry: Camille Billops and James Hatch’s Unflinchingly Personal Cinema

Rooted in their trailblazing work as archivists of Black culture, the duo’s transgressively candid documentaries combine revelations of family life with cultural analysis.

By Yasmina Price

The Acrobatic Grace of Cary Grant

In the actor’s inimitable comedic work, he undercut his trademark suavity with moments of slapstick mayhem, creating a contrast that hinted at the chasm between his private life and public persona.

By Angelica Jade Bastién

Dark Passages

Dancing in the Dark

A powerful motif in film noir from around the world, dance is by turns a tool of seduction, a source of humiliation, and a symbol of the pleasures and risks of spectatorship.

By Imogen Sara Smith

Deep Dives

The Art of the Chore: Roberta Cantow’s Feminist Classic Clotheslines

A domestic ritual inspires feelings of resentment, nostalgia, and aesthetic passion in this short documentary from 1981.

By Neyat Yohannes

From the Margins: What the Archives Show Us About Trans Cinema and Audiences

Trans representation in cinema is nothing new. A string of pioneering publications from the past century reveal how trans audiences responded to seeing their community depicted on-screen.

By Caden Mark Gardner

First Person

Rebels at the Multiplex

Shortly after the 2020 election, this award-winning writer reflected on the massive Hollywood blockbuster that became an unexpected source of political emotion for her in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s victory.

By Esmé Weijun Wang

Songbook

In Another Room, from Another Time

In Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Still Walking, the briefly heard Japanese pop hit that inspired the film’s title is both a portal to long-buried memories and a minor detail that resists interpretation.

By Ben Elias

Long Live the Microcinema

With the future of film exhibition more uncertain than ever, several small-scale organizations with highly personal curation are proving they have what it takes to survive against the odds.

By Nicolas Rapold

In Case You Missed Them: A Year’s Worth of Essential Reading on the Current

Before ringing in the new year, we’re taking a look back at some of the most memorable essays and interviews we published in 2020.

The Self-Created Immortality of Mae West

With her contralto drawl, genius for innuendo, and fierce control behind the camera, this great Hollywood provocateur pioneered a sex-positive cinema far ahead of its time.

By Farran Smith Nehme