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Empty Theaters

First Person

Empty Theaters

The author of The Fortress of Solitude considers the meditative, “brain-rinsing” effects of the solo moviegoing experience.

By Jonathan Lethem

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Laughs That Hurt: Albert Brooks’s Uncomfortable Comedies
Laughs That Hurt: Albert Brooks’s Uncomfortable Comedies

Anxiety, panic, and chronic ambivalence course through the hilarious films of one of America’s most influential comedic voices.

By Ari Aster

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The Money Pit: Uttam Kumar in The Hero

Performances

The Money Pit: Uttam Kumar in The Hero

In the first of his two collaborations with Satyajit Ray, the Bengali superstar did not just rely on his image, he enriched it with a unique blend of charisma and craft.

By Mayukh Sen

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Plymptopia
Plymptopia

Childishly anarchic in worldview and distinctly analog in look, the animated films of Bill Plympton are a testament to the pleasures of painstaking craftsmanship.

By Michael Atkinson

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Subvert Normality: The Streetwise Voice of Linda Manz
Subvert Normality: The Streetwise Voice of Linda Manz

The beloved actor, who passed away earlier this month, brought a live-wire sensibility and a genius for improvisation to a small but potent filmography.

By Rebecca Bengal

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The Black Artist Hollywood Couldn’t Buy
The Black Artist Hollywood Couldn’t Buy

One of indie visionary Bill Gunn’s creative partners looks back on the struggles they faced in a racist movie industry and the making of their long-neglected masterpiece Personal Problems.

By Ishmael Reed

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Masaki Kobayashi Plays Hardball

Deep Dives

Masaki Kobayashi Plays Hardball

A noirish tale of closed-door dealings and systemic corruption, I Will Buy You is the anti-sports movie that feels most like baseball in 2020.

By Mark Asch

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Four Ways of Looking at Agnès Varda

One Scene

Four Ways of Looking at Agnès Varda

Filmmakers Ashley Connor, Anna Rose Holmer, Kirsten Johnson, and Lauren Wolkstein explore the moments in the French master’s oeuvre that resonate most deeply with them.

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Elsewhere On-Screen

First Person

Elsewhere On-Screen

The author of Call Me by Your Name remembers the first time he saw The Apartment—and the long, late-night pilgrimage through a vanishing Manhattan that the film inspired.

By André Aciman

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The Valedictory Anthem That Takes Us Inside Inside Llewyn Davis

Songbook

The Valedictory Anthem That Takes Us Inside Inside Llewyn Davis

The heartbreaking lament “Fare Thee Well” builds in resonance as it drifts through multiple scenes in the Coen brothers’ folk-fueled drama.

By Nate Chinen

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Carry That Weight: The Films of Atom Egoyan
Carry That Weight: The Films of Atom Egoyan

The Canadian auteur’s fanatically elaborate puzzle-box narratives invite the audience to discover their hidden meanings and bear the psychological burdens of their characters.

By Adam Nayman

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Ryuichi Sakamoto Finds a Melody for the Unnameable

Songbook

Ryuichi Sakamoto Finds a Melody for the Unnameable

In Nagisa Oshima’s POW drama Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, a palpable but forbidden attraction achieves its most potent expression through music.

By Ruth Saxelby

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Form and Function: On the Object Lessons of Summer Hours

One Scene

Form and Function: On the Object Lessons of Summer Hours

Separated from the domestic spaces they once inhabited, two glass vases and a mahogany desk settle into a caged museum life in Olivier Assayas’s deeply felt family portrait.

By Christian Kiefer

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Party Time in Fellini Land

Songbook

Party Time in Fellini Land

In La dolce vita, an upbeat tune by Nino Rota turns a dour party into a feast of ecstatic movement.

By Michael Joshua Rowin

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Alberto Sordi: Italian Storyteller
Alberto Sordi: Italian Storyteller

In celebration of his hundredth birthday, we look back on the legacy of the extraordinarily prolific icon of Italian cinema, whose unmatched rapport with audiences stretched across a six-decade career.

By Pasquale Iannone

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Turn the Gaze Around
Turn the Gaze Around

A racist, traditionally desexualized archetype from classic Hollywood gets queered and eroticized in Cheryl Dunye’s indie landmark The Watermelon Woman, now playing on the Criterion Channel.

By Michael Koresky

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Mother Lode: Chantal Akerman’s Maternal Portraiture
Mother Lode: Chantal Akerman’s Maternal Portraiture

The legendary Belgian-born filmmaker sought to break free from the strictures and conventions of cinematic portraiture, a career-long project that brought her relationship with her mother into focus.

By Michelle Orange

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Stepping Out: On Watching Women Walk
Stepping Out: On Watching Women Walk

A pedestrian activity becomes a radical vision in Elevator to the Gallows, La notte, Vagabond, and other films that follow their female stars on foot.

By Imogen Sara Smith

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Remembering Harvey Milk on His Ninetieth Birthday
Remembering Harvey Milk on His Ninetieth Birthday

The director of The Times of Harvey Milk pays tribute to one of LGBTQ history’s most beloved trailblazers and looks back on the making of the Oscar-winning documentary portrait.

By Rob Epstein

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The Memory Lane That Runs Through A Kid for Two Farthings

Deep Dives

The Memory Lane That Runs Through A Kid for Two Farthings

Now playing on the Criterion Channel, this underappreciated gem by British master Carol Reed captures the lively, antic spirit of a bustling section of London’s East End.

By Ella Taylor

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The Woman Who Invented the Hollywood Screenwriter
The Woman Who Invented the Hollywood Screenwriter

The highest-paid writer in Hollywood at a time when women were at the forefront of shaping the industry, Oscar winner Frances Marion created some of the most unforgettable stories in 1920s and ’30s American cinema.

By ​Pamela Hutchinson

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The Sweet Taste of Queer Victory in The Times of Harvey Milk

One Scene

The Sweet Taste of Queer Victory in The Times of Harvey Milk

The director of Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project and Spaceship Earth reflects on the power of seeing a moment of pure joy—the defeat of California’s homophobic Proposition 6 in 1978—in Rob Epstein’s classic portrait of Harvey Milk.

By Matt Wolf

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Credit Where It’s Due: The Father of the Title Sequence
Credit Where It’s Due: The Father of the Title Sequence

To celebrate the centenary of Saul Bass, we spoke with six contemporary title designers about highlights from his legendary four-decade filmography.

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Jean Arthur, the Nonconformist
Jean Arthur, the Nonconformist

A down-to-earth goddess of screwball, this Hollywood legend exuded a disarming mix of toughness and vulnerability, and made her mark as one of the most fiercely independent stars of her era.

By Kim Morgan

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