In this series of articles, some of our favorite writers and filmmakers highlight key moments in cinema that continue to haunt them long after the credits roll.
When We Were Kings: Ready to Fight
Drawn from a treasure trove of footage, this Oscar-winning documentary explores a watershed moment for one of the world’s greatest athletes—an international spectacle that revealed the complexities of black identity.
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.
Häxan: “Let Her Suffering Begin”
Decades before the witch became a staple of horror cinema, Benjamin Christensen used this gothic figure to explore the oppression of women in different historical periods.
Häxan: The Real Unreal
Integrating fact, fiction, objective reality, hallucination, and different levels of representation, this silent masterpiece invented what decades later would be known as the essay film.
Consuming the Cat: Brenda Lien Calls Out an Internet Fetish
In a short film now featured on the Criterion Channel, the German filmmaker interrogates our insatiable appetite for feline memes and what it says about our consumerist culture.
The Art of Lighting a Comedic Thriller
In the latest episode of Observations on Film Art, Professor Kristin Thompson explores how Ernst Lubitsch’s satirical masterpiece To Be or Not to Be employs a venerable cinematographic technique: three-point lighting.
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.