The term holiday movie doesn’t have to conjure Christmas carols or miracles at Macy’s. Case in point: the personal, even skewed, films chosen by a few filmmakers as their holiday favorites for a seasonal special section in the New York Times; a couple of them hail from the Criterion catalogue. Jan Chapman, the producer of Jane Campion’s The Piano and Holy Smoke, is particularly enamored of Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding—not a holiday film per se, but its family gathering and celebration invoke the spirit of the season (“All the tragic and comedic misunderstandings and misadventures of a Shakespearean comedy, with a fresh and knowing eye,” Chapman rejoices). Rebecca Miller, director of the upcoming The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, takes the opposite tack, choosing Ang Lee’s The Ice Storm, perhaps an anti-holiday film, or, as she writes with affection, “the sort of holiday film that makes you never want to go home again.”
A Sound for Love and Loss: Bo Harwood on A Woman Under the Influence
With just piano and guitar, longtime Cassavetes collaborator Bo Harwood created a score that highlights the melancholy in the director’s acclaimed domestic drama.