It was decades ago, during one of the bitterest Montreal winters of his youth, that the acclaimed author and essayist Adam Gopnik had one of the experiences that made him a cinephile for life. The movie theater right down the street from his home, the Cinémathèque québécoise, was putting on a Frank Capra festival, and Gopnik found himself ducking in out of the cold for every single film. “It’s still one of the great sensual experiences of my moviegoing life,” recalls the New Yorker staff writer in his revealing Adventures in Moviegoing conversation, now playing on the Criterion Channel on FilmStruck. In the above taste of the episode, Gopnik goes deep on his enduring love for the Hollywood director—in his estimation, the “most naturally gifted American filmmaker,” whose innumerable classics, including 1937’s Lost Horizon and 1946’s It’s a Wonderful Life, remain remarkable not only for their inimitable human touch but also for the sheer richness of their imagery. And you won’t want to miss Gopnik’s story about going to see It’s a Wonderful Life one Christmas with his friend Martin Scorsese.
Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Most Unusual Experiment
In the latest episode of Observations on Film Art, scholar David Bordwell examines the deeply strange horror film Vampyr, which uses popular material as a springboard for innovations in mood and technique.
Perhaps the only thing more fun than watching a perfectly executed cinematic heist unfold is watching it unravel, as evidenced by twelve heist-movie classics now on the Criterion Channel.