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.
John Schlesinger’s Cinema of Failures and Outcasts
A gay man in an age when homosexuality was against the law in his native Britain, the Oscar-winning director eschewed political statements in favor of compassionate portrayals of the human condition.
The Lurid Intensity of Shock Corridor’s Long Takes
In the latest episode of Observations on Film Art, now playing on the Criterion Channel, Professor Jeff Smith breaks down the audacious style of one of Samuel Fuller’s most provocative works.