This November, take a stroll down some of film noir’s darkest alleys: our Fox Noir collection singles out a studio whose crime pictures were distinguished by their gritty realism, while our John Garfield and Veronica Lake retrospectives pay tribute to two of the genre’s most magnetic stars. That’s just the beginning of a month that also includes a selection of some of Bob Hoskins’s best performances, a revelatory look at free jazz on film, an expansive collection of the art-house hits that have made Sony Pictures Classics synonymous with the best of contemporary cinema, and so much more.
* indicates programming available only in the U.S.
PREMIERING NOVEMBER 1
The troubled, cynical underbelly of postwar America is reflected in these dark diamonds from Twentieth Century-Fox, where directors like Otto Preminger, Elia Kazan, and Henry Hathaway, working with stars such as Richard Widmark, Linda Darnell, and Dana Andrews, created some of the defining film noirs of the 1940s and ’50s. In gritty crime dramas like Call Northside 777 and Cry of the City, Fox distinguished itself with documentary-like location shooting that gave their productions a jolt of bracing realism, while Robert Wise’s The House on Telegraph Hill combines noir and gothic melodrama for a moody mystery of curiously strange and haunting power.
FEATURING: Fallen Angel (1945), The Dark Corner (1946), Kiss of Death (1947), Call Northside 777 (1948), Cry of the City (1948), Thieves’ Highway (1949), Panic in the Streets (1950), The House on Telegraph Hill (1951)
The free-jazz revolution that exploded in the late 1950s and early ’60s took music into hitherto unexplored realms of adventurous tonality, boundary-breaking improvisation, and ecstatic personal expression. Led by visionaries such as Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler, Sun Ra, Eric Dolphy, and Milford Graves, free jazz extended beyond music and left its radical imprint on cinema. This eye- and ear-opening journey brings together definitive records of the movement such as Space Is the Place and Ornette: Made in America—both of which find a thrillingly experimental cinematic analog to the genre’s abstract sound—rarities like the long-lost French cult classic Les stances à Sophie (featuring a score by the Art Ensemble of Chicago), and visionary multimedia reveries like Promises: Through Congress, set to a late-career masterpiece by Pharoah Sanders.
FEATURES: Les stances à Sophie (1971), Space Is the Place (1974), Sun Ra: A Joyful Noise (1980), Imagine the Sound (1981), Ornette: Made in America (1985), Rising Tones Cross (1985), Milford Graves Full Mantis (2018), Fire Music (2021), Promises: Through Congress (2021)
SHORTS: The Cry of Jazz (1959), Black Journal, “Alice Coltrane” (1970), Dream City (1983)
Starring John Garfield
Featuring an introduction by Garfield’s daughter, actor and acting instructor Julie Garfield
Brooding, forceful, and intensely charismatic, John Garfield brought the startlingly modern style of Method acting to Hollywood a full decade before Brando made it a sensation. Emerging from New York’s revolutionary Group Theatre, Garfield exuded raw physicality and tough-guy pugnaciousness, adding punchy realism to classics such as the lush romantic melodrama Humoresque, the sultry noir The Postman Always Rings Twice, and the hard-hitting thriller The Breaking Point. His tragically premature death at age thirty-nine was the result of a heart attack possibly brought on by the persecution and blacklisting he faced after refusing to name names before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, cementing his legacy as both an artist and humanist of supreme integrity.
FEATURING: Dust Be My Destiny (1939), Saturday’s Children (1940), Out of the Fog (1941), Air Force (1943), The Fallen Sparrow (1943), Humoresque (1946), The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946), Force of Evil (1948)*, The Breaking Point (1950), He Ran All the Way (1951)
Starring Veronica Lake
Veronica Lake stood barely five feet tall, but her incandescent presence dominated every inch of the screen. Born one hundred years ago this november, Lake became one of the most popular stars of the 1940s by the time she was just twenty years old thanks to her combination of cool blonde glamour—complete with her signature peek-a-boo hairstyle—and spitfire sass. While her turbulent personal life contributed to a sadly premature career decline, Lake’s legend lives on in this selection of some of her most enduring films, including a pair of sophisticated screwballs (Sullivan’s Travels, I Married a Witch) and the classic noirs (This Gun for Hire, The Glass Key, The Blue Dahlia) that showcase her crackling chemistry with frequent on-screen partner Alan Ladd.
FEATURING: Sullivan’s Travels (1941), This Gun for Hire (1942), The Glass Key (1942), I Married a Witch (1942), The Blue Dahlia (1946)*
PREMIERING NOVEMBER 15
30 Years of Art-House Hits: A Tribute to Sony Pictures Classics
Featuring an introduction by Sony Pictures Classics copresidents Michael Barker and Tom Bernard
Since its founding in 1992, Sony Pictures Classics has produced and distributed many of the most lauded foreign and independent films of the last three decades. In the process, they’ve nurtured some of contemporary cinema’s most exciting talent, bringing out films by directors such as Pedro Almodóvar, Jafar Panahi, Mike Leigh, Marjane Satrapi, Asghar Farhadi, Sally Potter, and Errol Morris, and helping make actors like Tilda Swinton, Amy Adams, and Carey Mulligan household names. This thirtieth-anniversary celebration brings together a dazzling array of the Oscar-winning dramas (The Lives of Others, A Separation), art-house sensations (Run Lola Run, Volver), animated wonders (Persepolis, Waltz with Bashir), and acclaimed documentaries (Winged Migration, Searching for Sugar Man) that have made the Sony Pictures Classics seal synonymous with quality.
FEATURING: Orlando (1992), The City of Lost Children (1995)*, Run Lola Run (1998), American Movie (1999), Grateful Dawg (2000), Nine Queens (2000), Pollock (2000), Last Orders (2001), Winged Migration (2001), The Fog of War (2003), House of Flying Daggers (2004), L’enfant (2005), Junebug (2005), Thumbsucker (2005), Offside (2006), The Lives of Others (2006), Paprika (2006), Volver (2006), Persepolis (2007), Waltz with Bashir (2008)*, An Education (2009), A Prophet (2009), The White Ribbon (2009), Animal Kingdom (2010)*, Another Year (2010), Incendies (2010)*, The Illusionist (2010), A Separation (2011), Footnote (2011), Searching for Sugar Man (2012)
EXCLUSIVE STREAMING PREMIERES
To reflect on the five-hundred-year anniversary of the Spanish conquest of Mexico, director Rodrigo Reyes offers a bold hybrid-cinema experience exploring the brutal legacy of colonialism in contemporary Mexico. Through the eyes of a ghostly conquistador, 499 recreates Hernán Cortés’s journey from the coasts of Veracruz to the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, the site of contemporary Mexico City. As the anachronistic fictional character interacts with real-life victims of Mexico’s failed drug wars and Indigenous communities in resistance, the filmmaker portrays the country’s current humanitarian crisis as part of a vicious and unfinished colonial project, still in motion nearly five hundred years later. Provocative, unique, and strikingly cinematic, 499 mixes nonfictional and performative elements with conventions of the road movie to show how past traumas continue to shape contemporary reality.
The Flaming Lips Space Bubble Film
This blissful concert documentary tells the story behind an ingenious spectacle devised by psych-rock legends the Flaming Lips in response to the COVID-19 pandemic: the Space Bubble Concerts, in which band and audience members alike were encased in individual, transparent orbs. Starting simply as an image that Wayne Coyne, the leader and visual artist of the band, drew as a funny reflection on life in 2020, the idea captured the imagination of fans and media alike and the band soon proceeded to make the COVID-safe space-bubble concerts a reality. The Flaming Lips Space Bubble Film chronicles the myriad logistical challenges of putting on the show at the height of the pandemic and the glory of music created by a band connecting to an audience in a joyous, safe, and socially distanced way never tried before.
A Night of Knowing Nothing
Through fictional love letters found in a cupboard at the Film and Television Institute of India, we meet L, a film student writing to her estranged lover while he is away. Gradually we’re immersed in the drastic changes taking place at the school and in the lives of young people across the country as they take to the streets to protest the widespread religious and caste-based discrimination intensifying under Narendra Modi. In her debut film, Payal Kapadia deftly merges reality with fiction, weaving together archival footage with student protest videos to create a vital tapestry of the personal and the political. With its dreamlike editing rhythms and revelatory use of sound, A Night of Knowing Nothing is both an essential document of contemporary India and a nostalgic look at youth fighting the injustice of their time.
Louis I. Kahn, who died in 1974, was one of the greatest architects of the twentieth century, but he left behind an illegitimate son, Nathaniel, and a personal life of secrets and broken promises. My Architect takes us on a heartbreaking yet humorous journey as Nathaniel attempts to reconnect with his deceased father. The riveting narrative takes us from the men’s room in Penn Station, where Kahn died bankrupt and alone, to the bustling streets of Bangladesh, the inner sanctums of Jerusalem politics, and unforgettable encounters with the world’s most celebrated architects. In a documentary with all the emotional impact of a dramatic feature film, Nathaniel’s journey becomes a universal investigation of identity—and a celebration of art and, ultimately, life itself.
CRITERION COLLECTION EDITIONS
PREMIERING NOVEMBER 1
CRITERION COLLECTION EDITIONS
PREMIERING NOVEMBER 1
Cure (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2001)
Criterion Collection Edition #1155
Awash in hushed, hypnotic dread, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s international breakthrough established him as one of the leaders of an emerging new wave of Japanese horror while pushing the genre into uncharted realms of philosophical and existential exploration.
SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: A conversation between Kurosawa and filmmaker Ryusuke Hamaguchi, interviews with actors Masato Hagiwara and Koji Yakusho, and more.
Take Out (Sean Baker and Shih-Ching Tsou, 2004)
Criterion Collection Edition #1149
The American dream has rarely seemed so far away as it does in this raw, vérité immersion into the life of an undocumented Chinese immigrant struggling to get by on the margins of post-9/11 New York City.
SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Audio commentary by directors Sean Baker and Shih-Ching Tsou and actor Charles Jang, interviews with cast and crew members, deleted scenes, and more.
Brazil (Terry Gilliam, 1985)
Criterion Collection Edition #51
A daydreaming everyman finds himself caught in the soul-crushing gears of a nightmarish bureaucracy in Terry Gilliam’s dazzling dystopian odyssey.
SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Audio commentary by Gilliam, documentaries about the making of the film and its contentious release, interviews, video essays, and more.
The Breaking Point (Michael Curtiz, 1950)
Criterion Collection Edition #889
Michael Curtiz charts a course through daylight noir and working-class tragedy in this hard-hitting Ernest Hemingway adaptation, featuring a stoic, career-capping performance from John Garfield.
SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: An interview with critic Alan K. Rode; a program featuring actor and acting instructor Julie Garfield on her father, John Garfield; a video essay by Taylor Ramos and Tony Zhou; and more.
Sullivan’s Travels (Preston Sturges, 1941)
Criterion Collection Edition #118
Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake set out to see America in what may be Preston Sturges’s finest hour, both a rollicking Hollywood-on-Hollywood satire and an uplifting ode to the power of popular entertainment.
SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Audio commentary by filmmakers Noah Baumbach, Kenneth Bowser, Christopher Guest, and Michael McKean; the documentary Preston Sturges: The Rise and Fall of an American Dreamer; a video essay by film critic David Cairns; and more.
Directed by Joyce Chopra
Focused on pivotal moments in the lives of women, the films of trailblazing feminist director Joyce Chopra were among the first in American cinema to give authentic expression to the intimate experiences of female adolescence, sexual awakening, and motherhood. Presented in conjunction with the release of Chopra’s candid autobiography Lady Director: Adventures in Hollywood, Television and Beyond, this program brings together Chopra’s pioneering work in both documentary and fiction, including the landmark self-portrait Joyce at 34 and her unforgettable feature debut, Smooth Talk, starring a revelatory Laura Dern in her breakthrough role.
FEATURES: Martha Clarke Light & Dark: A Dancer’s Journal (1980), Smooth Talk (1985), Gramercy Stories (2008)
SHORTS: Happy Mother’s Day (1963) (codirected by Richard Leacock), Joyce at 34 (1972), Clorae and Albie (1975), Girls at 12 (1975)
Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl
The extraordinary debut feature by Joan Chen is a heartrending immersion into the life of a teenage girl coming of age in China during the Cultural Revolution.
Marjane Satrapi adapts her graphic memoir to the screen for this acclaimed animated wonder about growing up in 1970s Iran.
More women filmmakers featured in this month’s programming: Short Films by Nikyatu Jusu, Freak Orlando (1981), Ornette: Made in America (1985), Rising Tones Cross (1985), Orlando (1992), Grateful Dawg (2000), Take Out (2004), An Education (2009), Henri-Georges Clouzot’s “Inferno” (2009), America (2019), Dazed Flesh (2019), Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth (2019)*, Nũhũ yãgmũ yõg hãm: This Land Is Ours! (2020), Republic (2020), Yãmĩyhex, the Women-Spirit (2020), A Night of Knowing Nothing (2021), Goodbye Jerome! (2022)
CzechMate: In Search of Jiří Menzel
This in-depth portrait of Czechoslovak New Wave director Jiří Menzel (Closely Watched Trains) offers an illuminating look at one of the most explosive creative movements in all of cinema history.
Searching for Sugar Man
Discover the incredible story of the greatest seventies rock icon who never was.
Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth*
A transgender man’s journey through pregnancy challenges fundamental assumptions about gender, parenthood, and family in this extraordinarily intimate, empathetic documentary.
More documentaries featured in this month’s programming: The Cry of Jazz (1959), Happy Mother’s Day (1963), Joyce at 34 (1972), Clorae and Albie (1975), Girls at 12 (1975), Black Journal, “Alice Coltrane” (1970), Martha Clarke Light & Dark: A Dancer’s Journal (1980), Sun Ra: A Joyful Noise (1980), Imagine the Sound (1981), Ornette: Made in America (1985), Rising Tones Cross (1985), Tigrero: A Film That Was Never Made (1994), American Movie (1999), Grateful Dawg (2000), Winged Migration (2001), The Fog of War (2003), My Architect (2003), Gramercy Stories (2008), Waltz with Bashir (2008)*, Henri-Georges Clouzot’s “Inferno” (2009), Milford Graves Full Mantis (2018), 499 (2020), Fire Music (2021), The Flaming Lips Space Bubble Film (2022)
Spotlight on The Long Good Friday
In the latest installment of our Spotlight series, Criterion curatorial director Ashley Clark introduces the British crime-film classic that made Bob Hoskins an instant star.
(There Is No) Cure
In this new video essay, filmmaker Alexandre O. Philippe (78/52, Lynch/Oz) delves into the dread-inducing mood and tone of Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s modern horror classic Cure, deploying a dizzying range of cinematic references to unravel the film’s eerie magic.
Observations on Film Art No. 49: Motifs of Destruction in Daisies
With her radically anarchic Czechoslovak New Wave landmark Daisies, director Věra Chytilová set out, in her own words, “to make a film that is aesthetically pleasing and interesting, yet [which] is an image of destruction,” one in which “the idea of ‘destruction’ is present in everything, in every move of the camera.” In this edition of Observations on Film Art, Professor Kristin Thompson breaks down the complex visual motifs—in particular the use of plant and food imagery—that Chytilová employs to advance this aesthetic of annihilation, ultimately creating a film that threatens to literally self-destruct.
The Flaherty Presents: Opacity
Each year the legendary Flaherty Film Seminar invites participants to reconsider their understanding of cinema through a rigorous program of thought-provoking, boundary-breaking works organized around a salient theme. Taking the notion of “Opacity”—defined as that which cannot be reduced by the dominant, supposedly “universal” Western gaze that shapes the film canon—as its starting point, this diverse and iridescent program curated by Janaína Oliveira brings together a chorus of voices from Brazil, Sudan, South Africa, and beyond in order to challenge viewers to look anew at the “opaque” singular experiences within moving-image art.
FEATURING: Africa, The Jungle, Drums and Revolution (1979), A Camel (1981), Frantz Fanon: Black Skin (1995), . . . After He Left (2008), Ghosts (2010), Public Service Announcement (2014), Another Decade (2018), Long Way Home (2018), America (2019), Missing Time (2019), Dazed Flesh (2019), Nũhũ yãgmũ yõg hãm: This Land Is Ours! (2020), Republic (2020), Yãmĩyhex, the Women-Spirit (2020)
Censor of Dreams and After Life
A pair of boldly imaginative cinematic reveries explore the ways in which memories can be manufactured, recreated, and reshaped.
Short Films by Nikyatu Jusu
Featuring a new episode of our Meet the Filmmakers series with Jusu
With her brilliant feature debut, Nanny—winner of the 2022 Sundance Grand Jury Prize—garnering acclaim, now is the perfect time to discover the smartly stylish short films of writer-director Nikyatu Jusu. By turns irreverent, provocative, powerful, and unsettling, these films—all centered on complex Black women, ranging from teenagers out for revenge (Flowers) to day-walking New York City vampires out for blood (Suicide by Sunlight)—display a masterful handling of tone, tension, and atmosphere.
FEATURING: African Booty Scratcher (2007), Say Grace Before Drowning (2010), Flowers (2015, codirected by Yvonne M. Shirley), Suicide by Sunlight (2019)
Secrets and Spies
Bestia and The Lives of Others
A pair of haunting political exposés—one nominated for a short-film Oscar, the other a Best Foreign Language Film winner—delve into the shadowy, morally corrupt worlds of secret police working for oppressive regimes.
Death is only the beginning in this phantasmagoric animated odyssey, which imagines heaven in the boldly colorful, psychedelic style of the Beatles classic Yellow Submarine.
The Daughter of Dawn
This large-scale vision of Native American life—shot in 1920 in Oklahoma with a cast of three hundred members of the Comanche and Kiowa tribes—is a long-lost revelation.
Starring Bob Hoskins
A unique and blazing talent, Bob Hoskins was one of the most versatile and consistently riveting actors Britain ever produced. “Five-foot-six cubic” in his own words, Hoskins combined a brawny physicality with a vast emotional range, leading to a series of indelible performances: as a beleaguered gangland boss with a volcanic temper in John Mackenzie’s The Long Good Friday; a naive, lovelorn ex-con in Neil Jordan’s Mona Lisa; an avuncular but mysterious stranger in Atom Egoyan’s Felicia’s Journey; and as the leader of a band of travelers in his own directorial debut, the fascinating, unfairly overlooked period piece The Raggedy Rawney.
FEATURING: The Long Good Friday (1980), Brazil (1985), Mona Lisa (1986), The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (1987), The Raggedy Rawney (1988), Felicia’s Journey (1999)*, Last Orders (2001)
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Set in the New Zealand bush, Taika Waititi’s instant coming-of-age classic is equal parts road comedy and rousing adventure story.
Cicely Tyson stars in this portrait of a Black sharecropping family whose fierce love keeps them afloat as they struggle to get by in Depression-era Louisiana.
The Pied Piper
The classic fable comes to life courtesy of Jacques Demy and psych-folk legend Donovan in this offbeat blend of dark-tinged fairy tale, medieval pageantry, and flower-child bohemianism.
Creature from the Black Lagoon
This atmospheric creature feature introduced the world to one of the most memorable movie monsters of all time.
Let It Bleed
Performance and The Hunger
The same blood runs through these decade-defining, persona-swapping chamber dramas starring two rock icons.
Blood and Sand and The Moment of Truth
A torrid Technicolor romance and a tour de force of cinematic realism explore the violent, passionate world of bullfighting and the thrilling, dangerous lives of matadors.
Hour of the Woolf
Orlando and Freak Orlando
A pair of iconoclastic feminist visionaries put their stamp on Virginia Woolf’s gender-bending tale of fantasy and time travel.
Not Coming to a Theater Near You
Tigrero: A Film That Was Never Made and Henri-Georges Clouzot’s “Inferno”
A pair of formally innovative and wildly entertaining documentaries tell the fascinating behind-the-scenes stories of two films that were never made.