From deeply researched surveys of great filmmakers’ careers to idiosyncratic takes on under-examined corners of cinema history, the writing we published this year offered an array of entry points into the art form we all love. Here’s a selection of some of our favorite articles to tide you over until we get back to posting in the new year!
By Bárbara Alvarez, Ashley Connor, Michelle Crenshaw, Ellen Kuras, and Iris Ng
Five acclaimed directors of photography open up about the pleasures and challenges of pushing the envelope in a changing industry.
This entry in our Songbook series explores how the ’20s jazz hit “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love, Baby” throws the screwball classic’s nonchalant attitude toward wealth into relief.
By Imogen Sara Smith
This Dark Passages column explores the shadows and seedy corners of a once-exclusive area of downtown Los Angeles featured in films like Kiss Me Deadly, Somewhere in the Night, and Act of Violence.
By Markus Nornes
In his uncompromising chronicles of modern Japanese society, the celebrated filmmaker shows a deep understanding of both larger-than-life individuals and collectives of ordinary citizens.
By Lucy Sante
Louis Feuillade’s binge-worthy serial Les Vampires reflects the French national subconscious in the early twentieth century by depicting a world of anarchy and violent spectacle.
By Mayukh Sen
The director-actor-producer has long been considered a tragic icon due to his early death. But there is more to his art than misery.
By Christina Newland
Films like The Set-Up, Raging Bull, and The Harder They Fall use the microcosm of the ring to tackle political tensions and inequalities in American society.
By Nate Chinen
The Oscar-winning composer brought the freedom and anxiety of postwar America to life in an eclectic array of Hollywood classics.
By Walter Chaw
Throughout his prolific career, the legendary cinematographer mixed technical ingenuity with the vulnerability and longing of an outsider.
By Michael Atkinson, Angelica Jade Bastién, David Cairns, Phoebe Chen, Beatrice Loayza, and Geoffrey O’Brien
Six writers explore how the role of the vampire has given talented actors throughout film history—from Bela Lugosi to Catherine Deneuve—the chance to embody physical and moral extremity.
By Adam Piron
After glimpsing his great-great-grandfather on-screen, a writer searches for the history of a landmark silent film.
By Benjamin Dreyer
The great but underrated Hollywood star Irene Dunne made her transition to screwball comedy by playing the scandal-courting author at the heart of Theodora Goes Wild.
Bright Lights, Dark Dreams: Alejandro Galindo in Morelia
This great director from the golden age of Mexican cinema drew upon a wide range of styles to explore the conflict between tradition and modernity.
Their Sounds Were Watching God
The films in the Criterion Channel collection Free Jazz chronicle the development of a deeply experimental music that has baffled and enthralled listeners in equal measure.
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