The son of an escaped slave, Robeson managed to become a top-billed movie star during the time of Jim Crow America, headlining everything from fellow pioneer Oscar Micheaux’s silent drama Body and Soul to British studio showcases to socially engaged documentaries.
1960 • 101 minutes • 1.66:1 • United Kingdom
Spine: #58 Edition: DVD
A frank exploration of voyeurism and violence, Michael Powell’s extraordinary film is the story of a psychopathic cameraman—his childhood traumas, sexual crises, and murderous revenge as an adult.
People on Sunday, an effervescent, sunlit silent, about a handful of city dwellers (a charming cast of nonprofessionals) enjoying a weekend outing, offers a rare glimpse of Weimar-era Berlin, would influence generations of film artists around the world.
1937 • 94 minutes • 1.33:1 • France
Spine: #172 Editions: DVD, Collector’s Sets
Pépé le moko is a wanted man: women long for him, rivals hope to destroy him, and the law is breathing down his neck at every turn. On the lam, Pépé is safe from the clutches of the police, until a Parisian playgirl compels him to risk his life. Pépé le moko is a landmark of poetic realism.
1966 • 83 minutes • 1.37:1 • Sweden
Spine: #701 Editions: Dual Format Blu-ray/DVD, iTunes
By the midsixties, Ingmar Bergman had already conjured many of the cinema’s most unforgettable images. But with the radical Persona, this supreme artist attained new levels of visual poetry.
1921 • 106 minutes • 1.37:1 • Sweden
Spine: #579 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray
Based on a novel by Nobel Prize winner Selma Lagerlöf, this extraordinarily rich and innovative silent classic (which inspired Ingmar Bergman to make movies) is a Dickensian ghost story and a deeply moving morality tale, as well as a showcase for groundbreaking special effects.
1974 • 104 minutes • 1.85:1 • France
Spine: #290 Edition: DVD
Bourgeois convention is demolished in Luis Buñuel’s surrealist gem The Phantom of Liberty, featuring an elegant soiree with guests seated at toilet bowls, poker-playing monks using religious medals as chips, and police officers looking for a missing girl who is right under their noses.
2014 • 98 minutes • 2.35:1 • Germany
Spine: #809 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray
After surviving Auschwitz, a former cabaret singer (Nina Hoss, in a dazzling, multilayered performance) has her disfigured face reconstructed and returns to her war-ravaged hometown to seek out her gentile husband, who may or may not have betrayed her to the Nazis.
1959 • 76 minutes • 1.37:1 • France
Spine: #314 Editions: Dual Format Blu-ray/DVD, DVD, iTunes
A cornerstone of the career of this most economical and profoundly spiritual of filmmakers, Pickpocket is an elegantly crafted, tautly choreographed study of humanity in all its mischief and grace, the work of a director at the height of his powers.
1953 • 80 minutes • 1.33:1 • United States
Spine: #224 Edition: DVD
In Sam Fuller’s hardboiled classic, a petty crook and an unsuspecting woman find themselves on the run from Communists in a precarious gambit.
1975 • 107 minutes • 1.78:1 • Australia
Spine: #29 Editions: Dual Format Blu-ray/DVD, DVD, iTunes
This sensual and striking chronicle of a disappearance and its aftermath put director Peter Weir on the map and helped usher in a new era of Australian cinema.
Spine: #655 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray
A French comedy master whose films went unseen for decades as a result of legal tangles, director-actor Pierre Etaix is a treasure the cinematic world has rediscovered and embraced with relish.
1965 • 110 minutes • 2.35:1 • France
Spine: #421 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray
Dissatisfied in marriage and life, Ferdinand (Jean-Paul Belmondo) takes to the road with the babysitter, his ex-lover Marianne Renoir (Anna Karina), and leaves the bourgeoisie behind in Pierrot le fou, one of the high points of the French New Wave.
Spine: #471 Edition: DVD
With the three films in this set, Shoehi Imamura, one of the leading figures of the Japanese new wave, truly emerged as an auteur, bringing to his national cinema an anthropological eye and a heretofore unseen taste for the irreverent.
2011 • 103 minutes • 1.85:1 • Germany
Spine: #644 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray
The boundless imagination and physical marvels of the work of the German modern-dance pioneer Pina Bausch leap off the screen in this exuberant tribute by Wim Wenders.
1952 • 97 minutes • 1.33:1 • France
Spine: #444 Edition: DVD
Max Ophuls brings his astonishing visual dexterity and storytelling bravura to this triptych of tales by Guy de Maupassant about the limits of spiritual and physical pleasure.
1992 • 124 minutes • 1.85:1 • United States
Spine: #812 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray, iTunes
A Hollywood studio executive with a shaky moral compass (Tim Robbins) finds himself caught up in a criminal situation that would be right at home in one of his movie projects, in this biting industry satire from Robert Altman.
1974 • 90 minutes • 1.33:1 • United States
Spine: #805 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray, iTunes
A Poem Is a Naked Person is a work of rough beauty that serves as testament to Les Blank’s cinematic daring and Leon Russell’s immense musical talents.
1966 • 127 minutes • 2.35:1 • Japan
Spine: #207 Edition: DVD
Subu makes pornographic films. He sees nothing wrong with it. They are an aid to a repressed society, and he uses the money to support his landlady, Haru, and her family in controversial director Shohei Imamura’s comic treatment of voyeurism and incest.
1938 • 90 minutes • 1.33:1 • France
Spine: #245 Edition: DVD
Jean Gabin stars as an army deserter looking for another chance to make good on life in Marcel Carné’s stark portrayal of an underworld of lonely souls wrestling with their own destinies. Port of Shadows is a quintessential example of poetic realism from the golden age of French cinema.
1961 • 93 minutes • 1.33:1 • Italy
Spine: #194 Editions: DVD, Collector’s Sets
When young Domenico ventures from the small village of Meda to Milan in search of employment, he finds himself on the bottom rung of the bureaucratic ladder in a huge, faceless company in Ermanno Olmi’s tender coming-of-age story.
La promesse is the breakthrough feature from Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, who would go on to become a force in world filmmaking. This is a brilliantly economical and observant tale of a boy’s troubled moral awakening.
Paul Thomas Anderson
2002 • 95 minutes • 2.39:1 • United States
Spine: #843 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray
This Cannes-award-winning romantic comedy channels the spirit of classic Hollywood and the whimsy of Jacques Tati into an idiosyncratic ode to the delirium of new romance.
1960 • 117 minutes • 1.66:1 • France
Spine: #637 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray, iTunes
This ripe, colorful adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s vicious novel The Talented Mr. Ripley, directed by the versatile René Clément, stars Delon as Tom Ripley, a duplicitous American charmer in Rome.