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Drawing inspiration from a rich variety of sources, from Alfred Hitchcock to Francisco de Goya, these gothic-infused stories collected here—populated by vampires, ghosts, and a fairy-tale princess—make evident why del Toro is considered the master cinematic fabulist of our time.
A furiously funny personal attack on capital punishment, The Executioner escaped the state censors who sought to suppress it, and today is regarded as one of the greatest Spanish films of all time.
Allowing us to watch people age on film with documentary realism while gripping us in a fictional narrative of exquisite everydayness, Boyhood has a power that only the art of cinema could harness.
Transgressive and outrageous, this big-studio version of a debaucherous midnight movie is an addictively entertaining romp from one of cinema’s great outsider artists.
Cutthroat careerism, wild sex, and fierce female protagonists are all on offer in this adaptation of Jacqueline Susann’s sensational and wildly popular novel.
One of the studio’s most successful movies of the 1940s, Cat People raised the creature feature to new heights of sophistication and mystery.
Blending elements from pulp fiction and low-budget horror flicks, Blood Simple reinvented the film noir for a new generation, marking the arrival of a filmmaking ensemble that would transform the American independent cinema scene.
The crowning achievement of Orson Welles’s extraordinary cinematic career, Chimes at Midnight was the culmination of the filmmaker’s lifelong obsession with Shakespeare’s ultimate rapscallion, Sir John Falstaff.
Orson Welles’s first color film and final completed fictional feature, The Immortal Story is a moving and wistful adaptation of a tale by Isak Dinesen.
With its fascinating flawed characters, evocative cinematography by the great Vilmos Zsigmond, innovative overlapping dialogue, and haunting use of Leonard Cohen songs, McCabe & Mrs. Miller brilliantly deglamorized and revitalized the most American of genres.
With its unapologetic identification with social outcasts and its sensitive, modern approach to matters of sexuality and race, Richardson’s classic is a still startling benchmark work of realism.
This multilayered, immensely entertaining drama from the great contemporary French director Olivier Assayas is a singular look at the intersection of high art and popular culture.
Nothing else has ever looked or felt like director René Laloux’s animated marvel Fantastic Planet, a politically minded and visually inventive work of science fiction.
A sophisticated supernatural Hollywood comedy whose influence continues to be felt, Here Comes Mr. Jordan stars the eminently versatile Robert Montgomery as a working-class boxer and amateur aviator whose plane crashes in a freak accident.
This major early achievement by Michelangelo Antonioni bears the first signs of the cinema-changing style for which he would soon be world-famous.
Based on a popular novel by Raymond Queneau that had been considered unadaptable, Malle’s audacious Zazie dans le métro, made with flair on the cusp of the French New Wave, is a bit of stream-of-consciousness slapstick, wall-to-wall with visual gags, editing tricks, and effects.
The 1992 presidential election was a triumph not only for Bill Clinton but also for the new breed of strategists who guided him to the White House—and changed the face of politics in the process.
A young sister and brother are abandoned in the harsh Australian outback and must learn to cope in the natural world, without their usual comforts, in this hypnotic masterpiece from Nicolas Roeg.
John Huston’s ambitious tackling of Malcolm Lowry’s towering, “unadaptable” novel Under the Volcano follows the final day in the life of self-destructive British consul Geoffrey Firmin (Albert Finney, in an Oscar-nominated tour de force), on the eve of World War II.
Set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars of the late eighteenth century, That Hamilton Woman is a gripping account of the scandalous adulterous affair between the British Royal Navy officer Lord Horatio Nelson (Laurence Olivier) and the renowned beauty Emma, Lady Hamilton (Vivien Leigh).
In his one-of-a-kind fiction/documentary hybrid Symbiopsychotaxiplasm Take One, director William Greaves presides over a beleaguered film crew in New York’s Central Park, leaving them to try to figure out what kind of movie they’re making.
Though she went on to create a string of brilliant films, Jane Campion will always be remembered for her stunning debut feature, Sweetie, which focuses on the hazardous relationship between the buttoned-down, superstitious Kay and her rampaging, devil-may-care sister, Sweetie.
What does the energy harnessed through orgasm have to do with the state of communist Yugoslavia circa 1971? Only counterculture filmmaker extraordinaire Dušan Makavejev has the answers (or the questions) in his surreal documentary-fiction collision WR: Mysteries of the Organism.
When a pickpocket steals a rookie detective’s gun on a hot, crowded bus, the cop goes undercover in a desperate attempt to right the wrong. Kurosawa’s thrilling noir probes the squalid world of postwar Japan and the nature of the criminal mind.
In Seijun Suzuki’s tragic love story, Harumi, volunteering as a “comfort woman” on the Manchurian front, where she is expected to service hundreds of soldiers, is commandeered by the brutal Lieutenant Narita but falls for the sensitive Mikami, Narita’s direct subordinate.
Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1960s panoramas of contemporary alienation were decade-defining artistic events. Red Desert, his first color film, is perhaps his most epochal, and confirms Antonioni as cinema’s preeminent poet of the modern age.
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.
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.
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.
Seamlessly interweaving archival war footage with a fictional narrative, this immersive account of one twenty-year-old’s journey from basic training to the front lines of D-Day brings to life all the terrors and isolation of war with jolting authenticity.
Two-bit hustler Harry Fabian (Richard Widmark) longs for “a life of ease and plenty.” Trailed by an inglorious history of go-nowhere schemes, he tries to hatch a lucrative plan with a famous wrestler.
The setup is pure pulp: A former prostitute (a crackerjack Constance Towers) relocates to a buttoned-down suburb, determined to fit in with mainstream society.
Cultures and families clash in Mira Nair’s exuberant Monsoon Wedding, a mix of comedy and chaotic melodrama concerning the preparations for the arranged marriage of a modern upper-middle-class Indian family’s only daughter.
In Pier Paolo Pasolini’s neorealist take on society’s marginalized and dispossessed, Anna Magnani delivers a powerhouse performance as a middle-aged prostitute who attempts to extricate herself from her sordid past for the sake of her son.
The great Soviet director Mikhail Kalatozov, known for his virtuosic, emotionally gripping films, perhaps never made a more visually astonishing one than Letter Never Sent.
Gérard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve star as members of a French theater company living under the German occupation during World War II in François Truffaut’s gripping character study. Equal parts romance, historical tragedy, and even comedy, this is Truffaut’s tribute to art overcoming adversity.
Michelangelo Antonioni invented a new film grammar with this masterwork.
Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau star as a novelist and his frustrated wife, who, over the course of one night, confront their alienation from each other and the achingly empty bourgeois Milan circles in which they travel.
Chow Yun-fat stars as a killer with a conscience in John Woo’s exquisite dissection of morals in a corrupt society. Replete with balletic, slow-motion gun battles on the streets of Hong Kong, The Killer mixes genres from both the East and the West.
Giulietta Masina plays a betrayed wife whose inability to come to terms with reality leads her along a hallucinatory journey of self-discovery in Fellini’s first color feature, a kaleidoscope of dreams, spirits, and memories.
After a young theology student flees a hit-and-run accident, he is plagued by a mysterious, diabolical doppelgänger. But all possible escape routes lead straight to hell—literally. The gory Jigoku created aftershocks that are still reverberating in contemporary world horror cinema.
Michelangelo Antonioni’s Identification of a Woman is a body- and soul-baring voyage into one man’s artistic and erotic consciousness.
David Mamet’s witty tale of a therapist and best-selling author who must confront her own obsessions when she meets an attractive cardsharp is as psychologically acute as it is full of twists and turns, a rich character study told with the cold calculation of a career criminal.
A cornerstone of the French New Wave, the first feature from Alain Resnais is one of the most influential films of all time.
Adapting Ed McBain’s detective novel King’s Ransom, Kurosawa moves effortlessly from compelling race-against-time thriller to exacting social commentary, creating a diabolical treatise on contemporary Japanese society.
The Hidden Fortress delivers Kurosawa’s trademark deft blend of wry humor, breathtaking action, and compassionate humanity.
A startling and courageous film, Peter Davis’s landmark 1974 documentary Hearts and Minds unflinchingly confronted the United States’ involvement in Vietnam at the height of the controversy that surrounded it.
Barbara Kopple’s Academy Award–winning Harlan County USA unflinchingly documents a grueling coal miners’ strike in a small Kentucky town. With unprecedented access, Kopple and her crew captured the miners’ sometimes violent struggles with strikebreakers, local police, and company thugs.
Rod Steiger is ferocious as a scheming land developer in Francesco Rosi’s Hands over the City, a blistering work of social realism and the winner of the 1963 Venice Film Festival Golden Lion.
Mathieu Kassovitz took the film world by storm with La haine, a gritty, unsettling, and visually explosive look at the racial and cultural volatility in modern-day France, specifically the low-income banlieue districts on Paris’s outskirts.
Featuring sensuous cinematography, a lush score, and an award-winning central performance by the great Toni Servillo, this transporting experience by the brilliant Italian director Paolo Sorrentino is a breathtaking Felliniesque tale of decadence and lost love.
In the shady black markets and bombed-out hovels of post–World War II Tokyo, a band of prostitutes eke out an existence, maintaining tenuous friendships and a semblance of order. But when a renegade ex-soldier stumbles into their midst, lusts and loyalties clash, with tragic results.
In one of the best performances of his legendary career, Robert Mitchum plays small-time gunrunner Eddie “Fingers” Coyle in an adaptation by Peter Yates of George V. Higgins’s acclaimed novel The Friends of Eddie Coyle.
This Technicolor spectacular, directed by Zoltán Korda, is considered the finest of the many adaptations of A. E. W. Mason’s classic 1902 adventure novel about the British empire’s exploits in Africa, and a crowning achievement of Alexander Korda’s legendary production company, London Films.
Al Reinert’s visually dazzling documentary For All Mankind is the story of the twenty-four men who traveled to the moon—told in their words, in their voices, using the images of their experiences.
When a mysterious stranger muscles into two rival yakuza gangs, Tokyo’s underworld explodes with violence. Youth of the Beast was a breakthrough for director Seijun Suzuki, introducing the flamboyant colors, hallucinatory images, and striking compositions that would become his trademark.
High schooler Kiroku Nanbu yearns for the prim, Catholic Michiko, but her only desire is to reform Kiroku’s sinful tendencies. Hormones raging, Kiroku channels his unsatisfied lust into the only outlet available: savage, crazed violence.
Fat Girl is not only a portrayal of female adolescent sexuality and the complicated bond between siblings but also a shocking assertion by the always controversial Catherine Breillat that violent oppression exists at the core of male-female relations.
Hiroshi Teshigahara found his spiritual partner in novelist and screenwriter Kobo Abe, with whom he collaborated on these Kafkaesque portraits of identities in peril, films that captivated mainstream audiences while also touching the edges of the Japanese avant-garde.
Lars von Trier’s hypnotic Europa is a fever dream in which American pacifist Leopold Kessler stumbles into a job as a sleeping-car conductor for the Zentropa railways in a Kafkaesque 1945 postwar Frankfurt. Europa is one of the great Danish filmmaker’s weirdest and most wonderful works.