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Film

Yasujiro Ozu on the Arts of Pachinko, Baseball, and Marriage

Yasujiro Ozu's films can often be described as movies in which nothing happens -- nothing except the revelation of a world, its inhabitants, and a deep understanding of their contradictions.

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Film

The Joy of Being a Woman: Agnès Varda's One Sings, the Other Doesn't

Varda's One Sings, the Other Doesn't is challenging and multi-voiced act of art by and about women; "happiness" in unconventional arrangements its most radical gesture.

Film

'Detour' and 'The Big Clock' Cross Noir with Absurdity

Like a match made in Purgatory, Edgar Ulmer's Detour and John Farrow's The Big Clock are ingenious films with different but self-aware approaches to noir.

Film

Abortion and Difference Feminism in Agnès Varda's 'One Sings, the Other Doesn't'

It is the impossible demand placed on the woman that drives the engine of Agnès Varda's One Sings, the Other Doesn't.

Film

On Despair and the Philosophy of  'Berlin Alexanderplatz'

Franz of Berlin Alexanderplatz doesn't occupy a privileged space of sovereignty over the world. He's not the avatar for divine individuality that we so often take ourselves to be.

Film

The Past You Can't Escape: Strained Camaraderie in Elaine May's 'Mikey and Nicky'

Childhood friends are tricky. They're the friends you leave behind but can never completely escape. Elaine May conveys this with disruptive technique in Mikey and Nicky.

Film

Brigitte Bardot and the Spectacle of the Trial in Clouzot's 'La Vérité'

Despite Clouzot's apparent belief that a trial can't summarize a person's life, he has faith in cinema's ability to do so, as he conveys with La Vérité.

Film

Disclosure, Dasein, and the Divine in Terrence Malick's 'The Tree of Life'

For Heidegger, "challenge" is a pejorative verb. But for Terrence Malick, "challenge" is a progressive verb. Malick's cinema is challenging, and we need that challenge.

Film

Wild Women, Forty Pricks, and Western Noir

Samuel Fuller's Forty Guns serves as a remarkable film that fuses the Western with film noir and provides ample space, at least during its first half, for Barbara Stanwyck to provide a commanding performance that hints at what a Western female heroine might look like.

Film

'Sex, Lies, and Videotape' Originated the Soderbergh Enigma

A delicate balance of the heady and the simple, Sex, Lies, and Videotape is both quintessential Steven Soderbergh and unlike anything he's directed since.

Film

Lost In Hollywood: Dietrich and Von Sternberg's American Cinema

Across six films from 1930-1935 newly restored in a Criterion Collection box set, director Josef von Sternberg and star Marlene Dietrich brought controversy and style to the Hollywood template.

Film

Slouching Toward Redemption: Ernst Lubitsch's 'Heaven Can Wait'

There's a rotten core at the center of Lubitsch's Heaven Can Wait. No matter how engaging I find Haskell and Sariss's enchantment with the film, I cannot accede to their critical adulation of it and of Henry.

Television

Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Optimism in 'Eight Hours Don't Make a Day' Isn't Cock-eyed, It's Beady-eyed

The series of small and large triumphs snatched from the teeth of social inertia leaves one elated at human potential. Eight Hours Don't Make a Day is Fassbinder's version of a "feel-good" film.

Film

In Ingmar Bergman's 'The Virgin Spring' God Might See but God Does Not Act

This tautly plotted story about rape, murder, and revenge is tightly tangled into another of the director's stark investigations of faith and morality.

Film

Why Does Anyone Turn to a Michael Moore Film?

From Bowling for Columbine to the recent Fahrenheit 11/9, one wonders, what is being validated in Michael Moore films?

Film

Action at a Distance: The Father in Víktor Erice's El Sur

The Father is the wielder of profuse potency but it can only be maintained through distance and the renunciation of understanding, the willingness to embrace the mystery without examining it. But, necessarily, the child must penetrate that veil.

Film

When Filming Itself Becomes More Important than the Film: Olivier Assayas' 'Cold Water' (L'eau froide)

One of the paradoxes of cinema is that the creative experience itself must always be "worth" more than the result of the undertaking.

Film

Dignity and the Death Penalty: On Borzage’s 'Moonrise'

In the nearly eight decades since Moonrise's release, Borzage's melodrama-noir styled meditations on social causality, dignity, and redemption have lost none of their potency.

Film

When Jim Jarmusch's 'Dead Man' Walks Into Your Mind, He Never Leaves

It's not enough to describe Dead Man as simply an anti-western; it's an iconoclastic deconstruction of late 19th Century American values and mores, many of which remain unabated more than a century later.

Film

Walking Dreams: Coppola's 'The Virgin Suicides'

Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides is as high-minded and literary as its source material.

Film

Everybody Goes to 'Dragon Inn', King Hu's Martial Arts Milestone

A guy walks into a bar, or rather a swordsman walks into an inn, and an anti-authoritarian swordfight ensues.

Film

The Groundbreaking 'Midnight Cowboy' Remains Relevant in These Times

Criterion's Blu-ray release of Midnight Cowboy comes with a generous package of extras that fans and those new to the film will appreciate.

Film

Dark Dreams of a Bright South: 'El Sur', a Spanish Masterpiece

With Víctor Erice's El Sur, we must console ourselves with a work whose haunting near-perfection becomes the source of its perfection.

Film

The 'Night of the Living Dead' Zombies Will Still Get to You

George A. Romero's definitive zombie movie finally gets a definitive release on Criterion -- and it goes straight for your gut.

Film

In 'Certain Women', Class-Based Identities Are Contended with Under Montana's Vast Icy Skies

A minor masterpiece, Certain Women is a profound meditation on the ways people temporarily buoy themselves from life's banalities, injustices, and disappointments.

Film

The Outer Beauty in Hitchcock's 'Rebecca'

British elegance and American money combined make Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca a visual delight.

Film

Criterion's 'Lone Wolf and Cub' Includes the Original Six Films in the Series

This series of films about a masterless samurai bent on revenge while protectively raising his son features moments of pastoral silent beauty juxtaposed with quick stylized violence.

Reviews

'Inside Llewyn Davis' Is Subdued But Undeniably Affecting

The Coens' Inside Llewyn Davis isn’t overwhelming at first glance, but it has a perfect, natural rhythm and flow that you don’t even notice how it sticks in your head.

Film

An Epochal Tragedy Transforms Into a World Cinema Masterwork in 'Throne of Blood'

By combining Macbeth with elements of traditional Japanese drama, Akira Kurosawa produced a singular, transcultural film experience.

Reviews

B-Film as Theory: 'The Shooting/Ride in the Whirlwind'

Two blasts of existentialist disquiet and hallucination from the stable of Roger Corman, these two Westerns launched the career of a major alternative filmmaker in Monte Hellman.

Film

Kiarostami's 'Like Somone in Love' Is Like Something Beautiful

Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami doubles-down on familiar themes in this film, with varying results.

Film

'Persona' Doesn't Need to Be Understood to Be Loved

Ingmar Bergman’s film is profoundly mysterious, and the more we try to comprehend it, the farther away we move from its magic.

Reviews

The Bette Davis of Japan and Her Performance in 'The Life of Oharu'

Kinuyo Tanaka faithfully portrays different aspects Oharu – pride, vanity, sensitivity, despondency, impetuousness, devout motherhood, and lust – in a manner that is both kaleidoscopic yet realistic.

Reviews

Capitalism’s Self-Corrections: 'Repo Man'

The Los Angeles imagined by this delightfully dark movie is one where the repo man picks up the Reaganite economy’s table scraps—and in the process self-corrects for capitalism’s shortcomings.

Reviews

'Lonesome' Is a Nearly Lost Classic of Urban Alienation and Fairytale Romance

A poignant and visually spectacular portrait of life and love in the big city, restored and released after eight decades in obscurity.

Reviews

'Gray's Anatomy' Says More About its Director than Its Actor

Given Steven Soderbergh's skill behind the camera, it makes sense that Gray's Anatomy, despite his intentions, ends up becoming more about his vision as a director than about Spalding Gray's ocular conundrum.

Film

The True Call of Slacker: 20 Years Later

Richard Linklater's Slacker commemorates its anniversary and finds an audience beyond the 20-somethings.

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