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There's a song performed in James Whale's musical, Show Boat, wherein race is revealed as a set of variegated and contradictory performances, signals to others, a manner of being seen and a manner of remaining hidden, and it isn't "Old Man River".
In a strange kind of way, Miranda July's Me and You and Everyone We Know is about two competing notions of "forever" in relation to love.
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.
Reader, we've sifted through many of this year's ghastly Blu-ray offerings so that you don't have to. Venture in for watchable goods for your macabre marathons and blood-curdling binges.
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.
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.
It is the impossible demand placed on the woman that drives the engine of Agnès Varda's One Sings, the Other Doesn't.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This tautly plotted story about rape, murder, and revenge is tightly tangled into another of the director's stark investigations of faith and morality.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A guy walks into a bar, or rather a swordsman walks into an inn, and an anti-authoritarian swordfight ensues.
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.
With Víctor Erice's El Sur, we must console ourselves with a work whose haunting near-perfection becomes the source of its perfection.
George A. Romero's definitive zombie movie finally gets a definitive release on Criterion -- and it goes straight for your gut.
A minor masterpiece, Certain Women is a profound meditation on the ways people temporarily buoy themselves from life's banalities, injustices, and disappointments.