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Film

The Threat of Violence in George Marshall's Western Comedy, 'Destry Rides Again'

George Marshall's western spoof, Destry Rides Again, has a serious central premise; can society function without the threat of violence?

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Film

'The Lady Eve' Indulges Preston Sturges' Humor, Both Literate and Broad

Preston Sturges' The Lady Eve is layered with texture and substance draped in the gleeful prurience of a master of slapstick and romance who could write foolish millionaires with the same deft ear as cultured hooligans.

Film

The Erotic Disruption of the Self in Paul Schrader's 'The Comfort of Strangers'

Paul Schrader's The Comfort of Strangers presents the discomfiting encounter with another —someone like you—and yet entirely unlike you, mysterious to you, unknown and unknowable.

Film

Buster Keaton's 'The Cameraman' Casts Light on MGM's Tyranny

The Cameraman is Keaton's last great film, a jubilant, chaotic, and overactive silent romantic comedy that, intentional or not, doubles as a vision of the precarity of celebrity, independence, and artistry in the brutal Hollywood system.

Film

We Must Not Mean What We Say: On Godard's 'Le Petit Soldat'

While philosopher Stanley Cavell endeavors to show that we must mean what we say in a very important sense, Godard's Bruno Forestier of Le Petit Soldat suggests that we simply cannot and must not mean what we say.


Film

'The Grand Budapest Hotel' Gorgeously Conveys Our Need for Poise and Elegance

The sense of artifice in Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel helped him create an alluring reverie of both color and meaning.

Film

Before Ru Paul and Trixie Mattel There Was the Ball Circuit: 'Paris Is Burning'

Told through the voices and movements of the legends and pioneers of the '80s Harlem drag-ball scene, Paris Is Burning is an indispensable look at one of America's most influential subcultures of the last half-century.

Film

Atop a Throne of Ashes: On Juraj Herz's 'The Cremator'

Far from being escapist entertainment, Herz's The Cremator is a dissection of evil and how deluded one becomes in willing themselves to power.

Film

"I'll See You Later": Repetition and Time in Almodóvar's 'All About My Mother'

There are mythical moments in Almodóvar's All About My Mother. We are meant to register repetition in the story as something wonderfully strange, a connection across the chasm of impossibility.

Film

A Fix of Fantasy: Reviving the Wondrous Films of Karel Zeman

The imaginative filmmaker Karel Zeman influenced many artists including Terry Gilliam, Tim Burton, fellow Czech Jan Švankmajer, the Brothers Quay, and animator Lawrence Jordan's recycling of classic 19th Century imagery.

Film

The Unspeakable and Unshowable: 'The Story of Temple Drake'

If you had seen The Story of Temple Drake in 1933 -- which would have been your last chance to see it for decades -- you would have known that Paramount didn't dare name the notorious novel it was based upon.

Film

'Fail Safe' and the (De)Evolution of Cold War Ethics

Directed by the master of claustrophobic tension Sidney Lumet, Fail Safe (1964) is one of the most gripping Atomic Era thrillers ever made and its message resonates to this day.

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No Sanctuary in the Light: The Story of Temple Drake

The Story of Temple Drake grapples with the unbidden, unsettling force of emergent sexuality.

Film

Embracing Nothing: Nihilism in Bellocchio's 'Fists in the Pocket'

Bellocchio's best work, Fists in the Pocket (I pugni in tasca) is key to understanding the stark shift Italian cinema experienced in moving from the post-realism phase of the 1950s into the experimentalism, social commentary, and surrealism of the 1960s.

Film

Spike Lee's 'Do the Right Thing' Remains Explosive and Vivid

The Criterion Collection's essential 30th anniversary Blu-ray package of Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing honors the film's heart, aesthetic brilliance, and pointed message on American racism, diversity, and community.

Film

War's Degradation of the Human in Bergman's 'Shame'

Ingmar Bergman's Shame is one of his few films so blatantly concerned with the impositions of the external world,as opposed to the internal, subjective aspects of life.

Film

Faceted Depictions of War: On Jan Němec's 'Diamonds of the Night' (Démanty noci)

Are fantasies mixed up with memories in Jan Němec's film adaptation of Arnošt Lustig's autobiographical story of surviving WWII, Diamonds of the Night (Démanty noci)? Will these babes forever be in the woods?

Film

Jackie Chan's High-Kicking '80s Cop Movies Are Back!

Re-releases of Police Story and Police Story 2 show writer-director-star Jackie Chan in his finest fighting style -- along with his usual over mugging for the camera.

Film

David Byrne Channels the Weird and the Ordinary in 'True Stories'

As a piece of both cultural history and film history, David Byrne's True Stories takes its place alongside two other films from the mid-'80s that are also steeped in a surrealistic other-worldly place, Repo Man and Blue Velvet.

Film

At the Crossroads of Pity and Revolt: Intensity and Time in Lino Brocka's 'Manila in the Claws of Light'

Lino Brocka's Manila in the Claws of Light seethes with rage against colonial oppression without ever becoming overt agitprop.

Film

On Mishima, and Feeling That One Exists

Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters is a singular portrait of an artist's life lived so fiercely as to have left an indelible mark on an alienated world seeking affirmation for its own existence.

Film

The Fog of the Interstitial: Existential Disaffection in Alea's 'Memories of Underdevelopment'

In Tomás Gutiérrez Alea's film the protagonist is an inhabitant too estranged from his country to belong, a tourist too familiar with his environment to experience the passing joy of surprise.

Film

On Susan Seidelman's Film of Aimless Desire, 'Smithereens'

The experiences you have in NYC are not the best experiences to be had, the sex you have is not the best sex, the friends you make are not the best of all possible friends—but they ought to be.

Film

Hannibal Lecter May Be 'The Silence of the Lambs' Icon But Clarice Starling Is the Movie

The Criterion edition of 1991's The Silence of the Lambs reminds us what the film has always stood for: Don't underestimate Clarice.

Film

Suffering the Inscrutable: The Ethics of the Face in Dreyer's 'The Passion of Joan of Arc'

The film is imbued with a painterly quality wherein the not-quite static framing of the human visage is its main concern, its aesthetic gambit, and the source of its affective impact.

Film

Like Real Life 'Election' Is Dark, Hilarious, and Cringe-worthy

Alexander Payne's 1999 cult black comedy about high school politics is ripe for a revisit, and Criterion is up to the task.

Film

Criterion's 'Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me' Is a Semiotic Feast

Sheryl Lee's iconic performance as Laura Palmer evokes epic sorrow and haunting tragedy.

Film

And Now for Something Not So Different: Terry Gilliam's 'Jabberwocky'

Jabberwocky takes the enticingly evocative, nearly blank canvas of Lewis Carroll's poem and fills it with a parody of medieval banalities that make the film a grimier, far less amusing companion to Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Film

Jean-Pierre Melville’s 'Le Samouraï' Plays with the Perils of the Loner

Under the lens of cultural and historical context, as well as understanding the reflective nature of popular culture, it's hard not to read this film as a cautionary tale about the limitations of isolationism.

Film

The Poetry of Heartbreak in 'The Umbrellas of Cherbourg'

Jacques Demy's dazzling musical explores a realistic side of love -- one that doesn’t always lead to a happy ending.

Film

Observe and Report: The Ethics of 'Cameraperson'

Cameraperson is observational in ways both purer and more complex than much of what appears in documentaries edited to appear as objective works.

Film

'The Tree of Wooden Clogs' Is Extraordinary in Its Depiction of Tenant Farmers

In a world of absolutes and cruel consequences, if an entire family’s future is destroyed due to the cutting of a single tree, then that’s simply how things are.

Film

The Criterion Edition of 'Cat People' Leaves an Indelible Impression

The horror master Val Lewton is immortalized in this excellent reissue of his first (and possibly best) film, Cat People.

Reviews

Painful Humor and Euphoric Pleasure In 'Punch-Drunk Love'

Anderson's quirky film is reinvention in the purest sense, free of commercial pressure.

Film

'Gilda' Is an Invitation to Look Deeper Into Pop Culture

Beautiful, classic, important, and thoroughly complex, Gilda is a real “aficionado” film, and yet it has an undeniable popular appeal.

Film

There Are No Accidents on 'Mulholland Drive'

David Lynch's Mulholland Drive unfolds in a series of desires, warnings, and deals that are often made under duress by unseen malevolent forces, or motivated by darkness within.


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