It’s long been understood that Stanley Kubrick’s oeuvre tells stories of violence. But what often gets lost is that Kubrick’s focus is not on violence in general, but on violence that is particularly male in nature. Take Dr. Strangelove as an example: In the twisted logic of the film, violence feeds on itself, begetting more [...]
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) dir. Jacques Demy I saw The Umbrellas of Cherbourg last June, in just enough time to spoil La La Land. I've learned I'm not the only one to have had the same experience - my father knew exactly how Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone's relationship was going to progress and [...]

Woman in the Dunes (1964) dir.Hiroshi Teshigahara The form of Woman in the Dunes is horror, but its soul is a family tragedy. A middle-aged man finds himself trapped in an ever-collapsing home. His wife adores him, and he may love her too, but they cannot help but fight. His heart, even in the blissful [...]

Harakiri aka Seppuku (1962) dir. Masaki Kobayashi Post-War Japan was a period of intense adjustment, as the society reacted both to the sudden influence of American culture and the horrors of Imperial Japan. In Late Spring, Ozu found a way to move Japan into the new world while still honoring traditional values. Kobayashi's later film, [...]
Lawrence of Arabia

Lawrence of Arabia (1962) dir. David Lean The mystery of Lawrence of Arabia is the person of Lawrence himself. He is charismatic and captivating, but who is he? New York Times critic Bosley Crowther famously complained in his 1962 review of the film, "We know little more about this strange man when it is over [...]
Anna Torrent and Isabel Tellería in El espíritu de la colmena (1972) dir. Victor Erice.

I recently was able to tour the Angels & Tomboys exhibition at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, featuring depictions of girls in 19th-century American art.  The introductory sign explains that the paintings "...reveal artists' fascination with this subject, particularly after the Civil War, when the themes of home and its female inhabitants [...]

Sayat Nova aka The Color of Pomegranates (1968) - dir. Sergei Parajanov The Color of Pomegranates is an illustrated poem. It has no narrative. A voice speaks the words of the 18th Century Armenian poet Sayat-Nova, and on-screen we see "living pictures" (tableau vivant) in the style of medieval Armenian manuscript art. In 1915, the [...]

Daisies - aka Sedmikrásky (1966) - dir. Vera Chytilová Sedmikrásky (or Daisies) is an iconic feminist, absurd film from the Czechoslovak New Wave.  Director Věra Chytilová comes from the grand tradition of Dada -- she doesn't so much break from traditional film convention as she does rip it apart and only pretend to put it back [...]

L'eclisse (1962) dir. Michelangelo Antonioni Antonioni's characters are creatures without meaning; people who are unnecessary and without whom the world would still go on. Critic Adriano Aprà makes the point in an interview available on Hulu - the world exists before the characters do, and the characters are just visitors. In many stories, the world [...]

Les maîtres fous (1955) dir. Jean Rouch Chronique d'un été (1961) dir. Jean Rouch & Edgar Morin If a documentary is supposed to be true to life, what does this mean for the documentarian? The problem is especially acute for ethnographic fillmmakers, trying to capture a culture. But the filmmaker's simple presence changes the life [...]