On the Margins: Todd Haynes’s Poison
This touchstone of nineties independent filmmaking is a reminder that true queer cinema is about taking risks and breaking taboos—an increasingly rare thing in our corporatized entertainment culture.
Step by Step: Hideko Takamine in When a Woman Ascends the Stairs
Known for her resilient heroines, the prolific Japanese actor finds agency through moments of hesitation in one of her seventeen collaborations with Mikio Naruse.
Indigenous Cinema and the Limits of Auteurism
The world’s largest Indigenous film festival challenges the individualist ethos of the dominant cinema culture—and invites us to think outside the exclusionary box.
Beyond the Western: The Staggering Range of Ennio Morricone
The legendary film composer may be best known for his work on Sergio Leone’s iconic visions of the American frontier, but a closer listen reveals his mastery of a wide variety of genres, sounds, and styles.
Home Is Where the Struggle Is: Victoria Keith’s Activist Lens in The Sand Island Story
Residents of a neglected Hawaiian island fight against eviction and mistreatment in this consciousness-raising documentary from 1981, now playing on the Criterion Channel.
Looking Through the Veil: The Theology of Movie Afterlives
From Here Comes Mr. Jordan to Defending Your Life (which we recently released in a new edition), cinematic visions of the great beyond often hinge on widely shared anxieties and uncertainties about our earthly existence.
A New India Finds Its Voice in the Films of Bimal Roy
With movies that spoke urgently to the nation post-independence, the director forged a path between the realist tendencies of the era’s art-house cinema and the pleasures of popular genre filmmaking.
My Friend Bertrand
One of the world’s most passionate cinephiles, Bertrand Tavernier, passed away last month. His longtime friend celebrates the enduring legacy of his filmmaking, his ideas, and his advocacy of underappreciated artists.
Family Affair: The Dinner Scene in Fanny and Alexander
The Oscar-nominated director of Another Round tells us why Ingmar Bergman has always been a cinematic role model for him and what he learned from the Swedish auteur’s approach to capturing human behavior.
Life Meets Art in Uptight, Ruby Dee’s Groundbreaking Collaboration with Jules Dassin
A rare example of a bold political film released by a major American studio, this portrait of the struggle for Black liberation embodied the great actor’s mission to fuse art with activism.
The Gloomy Side of Sinatra in The Manchurian Candidate
In his middle age, Ol’ Blue Eyes embraced a tired, tormented persona on-screen, one that allowed him to show off his formidable acting chops.
The Sequel to Her Dreams: Hiroshi Teshigahara and Kobo Abe’s Ako
Few films have captured the recklessness and melancholy of youth more vividly than this underappreciated short film, made the same year as Teshigahara’s widely acknowledged masterpiece, Woman in the Dunes.
Michael Small, Film Music’s Prince of Paranoia
During the 1970s, an incredibly fertile decade for unorthodox approaches to film scoring, the composer of The Parallax View and Klute came into prominence with an out-of-the-box sound that captured the dread of the era.
Looking at Cicely Tyson
Part of a generation of Black artists who believed their vocations were tied to the pride and struggle of their community, the late acting legend lived by her mission to “mirror the times and propel them forward.”
Where the Magic Happens: On Set with Mary Ellen Mark
The celebrated photographer captured some of the most legendary American and European auteurs during the golden age of art-house cinema, including Federico Fellini and Luis Buñuel.
Love’s Labors: The Killing Floor Illuminates the Dream of an Interracial Workers’ Movement
Bill Duke’s feature debut is a rarity in American cinema: a labor film, funded by unions and public money, that balances political urgency with emotional tenderness.
Jean-Claude Carrière, Harvester of Cinema
A close friend and collaborator of Carrière’s reflects on the late writer’s fearless approach to the creative process and the source of his staggering productivity.