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The Valedictory Anthem That Takes Us Inside Inside Llewyn Davis

Songbook

The Valedictory Anthem That Takes Us Inside Inside Llewyn Davis

The heartbreaking lament “Fare Thee Well” builds in resonance as it drifts through multiple scenes in the Coen brothers’ folk-fueled drama.

By Nate Chinen

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Carry That Weight: The Films of Atom Egoyan
Carry That Weight: The Films of Atom Egoyan

The Canadian auteur’s fanatically elaborate puzzle-box narratives invite the audience to discover their hidden meanings and bear the psychological burdens of their characters.

By Adam Nayman

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Ryuichi Sakamoto Finds a Melody for the Unnameable

Songbook

Ryuichi Sakamoto Finds a Melody for the Unnameable

In Nagisa Oshima’s POW drama Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, a palpable but forbidden attraction achieves its most potent expression through music.

By Ruth Saxelby

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Form and Function: On the Object Lessons of Summer Hours

One Scene

Form and Function: On the Object Lessons of Summer Hours

Separated from the domestic spaces they once inhabited, two glass vases and a mahogany desk settle into a caged museum life in Olivier Assayas’s deeply felt family portrait.

By Christian Kiefer

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Party Time in Fellini Land

Songbook

Party Time in Fellini Land

In La dolce vita, an upbeat tune by Nino Rota turns a dour party into a feast of ecstatic movement.

By Michael Joshua Rowin

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Alberto Sordi: Italian Storyteller
Alberto Sordi: Italian Storyteller

In celebration of his hundredth birthday, we look back on the legacy of the extraordinarily prolific icon of Italian cinema, whose unmatched rapport with audiences stretched across a six-decade career.

By Pasquale Iannone

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Turn the Gaze Around
Turn the Gaze Around

A racist, traditionally desexualized archetype from classic Hollywood gets queered and eroticized in Cheryl Dunye’s indie landmark The Watermelon Woman, now playing on the Criterion Channel.

By Michael Koresky

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Mother Lode: Chantal Akerman’s Maternal Portraiture
Mother Lode: Chantal Akerman’s Maternal Portraiture

The legendary Belgian-born filmmaker sought to break free from the strictures and conventions of cinematic portraiture, a career-long project that brought her relationship with her mother into focus.

By Michelle Orange

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Stepping Out: On Watching Women Walk
Stepping Out: On Watching Women Walk

A pedestrian activity becomes a radical vision in Elevator to the Gallows, La notte, Vagabond, and other films that follow their female stars on foot.

By Imogen Sara Smith

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Remembering Harvey Milk on His Ninetieth Birthday
Remembering Harvey Milk on His Ninetieth Birthday

The director of The Times of Harvey Milk pays tribute to one of LGBTQ history’s most beloved trailblazers and looks back on the making of the Oscar-winning documentary portrait.

By Rob Epstein

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The Memory Lane That Runs Through A Kid for Two Farthings

Deep Dives

The Memory Lane That Runs Through A Kid for Two Farthings

Now playing on the Criterion Channel, this underappreciated gem by British master Carol Reed captures the lively, antic spirit of a bustling section of London’s East End.

By Ella Taylor

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The Woman Who Invented the Hollywood Screenwriter
The Woman Who Invented the Hollywood Screenwriter

The highest-paid writer in Hollywood at a time when women were at the forefront of shaping the industry, Oscar winner Frances Marion created some of the most unforgettable stories in 1920s and ’30s American cinema.

By ​Pamela Hutchinson

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The Sweet Taste of Queer Victory in The Times of Harvey Milk

One Scene

The Sweet Taste of Queer Victory in The Times of Harvey Milk

The director of Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project and Spaceship Earth reflects on the power of seeing a moment of pure joy—the defeat of California’s homophobic Proposition 6 in 1978—in Rob Epstein’s classic portrait of Harvey Milk.

By Matt Wolf

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Credit Where It’s Due: The Father of the Title Sequence
Credit Where It’s Due: The Father of the Title Sequence

To celebrate the centenary of Saul Bass, we spoke with six contemporary title designers about highlights from his legendary four-decade filmography.

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Jean Arthur, the Nonconformist
Jean Arthur, the Nonconformist

A down-to-earth goddess of screwball, this Hollywood legend exuded a disarming mix of toughness and vulnerability, and made her mark as one of the most fiercely independent stars of her era.

By Kim Morgan

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Only the Lonely: Maren Ade’s Squirm-Inducing Debut Feature

Deep Dives

Only the Lonely: Maren Ade’s Squirm-Inducing Debut Feature

The director of Toni Erdmann burst onto the international festival circuit in 2003 with a piercing, unsettlingly funny look at the life of an idealistic schoolteacher.

By Phillip Lopate

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Defending Your Life: Philip Baker Hall in Secret Honor

Performances

Defending Your Life: Philip Baker Hall in Secret Honor

A few dozen versions of Richard Nixon wrestle for control in Robert Altman’s portrait of the disgraced president, fueled by a lead performance of pure, unloosed spleen.

By Nick Pinkerton

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From Elvis in Taipei

Songbook

From Elvis in Taipei

The King of Rock and Roll’s tender ballad “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” becomes a central motif in the Taiwanese epic A Brighter Summer Day, bringing to the surface unresolved feelings about love, national identity, and lost innocence.

By Ben Ratliff

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Feast Your Eyes: A Tour of the Sartorial ’70s
Feast Your Eyes: A Tour of the Sartorial ’70s

From the outré to the elegant, the looks on display in 1970s American cinema capture a decade of disorienting social transformation.

By Cintra Wilson

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Who’s That Man? Mifune at 100
Who’s That Man? Mifune at 100

An actor of extraordinary physical presence and kinetic energy, Toshiro Mifune was the most widely recognized and transformative superstar in postwar Japanese cinema.

By Moeko Fujii

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Manic Mahler

Deep Dives

Manic Mahler

British cinema’s mad genius Ken Russell dispenses with history, chronology, genre, and taste in this wild reimagining of the great composer’s life.

By David Cairns

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Rita Hayworth’s Artful Indecency
Rita Hayworth’s Artful Indecency

Behind her carefully crafted bombshell persona, the great Hollywood actor found ingenious ways of signaling how aware she was of the artifice of her own image.

By ​Pamela Hutchinson

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Les Blank Lets the Good Times Roll

One Scene

Les Blank Lets the Good Times Roll

The director of Beasts of the Southern Wild and Wendy finds inspiration in the 1973 documentary Dry Wood, one of his first cinematic encounters with his adopted home of Louisiana.

By Benh Zeitlin

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Five Shots of Tarkovsky
Five Shots of Tarkovsky

Michael Almereyda, Geoff Dyer, Shirin Neshat, Peter Strickland, and Colm Tóibín dive deep into moments from the Russian master’s work that continue to haunt them.

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