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Pandora's Box
One of the masters of early German cinema, G. W. Pabst had an innate talent for discovering actresses (including Greta Garbo). And perhaps none of his female stars shone brighter than Kansas native and onetime Ziegfeld girl Louise Brooks, whose legendary persona was defined by Pabst's lurid, controversial melodrama Pandora's…
Young Törless
At an Austrian boys' boarding school in the early 1900s, shy, intelligent Torless observes the sadistic behavior of his fellow students, doing nothing to help a victimized classmate--until the torture goes too far. Adapted from Robert Musil's acclaimed novel, Young Torless launched the New German Cinema movement and garnered the…
The Naked City
"There are eight million stories in the Naked City," as the narrator immortally states at the close of this breathtakingly vivid film--and this is one of them. Master noir craftsman Jules Dassin and newspaperman-cum-producer Mark Hellinger's dazzling police procedural, The Naked City, was shot entirely on location in New York.…
Lacombe, Lucien
One of the first French films to address the issue of collaboration during the German occupation, Louis Malle's brave and controversial Lacombe, Lucientraces a young peasant's journey from potential Resistance member to Gestapo recruit. At once the story of a nation and one troubled boy, the film is a disquieting…
Jour de Fete
In his enchanting debut feature, Jacques Tati stars as a fussbudget of a postman who is thrown for a loop when a traveling fair comes to his village. Even in this early work, Tati was brilliantly toying with the devices (silent visual gags, minimal yet deftly deployed sound effects) and…
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
John Cassavetes engages with film noir in his own inimitable style with The Killing of a Chinese Bookie. Ben Gazzara brilliantly portrays a gentleman's club owner, Cosmo Vitelli, desperately committed to maintaining a facade of suave gentility despite the seediness of his environment and his own unhealthy appetites. When he…
The Tin Drum
Oskar is born in Germany in 1924 with an advanced intellect. Repulsed by the hypocrisy of adults and the irresponsibility of society, he refuses to grow older after his third birthday. While the chaotic world around him careers toward the madness and folly of World War II, Oskar pounds incessantly…
I Shot Jesse James
After years of crime reporting, screenwriting, and authoring pulp novels, Samuel Fuller made his directorial debut with the lonesome ballad of Robert Ford (played by Red River's John Ireland), who fatally betrayed his friend, the notorious Jesse James. At once modest and intense, I Shot Jesse James is an engrossing…
The Bridge
Bernhard Wicki's astonishing The Bridge was the first major antiwar film to come out of Germany after World War II, as well as the nation's first postwar film to be widely shown internationally, even securing an Oscar nomination. Set near the end of the conflict, it follows a group of…
Floating Weeds
In 1959, Yasujiro Ozu remade his 1934 silent classic A Story of Floating Weeds in color with the celebrated cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa (Rashomon, Ugetsu). Setting this later version in a seaside location, Ozu otherwise preserves the details of his elegantly simple plot wherein an aging actor returns to a small…
Summer Interlude
Touching on many of the themes that would define the rest of his legendary career--isolation, performance, the inescapability of the past--Ingmar Bergman's tenth film was a gentle drift toward true mastery. In one of the director's great early female roles, Maj-Britt Nilsson beguiles as an accomplished ballet dancer haunted by…
Sawdust and Tinsel
Ingmar Bergman presents the battle of the sexes as a ramshackle, grotesque carnival in Sawdust and Tinsel, one of the late master's most vivid early works. The story of the charged relationship between a turn-of-the-century traveling circus owner (Ake Gronberg) and his performer girlfriend (Harriet Andersson), the film features dreamlike…