François Civil, Pio Marmaï, and Ana Girardot in the film by Cedric Klapisch

‘Back to Burgundy’ – A year in wine country on Amazon Prime Video

Back to Burgundy (France, 2017), the sweet and sentimental drama by French filmmaker Cédric Klapisch, is in many ways a gorgeous travelogue of the winemaking life through the seasons of a family vineyard set against the gentle melodrama of three siblings who inherit their father’s legacy along with a big inheritance bill. Jean (Pio Marmaï), […]

Nobuhiko Obayashi's 1977 acid flashback horror fantasy 'House'

‘House’/’Hausu’ – Japanese madness on FilmStruck

I can’t begin to find the words to describe House (1977), aka Hausu, an unclassifiable Japanese haunted house/high school romp/demon killer/surreal fantasy film from Nobuhiko Obayashi. Made in 1977 and recently revived and released to the rest of the world, it’s the archival cult find of the decade: a candy-colored style bomb of horror movie […]

Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Maggie Cheung in Wong Kar-Wai's award-winning film

‘In the Mood for Love’ on Prime Video and Criterion Channel

There may be no more sensual director in the world than Hong Kong’s Wong Kar-Wai, and In the Mood for Love (Hong Kong, 2000) is one of his richest and most melancholy works, a shadow dance of would-be lovers sketched in suggestions and intimations. Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai star as next door neighbors […]

Gong Yoo stars in the South Korean zombie film directed by Yeon Sang-ho

‘Train to Busan’ – Korean zombies on Netflix

You could call Train to Busan (South Korea, 2016) “Zombies on a Train”—it certainly makes a catchy logline and it frames the premise accurately and succinctly—but it reduces this fleet, fierce, unexpectedly human thriller to a mere gimmick. Apart from the slyly eerie prologue, the film opens without any hint of the viral rampage to […]

Dominique Sanda and Stefania Sandrelli in Bernardo Bertolucci's 'The Conformist' starring Jean-Louis Trintignant

Bernardo Bertolucci’s ‘The Conformist’ on Amazon Prime Video

Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist (1970), his dense, visually intricate, and stylistically ornate adaptation of the revered novel by Alberto Moravio, tosses sex, desire, politics, and personal responsibility into the Fascist era before World War II. Marcello (an actively repressed Jean-Louis Trintignant), a petty bourgeois man in late 1930s Italy, joins the Italian Fascist party as […]

Alberto Sordi stars in Alberto Lattuada's brilliant satire from Italy

The paternal hand of the ‘Mafioso’ on FilmStruck

Mafioso (Italy, 1962), Alberto Lattuada’s brilliant satire of Sicily’s “paternal” mafia, became the cinematic rediscovery of 2006 when it was revived and shown at the New York Film Festival. Alberto Sordi plays the Sicilian son made good, a business professional in Milan who, bubbling over with sentimental zeal, brings his Milanese wife and two adorable […]

Margit Carstensen stars in the film by Rainer Werner Fassbinder

RW Fassbinder’s ‘The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant’ on FilmStruck

Rainer Werner Fassbinder adapted his own stage play for The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (Germany, 1972), a modern twist on The Women, the great all-woman Hollywood classic of sex and social conventions in high society. Margit Carstensen is successful fashion designer Petra von Kant, who lives alone in her stark apartment with Marlene […]

François Leterrier in the 1956 Robert Bresson film

‘A Man Escaped’ – Robert Bresson’s prison break on FilmStruck

“This story is true. I give it as it is, without embellishment.” That’s an understatement of an opening remark. A Man Escaped (France, 1956) is a mesmerizing meeting of opposites: a prison escape thriller directed by the austere, introspective Robert Bresson. Based on the memoir by Andre Devigny, a member of the French Resistance imprisoned […]

Sylvain Chomet's animated film of a Jacques Tati script

‘The Illusionist’ on Amazon Prime Video

With The Illusionist (France, 2010), animator Sylvain Chomet (of the delirious The Triplets of Belleville) transforms an unproduced script by they great French auteur Jacques Tati (Mon Oncle) into a tender tale of a French magician and a Scottish girl in the theater-folk society of London as the old world of stage performance gives way […]

Tatsuya Nakadai in the Akira Kurosawa epic

Akira Kurosawa’s ‘Ran’ on FilmStruck

Akira Kurosawa Ran (Japan, 1985), the story of an aging warlord who hands power to his sons is loosely inspired by the story of sixteenth century warlord Mōri Motonari, who conquered his rivals and extended his kingdom with the help of his three sons. The script is firmly built on King Lear, with sons taking […]