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

Wong Kar-Wai’s melancholy ‘In the Mood for Love’ on FilmStruck

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 […]

P.J. Soles and The Ramones

‘Rock ‘n’ Roll High School’ on Criterion Channel

“Do your parents know you’re Ramones?” If Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (1979) isn’t the greatest rock and rebellion film of all time, it is certainly in the running, a pure, cheerfully juvenile blast of blitzkrieg guitar rock, Looney Tunes sight gags, teenage hormones, and rebellion against authority because it’s there. They aren’t exactly rebels […]

Juliette Binoche and William Shimell star in Abbas Kiarostami's first European production

‘Certified Copy’ on Criterion Channel and Sundance Now

The Certified Copy (2010) of Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami’s first European production refers to artworks—Why do we value a reproduction less than an original and what does authenticity even mean?—but resonates just as effectively with the art of filmmaking and its relationship to reproduction and recreation. “It’s our perception that gives it value,” to quote […]

Jean Gabin stars in Julien Divivier’s poetic French film noir

‘Pépé le Moko’ – The romance of French noir on FilmStruck

Jean Gabin was a brooding, rough working class anti-hero in France when his role as cool master criminal Pépé le Moko (France, 1937) made him an international star. Set in the Casbah of French Morroco, a labyrinth of alleys and termite-hole dwellings in an underworld slum that creates its own bustling, self-contained society within Algiers, […]

Arletty, Marcel Herrand, Pierre Brasseur, and Jean-Louis Barrault star in Marcel Carné's classic of French cinema

‘Children of Paradise’ – The theatre of love and crime on FilmStruck and Criterion

Children of Paradise (France, 1945), Marcel Carné’s legendary drama of love, theater, and crime in 19th Century Paris, is an epic in every sense of the word. It opens and ends on a stage curtain, which rises to reveal the Boulevard of Crime, the theater district of 1830s Paris, where street performers and pickpockets alike ply […]

Kim Jin-kyu and Lee Eun-shim in Kim Ki-young's original "The Housemaid" from South Korea

‘The Housemaid’ – The 1960 Korean classic on FilmStruck

Kim Ki-young’s The Housemaid (South Korea, 1960) is a classic of South Korean cinema but until Criterion released the film on disc in 2013 it was largely unknown (or at least unseen) to even the most dedicated cinephile apart from its inspiration for Im Sang-soo’s 2010 remake. As I discovered, the two films couldn’t be […]

King Hu directs this classic of Chinese cinema

‘A Touch of Zen’ on Criterion Channel and Blu-ray/DVD

A Touch of Zen (Taiwan, 1967), King Hu’s romantic chivalry adventure, is a masterpiece of Chinese cinema, a magnificent epic with grand battles fought with the grace of a ballet with swords, and the most significant cinematic inspiration for Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The three-hour film took the uniquely Chinese genre of wuxia […]

Jacques Tati directs, writes, and stars in this sublime comedy from France.

‘Playtime’ – Jacques Tati’s comic masterpiece on Criterion Channel and Blu-ray/DVD

A film comedy directed with the grace of a ballet, the painstaking detail of an action painting and the affection of a love song, Jacques Tati’s Playtime (1967) is one of the most sublime celebrations of individualism in the alienated landscape of modern urban life and consumer culture. This is a different kind of symphony of […]

Juliette Binoche, Julie Delpy, and Irene Jacob star in Krzysztof Kieslowski 's Blue, White, and Red trilogy

‘Three Colors’ – Kieslowski’s sublime trilogy on Criterion Channel and Blu-ray/DVD

The three colors are blue, white and red. They are the colors of the French flag, of course, and they are appropriated by director Krzysztof Kieslowski along with the themes of the motto they more or less represent: liberty, equality, fraternity. But the films Three Colors: Blue (1993), Three Colors: White (1993), and Three Colors: […]