Orson Welles is Harry Lime on Carol Reed's classic

Continental noir: ‘The Third Man’ on FilmStruck and Criterion Channel

Carol Reed’s continental film noir The Third Man (1949), written by Graham Greene and starring Joseph Cotten as a cynical American pulp novelist playing detective in the rubble-strewn underworld of post-war Vienna and Orson Welles as a charming but ruthless black marketeer, is one of the true classics. The film is directed by Reed but […]

Gael García Bernal stars in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's breakthrough drama from Mexico

‘Amores Perros’ – A dog-eat-dog world on Netflix

A wounded figure lies helplessly bleeding in the backseat of a car recklessly careening through city streets while a pistol blasting thug in a souped-up pickup drives the fleeing car into a shattering crash. The jerky in-your-face camerawork, raw, earthy colors, and jagged editing looks just like a low budget crime picture that exploded from […]

Juliette Binoche vacations in ‘Slack Bay’ on Netflix

Bruno Dumont, once the chronicler of misery, alienation, and violence in rural France, has become a director of odd comedies with dark edges, first with the miniseries Li’l Quinquin and now Slack Bay (France, 2016). Slack Bay is set on the coast of Northern France in 1910, where the eccentric and wealthy Van Peteghem family arrives to […]

Mohammad Rasoulof directs this Iranian thriller

‘Manuscripts Don’t Burn’ on Amazon Prime

What’s most startling about Mohammad Rasoulof’s Iranian thriller Manuscripts Don’t Burn (Iran, 2013, not rated, with subtitles) is its audacity. Iranian filmmakers have a history of couching their criticisms of life in Iran in metaphor. This film puts its portrait of authoritarian oppression out in the open. We open on a contract murder that plays like […]

Harvey Keitel and Keith Carradine star in the directorial debut of Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott’s ‘The Duellists’ on FilmStruck

“The duelist demands satisfaction. Honor for him is an appetite.” The Duellists (1977), the feature debut of Ridley Scott, begins in 1800, “the year Napoleon became ruler of France,” with an early morning duel in a dewy green meadow where French military officer Gabriel Feraud (Harvey Keitel) runs his opponent through and then busies himself […]

Harry Dean Stanton in the film by Wim Wenders

‘Paris, Texas’ on Criterion Channel and Blu-ray/DVD

Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival, Paris, Texas (1984) was not Wim Wenders’ first American film—that would be Hammett (1982), which proved to be a dispiriting experience when producer Francis Ford Coppola decided to step in and re-edit Wenders’ vision to something more commercial (so much for the creative freedom […]

Jesuthasan Antonythasan and Claudine Vinasithamby in Jacques Audiard's award winning drama

‘Dheepan’ on Netflix and Criterion Blu-ray/DVD

Winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes 2016 and nominated for nine Cesar awards, Jacques Audiard’s Dheepan (France, 2015) is a moving drama of alienation, assimilation, and survival. A guerilla soldier (Jesuthasan Antonythasan, a non-actor and former child soldier) in the brutal Tamil Tigers in the dying days of Sri Lanka’s civil war, burns his […]