Anamaria Marinca and Laura Vasiliu in Cristian Mungiu’s beautiful and harrowing Romanian drama '4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days'

‘4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days’ on The Criterion Channel

Cristian Mungiu’s beautiful and harrowing Romanian drama 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007) won the Palme d’Or at Cannes and Best Film at the European Film Awards, yet didn’t even make the short list for Best Foreign Language Film nominations. I can’t fathom this defiant snubbing of such a powerful and provocative film, […]

‘A Silent Voice’ – a moving story of bullying and redemption on Netflix

The animated feature A Silent Voice (Japan, 2016), adapted from a popular manga serial by Yoshitoki Oima and directed by Naoka Yamada, takes on the issue of school bullying through the story of Shoya, a fun-loving rascal who feeds off the attention he gets when he starts making fun of Shoko, a deaf girl who […]

Tatsuya Nakadai in the Akira Kurosawa epic

Akira Kurosawa’s ‘Ran’ on The Criterion Channel

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 […]

‘All About Lily Chou-Chou’ – Not your usual high school drama on Kanopy

Shunji Iwai’s cruel story of youth All About Lily Chou-Chou (Japan, 2001) has very little to do with pop star Lily Chou-Chou (a Bjork-like fictional creation who took on a cult life in Japan as the star of an interactive Internet novel) and everything to do with her adolescent fans in a Japanese junior high […]

‘The Guilty’ – a rivetting Danish thriller on Hulu

There is a particular kind of challenge to making a movie tethered to a single, self-contained location where the dialogue is conducted almost entirely over the phone and the story plays out in real time. When it works—and look no farther than Steven Knight’s Locke (2013) with Tom Hardy navigating a life-altering action while driving […]

Alain Delon stars in the Jean-Pierre Melville French crime film classic

Jean-Pierre Melville’s ‘Le Samourai’ on Kanopy and The Criterion Channel

Alain Delon is the coolest killer hit the screen, a film noir loner for the modern era, in Jean-Pierre Melville’s austere 1967 French crime classic Le Samourai (France, 1967). Delon’s impassive hitman Jeff Costello is a professional’s professional, an assassin with a face of stone, nerves of ice, and the patience of a monk. He […]

‘Adua and Her Friends’ on The Criterion Channel

Adua and Her Friends (Italy, 1960) are prostitutes from a Rome brothel attempting to take charge of their own lives after their place is shut down in the aftermath of Italy’s Merlin Law, which ended legalized prostitution in 1958. Adua (Simone Signoret), a veteran of the life, has a plan to open a restaurant as […]

Jean-Pierre Melville directs the French Resistance classic starring Lino Ventura and Simone Signoret

‘Army of Shadows’ – Jean-Pierre Melville’s French Resistance on The Criterion Channel

Legendary gangster movie director Jean-Pierre Melville turned his familiar crime film iconography on its head with Army of Shadows (France, 1969), his gravely personal drama about the early days of the French Resistance in World War II. Gangster movie icon Lino Ventura plays Resistance leader Philippe Gerbier with an observant stillness and coiled calm different […]

Marta Mazurek and Michalina Olszanska star in the polish horror fantasy by Agnieszka Smoczynska

‘The Lure’ – these Little Mermaids have teeth on The Criterion Channel

The strangest take on the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale “The Little Mermaid” ever put on the screen, The Lure (Poland, 2015) is a musical-horror-fantasy-romantic tragedy from Poland about mermaid sisters with a taste for human flesh. Like the sirens of Homer’s “The Odyssey,” Silver (Marta Mazurek) and Golden (Michalina Olszanska) are feral creatures who […]