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Amateur (1994) | Sony Pictures Classics
The studied cool facades Hal Hartley’s characters put on, the way they almost play-act being criminals, the romantic fatalism that drives both the overarching narrative and the characters themselves: These are all elements that would make just as much sense in a Godard or Truffaut joint as they would in a ‘90s American indie film. Read More
Chungking Express (1994) | art by Tony Stella
In Chungking Express, everything is important—every can of pineapple, every dripping towel, every loop of “California Dreamin’”—mimicking that all-encompassing feeling of infatuation. These small items hold an entire story, the heartbreak and the hope and the waiting. Read More
The Set-Up (1949) | Warner Bros.
The Set-Up is a 72-minute cinematic poem. Director Robert Wise, who cut his teeth in Hollywood as an editor, strips away many of the fight-film conventions that his contemporaries used quite liberally. There is no training montage, no meteoric rise and fall, no climactic bout between the fighter and his hated rival. Read More

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From the archives


illustration by Brianna AshbyIt is 1961 in a suburb of London. In this suburb there is a school, made of weather-beaten brick with classrooms painted white or in various pastels. In this school young girls, hardly over seventeen, dressed uniformly in white button-downs, knee socks, gray blazers, and neckties, learn how... Read More
Face to Face (1976) | Olive Films
The first half of Ingmar Bergman's script seems to call for an almost comically tight-lipped, stone-faced blankness; the second half calls for at least four different coloratura breakdowns. Ullmann “fought like a lion” in the role, and, just hearing about it, you might imagine her Oscar nomination was a reward for a kind of athletic stamina, a heroic stab at an impossible target. Read More
Juliette Binoche in 'Let the Sunshine In' (2018) | Curiosa Films
Much of what I saw in 2018 reflected a related range of anxieties—about difference, catastrophe, isolation, belonging. Maybe that’s every year. Likely it’s too soon to tell. But among the things I saw, in a year of personal and political upheaval and ambivalence, these are the moments that solicited my attention most memorably. Read More