Touki-Bouki (1973)

Director/Screenwriter: Djibril Diop Mambéty By Roderick Heath Following its 2007 restoration by Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation, Djibril Diop Mambéty’s Touki-Bouki has emerged in recent years to be celebrated as one of the finest products of African cinema. Touki-Bouki made a Sight & Sound Film Poll as one of the hundred greatest films of all …

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Night at the Crossroads (La Nuit de Carrefour, 1932) / A Day in the Country (Partie de campagne, 1936)

Director/Screenwriter/Actor: Jean Renoir By Roderick Heath Sometimes a famous name can be a boost or a burden. Or just a name. As the son of one of the most lauded Impressionist painters, Jean Renoir’s attraction to cinema gave the young art form an aura of matured sophistication, but might well have also lifted a few …

Continue reading Night at the Crossroads (La Nuit de Carrefour, 1932) / A Day in the Country (Partie de campagne, 1936)

Paisan (Paisa’, 1946) / Germany, Year Zero (Germania Anno Zero, 1948)

Director/Coscreenwriter: Roberto Rossellini By Roderick Heath Out of ashes, creation. The Italian neorealist film movement was in large part a pragmatic solution to shortages of film stock, actors, and other paraphernalia of a movie industry that had been gutted by war, invasion, and the collapse of a regime. This unlikely renaissance was propelled purely by …

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The Tiger of Eschnapur (Der Tiger von Eschnapur, 1959) / The Indian Tomb (Das Indische Grabmal, 1959)

Director: Fritz Lang By Roderick Heath Fritz Lang returned to make films in Germany after a quarter-century’s absence, after the box office failure of Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956) finally brought down the curtain on his Hollywood career. Lang had arrived in America as a feted figure wielding great prestige, but he subsisted in marginally …

Continue reading The Tiger of Eschnapur (Der Tiger von Eschnapur, 1959) / The Indian Tomb (Das Indische Grabmal, 1959)

All the Money in the World (2017)

Director: Ridley Scott By Roderick Heath Where Ridley Scott last left off, he was sending his biologically engineered übermenschen off into deep space to operatic fanfares of crypt-black irony. All the Money in the World, although set in the recent, very earthbound past, nonetheless takes up where that movie left off as young John Paul …

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The Shape of Water (2017)

Director/Coscreenwriter: Guillermo del Toro By Roderick Heath Here there be spoilers… Guillermo del Toro’s oeuvre has long come in two strands: the wistfully poetic splendour and infernal evocations of his Spanish-language films, Cronos (1992), The Devil’s Backbone (2001), Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), and the gleeful, geeky spectacle of his Hollywood work, including Mimic (1997), his two …

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The Shining (1980)

Director/Coscreenwriter: Stanley Kubrick By Roderick Heath A yellow Volkswagen Beetle winds its way along a vertiginous mountain road, a route that leads from the rational lowlands to the mountains of madness. We’ve already been introduced to Jack Torrance even though we haven’t seen him, a being enclosed in a tight bubble of metal, an economic …

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Night of the Demon (aka Curse of the Demon, 1957)

Director: Jacques Tourneur By Roderick Heath Headlights, burning the night like eyes of a spectral beast, light the way along a country road at night, branches etched in slivers of brightness against vast darkness. The car arrives before a great old house, and its driver, Professor Harrington (Maurice Denham), meets with the house’s owner, Julian …

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Me, You, Him, Her (Je, Tu, Il, Elle, 1974) / All Night Long (Toute Une Nuit, 1982)

Director/Screenwriter/Actor: Chantal Akerman By Roderick Heath Chantal Akerman’s death in 2015 at the age of 65 was a wrenching moment for many movie lovers, and closed curtains on a career beloved in the most studious corners of the world cinema scene. Akerman staked her claim to such loyalty with her most famous work, Jeanne Dielman, …

Continue reading Me, You, Him, Her (Je, Tu, Il, Elle, 1974) / All Night Long (Toute Une Nuit, 1982)