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Stalker (1979) Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky This is a beautiful restoration, with Tarkovsky’s previous feature Solaris to follow, courtesy of Mosfilm. Now a “quasi-private” venture, the studio outlived the USSR by adapting successfully to an environment of economic, rather than historical, materialism—meaning that it trades on the many Soviet-era classics it once produced, including Stalker and Solaris. Happily, nothing like the sci-fi apparatus of the earlier film exists in Stalker, though it too is an adaptation...
McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971) Directed by Robert Altman McCabe & Mrs. Miller, like so many Westerns, begins with a stranger riding into town under an opening-credits ballad: Leonard Cohen sings “The Stranger,” his light and unconsoling voice floating above spare guitar figures like someone looking for a place to be warm and not expecting to find it, as Warren Beatty, in a bearskin coat as wide as a doorway, approaches Presbyterian Church, a mountain-west...
Daughters of the Dust (1991) Directed by Julie Dash Dash took it upon herself to create positive depictions of strong, independent-minded black women that were otherwise lacking in American film. Her first feature-length work became the first film directed by an African-American woman to receive US distribution. Twenty-five years and several Dash films later, Daughters of the Dust became a crucial influence on Beyoncé’s visual album Lemonade and received a gorgeous 2K restoration (overseen by the...
La Notte (1961) Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni Easy to parody, impossible to replicate, what Andrew Sarris called “Antoniennui”—glamorous European movie stars composed in tableaux in front of brutalist architecture, speaking past each other in existential aphorisms—can be embraced as a Marxist-influence tract on the alienation of contemporary life or snorted at as chic pretention, equal and opposite visceral reactions to ambitious modern aesthetics which in either case and for better and worse say more about...

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