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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...
Au hasard Balthazar (1966) Directed by Robert Bresson Perhaps one of the most well-known assertions regarding Bresson’s heartbreaking Au hasard Balthazar was made by Jean-Luc Godard, who hailed the film as “The world in an hour and a half.” Godard was not only alluding to the film’s extraordinary depth in depicting the overwhelming hardship and suffering of a donkey throughout his life in rural France, but was also suggesting a greater, universal dimension to Bresson’s masterpiece—one...
The Watermelon Woman (1996) Directed by Cheryl Dunye Throughout her first several short pieces in the early 1990s, Dunye created an endearing character: Herself. The auteur-star’s “Cheryl” is a shy, awkward, oft-lovelorn young filmmaker in Philadelphia that seeks to understand her black and lesbian identities better both for her own sake and for the sake of others around her. Cheryl begins Dunye’s debut feature with a direct-camera address in which she mentions the lack of media...
The Front Page (1931) Directed by Lewis Milestone This phenomenally fast-moving early screwball comedy has for years circulated in theatrical prints of dubious quality, a situation to be hopefully changed by the arrival of a new 35mm restoration undertaken in partnership between the Academy Film Archive and the Film Foundation and based upon a print owned by producer Howard Hughes. The first screen adaptation of Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s hit play relied in large...

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