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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...
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...
Hiroshima, mon amour (1959) Last Year at Marienbad (1961) Directed by Alain Resnais With his first two feature films, Resnais cerebrally altered cinema, addling it with an enigmatic, haunting, dogged vision. Last Year at Marienbad, in particular, become an art-cultural touchstone, inspiring a hard-to-believe vogue for nim, an ancient game of strategy and matchsticks which is featured in the film, as well as apparently many insufferable cocktail conversations: according to columnist Inez Robb, “The surest way...

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