Yasujirō Ozu’s final film in black and white is perhaps the darkest, most psychologically complex of his masterful family portraits. Suffused with a wintry melancholy, it charts the devastating effects of household secrets on the lives of two sisters: the unhappily married Takako (the director’s muse Setsuko Hara) and the rebellious Akiko (Ineko Arima), a lost soul adrift in a world of late night bars and backroom mahjong parlors. When their estranged mother (Isuzu Yamada) unexpectedly reenters their lives, it sends shockwaves through the already fragile family. Even as it deals with a host of turbulent themes—absent parents, crumbling marriages, unplanned pregnancy—Tokyo Twilight achieves a quiet transcendence thanks to the director’s exquisite restraint and penetrating insight into the tangled relationships between parents and children.
With his lush and sensual visuals, pitch-perfect soundtracks, and soulful romanticism, Wong Kar Wai has established himself as one of the defining auteurs of contemporary cinema.
“No one sees anything. Ever. They watch, but they don’t understand.” So observes Connie Nielsen in Olivier Assayas’s hallucinatory, globe-spanning Demonlover, a postmodern neonoir thriller and media critique in which nothing—not even the film itself—is what it appears to be.
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An intoxicating, time-bending experience bathed in the golden glow of oil lamps and wreathed in an opium haze, Hou Hsiao-hsien’s gorgeous period reverie traces the romantic intrigue, jealousies, and tensions swirling around a late 19th century Shanghai brothel, where the courtesans live confined to a gilded cage, ensconced in opulent splendor yet forced to work to buy back their freedom.