Set amid the military maneuvers and Quatorze Juillet carnivals of turn-of-the-century France, Jean Renoir’s delirious romantic comedy Elena and her Men (Elena et les hommes) stars a radiant Ingrid Bergman as a beautiful, but impoverished, Polish princess who drives men of all stations to fits of desperate love. When Elena elicits the fascination of a famous general, she finds herself at the center of romantic machinations and political scheming, with the hearts of several men—as well as the future of France—in her hands.
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.
Mathieu Kassovitz took the film world by storm with La haine, a gritty, unsettling, and visually explosive look at the racial and cultural volatility in modern-day France, specifically the low-income banlieue districts on Paris’s outskirts.
DCP, 35 mm, Blu-ray, DVD
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.