Man Is Not a Bird is an antic, free-form portrait of the love lives of two less-than-heroic men who labor in a copper factory. For this first feature, following years of making documentaries and experimental shorts, Dusan Makavejev and his crew set up shop in Bor, a mining town in the mountains near Yugoslavia’s border with Bulgaria, interviewing the workers in the region and even shooting footage inside the local ore factories. Yet the result is hardly a staid tribute to the working class. Also featuring seductive Milena Dravic, who would go on to star in Makavejev’s groundbreaking WR: Mysteries of the Organism, Man Is Not a Bird is one of cinema’s most assured and daring debuts.
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.
Four charming comedies from Eric Rohmer.
Melvin Van Peebles’s edgy, angsty, romantic first feature could never have been made in America. Unable to break into a segregated Hollywood, Van Peebles decamped to France, taught himself the language, and wrote a number of books in French, one of which, La permission, would become his stylistically innovative feature debut.
Melvin Van Peebles
DCP, Blu-ray, DVD
A triumph at the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival, the revelatory debut feature from codirectors (and twin brothers) Arie and Chuko Esiri is a heartrending and hopeful portrait of everyday human endurance in Lagos, Nigeria.