George Bernard Shaw’s breezy, delightful dramatization of this classic fable—about a Christian slave who pulls a thorn from a lion's paw and is spared from death in the Colosseum as a result of his kind act—was written as a meditation on modern Christian values. And Pascal’s final Shaw production plays it broadly, casting comic character actor Alan Young as the titular naïf. He’s ably supported by Jean Simmons, Victor Mature, Robert Newton, and Elsa Lanchester.
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.
DCP, 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.