For Apart from You, Mikio Naruse turned his camera on the lives of working women, which he would continue to do throughout his long career. In this gently devastating drama, a critical breakthrough for the director, he contrasts the life of an aging geisha, whose angry teenage son is ashamed of her profession, with that of her youthful counterpart, a lovely young girl resentful of her family for forcing her into a life of ignominy.
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.