Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s spellbinding international breakthrough established him as one of the leaders of the emerging new wave of Japanese horror while pushing the genre into uncharted realms of philosophical and existential exploration. A string of shocking, seemingly unmotivated murders—each committed by a different person yet bearing the same grisly hallmarks—leads Detective Kenichi Takabe (Koji Yakusho) into a labyrinthine investigation to discover what connects them, and into a disturbing game of cat and mouse with an enigmatic amnesiac (Masato Hagiwara) who may be evil incarnate. Awash in a mood of hushed, hypnotic dread, Cure is a tour de force of psychological tension and a hallucinatory journey into the darkest recesses of the human mind.
This boldly cinematic trio of stories about love and loss, from Krzysztof Kieślowski was a defining event of the art-house boom of the 1990s. The films are named for the colors of the French flag and stand for the tenets of the French Revolution—liberty, equality, and fraternity—but that hardly begins to explain their enigmatic beauty and rich humanity. Set in Paris, Warsaw, and Geneva, and ranging from tragedy to comedy, Blue, White, and Red(Kieślowski’s final film) examine with artistic clarity a group of ambiguously interconnected people experiencing profound personal disruptions. Marked by intoxicating cinematography and stirring performances by such actors as Juliette Binoche, Julie Delpy, Irène Jacob, and Jean-Louis Trintignant, Kieślowski’s Three Colors is a benchmark of contemporary cinema.
The Hong Kong crime drama was jolted to new life with the release of the Infernal Affairs trilogy, a bracing, explosively stylish critical and commercial triumph that introduced a dazzling level of narrative and thematic complexity to the genre with its gripping saga of two rival moles.
The release of François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows in 1959 shook world cinema to its foundations.