In Satyajit Ray’s absorbing contemporary adaptation of a play by Henrik Ibsen, a good-hearted doctor discovers that the serious illness befalling the citizens of his small Bengali town may be due to a contamination of the holy water at the local temple. His findings are met not with public gratitude but with rancor, as well as opposition from local authorities, who are afraid the news will keep visitors away. Stately in style but with a fiery debate at its heart, An Enemy of the People gets at the tension between religion and science in everyday Indian life.
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.