This achingly gorgeous emotional epic from the incomparable Kenji Mizoguchi is one of the triumphs of Japanese cinema. The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum follows the journey of a young actor who breaks away from his wealthy kabuki troupe family to marry his parents’ former servant; cruelly estranged, he and his wife descend into poverty and disillusionment on society’s margins. Featuring the kind of delicate yet dexterous camera movements for which Mizoguchi would forever be known, this patiently observed nineteenth-century drama is a poignant tale of tragedy and redemption and a moving depiction of the potency of love in the face of rigid social strictures.
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
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