Rainer Werner Fassbinder
In Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s brazen depiction of the alternating currents of lethargy and mayhem inherent in moviemaking, a film crew—played by, and not so loosely based on, his own frequent collaborators—deals with an aloof star (Eddie Constantine), an abusive director (Lou Castel), and a financially troubled production. Inspired by the hellish process of making Whity earlier the same year, this is a vicious look at behind-the-scenes dysfunction.
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.