Grave and witty by turns, this drama develops into a probing study of the psychology of desire. Susanne (Eva Dahlbeck), head of a modeling agency, takes her protégée Doris (Harriet Andersson) to a fashion show in Gothenburg, where Susanne makes contact with a former lover, and Doris finds herself pursued by a married dignitary (Gunnar Björnstrand). With its parallel narratives and subtle compositions, Dreams marked a transition between Bergman’s early explorations of affairs of the heart and the more somber and virtuosic masterpieces to come later in the fifties.
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.
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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.