One of the ineffably lovely domestic sagas made by Yasujiro Ozu at the height of his mastery, The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice is a sublimely piercing portrait of a marriage coming quietly undone. Secrets and deceptions strain the already tenuous relationship between a childless, middle-aged couple as her city-bred sophistication bumps up against his small-town simplicity, and a generational sea change—in the form of their headstrong, thoroughly modern niece—sweeps into their household. The director’s abiding concern with the intricacies of family dynamics receives one of its most spirited treatments, enlivened by a wry, tender humor and buoyant expansiveness that moves the action from the home into the baseball stadiums, pachinko parlors, and ramen shops of postwar Tokyo.
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.