Described by director François Truffaut as “my first real film,” this exuberant, freewheeling short set the stage for the cinematic revolution of the French New Wave. Zigzagging across the ancient city of Nîmes, Les mistons follows a rambunctious gaggle of puppy-love-struck boys as they meddle mischievously in the summer romance between a local jeune femme (nouvelle vague icon Bernadette Lafont, in her screen debut) and her beau (Gérard Blain, “the French James Dean”). Bursting with stylistic embellishments—including breathless tracking shots, dynamic handheld camera work, and playfully oscillating frame rates—this bittersweet ode to wayward youth is giddy with the possibilities of moviemaking.
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.
Mathieu Kassovitz took the film world by storm with La haine, a gritty, unsettling, and visually explosive look at the racial and cultural volatility in modern-day France, specifically the low-income banlieue districts on Paris’s outskirts.
DCP, 35 mm, 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.