Wim Wenders pays loving homage to rough-and-tumble Hollywood film noir with The American Friend, a loose adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel Ripley’s Game. Dennis Hopper oozes quirky menace as an amoral American art dealer who entangles a terminally ill German everyman, played by Bruno Ganz, in a seedy criminal underworld as revenge for a personal slight—but when the two become embroiled in an ever-deepening murder plot, they form an unlikely bond. Filmed on location in Hamburg and Paris, with some scenes shot in grimy, late-seventies New York City, Wenders’s international breakout is a stripped-down crime story that mixes West German and American film flavors, and it features cameos by filmmakers Jean Eustache, Samuel Fuller, and Nicholas Ray.
The themes, images, and cultural vernacular of Victor Fleming’s The Wizard of Oz continue to haunt David Lynch’s art and filmography—from his very first short, The Alphabet, to his latest series, Twin Peaks: The Return. Arguably, no filmmaker has so consistently drawn inspiration—consciously or unconsciously—from a single work.
Alexandre O. Philippe
Childhood friends Pietro and Bruno experience maturity, loss, and the rediscovery of an unbreakable connection when they reunite in adulthood to build a cabin on the rugged slopes of the Italian Alps.
One of the major achievements of twenty-first-century cinema thus far, Béla Tarr’s mesmeric parable of societal collapse is an enigma of transcendent visual, philosophical, and mystical resonance.
Béla Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky