In this preternaturally assured feature debut by Carlos Reygadas, a man (Alejandro Ferretis) travels from Mexico City to an isolated village to commit suicide; once there, however, he meets a pious elderly woman (Magdalena Flores) whose quiet humanity incites a reawakening of his desires. Recruiting a cast of nonactors and filming in sublime 16 mm CinemaScope, Reygadas explores the harsh beauty of the Mexican countryside with earthy tactility, conjuring a psychic landscape where religion mingles with sex, life coexists with death, and the animal and spiritual sides of human experience become indistinguishable. A work of soaring ambition and startling visual poetry, Japón is an existential journey through uncharted cinematic territory that established the singular voice of its director.
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.
Four charming comedies from Eric Rohmer.
Melvin Van Peebles’s edgy, angsty, romantic first feature could never have been made in America. Unable to break into a segregated Hollywood, Van Peebles decamped to France, taught himself the language, and wrote a number of books in French, one of which, La permission, would become his stylistically innovative feature debut.
Melvin Van Peebles
DCP, Blu-ray, DVD
A triumph at the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival, the revelatory debut feature from codirectors (and twin brothers) Arie and Chuko Esiri is a heartrending and hopeful portrait of everyday human endurance in Lagos, Nigeria.