With his second feature, a towering epic that took him years to complete, Andrei Tarkovsky waded deep into the past and emerged with a visionary masterwork. Threading together several self-contained episodes, the filmmaker traces the renowned icon painter Andrei Rublev through the harsh realities of fifteenth-century Russian life, vividly conjuring the dark and otherworldly atmosphere of the age: a primitive hot-air balloon takes to the sky, snow falls inside an unfinished church, naked pagans celebrate the midsummer solstice, a young man oversees the casting of a gigantic bell. Appearing here in Tarkovsky’s preferred 183-minute cut, as well as the version that was originally censored by Soviet authorities, Andrei Rublev is an arresting meditation on art, faith, and endurance, and a powerful reflection on expressive constraints in the director’s own time.
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.