One of Mexico’s most highly regarded works of political cinema, Canoa: A Shameful Memory reimagines a real-life incident that had occurred just eight years before its release, when a group of urban university employees on a hiking trip were viciously attacked by residents of the village of San Miguel Canoa who had been manipulated by a corrupt priest into believing the travelers were communist revolutionaries. Director Felipe Cazals adopts a gritty documentary style to narrate the events in Canoa while referencing the climate of political repression that would lead to the massacre of student protesters in Mexico City shortly thereafter. The resulting film is a daring commentary on ideological manipulation, religious fanaticism, and mass violence, as well as a visceral expression of horror.
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.