Made right after the dissolution of Bergman’s own second marriage, Thirst is an often dazzling tirade against the institution of matrimony. The principal couple, Bertil (Birger Malmsten) and Ruth (Eva Henning), travel home by train to Sweden from Switzerland, at each other’s throats the whole way. Meanwhile, in Stockholm, Bertil’s former lover, Viola (Birgit Tengroth, who also wrote the stories on which the film is based), tries to evade the predatory advances of her psychiatrist, and then of a ballet dancer who was once a friend of Ruth’s. This dark and multilayered drama, sustained by biting dialogue, reveals Bergman’s profound understanding of the female psyche.
This boldly cinematic trio of stories about love and loss, from Krzysztof Kieślowski was a defining event of the art-house boom of the 1990s. The films are named for the colors of the French flag and stand for the tenets of the French Revolution—liberty, equality, and fraternity—but that hardly begins to explain their enigmatic beauty and rich humanity. Set in Paris, Warsaw, and Geneva, and ranging from tragedy to comedy, Blue, White, and Red(Kieślowski’s final film) examine with artistic clarity a group of ambiguously interconnected people experiencing profound personal disruptions. Marked by intoxicating cinematography and stirring performances by such actors as Juliette Binoche, Julie Delpy, Irène Jacob, and Jean-Louis Trintignant, Kieślowski’s Three Colors is a benchmark of contemporary cinema.
The Hong Kong crime drama was jolted to new life with the release of the Infernal Affairs trilogy, a bracing, explosively stylish critical and commercial triumph that introduced a dazzling level of narrative and thematic complexity to the genre with its gripping saga of two rival moles.
The release of François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows in 1959 shook world cinema to its foundations.