An acclaimed early work by Olivier Assayas that has long remained unavailable, the deeply felt coming-of-age drama Cold Water at long last makes its way to U.S. theaters. Drawing from his own youthful experiences, Assayas revisits the outskirts of Paris in the early 1970s, telling the story of teenage lovers Gilles (Cyprien Fouquet) and Christine (Virginie Ledoyen), whose open rebellion against family and society threatens to tear them apart, as Christine is sent to an institution by her parents and Gilles faces an uncertain future after running into trouble at school. With a rock soundtrack that vividly evokes the period, and provides the backdrop for one of the most memorable party sequences ever committed to film, Cold Water is a heartbreaking immersion into the emotional tumult of adolescence.
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.