In the aftermath of a 1990 earthquake that left 30,000 dead, Kiarostami returned to the village of Koker where his camera surveys not only the devastation but the teeming life that continues in its wake. Blending fiction and reality into a playful, poignant road movie, And Life Goes On follows a film director (played by an actor standing in for Kiarostami) who, along with his son, makes the difficult trek to the region in hopes of finding out if the young star of his movie Where is the Friend’s House? is among the survivors. There he discovers a resilient community pressing on in the face of tragedy as he’s helped along on his journey by the generosity of those he meets. Finding beauty in the bleakest of circumstances, Kiarostami crafts a quietly majestic ode to the best of the human spirit.
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.