“The mother of all my films,” according to Abbas Kiarostami, starts out as a breezily observed anecdote about a boy wending his way home through Tehran alleys carrying a loaf of bread. Variations on both the boy and the old man he sees and begins to follow will factor into future Kiarostami films, as will the use of “dead time,” the journey structure, and the poetic articulation of space. The final scene, involving a dog and a door, ends things on a note of wry ambiguity.
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.