The rare Kanoon film that doesn’t involve children, this unusual road movie was made during the revolution and afforded Kiarostami what may have been a welcome escape from the capital. Shot amid spectacular mountain scenery north of Tehran, it shows a young man on a roadside with a tire, trying to get a ride. After several minutes of failure, he simply takes the tire and rolls it down the mountain, a lyrical visual journey that’s accompanied by a triumphal score.
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.
“No one sees anything. Ever. They watch, but they don’t understand.” So observes Connie Nielsen in Olivier Assayas’s hallucinatory, globe-spanning Demonlover, a postmodern neonoir thriller and media critique in which nothing—not even the film itself—is what it appears to be.
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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.