Éric Rohmer captures the ache of summertime sadness with exquisite poignancy in this luminous tale of self-exploration, the fifth film in his Comedies and Proverbs cycle. The Jules Verne novel of the same name provides the loose inspiration for the story of Delphine (Marie Rivière), a dreamy, introverted young secretary who, reeling from a breakup with her boyfriend, faces the prospect of spending her summer vacation alone. As she bounces from Cherbourg to the tourist-choked Alps to the sunny beaches of Biarritz, Delphine passes through a whirl of social activity—but remains profoundly alone, as true human connection continually eludes her. As honest a portrait of loneliness, depression, and the longing for understanding as has ever been committed to film, The Green Ray is one of the most piercingly perceptive works by French cinema’s keenest observer of human relationships.
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.