Agnès Varda’s tender evocation of the childhood of her husband, Jacques Demy—a dream project of his that she realized when he became too ill to direct the film himself—is a wonder-filled portrait of the artist as a young man and an enchanting ode to the magic of cinema. Shot in Demy’s hometown of Nantes (including the house he grew up in), this imaginative blend of narrative and documentary traces his coming of age amid the tumult of World War II as he finds escape in a universe of puppet shows, fairy tales, opera, and, above all, movies—the formative aesthetic experiences that would fuel his vivid Technicolor imagination and find unforgettable expression in his exuberant New Wave masterworks. Interspersed with intimate footage of the older Demy reflecting on his life’s journey, Jacquot de Nantes is a poignant love letter from one visionary artist to another.
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.