Released five years after Bruce Lee’s death, this eccentrically entertaining kung fu curio combines footage from an unfinished project directed by and starring Lee with original material shot by Enter the Dragon director Robert Clouse to create an entirely new work that testifies to the actor’s enduring place in the pop culture imagination. Using stand-ins, doubles, and archival footage to compensate for Lee’s absence, Game of Death follows a martial arts movie star who, when he’s threatened by a cutthroat crime syndicate intent on controlling his career, must take his skills from the soundstage to the streets. It all builds to an exhilarating climax that is pure Lee: a tour de force of martial arts mastery in which the legend himself, clad in iconic yellow jumpsuit, fights his way up a multi-level pagoda, with a towering Kareem Abdul-Jabbar among his formidable opponents.
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.