Enter a legend. Bruce Lee’s return to the Hong Kong film industry after a decade in America proved to be his big breakthrough, launching him to instant superstardom and setting a new standard for kung fu heroics. He commands the screen with his gravitas and explosive physicality in the role of a Chinese immigrant working at a Thai ice factory and sworn to an oath of nonviolence. When he discovers that the factory’s ruthless higher-ups are running a secret heroin ring and offing their own workers, his commitment to pacifism is put to the test. With his undeniable charisma and fluid, lightning-fast martial arts style, Lee is a revelation, streaking across the screen with a speed and power the likes of which had never been seen before.
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.