Made in collaboration with Alberto Lattuada, Federico Fellini’s directorial debut unfolds amid the colorful backdrop of a traveling vaudeville troupe whose quixotic impresario (Peppino De Filippo) is tempted away from his faithful mistress (Giulietta Masina) by the charms of an ambitious young dancer (Carla Del Poggio). Though the details of what the division of duties was between the two directors are unclear, this lively backstage capriccio is unmistakably Felliniesque in its whimsical fascination with the heightened reality, carnivalesque characters, and exotic allure of the world of show business. In the first of her celebrated collaborations with her director husband, Giulietta Masina displays the spirited vulnerability that would soon become an archetype of cinematic emotiveness.
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.
DCP, 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.