Something of a late-career companion to 8½,Federico Fellini’s penultimate film is a similarly self-reflexive (and self-deprecating) journey through both the director’s dream life and his cinematic world—which are, here as always in Fellini’s work, inextricably entwined. In Rome to make a documentary about the great filmmaker, a Japanese camera crew follows Fellini on a tour through his longtime home studio of Cinecittà as the maestro’s memories and fantasies unfurl in a dizzying, dazzling, time-bending love letter to the art and spectacle of moviemaking. The film’s sprawling vision even makes room for an appearance by Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg who, in an unforgettable bit of movie magic, relive their iconic Trevi Fountain scene from La dolce vita, lent new poignancy by the tacit acknowledgement of time’s passing.
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.