One of the first films to confront the horrors of the Holocaust remains one of the most powerful. Suffused with the visceral dread of a waking nightmare, Distant Journey draws from director and Holocaust survivor Alfréd Radok’s own experiences to tell the story of a Czechoslovak Jewish family—including a young doctor (Blanka Waleská) and her gentile husband (Otomar Krejča)—whose lives are torn apart by the terrors of the Nazi occupation, leading them inexorably to a grim fight for survival in the Theresienstadt concentration camp. Blending expressionistic cinematography with archival documentary footage (some drawn from Triumph of the Will) to potent effect, this harrowing vision of human atrocity was banned in its home country for more than forty years, only to reemerge as urgent and impactful as ever.
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.
Four charming comedies from Eric Rohmer.
Melvin Van Peebles’s edgy, angsty, romantic first feature could never have been made in America. Unable to break into a segregated Hollywood, Van Peebles decamped to France, taught himself the language, and wrote a number of books in French, one of which, La permission, would become his stylistically innovative feature debut.
Melvin Van Peebles
DCP, Blu-ray, DVD
A triumph at the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival, the revelatory debut feature from codirectors (and twin brothers) Arie and Chuko Esiri is a heartrending and hopeful portrait of everyday human endurance in Lagos, Nigeria.