Kazuo Hara’s interest in iconoclastic figures living in opposition to mainstream society led him to begin work on A Dedicated Life, an intimate, fly-on-the-wall portrait of the controversial writer Mitsuharu Inoue, a sometimes charming, sometimes combative, often frustrating novelist esteemed as one of postwar Japan’s literary lions. The project, however, soon spins off into unexpected directions, first when Inoue is diagnosed with terminal cancer, then when Hara begins to discover that the writer’s talents for fiction extend to his own life, the details of which he has been fabricating for decades. As the ailing author confronts his mortality and races to complete his final works, Hara begins digging into Inoue’s past in an attempt to separate the man from the myth, resulting in a unique, layered portrait of a complex figure whose very life was an extension of his art.
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.