Family ties become a trap from which a woman struggles to escape in Márta Mészáros’ quietly devastating sophomore feature. Following the sudden death of her prominent politician husband, middle-aged Edit (Mari Töröcsik) finds herself plunged into an existential crisis, caught between her desire for independence and the machinations of her elder son István (Lajos Balázsovits) who seems intent on controlling her life just as his father did. In the middle of it all is István’s young fiancée Kati (Kati Kovács), who gradually realizes that she may be repeating Edit’s mistakes. Though Binding Sentiments is rare among Mészáros’ works in its focus on a wealthy, rather than working-class, milieu, it strikingly illustrates how the predicaments of patriarchy affect all women.
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.