Johnnie To and Ching Siu-tung
The kung fu crusaders known as Thief Catcher (Maggie Cheung), Invisible Woman (Michelle Yeoh), and Wonder Woman (Anita Mui) return in this gritty, postapocalyptic sequel to the blockbuster Hong Kong action hit The Heroic Trio. Following a devastating nuclear attack, Hong Kong’s clean water supply has fallen into the hands of a masked maniac intent on seizing political power—forcing the three fearless fighters to settle their differences and once again unite to stop him. Notably darker in tone than its predecessor, Executioners finds director Johnnie To continuing to push his whirlwind action set pieces to new heights of cartoon craziness while adding grungy, dystopian atmosphere and a fresh dose of anti-authoritarian attitude.
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.