This pointillist family portrait by Kira Miratova is one of the bracingly original Soviet filmmaker’s long-banned major works. A kind of psychological breakup movie, The Long Farewell traces the rift that grows between an emotionally impulsive single mother (the transcendent Zinaida Sharko) and her increasingly resentful teenage son (Oleg Vladimirsky), who upends her world when he announces he wishes to live with his faraway father. The seemingly simple premise is rendered anything but simple by Muratova’s dreamy, drifting style, with off-kilter framing, editing, and dialogue continually pushing cinema’s aesthetic and expressive boundaries outward.
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.