The roots of Kira Muratova’s impressionistic style are on display in her first solo feature, which was banned by Soviet censors for twenty years. Through an intricate play of flashbacks and shifting perspectives, Brief Encounters reveals the tangled love triangle that connects a hard-nosed city planner (played by Muratova herself), her free-spirited geologist husband (legendary Soviet protest singer Vladimir Vysotsky), and the young woman from the countryside (Nina Ruslanova) whom she hires as their housekeeper. Blending observational realism with new wave experimentation, Muratova crafts a wryly perceptive portrait of two very different women connected by chance yet each navigating her own dreams, ambitions, and disappointments.
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.