Film Studies

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The Battle of Algiers
One of the most influential political films in history, The Battle of Algiers, by Gillo Pontecorvo, vividly re-creates a key year in the tumultuous Algerian struggle for independence from the occupying French in the 1950s. As violence escalates on both…
Breathless
There was before Breathless, and there was after Breathless. Jean-Luc Godard burst onto the film scene in 1960 with this jazzy, free-form, and sexy homage to the American film genres that inspired him as a writer for Cahiers du cinema.…
Rashomon
A riveting psychological thriller that investigates the nature of truth and the meaning of justice, Rashomon is widely considered one of the greatest films ever made. Four people give different accounts of a man's murder and the rape of his…
Bicycle Thieves
Hailed around the world as one of the greatest movies ever made, the Academy Award-winning Bicycle Thieves, directed by Vittorio De Sica, defined an era in cinema. In poverty-stricken postwar Rome, a man is on his first day of a…
Seven Samurai
One of the most thrilling movie epics of all time, Seven Samurai (Shichinin no samurai) tells the story of a sixteenth-century village whose desperate inhabitants hire the eponymous warriors to protect them from invading bandits. This three-hour ride from Akira…
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The 400 Blows
Francois Truffaut's first feature is also his most personal. Told through the eyes of Truffaut's cinematic counterpart, Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Leaud),The 400 Blows sensitively re-creates the trials of Truffaut's own childhood, unsentimentally portraying aloof parents, oppressive teachers, and petty crime.…
M
A simple, haunting musical phrase whistled offscreen tells us that a young girl will be killed. "Who Is the Murderer?" pleads a nearby placard as serial killer Hans Beckert (Peter Lorre) closes in on little Elsie Beckmann . . .…
La Haine
Mathieu Kassovitz took the film world by storm with La haine, a gritty, unsettling, and visually explosive look at the racial and cultural volatility in modern-day France, specifically the low-income banlieue districts on Paris's outskirts. Aimlessly passing their days in…
In the Mood for Love
Hong Kong, 1962: Chow Mo-wan (Tony Leung Chiu-wai) and Su Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung Man-yuk) move into neighboring apartments on the same day. Their encounters are formal and polite--until a discovery about their spouses creates an intimate bond between them. At…
Cleo From 5 to 7
Agnes Varda eloquently captures Paris in the sixties with this real-time portrait of a singer (Corinne Marchand) set adrift in the city as she awaits test results of a biopsy. A chronicle of the minutes of one woman's life, Cleo…
Rome Open City
This was Roberto Rossellini's revelation, a harrowing drama about the Nazi occupation of Rome and the brave few who struggled against it. Though told with more melodramatic flair than the other films that would form this trilogy and starring some…
Jules and Jim
Hailed as one of the finest films ever made, Jules and Jim charts, over twenty-five years, the relationship between two friends and the object of their mutual obsession. The legendary Francois Truffaut directs, and Jeanne Moreau stars as the alluring…
Modern Times
Modern Times, Charlie Chaplin's last outing as the Little Tramp, puts the iconic character to work as a giddily inept factory employee who becomes smitten with a gorgeous gamine (Paulette Goddard). With its barrage of unforgettable gags and sly commentary…
8 1/2
Marcello Mastroianni plays Guido Anselmi, a director whose new project is collapsing around him, along with his life. One of the greatest films about film ever made, Federico Fellini's 81/2 (Otto e mezzo) turns one man's artistic crisis into a…
The Official Story (La Historia Oficial)
In Argentina, Alicia lives the sheltered life of the wife of a wealthy businessman but her whole life changes when she discovers that her daughter, adopted at birth, may have been stolen from a family of "los desaparecidos." In an…
Solaris
Ground control has been receiving mysterious transmissions from the three remaining residents of the Solaris space station. When cosmonaut and psychologist Kris Kelvin is dispatched to investigate, he experiences the same strange phenomena that afflict the Solaris crew, sending him…
The Seventh Seal
Disillusioned and exhausted after a decade of battling in the Crusades, a knight (Max von Sydow) encounters Death on a desolate beach and challenges him to a fateful game of chess. Much studied, imitated, even parodied, but never outdone, Bergman's…
Stagecoach
This is where it all started. John Ford's smash hit and enduring masterpieceStagecoach revolutionized the western, elevating it from B movie to the A-list and establishing the genre as we know it today. The quintessential tale of a group of…
City Lights
City Lights, the most cherished film by Charlie Chaplin, is also his ultimate Little Tramp chronicle. The writer-director-star achieved new levels of grace, in both physical comedy and dramatic poignancy, with this silent tale of a lovable vagrant falling for…
The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza)
For decades, journalist Jep Gambardella has charmed and seduced his way through the glittering nightlife of Rome. Since the legendary success of his only novel, he has been a permanent fixture in the city's literary and elite social circles. But…