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Divorce Italian Style
Baron Ferdinando Cefalu (Marcello Mastroianni) longs to marry his nubile young cousin Angela (Stefania Sandrelli), but one obstacle stands in his way: his fatuous and fawning wife, Rosalia (Daniela Rocca). His solution? Since divorce is illegal, he hatches a plan to lure his spouse into the arms of another and…
The Virgin Spring
Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Ingmar Bergman's The Virgin Spring is a harrowing tale of faith, revenge, and savagery in medieval Sweden. Starring frequent Bergman collaborator and screen icon Max von Sydow, the film is both beautiful and cruel in its depiction of a world…
The Flowers of St. Francis
In a series of simple and joyous vignettes, director Roberto Rossellini and co-writer Federico Fellini lovingly convey the universal teachings of the People's Saint: humility, compassion, faith, and sacrifice. Gorgeously photographed to evoke the medieval paintings of Saint Francis's time, and cast with monks from the Nocera Inferiore Monastery, The…
La Notte
This psychologically acute, visually striking modernist work was director Michelangelo Antonioni's follow-up to the epochal L'avventura. Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau star as a novelist and his frustrated wife, who, over the course of one night, confront their alienation from each other and the achingly empty bourgeois Milan circles in…
Winter Light
"God, why did you desert me?" With Winter Light, master craftsman Ingmar Bergman explores the search for redemption in a meaningless existence. In this stark depiction of spiritual crisis, small-town pastor Tomas Ericsson (Gunnar Bjornstrand) performs his duties mechanically before a dwindling congregation. When he is asked to assist with…
Through a Glass Darkly
While vacationing on a remote island retreat, a family's already fragile ties are tested when daughter Karin (Harriet Andersson) discovers her father has been using her schizophrenia for his own literary means. As she drifts in and out of lucidity, the father (Gunnar Bjornstrand), along with Karin's husband (Max von…
The Lower Depths
Jean Renoir and Akira Kurosawa, two of cinema's greatest directors, transform Maxim Gorky's classic proletariat play The Lower Depths in their own ways for their own times. Renoir, working amidst the rise of Hitler and the Popular Front in France, had need to take license with the dark nature of…
La strada
There has never been a face quite like that of Giulietta Masina. Her husband, the legendary Federico Fellini, directs her as Gelsomina in La strada, the film that launched them both to international stardom. Gelsomina is sold by her mother into the employ of Zampano (Anthony Quinn), a brutal strongman…
The Naked Kiss
The setup is pure pulp: A former prostitute (a crackerjack Constance Towers) relocates to a buttoned-down suburb, determined to fit in with mainstream society. But in the strange, hallucinatory territory of writer-director-producer Samuel Fuller, perverse secrets simmer beneath the wholesome surface. Featuring radical visual touches, full-throttle performances, brilliant cinematography by…
WR: Mysteries of the Organism
What does the energy harnessed through orgasm have to do with the state of communist Yugoslavia circa 1971? Only counterculture filmmaker extraordinaire Dusan Makavejev has the answers (or the questions). His surreal documentary-fiction collision WR: Mysteries of the Organism begins as an investigation into the life and work of controversial…
The End of Summer
The Kohayakawa family is thrown into distress when childlike father Manbei takes up with his old mistress, in one of Ozu's most deftly modulated blendings of comedy and tragedy. Additional Reading: http://www.criterion.com/current/posts/634-eclipse-series-3-late-ozu
Late Autumn
The great actress and Ozu regular Setsuko Hara plays a mother gently trying to persuade her daughter to marry in this glowing portrait of family love and conflict--a reworking of Ozu's 1949 masterpiece Late Spring. Additional Reading: http://www.criterion.com/current/posts/634-eclipse-series-3-late-ozu