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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…
The Exterminating Angel
A group of high-society friends are invited to a mansion for dinner and inexplicably find themselves unable to leave in Luis Bunuel's daring masterpiece The Exterminating Angel (El angel exterminador). Made just one year after his international sensation Viridiana, this film, full of eerie, comic absurdity, furthers Bunuel's wicked takedown…
Orpheus
Jean Cocteau's update of the Orpheus myth depicts a famous poet (Jean Marais), scorned by the Left Bank youth, and his love for both his wife, Eurydice (Marie Dea), and a mysterious princess (Maria Casares). Seeking inspiration, the poet follows the princess from the world of the living to the…
Andrei Rublev
Immediately suppressed by the Soviets in 1966, Andrei Tarkovsky's epic masterpiece is a sweeping medieval tale of Russia's greatest icon painter. Too experimental, too frightening, too violent, and too politically complicated to be released officially, Andrei Rublev has existed only in shortened, censored versions until the Criterion Collection created this…
Belle de Jour
Catherine Deneuve's porcelain perfection hides a cracked interior in one of the actress's most iconic roles: Severine, a Paris housewife who begins secretly spending her afternoon hours working in a bordello. This surreal and erotic late-sixties daydream from provocateur for the ages Luis Bunuel is an examination of desire 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 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…
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…
Journey to Italy
Among the most influential films of the postwar era, Roberto Rossellini's Journey to Italy (Viaggio in Italia) charts the declining marriage of a couple from England (Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders) on a trip in the countryside near Naples. More than just the anatomy of a relationship, Rossellini's masterpiece is…
Parade
For his final film, Jacques Tati takes his camera to the circus, where the director himself serves as master of ceremonies. Though it features many spectacles, including clowns, jugglers, acrobats, contortionists, and more, Parade also focuses on the spectators, making this stripped-down work a testament to the communion between audience…
Cria Cuervos
Carlos Saura's exquisite Cria cuervos . . . heralded a turning point in Spain: shot while General Franco was on his deathbed, the film melds the personal and the political in a portrait of the legacy of fascism and its effects on a middle-class family (the title derives from the…
Corridors of Blood
In 1840s London, Dr. Thomas Bolton (Boris Karloff) dares to dream the unthinkable: to operate on patients without causing pain. Unfortunately, the road to general anesthesia is blocked by a ruthless killer (Christopher Lee), as well as Bolton's devastating addiction to his own chemical experiments. Additional Reading: http://www.criterion.com/current/posts/2025-in-praise-of-karloff-the-uncanny