Eyimofe (This Is My Desire): Floating Currencies
In their ambitious debut feature, brothers Arie and Chuko Esiri capture the vibrancy of contemporary Lagos while also showing the desperation with which its two protagonists seek to leave it.
’Round Midnight: Return from Exile
A longtime lover of jazz, Bertrand Tavernier honors its legacy by throwing the spotlight on real musicians—including legendary tenor sax player Dexter Gordon—improvising on-screen.
The Last Waltz: Long, Hard Road
At once euphoric and elegiac, Martin Scorsese’s concert documentary captures the members of the Band on the brink of spiritual and physical collapse as they mount their transcendent final send-off.
The Flight of the Phoenix: Flight or Fight
In Robert Aldrich’s epic disaster film, James Stewart leads a pack of temperamentally different men as they struggle to survive in the face of the unknown—a template that would go on to influence Hollywood blockbusters for decades to come.
Boat People: Persistence of Vision
The fourth feature by the Hong Kong filmmaker Ann Hui devastatingly lays bare the conditions that spurred hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese to flee after the fall of Saigon.
Boat People: Becoming Refugees
In centering the perspectives of refugees, Hong Kong filmmaker Ann Hui created a work of political solidarity that stands in contrast to the dehumanizing cinematic depictions of Vietnam from the period.
The Learning Tree: Personal History
The first major Hollywood movie directed by an African American, Gordon Parks’s debut feature imbues a coming-of-age story with the visual sensibility he had developed in his celebrated career as a photographer.
Dick Johnson Is Dead: Falling Angels
By repeatedly staging the death of the filmmaker’s father with tragicomic flair, Kirsten Johnson’s hybrid documentary grapples with the realities of dementia and finds grace.
Time: Time in the Mind
Unlike any other prison documentary before it, Garrett Bradley’s masterwork poetically evokes the subjective experience of a family whose lives have been fractured by incarceration.
The Celebration: How Long Can This Go On?
A searing melodrama that lays bare the trauma wrought by white supremacy and privilege, Thomas Vinterberg’s second feature kick-started the Dogme 95 movement.
Menace II Society: The Truth Hurts
With the candor and rage of many hip-hop albums of the nineties, the Hughes brothers’ controversial debut feature depicts Watts as a pitiless urban war zone with no exit.
Citizen Kane: The Once and Future Kane
Modern in conception but postmodern in effect, the film hailed by many as the greatest ever made has been the subject of cinephilic passion and intense critical analysis since its release in 1941.
Once Upon a Time in China: The Complete Films: Past Master
Tsui Hark’s epic martial-arts saga revolutionized Hong Kong cinema by presenting a complex portrait of modern Chinese history and setting a gold standard in action choreography.