On Film

Essays

1228 Results
Mr. Klein: It’s All in the Name

Joseph Losey’s sumptuous portrait of Nazi-occupied Paris sees an icy Alain Delon as an art dealer on a Kafkaesque quest for identity.

By Ginette Vincendeau

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.

By Maryam Kazeem

’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.

By Mark Anthony Neal

Miracle in Milan: It Is Goodness

Vittorio De Sica’s neorealist fable deploys barbed humor and surreal flourishes to depict class solidarity and human kindness in postwar Italy.

By Christina Newland

The Girl Can’t Help It: The Fame Game

Frank Tashlin directs Jayne Mansfield to her cartoonish limits in this outrageous showbiz satire that is a testament to the power of bad taste.

By Rachel Syme

love jones: Sweet Home Chicago

Theodore Witcher’s moody, sensual romance foregrounds Black artists and their milieu, upending stereotypes about urban life.

By Danielle Amir Jackson

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.

By Amanda Petrusich

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.

By Gina Telaroli

Adoption: Wayward Faces

A parable of wayward women in a world without mothers, Márta Mészáros’s 1975 feature catapulted the Hungarian auteur to international prominence.

By Elena Gorfinkel

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.

By Justin Chang

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.

By Vinh Nguyen

Love Affair: The Nearest Thing to Heaven

Playful irreverence gives way to tragedy and transcendence in Leo McCarey’s 1939 masterwork, one of the defining romances of the Hollywood studio era.

By Megan McGurk

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.

By Odie Henderson

Miller’s Crossing: Marvelous Americans

A Prohibition-era gangster saga, the Coen brothers’ third feature is an enigmatic fable of violence, loyalty, and existential unease.

By Glenn Kenny

Written on the Wind: No Good End

Douglas Sirk’s 1956 masterpiece is a visceral tragedy that lays bare the spiritual malaise of the ruling class.

By Blair McClendon

The Piano: Gothic Gone South

A Victorian-era tale of self-discovery, Jane Campion’s Palme d’Or winner exults in the thrill of female rebellion.

By Carmen Gray

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.

By So Mayer

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.

By Doreen St. Félix

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.

By Michael Koresky

One Night in Miami . . .: In the Room

Regina King’s feature-film directorial debut envisions the true-life convergence of four prominent Black figures with empathy and moral urgency.

By Gene Seymour

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.

By Craig D. Lindsey

Uncut Gems: “Taking It to the Rack”

The Safdie brothers explore money, basketball, and racial tensions in this manic tale of a New York City jewelry dealer’s existential meltdown.

By J. Hoberman

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.

By Bilge Ebiri

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.

By Maggie Lee