A Year’s Worth of Essential Reading

A Year’s Worth of Essential Reading

Ring in the new year with a look back at some of the most exciting pieces we published in 2023, including explorations of underappreciated subgenres, essays on film music and production design, and tributes to influential auteurs like Yasujiro Ozu and Anthony Mann. We hope you enjoy this selection of articles, and we look forward to sharing more great writing with you next year!


Films like Fire Music, Ornette: Made in America, and Space Is the Place chronicle the development of free jazz, a fiercely experimental art form that has baffled and enthralled listeners in equal measure.


One of Krzysztof Kieślowski’s closest collaborators, the Polish composer suffuses the quotidian images that appear throughout Blue, White, and Red with deep poetry and sacred meaning.


Primarily known as a costume and production designer, this multitalented visionary deserves to be more widely recognized as one of the most important creative forces behind the Czechoslovak New Wave.


Soft-core porn meets film noir in this Hollywood subgenre, which at the height of its popularity captured the fraught aspirationalism and sexual mores of the 1980s and ’90s.


One of the first hit movies made by an Asian American team, They Call Me Bruce confronts everyday racism with irreverent humor emblematic of its era.


Beloved Hollywood actor James Stewart showed a turbulent, sometimes downright sinister side in his collaborations with director Anthony Mann, which include the classic westerns Winchester ’73 and The Man from Laramie.


The award-winning actor talks to the author of The Method about training with Lee Strasberg, her involvement in the Actors Studio, and her on- and off-screen contributions to two of her most important films.


Over the past half-century of sci-fi cinema, the theme of artificial intelligence has foregrounded our anxieties about sex, reproduction, and labor in the modern world.


The Man Behind the Wheel

By Christina Newland

Amid the social turbulence of the Nixon era, car movies served to explore and embody the contradictions of American masculinity.


Noir by Gaslight

By Farran Smith Nehme

A cycle of films from the 1940s and ’50s combine twisted crime narratives with romance and late-nineteenth-century settings.


With his passion for preservation and desire for experimentation, the documentary filmmaker creates portraits of visionary outsiders in a style guided less by narrative than by emotion.


Deeper into Ozu

By Moeko Fujii, Sean Gilman, Pamela Hutchinson, Aliza Ma, Musab Younis, and Genevieve Yue

Six writers celebrate the 120th anniversary of Japanese titan Yasujiro Ozu’s birth by exploring a few of his most underappreciated works.

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