Criterion Collection Essays

  • The Age of Innocence: Savage Civility

    By Geoffrey O’Brien

    Martin Scorsese brought his trademark attentiveness to the intricacies of social custom to this devastating adaptation of an Edith Wharton novel. Read more »

  • Tom Jones: Tomorrow Do Thy Worst

    By Neil Sinyard

    Director Tony Richardson refracts the bawdy spirit of the 1960s through this brilliantly distilled take on an eighteenth-century picaresque. Read more »

  • The Hero: Depths and Surfaces

    By Pico Iyer

    Bengali cinema icon Uttam Kumar stars as a matinee idol on the brink of failure in this deeply introspective meditation on art and fame. Read more »

  • An Actor’s Revenge and a Director’s Triumph

    By Michael Sragow

    In this wildly inventive revenge drama, director Kon Ichikawa blurs the line between stage and screen, infusing kabuki traditions with his own extravagant visual sensibility. Read more »

  • The Silence of the Lambs: A Hero of Our Time

    By Amy Taubin

    Jonathan Demme put an uncompromisingly feminist spin on the law-enforcement procedural with this wildly successful, Oscar-winning drama. Read more »

  • Night of the Living Dead: Mere Anarchy Is Loosed

    By Stuart Klawans

    With the scrappiest of means, George A. Romero created not only a landmark of independent cinema but also an indelible portrait of America as hellscape.
    Read more »

  • Kameradschaft: War Is Over (If You Want It)

    By Luc Sante

    G. W. Pabst’s breathlessly paced reimagining of a mine disaster makes an urgent plea for international cooperation in the post–World War I era. Read more »

  • Westfront 1918: War Is Hell

    By Luc Sante

    In his first sound film, silent-era master G. W. Pabst captures both the familial camaraderie and everyday brutality of life in the trenches. Read more »

  • Eclipse Series 45: Claude Autant-Lara—Four Romantic Escapes from Occupied France

    By Nicholas Elliott

    Made during the German occupation of France, these beguiling films showcase Claude Autant-Lara at the height of his powers. Read more »

  • I, Daniel Blake: An Authentic Cinema

    By Girish Shambu

    The ravages of poverty in contemporary Britain are translated with vivid authenticity in this drama from celebrated filmmaker Ken Loach.
    Read more »

  • The Breakfast Club: Smells Like Teen Realness

    By David Kamp

    John Hughes created the blueprint for the American teen movie with this pop-culture phenomenon, finding the humanity in an assortment of high school archetypes. Read more »

  • Pop: Ancient and Modern

    By Michael Chaiken

    With D. A. Pennebaker’s groundbreaking concert film, rock music solidified its status as a universal language.
    Read more »

  • General Idi Amin Dada: A Self-Portrait: A Tyrant for Our Times

    By J. Hoberman

    This landmark documentary zooms in on the notorious Ugandan dictator at the height of his power. Read more »

  • Election: That’s Why It’s Destiny

    By Dana Stevens

    Alexander Payne skewers the absurdities of American politics in this tale of a high-school presidential campaign gone ugly.
    Read more »

  • Jabberwocky: Through the Looking Glass and What Terry Found There

    By Scott Tobias

    Terry Gilliam plunges into the filth and absurdity of medieval England with this grim fairy-tale comedy. Read more »

  • Desert Hearts: The Thrill of It All

    By B. Ruby Rich

    Donna Deitch combined tropes of lesbian pulp romance with the sheen of mainstream filmmaking in her beloved debut feature.
    Read more »

  • The Philadelphia Story: A Fine, Pretty World

    By Farran Smith Nehme

    A haughty socialite is torn between the affections of three men in George Cukor’s blissful comedy of manners.
    Read more »

  • Personal Shopper: Freedom 2016

    By Glenn Kenny

    In this intimate psychological thriller, Olivier Assayas interrogates contemporary society’s near-religious reliance on technology and its mediation of reality. Read more »

  • Barry Lyndon: Time Regained

    By Geoffrey O’Brien

    In this lavishly mounted epic, Stanley Kubrick captures the ghostly ephemerality of a vanishing world with paradoxical immediacy. Read more »

  • Othello: In Pieces

    By Geoffrey O’Brien

    The result of a tumultuous production, Orson Welles’s eccentric take on Othello infuses the play with a convulsive rhythm and disorienting sense of abstraction. Read more »

  • The Lure: One Is Silver and the Other Gold

    By Angela Lovell

    Two singing mermaid sisters take 1980s Poland by storm in this extravagantly mounted musical-horror hybrid. Read more »

  • David Lynch: The Art Life: Go with Ideas

    By Dennis Lim

    One of the most elusive artists in American cinema opens a window onto his private life and creative methods in this revelatory documentary. Read more »

  • The Piano Teacher: Bad Romances

    By Moira Weigel

    The sexual pedagogy of a masochistic music instructor takes center stage in this shocking study of art, control, and repression. Read more »

  • Certain Women: Trapped Under the Big Sky

    By Ella Taylor

    The wide-open vistas of Montana are the backdrop for three interlocking stories about women confronting the disappointments of small-town life. Read more »

  • Festival: Who Knows What’s Gonna Happen Tomorrow?

    By Amanda Petrusich

    In this documentary portrait of the Newport Folk Festival, Murray Lerner captured seismic changes in American music and politics. Read more »

  • Rebecca: Welcome to the Haunted House

    By David Thomson

    Alfred Hitchcock achieved Oscar-winning success with this psychological thriller, a tumultuous collaboration with producer David O. Selznick. Read more »

  • La poison—or, How to Kill Your Wife

    By Ginette Vincendeau

    French cinema titan Sacha Guitry brings a savage misanthropy to this exploration of a toxic marriage and the arbitrariness of the legal system. Read more »

  • Meantime: Margins and Centers

    By Sean O’Sullivan

    In this unsparing drama, Mike Leigh captures the grim mood of Thatcher’s England through the frustrations of a working-class London family. Read more »

  • Walter Matthau Sings! (and Other Delights of Hopscotch)

    By Glenn Kenny

    Walter Matthau solidified his reputation as a formidable comedic force in this delightful Cold War espionage romp. Read more »

  • The Breaking Point: All at Sea

    By Stephanie Zacharek

    This underappreciated highlight of Michael Curtiz’s filmography grapples with postwar disillusionment and marital strife through the prism of a daylight noir. Read more »

  • Once There Was Everything

    By Kogonada

  • Anatomy of a Gag: Le grand amour

    By David Cairns

  • Godard in Fragments

    By :: kogonada

  • Mirrors of Bergman

    By :: kogonada

  • Trick or Truth

    By :: kogonada

  • Anatomy of a Gag: PlayTime

    By David Cairns

  • Eyes of Hitchcock

    By :: kogonada

  • Fosse Time

    By Matt Zoller Seitz

  • Judex: There Has Been a Bird

    By Evan Calder Williams

  • Demy Monde

  • The Later Career of Richard Lester

    By David Cairns

  • Hands of Bresson

    By :: kogonada

  • The Fox & Mr. Anderson

    By :: kogonada

  • Blue Christmas

    By Michael Koresky and Casey Moore

  • Bergman’s Dreams

    By Michael Koresky and Casey Moore

  • Listening to La Jetée

    By Michael Koresky and Casey Moore

  • Comments

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *