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Modern Masterpieces

Modern Masterpieces

Trouble Every Day

Claire Denis Perancis, 2001

From one of the luminaries of the contemporary arthouse, Claire Denis, whose elliptical, hypnotic films are a rich and unique sensory experience. This, Denis’ own version of a vampire tale, may be her darkest vision, unforgettably scored by the Tindersticks and starring Vincent Gallo.

Happy Hour

Ryusuke Hamaguchi Jepun, 2015

Don’t balk at the run-time: this is worth it. Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s compassionate drama of four thirty-something women offers rare emotional and psychological intimacy in its group portrait of these friends. Its ambitious and immersive storytelling make it one of the best-kept secrets of 2010s cinema.

Marseille

Angela Schanelec Jerman, 2004

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Modern Masterpieces

While trying to grasp the mysterious nature of a world ruled by chance with impressive formal precision, Marseille oozes with serene ambiguity revealing the almost ethereal soul of Angela Schanelec’s work. A quietly radical drama that experiments with cinema’s narrative tools to hypnotic effect.

Time Regained

Raúl Ruiz Perancis, 1999

Who could ever adapt Marcel Proust? With a rare inspired adaptation of his writing that’s so difficult to transfer from page to screen, the Chilean exile and dream-spinner Raúl Ruiz is up for the task! Catherine Deneuve, Emmanuelle Béart, and John Malkovich lead an all-star cast.

A Tale of Winter

Éric Rohmer Perancis, 1992

The second entry in Rohmer’s “Tales of the Four Seasons” is a graceful exploration of love and faith, a romantic comedy with engrossing characters that will stay with you long after the end credits. Life’s choices proliferate—and Felicie’s quest for the right direction is completely entrancing.

Let the Bullets Fly

Jiang Wen China, 2010

When circumstances force an outlaw (actor/director Jiang Wen) to impersonate a county governor and clean up a corrupt town, the Robin Hood figure finds himself in a showdown with the local “godfather” (Chow Yun-Fat).

Los Angeles Plays Itself

Thom Andersen Amerika Syarikat, 2003

Both a moving homage to his adopted hometown and an insightful work of film criticism, essayist and professor Thom Andersen has made a wide-ranging epic that explores how the City of Angels has been used in TV and cinema in the 20th century. Featuring clips from more than 200 LA-set films!

Norte, the End of History

Lav Diaz Filipina, 2013

A man is wrongly jailed for murder while the real killer roams free. The murderer is an intellectual frustrated with his country’s never-ending cycle of betrayal and apathy. The convict is a simple man who finds life in prison more tolerable when something mysterious starts happening to him.

Underground

Emir Kusturica Yugoslavia, 1995

This historical fiction from auteur Emir Kusturica is an expansive masterpiece, winning the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1995. An exhilarating and absurdist satire, the film earns its reputation as one of the most controversial yet vital political tales in cinema.

The Image Book

Jean-Luc Godard Switzerland, 2018

Now in his seventh decade of filmmaking, Jean-Luc Godard continues to surprise and provoke us. Winner of the first-ever Special Palme d’Or at Cannes, The Image Book is a riotous whirlwind of images and sounds whose inventive brilliance proves that the New Wave legend is as revolutionary as ever.

Southland Tales

Richard Kelly Amerika Syarikat, 2006

Richard Kelly’s much-anticipated but fiercely lambasted follow-up to Donnie Darko has rapidly achieved modern cult status overwriting the critics baffled by the film’s exuberant, Pynchon-esque satire of a near-future America. 14 years later, the prescience of Kelly’s madcap vision is breathtaking.

Gangs of Wasseypur: Part II

Anurag Kashyap India, 2012

The bloody conclusion of Indian director Anurag Kashyap’s gangster epic. Kashyap uses the expansive length of his saga to chart with a precipitating body count the labyrinthine, death-courting codes of honor and reprisals among his criminals. As engrossing as it is bloodthirsty.

Gangs of Wasseypur: Part I

Anurag Kashyap India, 2012

Indian director Anurag Kashyap’s two-part gangster epic left us stunned at its premiere in the Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight: equal parts Battles without Honor and Humanity and low key Martin Scorsese (his long-time editor, Thelma Schoonmaker edited Kashyap’s latest film). Part 2 to come!

Neighbouring Sounds

Kleber Mendonça Filho Brazil, 2012

The acclaimed Neighboring Sounds is critic-turned-filmmaker Kleber Mendonça Filho’s feature debut. Subtly commenting on class relations in Brazil through the city of Recife’s ominous sounds, it is a sensorial and unique piece of filmmaking, evoking a state of torpor hanging in the hot, heavy air.

Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine

Peter Tscherkassky Austria, 2005

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Modern Masterpieces

Austrian avant-garde master Peter Tscherkassky’s this brilliantly assaultive Cinemascope short. Using maniacally artisanal analog methods, he turns Sergio Leone’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly into a black & white celluloid action spectacular.

Eccentricities of a Blonde-haired Girl

Manoel de Oliveira Portugal, 2009

A small masterpiece from one of cinema’s great miniaturists, this exquisite short feature by Manoel de Oliveira is based on based on the short story by Portuguese writer Eça de Queirós. This sumptuous tale honors the sublime ardor and mysteries of love, unraveling the true image behind the fantasy.

The Young Lieutenant

Xavier Beauvois Perancis, 2005

Before he won acclaim for Of Gods and Men, French actor-turned-director Xavier Beauvois scored with this excellent, layered police drama, featuring an award-winning performance from Nathalie Baye.

Jerichow

Christian Petzold Jerman, 2008

The dishonorably discharged Afghanistan veteran Thomas returns to his home village of Jerichow. Ali, a local Turkish-German businessman, owner of a snack-bar chain, hires him as a driver. That’s when Thomas meets Laura, his Turkish boss’s young and attractive wife. A classic love triangle is born

Shirin

Abbas Kiarostami Iran, 2008

The final film in Kiarostami’s experimental video phase, Shirin is the story of Iran’s social oppression of women told purely through powerful reaction shots of famous actors as they watch an unseen performance. Includes Juliette Binoche, who would later star in Kiarostami’s Certified Copy.

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The Death of Mr. Lăzărescu

Cristi Puiu Romania, 2005

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Modern Masterpieces

After suffering terrible headaches and stomach cramps, Mr. Lăzărescu, a lonely 63 year-old man, calls for an ambulance, beginning one man’s hellish journey through Bucharest hospitals in search of proper medical care. As the night unfolds, his health starts to deteriorate fast.

Hoop Dreams

Steve James Amerika Syarikat, 1994

Not just a landmark documentary, but a true American epic, Hoop Dreams caused a sensation on its release in 1994, and today ranks as one of the greatest works of non-fiction cinema ever made. One of the most acclaimed films to ever play Sundance.

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

Nuri Bilge Ceylan Turki, 2011

Turkey’s pre-eminent auteur Nuri Bilge Ceylan took home the Grand Prix prize from the Cannes Film Festival with this hypnotic, slow-burning neo-noir. In Ceylan’s trademark visual rhythms, mysteries stack upon mysteries in an enigmatic journey through a landscape, a murder, and a chiaroscuro night.

Dream Work

Peter Tscherkassky Austria, 2001

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Modern Masterpieces

From Peter Tscherkassky, a major figure in contemporary avant-garde cinema, Dream Work another clever play with old CinemaScope footage. Copying it frame by frame by hand, he forces the images to achieve the fevered quality of dreams found in Surrealism and the nightmares of David Lynch.

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