The Decorative and the Vulgar in Une chambre en ville (1982)

So as not to bury the lede, let me begin by acknowledging that Une chambre en ville (1982) is a very strange film: made at the end of what was, by most counts, a lost decade for its writer-director, Jacques Demy, Une chambre en ville is a dark and deeply romantic all-singing musical operetta (like 1964’s The… Learn More

Bachelors & Bombshells: Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957)

Made less than a half decade after the introduction of color television, and long before the new technology had supplanted its black-and-white ancestor, writer-director Frank Tashlin’s full-color, Cinemascope masterpiece Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957) assails its visual storytelling competition. The key moment comes more than half way through the filmmaker’s spastically funny Madison Avenue-satire, when the titular… Learn More

Enter the New Global Modernism: On Edward Yang’s Taipei Story (1985)

Around the mid-1980s, Asia began to emerge as a significant rival to Europe in the production of art cinema of the highest quality. In the Middle East, Iran witnessed the emergence of a new generation of post-Revolution filmmakers led by the comparatively experimental work of Abbas Kiarostami, who got his start before the Revolution, and by the younger,… Learn More

Slowly Slips Away: The Body and Time in The Death of Louis XIV (2016)

The preeminent feature of Catalan filmmaker Albert Serra’s (b.: 1975) cinema is the human body. Set among the mythic figures of Western civilization, both fictional and historical—from Sancho Panza and Count Dracula to Casanova, the three Magi, and now the “Sun King,” France’s Louis XIV—Serra’s films place special emphasis on the physical, bodily presence of… Learn More

Tragedy into Form, Form as Cultural Expression: On Kenji Mizoguchi’s The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum (1939)

By 1939, in the work of Japanese director Kenji Mizoguchi (1898-1956), the cinema achieved a measure of formal brilliance and complexity that it has very rarely matched, and still hasn’t surpassed, in the nearly eighty years since. With The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum (1939), which is often considered the pinnacle of the director’s prewar career, and… Learn More

67th Berlin International Film Festival: The Other Side of Hope, Mr. Long, Bright Nights, On the Beach at Night Alone, El mar la mar, Ghost in the Mountains

In its sixty-seventh year, the Berlinale, or Berlin International Film Festival, continues to function as one of the better barometers for the current climate of world cinema. It is in Berlin, after all, that X-Men universe blockbusters (Logan) and generations-late sequels (T2 Trainspotting)–I didn’t happen to see either–receive their international, red-carpet premieres, next to ethnographic… Learn More

Eternity in this Life: On Roberto Rossellini's The Flowers of St. Francis (1950)

Roberto Rossellini’s 1950 masterwork The Flowers of St. Francis, whose Italian title, Francesco, giullare di Dio translates as “Francis, God’s Jester,” seeks less to tell the story of its saint’s life than to show the impact of “the Franciscan message… and spirit” on its followers. This axiomatic expression of Italian neorealism depicts both scenes from the life… Learn More

2016: The Year in Film

Thanks to the continual health of the international art cinema, a deeper dive into recent Chinese independent filmmaking, key restorations, and a Jean Renoir program precipitated by the Museum’s “Matisse in His Time” exhibition, Oklahoma City audiences had many fine alternatives to the multiplex in 2016. Among the more than seventy new releases that Museum Films programmed during that… Learn More

Sometimes the Death Column Brought Good News: For the Devilish Pleasures of Ealing's Kind Hearts and Coronets

Once stupidly dismissed by French film critic and director François Truffaut as a “contradiction of terms,” the British cinema was responsible for a great number of outstanding films throughout the 1940s and early 1950s, first with the poetical, wartime non-fiction of Humphrey Jennings (Listen to Britain) and the myth-focused collaborations of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger (The Life… Learn More