(Terence Davies, 2000) · One of the greatest contemporary filmmakers adapts Edith Wharton's classic novel. Lily (a revelatory Gillian Anderson) is a socialite drifting through the decadent world of the American elite; but, in her search for love, she soon runs up against her milieu's quietly repressive strictures. Davies illustrates the smothering of her personhood in visually resplendent fashion, enveloping the audience in the film's sumptuous images. The result transcends its period piece trappings to become a breathtaking tragedy of universal resonance.
runtime: 140m format: 35mm
(Maren Ade, 2009) · They are in love. They are alone at his family villa in Sardinia. She wants to get out and meet the locals; he wants to stay in and read. He wants to talk to her about his dissatisfaction; she says he's overthinking it. Such are the problems of Everyone Else's central couple, whose quiet unraveling displays the thorny complexities of interpersonal relations and the difficulty of vulnerability. The great Toni Erdmann has its genesis here, in this severe yet sympathetic dissection of casual neglect and emotional distance.
runtime: 124m format: 35mm
(Oscar Micheaux, 1920) · An eye-opening counterpunch to racist dogma, Micheaux's Within Our Gates is the oldest surviving film by a black director. In this film, Sylvia Landry makes her way to Boston to raise money for a black school in the South after her confrontations with racist whites. Micheaux takes an audaciously defiant stance against white bigotry, sounding a shockingly ahead-of-its-time clarion call for authentic black representation in cinema. Print courtesy of the Library of Congress
runtime: 79m format: 35mm
(Edgar G. Ulmer, 1946) · In this gothic melodrama set in 1820's Maine, Hedy Lamarr stars as Jenny Hager, who is indeed one strange woman. As a child, Jenny attempts to drown another child for fun, and as an adult, her cruel games take on a more calculating and sexual nature. She cozies up to guileless timber baron, Isaiah Poster (Gene Lockhart) intent on marrying the old codger, but when his son Ephraim (Louis Hayward) returns home from college, she reconfigures her scheme in a diabolical way.
runtime: 100m format: 16mm
(Rolando Díaz, 1995) · Written and directed by the acclaimed Cuban director Rolando Díaz, Melodrama follows Esperanza, an aging and passionate newscaster, who will do anything to have a child before it is too late. Through her relationships with three different men, she begins to suspect that no man will ever fulfill everything she is looking for in a husband. Known best for his documentary work, Díaz flexes his fiction filmmaking chops in this early work.
(John Ford, 1948) · A postbellum military reshuffling ought to have placed Captain Kirby York (John Wayne) as the new commander at Fort Apache in Arizona. Unexpectedly, the nod goes to the trigger-happy, unpredictable Lieutenant Colonel Owen Thursday (Henry Fonda). When tempers flare between the armed forces and the native Apache tribes, York must mediate the conflict before Thursday's insensitivity spills over into violence, in one of Ford's greatest achievements. Print courtesy of the Library of Congress
runtime: 125m format: 35mm
(F. W. Murnau, 1922) · An unauthorized adaption of Bram Stoker's Dracula, Nosferatu: Symphony of Horror barely evaded erasure after a court ruling ordered all copies destroyed. Count Orlock, a ghastly pandemic, is named "the bird of death" and, unlike Stoker's suavely shrouded aristocrat, is depicted here as a monstrous beast. The gothic imagery soon breaks into a desperate canter as German expressionist master Murnau turns this story into a parable of humanity's struggle against a dawning immortal nightmare.
runtime: 94m format: 16mm
(Stan Brakhage, 1964-1969) · Scenes imagines and visualizes the interiority of an infant being intiated into the sensible world, from birth to maturity. Brakhage's aim is to effect in the viewer a perceptual renewal: for them to discover anew the wonders of sensory perception as a child might, unencumbered by habitual use. As Brakhage himself put it, "how many colors are there in a field of grass to a baby unaware of 'Green'? How many rainbows can light create for the untutored eye?" Scenes allows us to see the answer for ourselves. Note: Part II is faded.
runtime: 64m format: 16mm
(Olivier Assayas, 1996) · The enchanting Maggie Cheung (In the Mood for Love) stars as a fictionalized version of herself in this crucial work by former Cahiers critic Assayas. She's cast by a lecherous director (Jean-Pierre Léaud of The 400 Blows) in a remake of a Feuillade silent film. Her arrival on a film set already bristling with tension sparks a daisy chain of off-kilter energy that soon muddles the very bounds of reality. Boasting a killer soundtrack and moody atmosphere, the relentlessly cool Irma Vep is an intoxicating ode to cinephilia.
runtime: 99m format: 35mm
(Jacques Tourneur, 1947) · Jeff Bailey (Robert Mitchum), a former private investigator, is haunted by his past. Hired by devious businessman Whit Sterling (Kirk Douglas) to find his girlfriend Kathie (Jane Greer), Jeff instead falls in love with her - a mistake that might prove fatal. As the lies, double-crossings, and duplicity mount, Jeff must try to extricate himself from Kathie's devious machinations. This iconic example of film noir will keep you guessing until the very last gunshot. Print courtesy of the Library of Congress
runtime: 97m format: 35mm