Film at Lincoln Center has written 107 reviews for films during 2017.

  • Breaking the Waves

    Breaking the Waves

    Lars von Trier established his reputation as one of the most exciting—and provocative—filmmakers on the planet with this megaton meditation on faith, sexuality, and redemption. In a revelatory, Oscar-nominated performance, Emily Watson plays Bess, a troubled, zealously religious young woman living in the Scottish Highlands for whom sex with strangers becomes a twisted path to spiritual salvation after an accident paralyzes her oil-rig-worker husband (Stellan Skarsgård). Beneath the eyebrow-raising conceit is a profound humanist heart that yields, in the stunning climax, a moment of cinematic grace evoking none other than von Trier’s filmmaking idol, Carl Theodor Dreyer.

    Playing on January 7 in 35mm.

  • The Devil's Cleavage

    The Devil's Cleavage

    This hilariously debased scuzz opera from DIY renegade George Kuchar is a deliriously overheated homage to/send-up of Golden Age histrionics. The head-spinningly convoluted plot follows a hard-boiled, Joan Crawford–esque nurse (Ainslie Pryor, displaying a scowl for the ages) who, with her trusty jar of fake vomit, flees her grubby husband and hits the road, where she crosses paths with a parade of clothes-rippingly horny weirdos, including a moony motel clerk (Curt McDowell). With its barrage of deliciously overripe dialogue (“At…

  • Hard, Fast and Beautiful

    Hard, Fast and Beautiful

    The daring, perpetually underrated films of actress-turned-director Ida Lupino stand as taboo-busting dissections of 1950s America. This bitter anti–family values smackdown stars Claire Trevor as a tough-as-nails stage—er, make that court—mother who will stop at nothing to mold her tennis-prodigy daughter (Sally Forrest) into a national champion, and in the process winds up creating a monster. As poisonous a parent-child portrait as Mildred Pierce, the film is distinguished by Lupino’s sensitivity to the conundrum faced by her antiheroines, complex women who are stifled by a society that forces them to choose between personal happiness and their ambition.

    Playing on January 4 in 16mm.

  • Stella Dallas

    Stella Dallas

    In Stella Dallas, Barbara Stanwyck created one of the most indelible heroines of Hollywood’s Golden Age: a rough-around-the-edges millworker’s daughter who, even after she schemes her way up a peg on the social ladder, can’t quite shake her working-class ways as she does whatever it takes to give her daughter (Anne Shirley) a better life. This is 100-proof melodrama in its purest, most undistilled form, ruthlessly wringing pathos from its nerve-touching themes of class, motherhood, and self-sacrifice. Through it all,…

  • The Square

    The Square

    A precisely observed, thoroughly modern comedy of manners, Ruben Östlund’s Palme d’0r–winner revolves around Christian (Claes Bang), a well-heeled contemporary art curator at a Stockholm museum. While preparing his new exhibit—a four-by-four-meter zone designated as a “sanctuary of trust and caring”—Christian falls prey to a pickpocketing scam, which triggers an overzealous response and then a crisis of conscience. Featuring several instant-classic scenes and a vivid supporting cast (Elisabeth Moss, Dominic West, and noted motion-capture actor Terry Notary), The Square is the most ambitious film yet by one of contemporary cinema’s most incisive social satirists, the rare movie to have as many laughs as ideas.

    Playing daily.

  • Brokeback Mountain

    Brokeback Mountain

    Built on an auspicious literary foundation—Pulitzer Prize–winner Annie Proulx’s short story adapted into a Western-styled screenplay by Pulitzer Prize–winner Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana—Brokeback Mountain follows two hired hands (Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger) whose summer tending sheep in isolated Wyoming foothills sparks a physical relationship that pervades the rest of their lives. Lee’s provocative examination of sexuality created a monumental challenge to social norms and became his most talked-about and decorated film, winning Venice’s Golden Lion, four Golden Globes, and three Oscars, including Director, Adapted Screenplay, and Original Score.

    Playing on December 30 in 35mm.

  • Pola X

    Pola X

    Ex–enfant terrible Leos Carax takes the ingredients of melodrama—family secrets, persecuted innocents, forbidden love, betrayal—and scrambles them into an audacious postmodern opera of artistic angst. Pierre (Guillaume Depardieu) is a leisure-class, “voice of his generation” writer who gets sucked into a through-the-looking-glass rabbit hole of underclass grime and incest when he encounters an Eastern European war refugee (Yekaterina Golubeva) claiming to be his long-lost sister. Like the novel that inspired it—Herman Melville’s controversial Pierre; or, The Ambiguities—this enigmatic, unrestrained film…

  • Beyond Oblivion

    Beyond Oblivion

    Two years before Vertigo, this fascinating, archly Gothic Argentine drama mined near-identical themes of erotic obsession and necrophilic desire via the story of a wealthy man (director Hugo del Carril) who, shattered by the death of his wife (Laura Hidalgo), retreats to Paris where he meets her exact look-alike in the form of a prostitute (Hidalgo, again) and proceeds to make her over in the dead woman’s image. Based on the classic Symbolist novel Bruges-la-Morte by Georges Rodenbach and directed…

  • The Kneeling Goddess

    The Kneeling Goddess

    This feverishly perverse saga of amor loco from unsung Mexican melodrama specialist Roberto Gavaldón unfolds in a dream space halfway between the obsessive necro-noir of Laura and the trance-state surrealism of Last Year at Marienbad. The iconic María Félix plays a sultry artist’s model who spurns the advances of a married aristocrat (Arturo de Córdova)—that is, until she suspects he has murdered his wife for her, leading her to suddenly develop the hots for him. Drenched in moody noir atmospherics,…

  • The Cloud-Capped Star

    The Cloud-Capped Star

    Considered by many Ghatak’s masterpiece, The Cloud-Capped Star is set in late-1950s Kolkata, just a few years after the partition that separated historic Bengal into the Pakistani East Bengal and the Indian West Bengal. Neeta (an extraordinary performance by leading Bengali actor Supriya Choudhury) is the eldest daughter in a family of refugees, as well as her family’s principal breadwinner. Yet, even as she becomes more visibly ill, her parents and siblings keep demanding more, squeezing the last bit of…

  • Secret Sunshine

    Secret Sunshine

    Lee Chang-dong’s stunning saga of grief and catharsis is built around a fearless central performance from Jeon Do-yeon (Best Actress, Cannes Film Festival)—one of the most wrenching and mesmerizing tour de forces since Gena Rowlands in A Woman Under the Influence. She plays socially awkward piano teacher who, with her young son, relocates from Seoul to her late husband’s hometown of Milyang for a fresh start. But another unthinkable tragedy soon sends her into an emotional tailspin and a desperate…

  • Spring in a Small Town

    Spring in a Small Town

    The oft-cited crowning achievement of classic Chinese cinema is a mesmerizing portrait of female desire and subjectivity that ranks alongside Brief Encounter and the works of Mikio Naruse. Married to a depressed, chronically ill man, housewife Yuwen (Wei Wei) is quietly suffocating in a provincial village when an old flame unexpectedly walks back into her life. So begins a wrenching internal struggle between marital fidelity and erotic yearning that plays out with supreme restraint on screen, but which boils over…