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  • When a Woman Ascends the Stairs

    When a Woman Ascends the Stairs

    ★★★★½

    The only other Naruse I'd seen prior to this was the Sound of the Mountain, and boy he made some serious progress in those six years in between. I liked that film quite a bit, but the pedestrian direction didn't do its feminist themes justice. This one though-- wow. The jazzy score, the excellent use of mise en scène, the film noir-esque lighting. What a gorgeous, heartbreaking film.

  • Taste of Cherry

    Taste of Cherry

    ★★★★

    Kiarostami's shots of the Tehran countryside are a beautiful visual metaphor for everything stirring inside his protagonist, Badii. That shot of Badii sitting alone as the dust from a nearby construction site swallows him is one of the most arresting I've ever seen in a film.

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  • Vertigo

    Vertigo

    ★★★★★

    Vertigo was already my favorite Hitchcock (and one of my favorite films), and yet seeing this on the big screen felt like an entirely new experience. Kim Novak, now transformed into the woman Jimmy Stewart's obsessive Scottie desires, emerging from the bathroom bathed in glowing green light ranks among my favorite scenes in all of cinema.

  • Good Morning

    Good Morning

    ★★★★

    The advent of sound cinema allowed Ozu to loosely remake 'I Was Born, But...' with ample fart noises. It makes me happy to know that one of cinema's greatest directors can depict nuanced familial strife bookended with fart jokes.