THE NIGHTS OF CABIRIA (Federico Fellini, 1956)

A work of great stylistic flexibility, The Nights of Cabiria (Le notti di Cabiria) is one of Federico Fellini’s finest achievements. Fellini first introduced its protagonist, a Roman prostitute, in his glorious comedy The White Sheik (1952), whose screen story Michelangelo Antonioni wrote—Fellini and Antonioni’s one collaboration. There, Cabiria is worldly-wise, her professional experience the […]

OLIVIER, OLIVIER (Agnieszka Holland, 1992)

From France, the beguiling, haunting Olivier, Olivier is Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland’s companion-piece to her Europa Europa from the year before. Both, fact-based, center on an adolescent boy whose life is unimaginably rough—in Salomon’s case, in Europa Europa, because he is a German Jew impersonating a Nazi to elude imprisonment and death; in Olivier’s case, […]

THE DREAMERS (Bernardo Bertolucci, 2003)

The quality of Bernardo Bertolucci’s work is all over the map, but it is universally agreed that, from Moravia, the moody, spiderlike The Conformist (Il conformista, 1970), about Fascism’s ghosts, is one of the most beautiful films ever made. I also hold in esteem Before the Revolution (Prima della rivoluzione, 1964), Tragedy of a Ridiculous […]

ODD MAN OUT (Carol Reed, 1947)

Abandoned to the streets and back-alleys of Belfast, to which he is doomed to wander as an exhausted outcast as though he were a modern-day Cain, Johnny McQueen is an IRA chief on the lam from the police following a botched mill robbery (“funds for the Organization”), during which he has killed a man in […]