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 […]

THE LOCKET (John Brahm, 1946)

A profound film about American realities, and not merely the case study of a traumatized woman, which is how it is usually received, The Locket is the sort of work that separates auterist critics from the nons, cineastes from those who prefer popcorn to movies. It is directed by German-born John (Hans) Brahm, whose first […]

MOOLAADÉ (Ousmane Sembène, 2004)

The “father of African cinema,” Senegal’s Ousmane Sembène, was 81 when he made Moolaadé, a film both elegant and incendiary. Its topic is tribal female circumcision; its theme is tradition that’s clung to for no other reason than to maintain the status quo, in this instance, male supremacy. This, the best film of 2004, won […]

JAPAN (Shohei Imamura, 2002)

In the period of sound, the greatest war films undoubtedly have come from the Japanese, in particular, Kenji Mizoguchi, Akira Kurosawa and Kon Ichikawa; perhaps Mizoguchi’s Ugetsu monogatari (1953), Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (1954) and, above all, Ichikawa’s Burmese Harp (1956) are the most brilliant of these. Although only the last directly refers to Japan’s experience […]