ROMA (Federico Fellini, 1972)

An inspiration for Woody Allen’s sweepingly nostalgic, hilarious Radio Days (1987), Federico Fellini’s Roma begins objectively, with Fellini’s voiceover intruding on a patently artificial set, and proceeds to vignettes from his childhood in Rimini, which includes his introduction to Rome. Dictator Mussolini still runs Italy when Fellini, now 18, visits Rome, staying at a bizarre […]

AT FIVE IN THE AFTERNOON (Samira Makhmalbaf, 2003)

Written by Iran’s Mohsen Makhmalbaf and daughter Samira, Panj é asr is a compassionate film about post-Taliban Afghanistan that appreciates both religious elders and the young who yearn for self-determination, and a visionary film, a circular “road picture” that keeps returning to the school where girls are encouraged to think about national affairs and how […]

WELCOME TO L.A. (Alan Rudolph, 1976)

Robert Altman protégé Alan Rudolph’s deeply affecting noirish comic rondelay about loneliness and musical beds in Los Angeles, “the city of the one-night stands,” surveys to devastating effect heavily tread-upon hopes, desire, vulnerability. At the center of the film is Carroll Barber, beautifully played by Keith Carradine, who has returned to L.A. after a three […]

ONE SINGS, THE OTHER DOESN’T (Agnès Varda, 1977)

In 1962, Suzanne and photographer Jérôme can barely afford the two children they have; pregnant, Suzanne seeks money for an abortion. Pauline, a teen neighbor, secures money from a singing gig. (Jérôme commits suicide.) The two women remain friends for the ensuing fifteen years, meeting again ten years later at an abortion rights rally. Reproductive […]