SPIRAL (Krzysztof Zanussi, 1978)

Mesmerizing and deeply affecting, Polish writer-director Krzysztof Zanussi’s Spirala so closely attends to a single character that it evolves into a spiritual as well as psychological portrait of the young man. Tomasz Piątek, although he hasn’t booked a room, enters a ski resort. He behaves enigmatically, accosting other guests with rude, personal remarks and interrupting […]

LURED (Douglas Sirk, 1947)

Superficial, somewhat silly though increasingly entertaining comical thriller, mildly directed by Douglas Sirk, in which an American, who works in a London dance hall, helps Scotland Yard identify and catch a serial killer of women on the loose by offering herself up as whoever’s next victim. The killer, we learn, is an avid reader of […]

BIRDIES, ORPHANS AND MADMEN (Juraj Jakubisko, 1969)

Beauteous, powerful, politically incendiary, Vtáčkovia, siroty a blázni—its Slovak title is widely translated as Birds, Orphans and Fools—was made in Czechoslovakia, with French assistance, by writer-director Juraj Jakubisko, I believe, in the midst of the Soviet invasion of 1968. (Karol Sidon co-authored the script with Jakubisko.) The apocalyptic film was suppressed for more than twenty […]