Toggling between wrenching melodrama and local squabbles in a village of fisher-folk, Ritwik Ghatak shows that while we’re distracted by everyday pettiness, profound threats to our very way of life can be moving against us. In a movie full of vivid personalities, Rosy Samad, erupting with righteous fury, is truly devastating.
“We live in a weak and corrupt society where it’s every man for himself. Even imagination is suspect, yet it is required to solve the problems of our planet.”
A pacifist opposition movement is met with blatant political violence. Watching a government scramble to cover for its leaders with inexhaustible depths of shamelessness might sound too on the nose for the moment, but Costa-Gavras’s thriller is galvanizing.
“My verses serve no purpose in this world. In vain have they seen the light of day. So why do we poets busy ourselves among men with our unattainable dreams?”
As we all look for direction at this fraught moment, I found this story of a boy with the soul of a poet but bred to be an instrument of vengeance oddly moving. This collaboration of a Kazakh director and a Korean-Russian writer forced its audience to confront the plight of a million displaced people.
By showing us post-revolutionary Havana through the lens of a disaffected writer, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea subtly highlights the limitations of the intellectual class. His narrator dismisses those around him as “underdeveloped,” but the character’s impotent pity takes no ownership of his own role in his country’s struggles.
Annie Baker inspired this pick. Like Annie, Chantal Akerman details human behavior with endless patience and rigor. As household chores and errands accrue meaning, she opens a portal into a vast, startling inner life.