When a strident but distracted political newspaper editor leaves his wife to her own devices, she finds in his younger cousin a companion and kindred spirit who shares her love of poetry. I was blown away by Madhabi Mukherjee’s vibrancy in Satyajit Ray’s previous film THE BIG CITY, and here she communicates a crushing longing, sometimes without any words at all. And the ending–with a tentative hope for new beginnings just as life’s course seems most intractable–gave me chills.
We have so many documents of artists at their polished best, but no one ever lets us in to see someone face the terrible feeling that they’re letting the room down. Watching Elaine Stritch record “The Ladies Who Lunch” is a raw, harrowing journey to hell and back, but there’s nothing like watching a genius hit a wall, then come back triumphant, to give you hope. As we’re looking ahead to reopenings, a reminder to be patient.
When Estrella’s father starts disappearing shortly after her First Communion, she tries to get to the bottom of his mysterious behavior. The producers pulled the funding before the second half of the film could be shot, but that feels formally fitting for this story about the questions we can’t answer, the questions we wish we couldn’t, and the insurmountable distance between us and the people we want to understand the most.
Tatiana Samoilova is riveting as a young woman whose fiancé rushes to enlist after the German invasion. He goes missing behind enemy lines, leaving her to navigate the treacherous, unfamiliar wartime landscape without even knowing if he is alive or dead. The death of Stalin created an opening for Kalatozov to acknowledge in starkly human terms what many Soviets had repressed: the casualties and trauma that ripped through a generation.
The Bri-terion Collection
I’m loving the Criterion Channel streaming service, so every week I’m going to share my favorite new find.