Staff Picks: Critically Acclaimed
These movies are great—just ask anyone!
Top 5 Staff Picks
1. My Left Foot
The incomparable Daniel Day-Lewis captivates as Christy Brown in this biopic on the life of an Irish legend who was born with cerebral palsy, but learned to use his left foot to become an artist and writer. Directed by Jim Sheridan, My Left Foot has garnered multiple awards and nominations, including the 1990 Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role (to Daniel Day-Lewis), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (to Brenda Fricker), and BAFTA Awards for Best Actor and Best Actor in a Supporting Role.
Darren Aronofsky directs a disturbing psychological drama chronicling the drug abuse of four lead characters: widow Sara Goldfarb (Ellen Burstyn), her son Harry (Jared Leto), his girlfriend Marion (Jennifer Connelly), and best friend and business partner Tyrone (Marlon Wayans). In true Aronofsky fashion, Requiem for a Dream, which is based on the novel of the same name by Hubert Selby, garnered critical acclaim for its raw intensity and frenetic, highly stylized editing. Burstyn also picked up an Academy Award nomination for her eerily perfect portrayal of Sara’s descent into amphetamine addiction at the hands of weight loss pills, taken in hopes that it will help her appear on television.
3. I am Cuba
Winner of the Special Archival Award from the National Society of Film Critics in 1996, I am Cuba, directed by Mikhail Kalatozov, is a 1964 Soviet-Cuban film made shortly after the Cuban Missile Crisis. Disappearing for a time, I am Cuba was given new life in the 1990s when it was screened at Telluride Film Festival and San Francisco International Film Festival, and co-presented by Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola at the New York Film Forum. To see I am Cuba is not just to understand the innovative cinematography techniques and gorgeous imagery, but to glean true insight into a country, a people, and a historical moment crystallized in time.
Lewis Klahr’s breakout, experimental, cut-out animation is the perfect introduction to his distinctive style. Klahr’s work is a surrealist dream — constructed from magazines, photographs, newspapers, and other pieces of printed matter — where hands float through outer space, the cakes can cry, and both his collage style and his innate sense of pacing create textured animations that envelop the viewer into the world onscreen. The Pharaoh's Belt received a special citation for experimental work from the National Society of Film Critics in 1994.
What begins as documentary is transformed into fable: Shot on expired 16mm film, Lost and Beautiful profiles Tommaso, a shepherd who cares for the abandoned Bourbon palace of Carditello until his unexpected death. Tommaso’s own dying wish is to summon the mythical Pulcinella from a hidden monastery to watch over a buffalo calf named Sarchiopone. Italian director Pietro Marcello pushes the boundaries between fiction and documentary, and the results have captivated critics and audiences alike, and marked the arrival of a new and original filmmaking voice. Said A.O. Scott of The New York Times, “Mr. Marcello tells a simple, touching tale that seems to contain a whole cosmos of meaning."