Along with Blow Out this is arguably peak De Palma (he implies as much himself in the new documentary that accompanies this series). A classic gangster film, updated to the disco era of the late 70s (and reuniting the director with his Scarface star, Al Pacino), Carlito’s Way is the tale of a drug kingpin who vows to go straight - and means it. Trouble is, nobody believes him: not his old friends and cronies, not his enemies, not even his best friend and lawyer (Sean Penn).
The biggest hit from the 70s phase of Brian De Palma’s career, Carrie takes Stephen King’s horror novel about a troubled telekinetic teen and weaves it into a purely cinematic rhapsody of angst and (retali-)elation, what Pauline Kael termed "a terrifyingly lyrical thriller". Sissy Spacek is the shy adolescent brought up by an evangelical Christian mother (Piper Laurie - both actresses were nominated for the Oscar), and mortified when she has her first period in the girls’ shower. The incident leads to a cruel prank, which will in turn unleash Carrie’s furious response
The late Andrzej Zulawski’s final film is an ominous and manic exploration of desire. Witold who has just failed the bar, and his companion Fuchs, who has recently quit his fashion job, are staying at a guesthouse run by the intermittently paralytic Madame Woytis. Upon discovering a sparrow hanged in the woods near the house, Witold’s reality mutates into a whirlwind of tension, histrionics, foreboding omens, and surrealistic logic as he becomes obsessed with Madame Woytis’s daughter Lena. Best Director, Locarno Film Festival 2015
In this elegant, witty courtroom drama, the outcome of the trial gradually slips into the background as Christian Vincent instead focuses on the courtship between the presiding judge (Fabrice Luchini, from Gemma Bovery and Cycling with Moliere) and one of the reserve jurists (Sidse Babett Knudsen from The Duke of Burgundy and TV’s Borgen). Witty, subtle and ultimately poignant, this is like an especially polished episode of The Good Wife, augmented with a certain savoir faire.