The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films (50-1)

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Dancer in the Dark

Dancer in the Dark


2000 / Denmark-France-Sweden-Italy-Germany-Norway-Netherlands-Iceland-Finland-UK-USA / 140m / Col / Musical Drama, Melodrama
Bjork, Catherine Deneuve, David Morse, Peter Stormare, Joel Grey, Vincent Paterson, Cara Seymour, Jean-Marc Barr, Vladica Kostic, Udo Kier
"Dogma 95 godfather Lars Von Trier's attempts to reinvent filmmaking continue with Dancer in the Dark… A bare-bones description doesn't quite capture Dancer in the Dark's richness… Von Trier traffics in a quality more compelling than simple irony and never relies solely on the contrast between the glitzy fantasies of Hollywood and the stark realities of working-class life. Each musical sequence arises naturally out of the rhythms and materials of its surroundings (a factory, a bridge, a house) and reflects an attempt by Björk to understand rather than escape her surroundings, to bring them in line with her own boundlessly generous and forgiving view of humanity." - Keith Phipps, A.V. Club
Selected by Oliver Schmitz, Isamu Hirabayashi, Cyrus Frisch, Angelina Nikonova, Myrna Maakaron.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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The Hurt Locker

The Hurt Locker


2008 / USA / 130m / Col / War, Action Thriller
Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes, David Morse, Evangeline Lilly, Christian Camargo, Suhail Aldabbach, Christopher Sayegh
"The Hurt Locker, directed by Kathryn Bigelow from a script by Mark Boal, is the best non-documentary American feature made yet about the war in Iraq. This may sound like faint praise and also like a commercial death sentence, since movies about that war have not exactly galvanized audiences or risen to the level of art… And the public, perhaps sufficiently enervated and confused by reality, was not eager to see it recreated on screen. So let me put it another way, at the risk of a certain cognitive dissonance. If The Hurt Locker is not the best action movie of the summer, I’ll blow up my car." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Ruth Harley, Git Scheynius, Don Boyd, Verena Lueken, Richard Corliss.
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Silent Light

Silent Light

Stellet licht (original title)

2007 / Mexico-France-Netherlands / 136m / Col / Psychological Drama, Rural Drama
Cornelio Wall, Miriam Toews, Maria Pankratz, Peter Wall, Elisabeth Wall, Jacobo Klassen, Irma Thiessen, Alfredo Thiessen, Daniel Thiessen, Autghe Loewen
"Silent Light is told with the same powerful simplicity and stylistic austerity as Reygadas’ previous films, Japón and Battle in Heaven, but without the shock of explicit sexual or violent imagery, scenes that seemed designed to provoke our comfort level… Silent Light is entrancing, powerful, pure, a work of cinema art sheered to the essentials and a work of spiritual exploration and identity where religion and faith are never directly discussed but are behind every conversation. Reygadas isn’t preaching, he’s telling a human story framed by their beliefs and their commitment to their faith and family. In that space between the mortal and the spiritual, miracles occur." - Sean Axmaker, Parallax View
Selected by Zhao Liang, Lisandro Alonso, Nadav Lapid, Monika Wagenberg, Ludmila Cvikova.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Boyhood

Boyhood


2014 / USA / 165m / Col / Childhood Drama, Coming-of-Age
Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Elijah Smith, Lorelei Linklater, Steven Chester Prince, Bonnie Cross, Libby Villari, Marco Perella, Jamie Howard
"A unique work in American cinema, shot in 39 days over the course of 12 years, Boyhood is an epic about the ordinary: growing up, the banality of family life, and forging an identity. Everything here has been seen in movies and on television countless times before -- marital spats, a divorced dad trying to connect with kids he sporadically sees, teenagers acting out, parents having to let go -- but perhaps never has the long arc of the journey from childhood to college been portrayed as cohesively and convincingly as Richard Linklater has done in a film that can be plain on a moment-to-moment basis but is something quite special in its entirety." - Todd McCarthy, Variety
Selected by Eric Kohn, Tim Grierson, Peter Howell, Kate Muir, Justin Chang.
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A.I. Artificial Intelligence

A.I. Artificial Intelligence


2001 / USA / 145m / Col / Science Fiction, Psychological Drama
Haley Joel Osment, Frances O'Connor, Sam Robards, Jude Law, Jake Thomas, Brendan Gleeson, William Hurt, Ken Leung, Theo Greenly, Ashley Scott
"A collaboration between the living Steven Spielberg and the late Stanley Kubrick seems appropriate to a project that reflects profoundly on the differences between life and non-life. Kubrick started this picture and came up with the idea that Spielberg should direct it, and after inheriting a 90-page treatment Kubrick had prepared..., Spielberg finished it in so much his own manner that it may be his most personal film, as well as his most thoughtful. It might make you cry; it's just as likely to give you the creeps—which is as it should be. This is a movie people will be arguing about for many years to come." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Tom Charity, Joseph McBride, Bauyrzhan Nogerbek, Armond White, Stephen Cone.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Colossal Youth

Colossal Youth

Juventude Em Marcha (original title)

2006 / Portugal-France-Switzerland / 155m / Col / Drama, Slice of Life
Ventura, Vanda Duarte, Beatriz Duarte, Gustavo Sumpta, Cila Cardoso, Isabel Cardoso, Alberto 'Lento' Barros, Antonio Semedo, Paulo Nunes, Jose Maria Pina
"Featuring the residents of a Lisbon slum, Pedro Costa's Colossal Youth is a mesmeric, visually stunning portrait of a deprived community that confirms its director as one of Europe's major talents. The intransigently austere Colossal Youth is the kind of film that must usually look for its exposure in those areas beyond the remit of commercial distribution, where cinema meets moving-image gallery work… Colossal Youth demands to be seen more than once: a first viewing just about lets you acclimatise to its mesmerically slow pacing, visual stillness and incantatory verbal rhythms." - Jonathan Romney, Sight & Sound
Selected by Julian Graffy, Roger Koza, Pimpaka Towira, Michel Lipkes, Kieron Corless.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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The Royal Tenenbaums

The Royal Tenenbaums


2001 / USA / 109m / Col / Comedy Drama, Comedy of Manners
Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow, Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Danny Glover, Bill Murray, Seymour Cassel, Kumar Pallana
"Royal Tenenbaum (Hackman) and his wife, Etheline (Huston), had three children—Chas, Margot, and Richie—and then they separated. Chas (Stiller) started buying real estate in his early teens and seemed to have an almost preternatural understanding of international finance. Margot (Paltrow) was a playwright and received a Braverman Grant of $50,000 in the ninth grade. Richie (Wilson) was a junior champion tennis player and won the U.S. Nationals three years in a row… The Royal Tenenbaums is a hilarious, touching, and brilliantly stylized study of melancholy and redemption from Wes Anderson." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Laurie Anderson, Hind Mezaina, Jan Distelmeyer, Atom Burke, Cameron Crowe.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Amour

Amour

Love (English title)

2012 / Austria-France-Germany / 127m / Col / Drama, Romantic Drama
Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, Isabelle Huppert, Alexandre Tharaud, William Shimell, Ramon Agirre, Rita Blanco, Carole Franck, Dinara Drukarova, Laurent Capelluto
"Amour is an accessible story of great simplicity… Haneke has cast two legends of the French cinema, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva, as Georges and Anne, an octogenarian couple, former music teachers, living in happy, companionable retirement. But one day Anne suffers a stroke… she declines into dementia, and we follow Georges's increasingly unbearable task of caring for his wife in their apartment… The power and intelligence of this film really is a marvel; it is superbly acted and directed, with the edge of cold steel that audiences have come to expect from Haneke but with something else: a tenderness, gentleness and compassion." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Gaspar Noé, Ludmila Cvikova, Peter Debruge, Kate Muir, David Stratton.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Memento

Memento


2000 / USA / 113m / Col / Mystery, Crime Thriller
Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, Mark Boone Jr., Stephen Tobolowsky, Harriet Sansom Harris, Callum Keith Rennie, Larry Holden, Russ Fega, Jorja Fox
"Nolan's Following was one of the most original British films of the '90s, and this follow-up makes no compromise… This taut, ingenious thriller displays real interest in how perception and memory shape action, identity and, of course, filmic storytelling. Moreover, a plot strand featuring Stephen Tobolowsky even touches the heart. There's grade A work from all concerned, especially Pearce, but in the end this is Nolan's film. And he delivers, with a vengeance." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Lisa Mullen, Mike D'Angelo, Laslo Rojas, James Frazier, Victor J. Morton.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
See also 1,000 Noir Films
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4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

4 luni, 3 saptamani si 2 zile (original title)

2007 / Romania-Netherlands-France-Germany / 113m / Col / Drama, Slice of Life
Anamaria Marinca, Laura Vasiliu, Vlad Ivanov, Alexandru Potocean, Ion Sapdaru, Teodor Corban, Tania Popa, Cerasela Iosifescu, Luminata Gheorghiu, Adi Carauleanu
"The story of two college girls negotiating the treacherous currents of a drab police state to secure an illegal abortion, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days is a movie one watches in a state of mounting dread. Romanian writer-director Cristian Mungiu's brilliantly discomfiting second feature is one long premonition of disaster. Set in 1987, 4 Months moves from the shabby clutter of an overcrowded college dorm, through the dimly lit streets of a provincial city, to a rundown Stalinoid deco hotel… For all its long behavioral takes, 4 Months is remarkably unshowy. The movie is as drained of color as the girls' faces. Daily life is a hellish adventure." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Lukas Moodysson, Jeon Chanil, Ognjen Svilicic, James Franco, Mania Akbari.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Inland Empire

Inland Empire


2006 / USA-France-Poland / 180m / Col / Avant-garde-Experimental, Mystery
Laura Dern, Jeremy Irons, Harry Dean Stanton, Grace Zabriskie, Ian Abercrombie, Peter J. Lucas, Justin Theroux, Terryn Westbrook, Julia Ormond, Diane Ladd
"David Lynch believes that his new film makes sense. In fact, that it makes perfect sense. And not only is he not joking; he’s saying this about the most screwed-up, far-out film he’s made since Eraserhead. It’s a three-hour psychotropic odyssey that throws conventional narrative out of the window. Characters mutate and morph, time zones overlap, and wormholes connect worlds within worlds within worlds. But through it all Lynch maintains an astonishing sense of commitment that almost dares you to keep up… Inland Empire is a terrific, albeit labyrinthine, funhouse of a film, rich with the promise of mystery in all its dark, inviting doorway." - Damon Wise, Empire
Selected by Gillies MacKinnon, Stephen Thrower, Paula Arantzazu Ruiz, Luis Miranda, Martha P. Nochimson.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Pan's Labyrinth

Pan's Labyrinth

El Laberinto del fauno (original title)

2006 / Spain-Mexico-USA / 120m / Col / Fantasy, Fairy Tales & Legends
Sergi Lopez, Maribel Verdu, Ivana Baquero, Alex Angulo, Doug Jones, Eusebio Lazaro, Paco Vidal, Federico Luppi, Ariadna Gil, Manolo Solo
"Pan’s Labyrinth is a political fable in the guise of a fairy tale. Or maybe it’s the other way around… The brilliance of Pan’s Labyrinth is that its current of imaginative energy runs both ways. If this is magic realism, it is also the work of a real magician. The director, Guillermo Del Toro, unapologetically and unpretentiously swears allegiance to a pop-fantasy tradition that encompasses comic books, science fiction and horror movies, but fan-boy pastiche is the last thing on his mind. He is also a thoroughgoing cinephile, steeped in classical technique and film history." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Mark Kermode, David Rooney, David S. Goyer, Daniel Lindvall, Ron Perlman.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Y tu mama tambien

Y tu mamá también


2001 / Mexico / 105m / Col / Coming-of-Age, Road Movie
Maribel Verdu, Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna, Marta Aura, Diana Bracho, Emilio Echeverria, Veronica Langer, Arturo Rios, Ana Lopez Mercado, Nathan Grinberg
"The director, Alfonso Cuarón, works with a quicksilver fluidity, and the movie is fast, funny, unafraid of sexuality and finally devastating. The film, which takes place in Mexico, follows two hormonally consumed teenage boys, Julio (Bernal) and Tenoch (Luna), whose infantile macho games seem more like baby steps when they meet Luisa (Verdú), a sad-eyed young woman who is married to Tenoch's older cousin. Tenoch and Julio come on to Luisa by promising her a tour of the wondrous beach called Heaven's Mouth. By the end, Julio and Tenoch are left with their eyes wide open. Those in the audience will have seen something unforgettable, too." - Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times
Selected by Christopher Fowler, Barbara Schweizerhof, Ryan Fleck, David Ansen, Jean-Christophe Berjon.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Zodiac

Zodiac


2007 / USA / 158m / Col / Mystery, Police Detective Film
Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Edwards, Robert Downey Jr., Brian Cox, John Carroll Lynch, Richmond Arquette, Bob Stephenson, John Lacy, Chloe Sevigny
"David Fincher’s magnificently obsessive new film tracks the story of the serial killer who left dead bodies up and down California in the 1960s and possibly the ’70s, and that of the men who tried to stop him. Set when the Age of Aquarius disappeared into the black hole of the Manson family murders, the film is at once sprawling and tightly constructed, opaque and meticulously detailed. It’s part police procedural, part monster movie, a funereal entertainment that is an unexpected repudiation of Mr. Fincher’s most famous movie, the serial-killer fiction Seven, as well as a testament to this cinematic savant’s gifts." - Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
Selected by Bong Joon-ho, Felix Chong, Vadim Rizov, Henry K. Miller, Matt Prigge, Florence Maillard.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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A History of Violence

A History of Violence


2005 / USA-Germany / 96m / Col / Thriller, Crime
Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, William Hurt, Ashton Holmes, Stephen McHattie, Peter MacNeill, Ed Harris, Greg Bryk, Kyle Schmid, Heidi Hayes
"In A History of Violence a Midwestern family man (Mortensen) commits a deadly act of self-defense that triggers a series of ever more brutal persecutions and reprisals. It's the 62-year-old Cronenberg's most conventional film in years as well as his most brilliantly subversive: The movie bears the DNA of a classical western and a contemporary action thriller, but it interrogates its death wish fantasies even as it submits to them... Like so many of Cronenberg's great films, Violence is an exquisitely poised tightrope negotiation between reality and reverie, viscera and intellect, the comedy and the horror of existence." - Dennis Lim, The Village Voice
Selected by Robert Polito, Cameron Bailey, Raul Lizarzaburu, Neil Young, Shohini Chaudhuri.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Platform

Platform

Zhantai (original title)

2000 / China-France-Hong Kong / 154m / Col / Comedy Drama, Ensemble Film
Hong Wei Wang, Tao Zhao, Jing Dong Liang, Tian Yi Yang, Bo Wang
"To gauge the suffocating allure of Platform, imagine if the protagonist from Bresson's A Man Escaped never made it out of his Gestapo hell. Jia's epic film is a laconic portrait of a remote Chinese city in arrested development, where love is impacted and lost highways lead to destinations unknown… Some critics have complained about the film's lack of narrative vigor, forgetting that Jia's point is that there's very little for these people to live out. These are lives trapped in amber, trying to create a more complex narrative. Via startling long shots and temporal displacements, Jia truly evokes a community grasping hopelessly for something, anything to lift them up." - Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine
Selected by Dennis Lim, Gavin Smith, Kaushik Bhaumik, Andréa Picard, Kim Dong-Ho.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Grizzly Man

Grizzly Man


2005 / USA / 103m / Col / Nature, Documentary
Timothy Treadwell, Amie Huguenard, Warren Queeney, Franc G. Fallico, Willy Fulton, Sam Egli, Marnie Gaede, Marc Gaede, Larry Van Daele, Sven Haakanson
"It's easy to see what Werner Herzog admires in Timothy Treadwell, the self-made wildlife activist and grizzly bear guardian who spent 13 summers living amid the grizzlies of the Alaskan wilds… A New Age Grizzly Adams with a video camera and a quest to save the habitat from humanity, he's like a real-life version of the mad dreamers from Herzog's dramas… Herzog the dreamer genuinely respects Treadwell even as he disagrees with his idealized take on the predatory wild, but it's Treadwell's contradictions and controversies that fascinate Herzog the filmmaker, inspiring him to create this enthralling documentary portrait, his best film in years." - Sean Axmaker, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Selected by Ally Derks, Adirley Queirós, Eduardo Escorel, Ute Holl, Dana Stevens.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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The Social Network

The Social Network


2010 / USA / 120m / Col / Drama, Biopic
Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake, Andrew Garfield, Brenda Song, Armie Hammer, Joseph Mazzello, Max Minghella, Josh Pence, Rashida Jones, John Getz
"The Social Network is about a young man who possessed an uncanny ability to look into a system of unlimited possibilities and sense a winning move. His name is Mark Zuckerberg, he created Facebook, he became a billionaire in his early 20s, and he reminds me of the chess prodigy Bobby Fischer. There may be a touch of Asperger's syndrome in both: They possess genius but are tone-deaf in social situations… David Fincher's film has the rare quality of being not only as smart as its brilliant hero, but in the same way. It is cocksure, impatient, cold, exciting and instinctively perceptive… It makes an untellable story clear and fascinating." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Marcelo Panozzo, Jane Lamacraft, Joseph Cedar, Xu Jinglei, Diego Batlle.
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The Lives of Others

The Lives of Others

Das Leben der Anderen (original title)

2006 / Germany / 138m / Col / Political Thriller, Period Film
Martina Gedeck, Ulrich Muhe, Sebastian Koch, Ulrich Tukur, Thomas Thieme, Hans-Uwe Bauer, Volkmar Kleinert, Matthias Brenner, Charly Hubner, Herbert Knaup
"Is this a political thriller? In part, yes. The film has whispered conspiracies, a typewriter smuggled inside a cake box, the sexual compromising of a beautiful woman, a violent death. But those are mere trappings of a social structure that puts everyone at mortal risk, the spies no less than the spied upon. The narrative is a noose, tightening around all the characters--and the moviegoer too. Smartly crafted, impeccably acted, The Lives of Others packs a subtle punch, from its creepy first images to its poignant finale." - Richard Corliss, TIME
Selected by Tibor Bíró, Lizelle Bisschoff, Minky Schlesinger, Josh Radnor, Bob Balaban.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Before Sunset

Before Sunset


2004 / USA / 80m / Col / Romance, Comedy Drama
Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Louise Lemoine Torres, Vernon Dobtcheff, Rodolphe Pauly, Mariane Plasteig, Diabolo, Albert Delpy, Marie Pillet, Denis Evrard
"Nine years after they parted, in Vienna, at the end of Before Sunrise, Jesse (Hawke) and Celine (Delpy) rediscover each other in Paris, and relive their brief encounter. This time, it is even briefer: the film unfolds, without skipping a minute, in the hour or so before Jess must catch a plane home to New York… The liberating sweetness of the earlier movie has mellowed into a saltier, sadder flavor, but Richard Linklater, one of our most literate and intelligent directors, has not talked himself out of the possibility of romance, and the movie's relaxed, discursive structure is dense with implied feeling and oblique drama." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Sukhdev Sandhu, Diane Negra, Josh Radnor, Ji Zhi, Sakura Yang.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Melancholia

Melancholia


2011 / Denmark-Sweden-France-Germany / 136m / Col / Science Fiction, Psychological Sci-Fi
Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Alexander Skarsgard, Brady Corbet, Cameron Spurr, Charlotte Rampling, Jesper Christensen, John Hurt, Stellan Skarsgard, Udo Kier
"How does the world end? When it is in the hands of the cinematic master of human misery, dark Danish auteur Lars von Trier, as it is in Melancholia, it ends in extraordinary, horrific, searing, aching and unthinkable ways. It is his most hopeful film yet. Still firmly rooted in the filmmaker's esoteric, frustrating, provoking, demanding narrative style, the movie is also amazingly romantic — lush, ripe, rich, delicious. Its apocalyptic vision is encouraging in its hopelessness; its star, Kirsten Dunst, luminous in her anguish and devastation. Excessive in every way, and yet restrained. Everything and nothing that you'd expect a film called Melancholia to be." - Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times
Selected by Nigel Andrews, Stig Bjorkman, Wheeler Winston Dixon, Shirin Neshat, Peter Machen.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Sideways

Sideways


2004 / USA / 123m / Col / Comedy Drama, Buddy Film
Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen, Sandra Oh, Marylouise Burke, Jessica Hecht, Missy Doty, M.C. Gainey, Alysia Reiner, Shake Tukhmanyan
"Raise your glasses to a vintage American comedy that gets damn near everything right… This baby has it all: inspired direction by Alexander Payne, who fuses bracing wit and emotional gravity into something funny, touching and vital; a nuanced script by Payne and Jim Taylor that serves as a model of screen adaptation by shaping dialogue into classic comic contours; and a quartet of actors who qualify as a cinematic dream team… Sideways is inarguably a special occasion. Doubters may hedge about calling it a classic and might insist on checking back in a few years to see how it has aged. Fair enough. But it's not too early to call it pure movie bliss." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Selected by Shyamaprasad, Peter Farrelly, Bryan Singer, Jasper Sharp, Mike Birbiglia.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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The Turin Horse

The Turin Horse

A Torinói ló (original title)

2011 / Hungary-France-Germany-Switzerland-USA / 146m / BW / Drama, Slice of Life
Janos Derzsi, Erika Bok, Mihaly Kormos, Ricsi
"There are no direct answers, and the mastery of The Turin Horse is that its meaning or meanings are there for the taking. Tarr works in mesmerising harmony with his cinematographer Fred Kelemen (shooting in long shots and velvety blacks) and composer Mihály Vig (adopting a hypnotic dirge that rises and falls with a sense of import). Together, they lead us magnetically through the routines of this austere pair – taking out the horse, fetching water, eating just one boiled potato each for dinner… It feels like the creation story in reverse – a terrible, unavoidable walk into the dark." - Dave Calhoun, Time Out
Selected by Pere Portabella, Arturo Ripstein, Edgardo Cozarinsky, Ognjen Svilicic, Maria Ulfsak.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Punch-Drunk Love

Punch-Drunk Love


2002 / USA / 95m / Col / Comedy Drama, Anarchic Comedy
Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, Luis Guzman, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Lisa Spector, Julie Hermelin, Karen Hermelin, Hazel Mailloux, Nicole Gelbard
"What do you call Punch-Drunk Love? It's not a musical, because no one sings or dances. But it has the surreal delirium—and the MGM Technicolor hues, airy compositions, and stylized décor—of the great movie musicals… At its heart the story is boy-meets-girl simple, but the movie is so full of lurches and discordances and flabbergasting non sequiturs that at times it's like an avant-garde dance-theater piece with injections of Saturday Night Live. I imagine that many will find it arch, and, on a narrative level, as bumptiously withholding as its protagonist. I found it exquisite." - David Edelstein, Slate
Selected by Miranda July, Lee Unkrich, Constantin Popescu, Neil Young, Joko Anwar.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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No Country for Old Men

No Country for Old Men


2007 / USA / 122m / Col / Thriller, Crime
Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson, Kelly Macdonald, Garret Dillahunt, Tess Harper, Barry Corbin, Stephen Root, Rodger Boyce
"The bleak and unforgiving borderlands of Texas by the Rio Grande are the setting for this triumphant new movie by Joel and Ethan Coen… The Coens are back with a vengeance, showing their various imitators and detractors what great American film-making looks like, and they have supplied a corrective adjustment to the excesses of goofy-quirky comedy that damaged their recent work. The result is a dark, violent and deeply disquieting drama, leavened with brilliant noirish wisecracks, and boasting three leading male performances with all the spectacular virility of Texan steers. And all of it hard and sharp as a diamond." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Philip Berk, Milan Pavlovic, Mohamed Al-Daradji, Farai Sevenzo, Andrew Droz Palermo.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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A Separation

A Separation

Jodaeiye Nader az Simin (original title)

2011 / Iran / 123m / Col / Drama, Ensemble Film
Peyman Moadi, Leila Hatami, Sareh Bayat, Shahab Hosseini, Sarina Farhadi, Merila Zare'i, Ali-Asghar Shahbazi, Babak Karimi, Kimia Hosseini, Shirin Yazdanbaksh
"This powerful, complex Iranian drama centres on a conflict that cuts across boundaries of gender and class… An unhappily married couple break up in this complex, painful, fascinating Iranian drama by writer-director Asghar Farhadi, with explosive results that expose a network of personal and social faultlines. A Separation is a portrait of a fractured relationship and an examination of theocracy, domestic rule and the politics of sex and class – and it reveals a terrible, pervasive sadness that seems to well up through the asphalt and the brickwork." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Pen-Ek Ratanaruang, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Pimpaka Towira, Najwa Najjar, Mohamed Al-Daradji.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Elephant

Elephant


2003 / USA / 81m / Col / Psychological Drama, Ensemble Film
Alex Frost, Eric Deulen, John Robinson, Elias McConnell, Jordan Taylor, Carrie Finklea, Nicole George, Timothy Bottoms, Matt Malloy, Larry Laverty
"This unusual and remarkable film has a premise so simple that, in the abstract, it borders on the banal: plotless and stubbornly resistant to conventional narrative structure, the movie has its camera follow students around the halls and grounds of a high school in Portland, Ore., for a day until violence erupts. Elephant is the director Gus Van Sant's take on the murders that took place at Columbine High School… By making the camera an observer, we get a perspective that often comes out of horror movies, a choice that whips the ordinary with the terrifying — an unforgettable mix." - Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times
Selected by Stig Bjorkman, Wang Xiaoshuai, Manuel J. Lombardo, Malgorzata Szumowska, Janez Burger.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Talk to Her

Talk to Her

Hable con ella (original title)

2002 / Spain / 112m / Col / Melodrama, Romantic Drama
Javier Camara, Dario Grandinetti, Leonor Watling, Rosario Flores, Mariola Fuentes, Geraldine Chaplin, Pina Bausch, Malou Airaudo, Roberto Alvarez, Elena Anaya
"Like all great doomed affairs, Talk to Her is full of lovely, sweet suffering. And when it's over, the realization of how much the movie means to you really sinks in; you can't get it out of your heart. Pedro Almodóvar has created a tragic comedy about need, its liberating and shackling powers. Movies haven't been so rapturous about characters plummeting to an awful end at least since the last Almodóvar film, All About My Mother (1999). But he doesn't mine the comic strip soap opera mystique so extravagantly here; everything falls into place with an almost surreal delicacy." - Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times
Selected by Paul Julian Smith, Youngmee Hwang, Rob White, Dave Calhoun, Shyamaprasad.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks

Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks

Tiexi qu (original title)

2003 / China / 551m / Col / Culture & Society, Documentary
"Bracketed by stunning long shots taken from the front of a moving freight train, Wang Bing’s epic, three-part documentary is an astonishingly intimate record of China’s painful transition from state-run industry to a free market… Wang and his sound engineer, Lin Xudong, painstakingly document the death throes of the Tie Xi industrial district in the city of Shenyang, in northeast China, a once-vibrant symbol of a thriving socialist economy. As factories close and workers lose not only their jobs but also their homes and social networks, the filmmakers patiently observe the end of an era and the fortitude of those left floundering in its wake." - Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times
Selected by João Moreira Salles, Sukhdev Sandhu, Berenice Reynaud, Lou Ye, Okubo Ken.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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The Gleaners & I

The Gleaners & I

Les Glaneurs et la glaneuse (original title)

2000 / France / 82m / Col / Culture & Society, Documentary
Bodan Litnanski, Peter Rnic, Agnès Varda, Francois Wertheimer
"The French title of this delightful, encouraging documentary underlines how Agnès Varda identifies with her subjects - social marginals who 'glean' a living, from the earth (caravan dwellers) or from refuse (the teacher of Malian and Senegalese immigrants whom she befriends at a Paris street market). The veteran film-maker is newly inspired and energised by the freedom her DV camera brings. The film is marked by youthful freshness, and the integrity and sympathy of both the images and the commentary, as Varda hurtles us to Arras, Beaune or Paris in search of the new generation of foragers." - Wally Hammond, Time Out
Selected by Sukhdev Sandhu, Marina Warner, Sophie Mayer, Charles Musser, Eleanor Burke & Ron Eyal.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Dogville

Dogville


2003 / Denmark-Sweden-France-UK-Germany-Finland-Italy-Netherlands-Norway / 177m / Col / Drama, Avant-garde-Experimental
Nicole Kidman, Harriet Andersson, Lauren Bacall, Jean-Marc Barr, Paul Bettany, Blair Brown, James Caan, Ben Gazzara, Philip Baker Hall, Udo Kier
"Shot on a soundstage in Copenhagen with no sets, just chalk marks to indicate the houses in a Rocky Mountain town during the Depression, the film sounds like the circle of hell reserved for gluttons for pretentious punishment… But one fact is unassailable: Von Trier is a genuine talent. Despite the stagy set, his camera moves with a fluid elegance no computer could match… For all the plot detours and dead spots, this is strong, stinging filmmaking. Von Trier, light years from the formula doggerel at the multiplex, delivers something rare these days: a film of ideas." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Selected by Sophie Fiennes, Zsolt Gyenge, Stephen Thrower, Sonia Genaitay, Marit Kapla.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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The White Ribbon

The White Ribbon

Das Weisse Band - Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte (original title)

2009 / Germany-Austria-France-Italy / 144m / BW / Drama, Period Film
Christian Friedel, Ernst Jacobi, Leonie Benesch, Ulrich Tukur, Ursina Lardi, Fion Mutert, Michael Kranz, Burghart Klaubner, Steffi Kuhnert, Maria-Victoria Dragus
"The White Ribbon is a ghost story without a ghost, a whodunnit without a denouement, a historical parable without a lesson, and for two and a half hours, this unforgettably disturbing and mysterious film leads its viewers alongside an abyss of anxiety. It has chilling brilliance and icy exactitude, filmed in black and white with the lustre of liquid nitrogen, and its director, Michael Haneke, achieves a new refinement of mastery and audacity… This is a profoundly disquieting movie, superbly acted and directed. Its sinister riddle glitters more fiercely each time I watch it." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Lone Scherfig, Mike Newell, Steven Markovitz, Sitora Alieva, Sabine Niewalda.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Loong Boonmee raleuk chat (original title)

2010 / Thailand-UK-France-Germany-Spain-Netherlands / 113m / Col / Avant-garde-Experimental, Fantasy Drama
Thanapat Saisaymar, Jenjira Pongpas, Sakda Kaewbuadee, Natthakam Aphaiwonk, Geerasak Kulhong, Kanokporn Tongaram, Matthieu Ly, Vien Pimdee
"It’s barely a film; more a floating world. To watch it is to feel many things – balmed, seduced, amused, mystified. It’s to feel that one is encountering a distinctive metaphysics far removed from that on display in most contemporary cinema. Weerasethakul has not only drawn on the themes, landscapes and mood-states he tapped in Blissfully Yours, Tropical Malady and Syndromes And A Century, films that extended the imaginative and emotional grammar of arthouse cinema over the last decade; he has refined them to create his most accessible and most enchanted film to date." - Sukhdev Sandhu, The Telegraph
Selected by Nigel Andrews, Valeska Grisebach, Jean-Michel Frodon, Udagawa Koyo, Simon Ward.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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The Death of Mr. Lazarescu

The Death of Mr. Lazarescu

Moartea domnului Lazarescu (original title)

2005 / Romania / 154m / Col / Drama, Medical Drama
Ioan Fiscuteanu, Luminata Gheorghiu, Gabriel Spahiu, Doru Ana, Dana Dogaru, Serban Pavlu, Florin Zamfirescu, Clara Voda, Adrian Titieni, Mihai Bratila
"The grinding ordeal endured by the ailing title character of The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, a thorny masterpiece by Cristi Puiu, concludes well after 3 a.m. in a Bucharest hospital as he lies dying, unattended on a gurney… The two-and-a-half hour film views this late-night descent of the allegorically named Dante Remus Lazarescu through circles of medical hell observed with eyes that are dispassionate but far from cold. A sustained triumph of ensemble acting, the film seems so absolutely real it absorbs you into its world the same way a documentary like Frederick Wiseman's 1970 Hospital seeps into your consciousness." - Stephen Holden, The New York Times
Selected by Lenny Abrahamson, Pawel Pawlikowski, Mike Leigh, Zsolt Gyenge, Maria Kuvshinova.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation


2003 / USA-Japan / 102m / Col / Comedy Drama, Comedy of Manners
Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Giovanni Ribisi, Akiko Takeshita, Kazuyoshi Minamimagoe, Kazuko Shibata, Take, Catherine Lambert, Anna Faris, Fumihiro Hayashi
"A delicate, beautifully observed study of impossible romance… Inspired by a number of trips that Coppola took to Japan in the '90s, Lost in Translation stars Bill Murray as Bob Harris, a middle-aged movie star who goes to Tokyo to earn a quick $2 million on a whiskey commercial… There he meets Charlotte (Johansson), the bored wife of a self- absorbed photographer (Ribisi), and finds a kindred soul and fellow insomniac… Coppola has a wonderful, precise sense of dramatic rhythms. The easy, smooth contours that she gives to Lost have the power to envelop and enchant us, to stir up thoughts and reflections that work in tandem with the film ." - Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle
Selected by Zach Braff, Richard Curtis, Tobias Kniebe, Murat Özer, David Wain.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Wo hu cang long (original title)

2000 / Taiwan-Hong Kong-USA-China / 120m / Col / Martial Arts, Romantic Adventure
Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi, Chen Chang, Sihung Lung, Pei-pei Cheng, Fazeng Li, Xian Gao, Yan Hai, Deming Wang
"The director convened stars of three movie eras — pioneer kung-femme Cheng Pei-pei from the 1960s, Chow Yun-fat and Michelle Yeoh from Hong Kong’s glorious ’80s and bright new lights Zhang Ziyi and Chang Chen — and set them to battling over a magical sword. When the actors aren’t flying across roofs and balancing on treetops, in fight scenes choreographed by the great Yuen Wo-ping, they are navigating the murkier regions of personal responsibility and unspoken love. Crouching Tiger is a movie of gravity and buoyancy, of high art and higher spirits. It’s contemplative, and it kicks ass." - Richard Corliss, TIME
Selected by Carrie Rickey, Nandini Ramnath, Jeon Chanil, Tobias Kniebe, Brian Hu.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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City of God

City of God

Cidade de Deus (original title)

2002 / Brazil-Germany-France / 129m / Col / Urban Drama, Crime Drama
Matheus Nachtergaele, Seu Jorge, Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro Firmino da Hora, Phellipe Haagensen, Douglas Silva, Jonathan Haagensen, Jefechander Suplino, Alice Braga, Roberta Rodriguez Silvia
"This electrifying picture is part tender coming-of-age film and part gang-warfare epic from the Brazilian slum, or favela, told from the viewpoint of the children who manage to be both its underclass and its criminal overlords. It's a movie with all the dials cranked up to 11, an overwhelming, intoxicating assault on the senses, and a thriller so tense that you might have the red seat plush in front of you - or even some unfortunate's hair - gripped in both fists... Meirelles's storytelling rushes forward at a full, breathless tilt, swerving, accelerating, doubling back on itself, amplifying the roles and experiences of incidental characters… It is a compelling piece of work." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by José Padilha, Tata Amaral, Steven Markovitz, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Ahmed Atef.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Russian Ark

Russian Ark

Russkiy kovcheg (original title)

2002 / Russia-Germany-Japan-Canada-Finland-Denmark / 96m / Col / Avant-garde-Experimental, Essay Film
Sergei Dontsov, Mariya Kuznetsova, Leonid Mozgovoy, David Giorgobiani, Aleksandr Chaban, Maxim Sergeyev, Anna Aleksakhina, Natalia Nikulenko, Vladimir Baranov, Boris Smolkin
"As Alexander Sokurov's Russian Ark begins, its 21st century narrator, through whose eyes we see, wakes to find himself swept into the Hermitage amid a gaggle of 18th century ball guests. Russian Ark unfolds seamlessly from there as a single tracking shot, encompassing a dozen major scenes with hundreds of actors involved. Merely as a technical, logistical feat, Russian Ark marks a cinematic milestone… But the viewer nearly loses sight of Sokurov's technical mastery as the film turns a stroll through Russia's greatest museum into a meditation on time, history and the nature of cinema." - Kenneth Baker, San Francisco Chronicle
Selected by Stuart Klawans, Ronald Bergan, Pere Portabella, Mark Cousins, Ronald Rovers.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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WALL-E

WALL-E


2008 / USA / 98m / Col / Sci-Fi Adventure, Animation
Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin, Fred Willard, MacInTalk, John Ratzenberger, Kathy Najimy, Sigourney Weaver, Kim Kopf, Lori Alan
"Many will attempt to describe WALL-E with a one-liner. It’s R2-D2 in love. 2001: A Space Odyssey starring The Little Tramp. An Inconvenient Truth meets Idiocracy on its way to Toy Story. But none of these do justice to a film that’s both breathtakingly majestic and heartbreakingly intimate—and, for a good long while, absolutely bereft of dialogue save the squeals, beeps, and chirps of a sweet, lonely robot who, aside from his cockroach pet, is the closest thing to the last living being on earth." - Robert Wilonsky, The Village Voice
Selected by Richard Corliss, Wendy Ide, Wally Hammond, Leslie Felperin, Kjetil Lismoen.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Werckmeister Harmonies

Werckmeister Harmonies

Werckmeister harmóniák (original title)

2000 / Hungary-Germany-France-Switzerland-Italy / 145m / BW / Horror, Psychological Drama
Lars Rudolph, Peter Fitz, Hanna Schygulla, Janos Derzsi, Djoko Rossich, Tamas Wichmann, Ferenc Killai, Mihaly Kormos, Putyi Horvath, Eva Almassy Albert
"Béla Tarr's Werckmeister Harmonies is a totally sustained immersion in the magisterially bleak, voluptuously monochromatic, undeniably beautiful universe of muddy villages and cell-like rooms that the Hungarian filmmaker has created in collaboration with reclusive novelist László Krasznahorkai… Like Sátántangó, Werckmeister Harmonies is a work of bravura filmmaking—mainly a series of extremely long, largely mobile takes, edited without the normal pattern of shot-countershot. Tarr's camera style has its equivalent in Krasznahorkai's lengthy, convoluted sentences, although the results are quite different. Werckmeister is largely taciturn and anything but literary." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Carlos Reygadas, David Michôd, Peter Hames, William Fowler, Virginie Sélavy.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Brokeback Mountain

Brokeback Mountain


2005 / USA-Canada / 134m / Col / Romantic Drama, Modern Western
Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Randy Quaid, Anne Hathaway, Michelle Williams, Graham Beckel, Roberta Maxwell, Anna Faris, Linda Cardellini, Peter McRobbie
"Brokeback Mountain is a gay Western with a shot to become much more than a niche movie… Modest in scale but with an epic feel, this 2¼ hour portrayal of star-crossed sheep tenders casts Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as two ill-educated drifters… There's nothing fussy or attention-getting about Lee's direction or Rodrigo Prieto's photography, but the selection of shots and the rhythm of their cutting seem unerringly right. And while many of today's movies don't really end, the capper here is a kick in the gut. It's an old-style virtue for a film that's old-style in the best way: unassuming but people-oriented and aiming to endure." - Mike Clark, USA Today
Selected by Jaime Chávarri, Robert Cashill, Peter Machen, Jane Yu, Patricia Rozema.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Tropical Malady

Tropical Malady

Sud pralad (original title)

2004 / France-Thailand-Germany-Italy-Switzerland / 118m / Col / Avant-garde-Experimental, Adventure Drama
Banlop Lomnoi, Sakda Kaewbuadee, Sirivech Jareonchon, Huai Dessom, Udom Promma, Saritpong Boonyadiwon
"There is a sort of film - a rare sort - that has you leaving the cinema in a light-headed daze, pointing back at the exit and asking the person you're with: "What just happened in there?" Such a one is this beautiful and strange Thai movie from director Apichatpong Weerasethakul… Just thinking about it now makes me want to burst out laughing at its sheer audacity, its eccentricity, its unashamed aspiration to poetry and its nimble evasion of anything so commonplace as an explanation... It may turn out to be a masterpiece or simply a cult classic or just barking mad. Either way, it's sumptuous and scary, and a brilliant adventure in structure and style." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Ben Rivers, Lisandro Alonso, Lalitha Gopalan, Manu Yáñez-Murillo, Verena Lueken.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Spirited Away

Spirited Away

Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (original title)

2001 / Japan / 124m / Col / Fantasy Adventure, Animation
Rumi Hiragi, Miyu Irino, Mari Natsuki, Takashi Naito, Yasuko Sawaguchi, Tatsuya Gashuin, Ryunosuke Kamiki, Yumi Tamai, Yo Oizumi, Bunta Sugawara
"Spirited Away has emerged as one of Miyazaki's finest works to date, striking a delicate balance between the joyful simplicity of one half of his oeuvre (as exemplified by My Neighbour Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service...), and the sprawling spectacle of the other half (i.e. Nausicaä, Castle in the Sky, and Princess Mononoke). It's a best-of-both worlds creation, in other words, an almost free-form fantasy piece which feels at once sweepingly large and touchingly intimate… Spirited Away is an animation film of the highest technical calibre. A visual triumph, both in set and character design, providing a delightful cast of spirits, spectres, talking animals, and imaginative hybrids." - Tom Mes, Midnight Eye
Selected by Nigel Andrews, Pete Docter, Sheila Johnston, Philippa Hawker, Michael Dudok de Wit.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind


2004 / USA / 108m / Col / Comedy Drama, Romantic Fantasy
Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Elijah Wood, Mark Ruffalo, Jane Adams, David Cross, Tom Wilkinson, Deirdre O'Connell, Debbon Ayer
"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a title that evaporates from your consciousness almost before it's apprehended—and that's partially the point of this deft, witty, and vastly enjoyable movie, directed by French music-video ace Michel Gondry from Charlie Kaufman's screenplay. It's a head trip… Filled with the writer's trademark neurotic characters, grungy atmospherics, and downbeat emphasis on domestic discord, it's a baroque and intermittently brilliant brain twister so convoluted that it inevitably deposits the viewer in an alternate universe." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Roberta Ciabarra, Stephen Thrower, Linda Ruth Williams, Richard Curtis, Amy Berg.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life


2011 / USA / 139m / Col / Drama, Family Drama
Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain, Hunter McCracken, Laramie Eppler, Tye Sheridan, Fiona Shaw, Jessica Fuselier, Nicolas Gonda, Will Wallace
"Malick's mad and magnificent film descends slowly, like some sort of prototypical spaceship: it's a cosmic-interior epic of vainglorious proportions, a rebuke to realism, a disavowal of irony and comedy, a meditation on memory, and a gasp of horror and awe at the mysterious inevitability of loving, and losing those we love… This film is not for everyone, and I will admit I am agnostic about the final sequence, which suggests a closure and a redemption nothing else in the film has prepared us for. But this is visionary cinema on an unashamedly huge scale: cinema that's thinking big. Malick makes an awful lot of other film-makers look timid and negligible by comparison." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Juan Antonio Bayona, Roger Ebert, Olivier Assayas, Guy Maddin, Fernando Meirelles.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Cache

Caché

Hidden (English title)

2005 / France-Austria-Germany-Italy-USA / 117m / Col / Drama, Psychological Thriller
Daniel Auteuil, Juliette Binoche, Maurice Benichou, Annie Girardot, Bernard Lecoq, Walid Afkir, Lester Makedonsky, Daniel Duval, Nathalie Richard, Denis Podalydes
"Cache casts a spell that grips you and won't let go. The film works as a provocation, on a personal and a political level. Daniel Auteuil is powerfully good as Georges, the host of a literary TV talk show in Paris, with Anne (a coolly imperious Juliette Binoche), just the right chic wife, and Pierott (Makedonsky), just the right preteen son, to go with their tres cher home. Crashing into their serenity comes a surveillance tape of their home, followed by drawings of violent images. Who's watching them? And what for?… By the final riveting and static images, fear and guilt have become almost palpable. You won't be able to look away." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Selected by Tarsem Singh, Agnieszka Holland, Jerry Rothwell, Lenny Abrahamson, Peter Bradshaw.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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There Will Be Blood

There Will Be Blood


2007 / USA / 158m / Col / Drama, Period Film
Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Kevin J. O'Connor, Ciaran Hinds, Dillon Freasier, Sydney McAllister, David Willis, David Warshofsky, Colton Woodward, Colleen Foy
"Anderson's epic, no less than his career, is both fearfully grandiose and wonderfully eccentric. A strange and enthralling evocation of frontier capitalism and manifest destiny set at the dawn of the 20th century, There Will Be Blood recounts the tale of a ferociously successful wildcat oil driller with the allegorical handle Daniel Plainview (Day-Lewis). The telling is leisurely and full of process: From the deliberately dark and fragmented prologue to the wildly excessive denouement, this movie continually defamiliarizes what might sound like a Giant-style potboiler… This is truly a work of symphonic aspirations and masterful execution." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Sarah Polley, Agnieszka Holland, Manohla Dargis, Sam Mendes, Wesley Morris.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Yi Yi

Yi yi

A One and a Two (English title)

2000 / Taiwan-Japan / 173m / Col / Ensemble Film, Family Drama
Nien-Jen Wu, Elaine Jin, Issei Ogata, Kelly Lee, Jonathan Chang, Hsi-Sheng Chen, Su-Yun Ko, Michael Tao, Shu-shen Hsiao, Adrian Lin
"The extraordinary, internationally embraced Yi Yi, directed by the late Taiwanese master Edward Yang, follows a middle-class family in Taipei over the course of one year, beginning with a wedding and ending with a funeral. Whether chronicling middle-age father NJ’s tentative flirtations with an old flame or precocious young son Yang-Yang’s attempts at capturing reality with his beloved camera, the filmmaker deftly imbues every gorgeous frame with a compassionate clarity. Warm, sprawling, and dazzling, this intimate epic is one of the undisputed masterworks of the new century." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Wesley Morris, Carlo Chatrian, Nick James, Vadim Rizov, Tiina Lokk.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Mulholland Dr.

Mulholland Dr.

Mulholland Drive (alternative spelling)

2001 / France-USA / 147m / Col / Mystery, Psychological Thriller
Naomi Watts, Laura Elena Harring, Ann Miller, Justin Theroux, Dan Hedaya, Robert Forster, Katharine Towne, Lee Grant, Billy Ray Cyrus, Chad Everett
"Fashioned from the ruins of a two-hour TV pilot rejected by ABC in 1999, Lynch's erotic thriller careens from one violent non sequitur to another. The movie boldly teeters on the brink of self-parody, reveling in its own excess and resisting narrative logic. This voluptuous phantasmagoria is certainly Lynch's strongest movie since Blue Velvet and maybe Eraserhead. The very things that failed him in the bad-boy rockabilly debacle of Lost Highway—the atmosphere of free-floating menace, pointless transmigration of souls, provocatively dropped plot stitches, gimcrack alternate universes—are here brilliantly rehabilitated." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Jonathan Caouette, Stéphane Delorme, Guy Maddin, Kim Newman, Pawel Pawlikowski.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
See also 1,000 Noir Films
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In the Mood for Love

In the Mood for Love

Fa yeung nin wa (original title)

2000 / Hong Kong-France / 97m / Col / Melodrama, Romantic Drama
Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung, Rebecca Pan, Lui Chun, Ping Lam Siu, Chin Chi-Ang, Chan Man-Lui, Koo Kam-Wah, Ysu Hsien, Chow Po-Chun
"Set in the sad yet deeply romanticized world of Hong Kong in the early to mid-'60s, Wong's ravishingly beautiful In the Mood For Love may be classified as a period piece, but only in the technical sense. In detailing the intimate friendship and love between two unhappily married lonelyhearts, Wong collects vivid moments out of time as they might play out in a person's memory many years later… In the Mood For Love captures the inherent alienation of city life, but in the process, he intensifies the romantic longing between the two characters… In the Mood For Love casts a dreamy and melancholic spell that remains unbroken long after the closing credits have rolled." - Scott Tobias, A.V. Club
Selected by Stig Bjorkman, Paul Schrader, Paul Julian Smith, Patricia Rozema, Peter Bradshaw.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films