The 1,000 Greatest Films (300-201)

The banner image above is from Michelangelo Antonioni's La Notte.
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To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird


1962 / USA / 129m / BW / Courtroom Drama, Childhood Drama
Gregory Peck, Mary Badham, Philip Alford, John Megna, Frank Overton, Rosemary Murphy, Brock Peters, Robert Duvall, Ruth White, Estelle Evans
"Robert Mulligan's lovingly crafted recreation of Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize- winning novel is an outstanding production on many different levels. The Oscar-winning sets by Henry Bumstead and Alexander Golitzen, and gorgeous black-and-white cinematography beautifully evoke the rural Alabama Depression-era setting, providing the perfect backdrop for this quiet-yet-potent study of racism. The suffocating summer heat is reflected in the film's deliberate pacing, which casts a trance over the audience. Horton Foote's Academy Award-winning screenplay is a model of book-to-movie adaptation." - Dan Jardine, All Movie
Selected by Destin Daniel Cretton, Wes Craven, Peter Kosminsky, Joko Anwar, Bálint Szalóky.
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Harold and Maude

Harold and Maude


1971 / USA / 90m / Col / Black Comedy, Coming-of-Age
Ruth Gordon, Bud Cort, Vivian Pickles, Cyril Cusack, Charles Tyner, Ellen Geer, Eric Christmas, G. Wood, Judy Engles, Shari Summers
"With the idiosyncratic American fable Harold and Maude, countercultural director Hal Ashby fashioned what would become the cult classic of its era. Working from a script by Colin Higgins, Ashby tells the story of the emotional and romantic bond between a death-obsessed young man (Cort) from a wealthy family and a devil-may-care, bohemian octogenarian (Gordon). Equal parts gallows humor and romantic innocence, Harold and Maude dissolves the line between darkness and light along with the ones that separate people by class, gender, and age, and it features indelible performances and a remarkable soundtrack by Cat Stevens." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Sean Baker, George Clooney, Cyrus Frisch, Niki Caro, Drake Doremus.
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Reservoir Dogs

Reservoir Dogs


1992 / USA / 99m / Col / Crime Thriller, Gangster Film
Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Christopher Penn, Steve Buscemi, Lawrence Tierney, Randy Brooks, Kirk Baltz, Edward Bunker, Quentin Tarantino
"Brilliantly acted by a high-testosterone cast that includes Harvey Keitel, Steve Buscemi, Chris Penn, and the charismatic British actor Tim Roth, Reservoir Dogs is funny, thrilling, and so unabashedly violent it both shocks you and leaves you giddy at your own capacity for shock. At the same time, this is an ingeniously plotted 1950s-style heist picture: It's like John Huston's The Asphalt Jungle or Stanley Kubrick's The Killing remade by the Scorsese of Mean Streets." - Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
Selected by Peter Farrelly, Li Shaohong, Constantin Popescu, Gareth Edwards, Matthew Vaughn.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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The Last Picture Show

The Last Picture Show


1971 / USA / 118m / BW / Drama, Coming-of-Age
Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Ben Johnson, Cloris Leachman, Ellen Burstyn, Eileen Brennan, Clu Gulager, Sam Bottoms, Randy Quaid
"The Last Picture Show is one of the key films of the American cinema renaissance of the seventies. Set during the early fifties, in the loneliest Texas nowheresville to ever dust up a movie screen, this aching portrait of a dying West, adapted from Larry McMurtry’s novel, focuses on the daily shuffles of three futureless teens… Featuring evocative black-and-white imagery and profoundly felt performances, this hushed depiction of crumbling American values remains the pivotal film in the career of the invaluable director and film historian Peter Bogdanovich." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Lukas Moodysson, P.J. Hogan, Sofia Coppola, Roberto Manassero, Juan Villegas.
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The Puppetmaster

The Puppetmaster

Hsimeng jensheng (original title)

1993 / Taiwan / 141m / Col / Biography, Drama
Tianlu Li, Giong Lim, Chung Lin, Ming Hwa Bai, Fue Choung Cheng, Hung Liou, Chen-Nan Tsai, Lai-Yin Yang
"Hou Hsiao-hsien's masterpiece about the childhood and early adulthood of octogenerian Taiwanese puppet master and actor Li Tien-lu… Hou's preference for filming entire scenes in long takes from fixed camera angles and for eschewing close-ups has never been as masterfully employed and modulated as it is here… The film alternates between re-created scenes from Li's life, Li speaking directly to the camera about his past, and extracts from his puppet and stage performances, creating a layered density in the narrative that does full justice to the complexity and poetry of Hou's investigation." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Kent Jones, Thom Andersen, Ain-Ling Wong.
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Berlin Alexanderplatz

Berlin Alexanderplatz


1980 / West Germany-Italy / 894m / Col / Epic, Political Drama
Gunter Lamprecht, Elisabeth Trissenaar, Karin Baal, Franz Buchrieser, Peter Kollek, Brigitte Mira, Mechthild Grossmann, Barbara Valentin, Hans Zander, Yaak Karsunke
"Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s controversial, fifteen-hour-plus Berlin Alexanderplatz, based on Alfred Döblin’s great modernist novel, was the crowning achievement of a prolific director who, at age thirty-four, had already made forty films. Fassbinder’s immersive epic follows the hulking, childlike ex-convict Franz Biberkopf (Lamprecht) as he attempts to “become an honest soul” amid the corrosive urban landscape of Weimar-era Germany. With equal parts cynicism and humanity, Fassbinder details a mammoth portrait of a common man struggling to survive in a viciously uncommon time." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Béla Tarr, Jonathan Glazer, Chung Sung-ill, David Hudson, Gerwin Tamsma.
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Videodrome

Videodrome


1983 / Canada / 90m / Col / Media Satire, Sci-Fi Horror
James Woods, Sonja Smits, Deborah Harry, Peter Dvorsky, Jack Creley, Les Carlson, Lynne Gorman, David Bolt, Lally Cadeau, Harvey Chao
"When Max Renn goes looking for edgy new shows for his sleazy cable TV station, he stumbles across the pirate broadcast of a hyperviolent torture show called Videodrome. As he struggles to unearth the origins of the program, he embarks on a hallucinatory journey… Videodrome is one of writer/director David Cronenberg’s most original and provocative works, fusing social commentary with shocking elements of sex and violence. With groundbreaking special effects makeup by Academy Award®-winner Rick Baker, Videodrome has come to be regarded as one of the most influential and mind-bending science fiction films of the 1980s." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Nicolas Rapold, Vladan Petkovic, Edgar Pêra, Roee Rosen, Erik Skjoldbjærg.
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Listen to Britain

Listen to Britain


1942 / UK / 20m / BW / Culture & Society, Documentary
Chesney Allen, Leonard Brockington, Bud Flanagan, Myra Hess
"Humphrey Jennings' films covered the whole of the Second World War in Britain. His quiet, emotive style produced some of the most memorable film images of the War… Listen To Britain's title might suggest a strong sound element… But it is the images, particularly the studies of people, that are the real star. The gaunt, tired faces in this most desperate part of the war seem only slightly aware that Jennings' camera is there... The editing in Listen To Britain is trademark Jennings: simple comparisons between scenes from everyday life and the manic, unreal struggle of the war effort." - Ewan Davidson, BFI Screen Online
Selected by Charles Drazin, Charles Musser, Annette Kuhn, David Meeker, Ed Halter.
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Cinema Paradiso

Cinema Paradiso

Nuovo cinema Paradiso (original title)

1988 / Italy-France / 123m / Col / Drama, Coming-of-Age
Philippe Noiret, Jacques Perrin, Salvatore Cascio, Mario Leonardi, Agnese Nano, Leopoldo Trieste, Nicola Di Pinto, Nino Terzo, Roberta Lena, Pupella Maggio
"There are films as lovely, but none lovelier than Cinema Paradiso, a folkloric salute to the medium itself, flickering with yesterday's innocence and lingering on the mind like bubbles in wine. Born of director Giuseppe Tornatore's childhood memories, this is a magic lantern in a Sicilian boy's hand, its warm light shed on the riches of life in a poor, stone-built land. It is, in a word, exquisite… Cinema Paradiso is cherished regret. Tornatore, who also wrote the film, was inspired by loss, the realization that communal movie-going had become a thing of the past." - Rita Kempley, Washington Post
Selected by Renny Harlin, Roland Emmerich, Antoine Fuqua, Paul Wells, Hind Mezaina.
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The Philadelphia Story

The Philadelphia Story


1940 / USA / 112m / BW / Screwball Comedy, Romantic Comedy
Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Stewart, Ruth Hussey, John Howard, Roland Young, Virginia Weidler, Henry Daniell, John Halliday, Mary Nash
"Cukor and Donald Ogden Stewart's evergreen version of Philip Barry's romantic farce, centreing on a socialite wedding threatened by scandal, is a delight from start to finish, with everyone involved working on peak form… Superbly directed by Cukor, the film is a marvel of timing and understated performances, effortlessly transcending its stage origins without ever feeling the need to 'open out' in any way. The wit still sparkles; the ambivalent attitude towards the rich and idle is still resonant; and the moments between Stewart and Hepburn, drunk and flirty on the moonlit terrace, tingle with a real, if rarely explicit, eroticism." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by J.J. Abrams, Ken Hollings, Laura Kern, Bill Rothman, Owen Gleiberman.
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Orpheus

Orpheus

Orphée (original title)

1950 / France / 95m / BW / Fantasy, Romantic Fantasy
Jean Marais, Maria Casares, Francois Perier, Marie Dea, Juliette Greco, Edouard Dermithe, Henri Cremieux, Pierre Bertin, Roger Blin, Jacques Varennes
"Jean Cocteau’s update of the Orpheus myth depicts a famous poet (Marais), scorned by the Left Bank youth, and his love for both his wife, Eurydice (Déa), and a mysterious princess (Casarès). Seeking inspiration, the poet follows the princess from the world of the living to the land of the dead, through Cocteau’s famous mirrored portal. Orpheus’s peerless visual poetry and dreamlike storytelling represent the legendary Cocteau at the height of his powers." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Anne Billson, Kevin Jackson, Paul Schrader, Peter Whitehead, Neville de Almeida.
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Kings of the Road

Kings of the Road

Im Lauf der Zeit (original title)

1976 / West Germany / 175m / BW / Drama, Road Movie
Rudiger Vogler, Hanns Zischler, Lisa Kreuzer, Rudolf Schundler, Marquard Bohm, Dieter Traier, Franziska Stommer, Patric Kreuzer, Wim Wenders, Peter Kaiser
"There's not much moralising or philosophy behind Kings of the Road, and none of the portentous complications with which Wenders has afflicted us of late (Million Dollar Hotel, for instance). Instead he achieves a palpable sense of time, place and atmosphere, and of how everybody is affected by their tiny spot in history. What could have been a dull work, considering its almost three-hour length and lack of drama, looks as good today as it ever did. Robby Müller, one of the world's most eloquent cinematographers, contributes mightily to this. There is an almost hypnotic quality to the film - Europe's most telling example of the American road movie." - Derek Malcolm, The Guardian
Selected by David Stratton, Nick Roddick, Barbara Scharres, Benjamin Safdie, Henk Camping.
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Touki Bouki

Touki Bouki

Hyena's Voyage (English title)

1973 / Senegal / 85m / Col / Drama, Road Movie
Magaye Niang, Mareme Niang, Aminata Fall, Ousseynou Diop, Christoph Colomb, Ndou Labia, Mustapha Ture
"This 1973 first feature by Senegalese director Djibril Diop Mambety is one of the greatest of all African films and almost certainly the most experimental. Beautifully shot and strikingly conceived, it follows the comic misadventures of a young motorcyclist and former herdsman (Magaye Niang) who gets involved in petty crimes in Dakar during an attempt to escape to Paris with the woman he loves (Mareme Niang). The title translates as Hyena's Voyage, and among the things that make this film so interesting stylistically are the fantasy sequences involving the couple's projected images of themselves in Paris and elsewhere." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Ryan Gilbey, Keith Shiri, Drake Stutesman, Cameron Bailey, Wanuri Kahiu.
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An Autumn Afternoon

An Autumn Afternoon

Sanma no aji (original title)

1962 / Japan / 115m / Col / Family Drama, Romantic Drama
Chishu Ryu, Shima Iwashita, Keiji Sada, Shinichiro Mikami, Mariko Okada, Nobuo Nakamura, Ryuji Kita, Eijiro Tono, Teruo Yoshida, Noriko Maki
"Co-scripted with long-term collaborator Kogo Noda, as is usual with Ozu, plot is reduced to a bare minimum. Though the story revolves around the central axis of Hirayama, a good deal of the film is given over to the other characters, charting the ups and downs of their daily existence the film almost existing entirely in the form of a series of vignettes. This apparent lack of focus and purpose may seem off-putting at first, but by avoiding the contrivances of traditional dramatic narratives whilst sketching out a touching portrait of everyday family life, Ozu creates a world that gives the impression of stretching far beyond the limiting vista of the cinema screen." - Jasper Sharp, Midnight Eye
Selected by Girish Kasaravalli, Casper Tybjerg, Frédéric Maire, Jean-Claude Rousseau, John Hill.
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A Canterbury Tale

A Canterbury Tale


1944 / UK / 124m / BW / Comedy Drama, Road Movie
Eric Portman, Sheila Sim, Sgt. John Sweet, Dennis Price, Esmond Knight, Hay Petrie, George Merritt, Edward Rigby, Charles Hawtrey, Freda Jackson
"Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s beloved classic A Canterbury Tale is a profoundly personal journey to Powell’s bucolic birthplace of Kent, England. Set amid the tumult of the Second World War, yet with a rhythm as delicate as a lullaby, the film follows three modern-day incarnations of Chaucer’s pilgrims—a melancholy “landgirl,” a plainspoken American GI, and a resourceful British sergeant… Building to a majestic climax that ranks as one of the filmmaking duo’s finest achievements, the dazzling A Canterbury Tale has acquired a following of devotees passionate enough to qualify as pilgrims themselves." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Kim Newman, Sukhdev Sandhu, Adrian Danks, Charles Barr, Joanna Hogg.
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Husbands

Husbands


1970 / USA / 138m / Col / Drama, Buddy Film
Ben Gazzara, Peter Falk, John Cassavetes, Jenny Runacre, Jenny Lee Wright, Noelle Kao, Leola Harlow, Meta Shaw, John Kullers, Delores Delmar
"The term "midlife crisis" became a familiar phrase in the seventies-and in seventies cinema-but when John Cassavetes released Husbands, the term was just being born and the concept just starting to make its way into the movies. Subtitled "A Comedy About Life, Death and Freedom," Husbands follows three middle-aged men (Gazzara, Falk and Cassavetes), long time friends and family men, in the wake of the sudden, premature death of the man who completed their fun-loving group… Husbands is undeniably a personal, provocative and uncompromising vision and a daring journey into the psyche of American men." - Sean Axmaker, TCM
Selected by Yorgos Lanthimos, Ulrich Seidl, Richard Brody, Götz Spielmann, Andrey Zvyagintsev.
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Love Streams

Love Streams


1984 / USA / 141m / Col / Drama, Psychological Drama
Gena Rowlands, John Cassavetes, Diahnne Abbott, Seymour Cassel, Margaret Abbott, Jakob Shaw, Risa Blewitt, Doe Avedon, Tom Badal, Frank Beetson
"A movie that gets better with each viewing… Love Streams is at once a culmination of the director's obsessions and his most atypical film. It's a movie that gives up its mysteries slowly—flirting with theatricality, inserting dream sequences, concluding on a brazenly surreal enigma… The enormously moving interplay between Cassavetes and Rowlands gets at the heart of the performative spectacle unique to his films: an interaction beyond words and gestures… More explicitly metaphysical than the other great Cassavetes films, it nonetheless shares their view of love as a way of life and a form of madness." - Dennis Lim, The Village Voice
Selected by Dennis Lim, Shinji Aoyama, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Manu Yáñez-Murillo, Alan Pauls.
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Underground

Underground

Bila jednom jedna zemlja (original title)

1995 / France-Germany-Hungary / 192m / Col / Comedy Drama, Political Satire
Miki Manojlovic, Lazar Riztovski, Mirjana Jokovic, Slavko Stimac, Mirjana Karanovic, Srdjan Todorovic, Ernst Stotzner, Milena Pavlovic, Bata Stojkovic, Bora Todorovic
"Emir Kusturica's tragic-farce Underground may be the most important film of the last 25 years, a sweltering, morally inquisitive work of political narrative fiction that laments our propensity for auto-destruction. In a time when supposedly serious journalism fails to illuminate the horrors of the world (pop quiz: what did Milosevic do to his people and why?), films like Underground exist to make amends. "Once upon a time there was a country…" So begins Kusturica's parable of self-annihilation, a deliriously metaphorical, emotionally gut-wrenching and devastatingly funny chronicle of a death foretold." - Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine
Selected by Zhao Liang, Ying Liang, Ed Gonzalez, Han Jie, Audrius Stonys.
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The Big Sleep

The Big Sleep


1946 / USA / 114m / BW / Mystery, Film Noir
Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, John Ridgely, Elisha Cook Jr., Martha Vickers, Dorothy Malone, Regis Toomey, Louis Jean Heydt, Sonia Darrin, Bob Steele
"Howard Hawks’s movie is a film noir touchstone, and features one of Bogart’s best good-man-in-a-tough-spot performances, alongside the irresistible Lauren Bacall… Don’t try too hard to follow the story, just get swept away by the mood of the film. Revel in watching Bogie and Bacall (married by the time the additional scenes were shot) interact. Enjoy the stunning costumes, the crisp cinematography, the snappy script, the brilliant Max Steiner score." - Eric Brace, Washington Post
Selected by Patrick Keiller, Antonio Santamarina, Brian Dillon, Andrés Di Tella, Geoff Dyer.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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Day of Wrath

Day of Wrath

Vredens dag (original title)

1943 / Denmark / 110m / BW / Period Film, Psychological Drama
Thorkild Roose, Lisbeth Movin, Sigrid Neiiendam, Preben Lerdorff, Albert Hoeberg, Anna Svierkier, Olaf Ussing, Sigurd Berg, Harald Holst, Preben Neergaard
"Filmed during the Nazi occupation of Denmark, Carl Dreyer’s Day of Wrath is a harrowing account of individual helplessness in the face of growing social repression and paranoia. Anna, the young second wife of a well-respected but much older pastor, falls in love with her stepson when he returns to their small seventeenth-century village. Stepping outside the bounds of the village’s harsh moral code has disastrous results. Exquisitely photographed and passionately acted, Day of Wrath remains an intense, unforgettable experience." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Philip Kemp, Tom Gunning, David Rudkin, John Flaus, John Hill.
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Eraserhead

Eraserhead


1977 / USA / 85m / BW / Avant-garde-Experimental, Surrealist Film
Jack Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Allen Joseph, Jeanne Bates, Judith Anna Roberts, Laurel Near, V. Phipps-Wilson, Jack Fisk, Jean Lange, Thomas Coulson
"Watching Eraserhead today, what emerges is the sheer, immersive clarity of David Lynch’s vision, the sense of a world unlike our own and yet inextricably bound to it: a world in which all the light has been sucked out, leaving only horror and isolation, desperation and unattainable dreams. Knowing the struggles Lynch and his crew underwent to complete this wildly uncommercial labour of love, over five years of scratching for every budgetary dollar, the absence of compromise astounds. Eraserhead is a singular work of the imagination, a harrowing, heartbreaking plunge into the darkest recesses of the soul." - Tom Huddleston, Time Out
Selected by Gaspar Noé, Anton Dolin, Anton Bitel, Donald Clarke, Edgar Pêra.
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The World of Apu

The World of Apu

Apur Sansar (original title)

1959 / India / 103m / BW / Drama, Family Drama
Soumitra Chatterjee, Sharmila Tagore, Swapan Mukherji, S. Alke Chakravarty, Alok Chakravarty, Dhiresh Majumdar, Sefalika Devi, Dhiren Ghosh, Balarani, Shanti Bhattacherjee
"The third installment in Satyajit Ray's internationally acclaimed Apu Trilogy, The World of Apu displays all of Ray's trademark restraint and lyricism… Like the neorealists, Ray leaves his takes long, shoots on location, and employs non-actors, creating a beautifully wrought film that unfolds at an unhurried pace and focuses on simple moments of everyday life… Rarely has a film so eloquently and sensitively captured young love, even though barely a word is exchanged. The World of Apu is a profound and deeply moving exploration of the human condition, exuding a transcendent wisdom rarely seen in cinema outside of the works of Yasujiro Ozu or Robert Bresson." - Jonathan Crow, All Movie
Selected by Allan Arkush, Rachel Dwyer, Rolf De Heer, Stephanie Zacharek, Luciano Barisone.
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The Wages of Fear

The Wages of Fear

Le Salaire de la peur (original title)

1953 / France-Italy / 105m / BW / Thriller, Adventure Drama
Yves Montand, Charles Vanel, Peter Van Eyck, Vera Clouzot, Folco Lulli, Dario Moreno, William Tubbs, Jo Dest, Antonio Centa, Louis de Lima
"In a squalid South American oil town, four desperate men sign on for a suicide mission to drive trucks loaded with nitroglycerin over a treacherous mountain route. As they ferry their explosive cargo to a faraway oil fire, each bump and jolt tests their courage, their friendship, and their nerves. The result is one of the greatest thrillers ever committed to celluloid, a white-knuckle ride from France’s legendary master of suspense, Henri-Georges Clouzot." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Bong Joon-ho, Steve McQueen, John Sayles, Chris Shepherd, Péter Muszatics.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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Memories of Underdevelopment

Memories of Underdevelopment

Memorias del subdesarrollo (original title)

1968 / Cuba / 97m / BW / Psychological Drama, Political Drama
Sergio Corrieri, Daisy Granados, Eslinda Nunez, Omar Valdes, Rene de la Cruz, Yolanda Farr, Ofelia Gonzalez, Jose Gil Abad, Daniel Jordan, Beatriz Ponchora
"Memories of Underdevelopment is a dazzling piece of work, not just for its political bravery and relentlessly challenging outlook. It’s also a sly and witty but still heartfelt character study, with moments of real warmth glittering amid the revolutionary rubble. With the phrase ‘developing country’ now arbitrarily applied to approximately two thirds of the globe, Alea’s clear-sighted examination of what it means to be ‘developed’, both personally and politically, feels more apposite than ever… One of the true greats of radical cinema." - Tom Huddleston, Time Out
Selected by B. Ruby Rich, Walter Salles, Pablo Stoll, Abé Mark Nornes, Ambrosio Fornet.
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The Maltese Falcon

The Maltese Falcon


1941 / USA / 100m / BW / Mystery, Film Noir
Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Sydney Greenstreet, Gladys George, Peter Lorre, Barton MacLane, Elisha Cook Jr., Lee Patrick, Ward Bond, Jerome Cowan
"Huston's first film displays the hallmarks that were to distinguish his later work: the mocking attitude toward human greed; the cavalier insolence with which plot details are treated almost as asides; the delight in bizarre characterisations,… What makes it a prototype film noir is the vein of unease missing from the two earlier versions of Hammett's novel. Filmed almost entirely in interiors, it presents a claustrophobic world animated by betrayal, perversion and pain." - Tom Milne, Time Out
Selected by Geoff Dyer, Jørgen Leth, Klaus Kreimeier, Manthia Diawara, Charles Burnett.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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Faces

Faces


1968 / USA / 130m / BW / Marriage Drama, Psychological Drama
John Marley, Gena Rowlands, Lynn Carlin, Fred Draper, Seymour Cassel, Val Avery, Dorothy Gulliver, Joanne Moore Jordan, Darlene Conley, Gene Darfler
"The disintegration of a marriage is dissected in John Cassavetes’ searing Faces. Shot in high-contrast 16 mm black and white, the film follows the futile attempts of captain of industry Richard (Marley) and his wife, Maria (Carlin), to escape the anguish of their empty marriage in the arms of others. Featuring astonishingly powerful, nervy performances from Marley, Carlin, and Cassavetes regulars Gena Rowlands and Seymour Cassel, Faces confronts suburban alienation and the battle of the sexes with a brutal honesty and compassion rarely matched in cinema." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Corneliu Porumboiu, Ray Carney, Eduardo Coutinho, Violeta Kovacsics, Ain-Ling Wong.
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Monsieur Verdoux

Monsieur Verdoux


1947 / USA / 123m / BW / Black Comedy, Crime Comedy
Charles Chaplin, Martha Raye, Isobel Elsom, Mady Correll, Marilyn Nash, Irving Bacon, William Frawley, Charles Evans, Allison Roddan, Robert Lewis
"While the descriptive phrase "ahead of its time" is all too often dragged out and tacked on to one marginalized film work after another, in the case of Monsieur Verdoux it is perhaps quite appropriate, given not only the film's lackluster reception in its day, but its surprising formal subtleties. The film's quite hilarious sense of humor, one part slapstick, one part steely wit, works in fluid conjunction with Chaplin's bleaker ruminations, and both are still quite contemporary and relevant even while being bound within very specific contexts. Monsieur Verdoux still matters, and it's still an urgent work of necessary art." - Josh Vasquez, Slant Magazine
Selected by Jean-Marie Straub, Bernard Eisenschitz, Dan Fainaru, Andy Rector, David Meeker.
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Black God, White Devil

Black God, White Devil

Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol (original title)

1964 / Brazil / 110m / BW / Road Movie, Crime Drama
Yona Magalhaes, Geraldo Del Rey, Othon Bastos, Sonia Dos Humildes, Mauricio do Valle, Joao Gama, Marrom, Antonio Pinto, Milton Rosa, Lidio Silva
"Rocha's first major film introduced most of the methods, themes and even characters that were developed five years later in his Antonio das Mortes. Set in the drought-plagued Brazilian Sertao in 1940, it explores the climate of superstition, physical and spiritual terrorism and fear that gripped the country… Rocha's project is fundamentally political, and completely unambiguous: he faces up to the contradictions of his country in an effort to understand, to crush mystiques, and to improve." - Tony Rayns, Time Out
Selected by Garin Nugroho, Pere Portabella, Arturo Ripstein, Ambrosio Fornet, Billy Woodberry.
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The Music Room

The Music Room

Jalsaghar (original title)

1958 / India / 95m / BW / Drama, Psychological Drama
Chhabi Biswas, Gangapada Basu, Pinaki Sengupta, Padma Devi, Tulsi Lahiri, Kali Sarkar, Waheed Khan, Roshan Kumari, Sardar Akhtar, Tulshi Chakraborty
"With The Music Room, Satyajit Ray brilliantly evokes the crumbling opulence of the world of a fallen aristocrat (the beloved actor Chhabi Biswas) desperately clinging to a fading way of life. His greatest joy is the music room in which he has hosted lavish concerts over the years—now a shadow of its former vivid self. An incandescent depiction of the clash between tradition and modernity, and a showcase for some of India’s most popular musicians of the day, The Music Room is a defining work by the great Bengali filmmaker." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Amos Gitai, Derek Malcolm, Nasreen Munni Kabir, Paolo Mereghetti, Antonio Rodrigues.
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In a Lonely Place

In a Lonely Place


1950 / USA / 91m / BW / Psychological Drama, Film Noir
Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame, Frank Lovejoy, Carl Benton Reid, Robert Warwick, Jeff Donnell, Martha Stewart, Art Smith, Morris Ankrum, William Ching
"The genre trappings of this noir masterpiece—which details the short-lived relationship between live-wire screenwriter Dixon Steele (Bogart) and his goldilocked muse Laurel Gray (Grahame)—don’t matter a whit. There’s a murder and a mystery, but whodunit? is just the punch line to the gut. Director Nicholas Ray is more interested in examining the ways in which people poison themselves and each other, and it’s not a pretty picture." - Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York
Selected by Mike Hodges, Scott Foundas, Stig Bjorkman, Tom Charity, Manu Yáñez-Murillo.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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Week-End

Week-End

Week End (alternative spelling); Weekend (alternative spelling)

1967 / France-Italy / 103m / Col / Avant-garde-Experimental, Satire
Mireille Darc, Jean Yanne, Jean-Pierre Kalfon, Jean-Pierre Leaud, Yves Beneyton, Juliet Berto, Anne Wiazemsky, Valerie Lagrange, Paul Gegauff, Daniel Pommerulle
"This scathing late-sixties satire from Jean-Luc Godard is one of cinema’s great anarchic works. Determined to collect an inheritance from a dying relative, a bourgeois couple travel across the French countryside while civilization crashes and burns around them. Featuring a justly famous sequence in which the camera tracks along a seemingly endless traffic jam, and rich with historical and literary references, Weekend is a surreally funny and disturbing call for revolution, a depiction of society reverting to savagery, and— according to the credits—the end of cinema itself." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Lizzie Francke, Mike Figgis, Ben Wheatley, Enno Patalas.
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F for Fake

F for Fake

Vérités et mensonges (original title)

1973 / France-Iran-West Germany / 85m / Col / Avant-garde-Experimental, Essay Film
Orson Welles, Oja Kodar, Elmyr de Hory, Joseph Cotten, Francois Reichenbach, Richard Wilson, Paul Stewart, Clifford Irving, Edith Irving, Laurence Harvey
"Orson Welles's underrated 1973 essay film—made from discarded documentary footage by Francois Reichenbach and new material from Welles—forms a kind of dialectic with Welles's never-completed It's All True. The main subjects are art forger Elmyr de Hory, Clifford Irving, Howard Hughes, Pablo Picasso, Welles himself, and the practice and meaning of deception… Alternately superficial and profound, the film also enlists the services of Oja Kodar, Welles's principal collaborator after the late 60s, as actor, erotic spectacle, and cowriter, and briefer appearances by many other Welles cohorts." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Richard Combs, Arthur Mas, Ángel Quintana Morraja, Dan Fainaru, Edgar Pêra.
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The Birth of a Nation

The Birth of a Nation

The Clansman (première title)

1915 / USA / 187m / BW / Epic, Historical Film
Lillian Gish, Mae Marsh, Henry B. Walthall, Miriam Cooper, Mary Alden, Ralph Lewis, George Siegmann, Walter Long, Robert Harron, Raoul Walsh
"Based on the Rev. Thomas Dixon Jr's deliriously racist The Clansman, a melodramatic novel about the American Civil War and its aftermath, Griffith's film is remarkable for its technical innovations and for the truly epic feel created by the carefully orchestrated, swirling masses of figures in the battle scenes… The biggest challenge the film provided for its audiences is perhaps to decide when 'ground-breaking, dedicated, serious cinematic art' must be reviled as politically reprehensible. The film's explicit glorification of the Ku Klux Klan has never tempered with time." - Martin Sutton, Time Out
Selected by Bernard Eisenschitz, Antonio Rodrigues, Manuel Asín, Marcos Ortega, Thomas Doherty.
267
250
La Belle et la bete

La Belle et la bête

Beauty and the Beast (English title)

1946 / France / 95m / BW / Fairy Tale, Romantic Fantasy
Jean Marais, Josette Day, Marcel Andre, Mila Parely, Nane Germon, Michel Auclair, Raoul Marco, Noel Blin, Jean Cocteau, Christian Marquand
"I'm prepared to entertain the argument that Beauty and the Beast is not Cocteau's most "important" film and that it does have some creaky moments. But it is probably his most perfect, because it speaks to so wide an audience with its intensity of vision and the emotions that it inspires in us… Cocteau was almost 60 when he made Beauty and the Beast, his first full-length feature. But the astonishing fact is that this elderly poet had, and still has, a huge influence on the avant-garde of American film. In worshipping the new in Cocteau, some of them had little idea of the traditions from which his art sprang. But he affected them just the same." - Derek Malcolm, The Guardian
Selected by Carrie Rickey, Guillermo Del Toro, Ken Russell, Dennis Doros, Xavier Dolan.
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Throne of Blood

Throne of Blood

Kumonosu-jou (original title)

1957 / Japan / 108m / BW / Drama, Samurai Film
Toshiro Mifune, Isuzu Yamada, Minoru Chiaki, Takashi Shimura, Akira Kubo, Hiroshi Tachikawa, Takamaru Sasaki, Kokuten Kodo, Kichijiro Ueda, Eiko Miyoshi
"One of the most celebrated screen adaptations of Shakespeare into film, Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood reimagines Macbeth in feudal Japan. Starring Kurosawa’s longtime collaborator Toshiro Mifune and the legendary Isuzu Yamada as his ruthless wife, the film tells of a valiant warrior’s savage rise to power and his ignominious fall. With Throne of Blood, Kurosawa fuses one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies with the formal elements of Japanese Noh theater to make a Macbeth that is all his own—a classic tale of ambition and duplicity set against a ghostly landscape of fog and inescapable doom." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Agnieszka Holland, Clare Stewart, Nandini Ramnath, Moinak Biswas, Miroslaw Przylipiak.
265
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Freaks

Freaks


1932 / USA / 64m / BW / Melodrama, Psychological Thriller
Harry Earles, Olga Baclanova, Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, Henry Victor, Daisy Earles, Roscoe Ates, Rose Dione, Daisy Hilton, Violet Hilton
"Freaks uses authentic circus performers and unapologetically exploits their real genetic malformations in a melodramatic masterpiece of black comic horror. A scheming trapeze artist marries a circus midget for his money; his fellow performers welcome her as an honorary "freak" and their chanting ritual - gabba gabba, one of us! - left me gasping… What cultural references are there for this? Poe? David Lynch? Antonin Artaud? Diane Arbus? Maybe. Freaks is filled with poignancy; it offers a premonition of eugenics, as well as a provocative comparison with the alienated condition of women and the freakish nature of all showbiz celebrity. It is a work of genius." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Guillermo Del Toro, Werner Herzog, Bálint Szalóky, Norbert Pfaffenbichler, Simon Rumley.
264
215
The Big Lebowski

The Big Lebowski


1998 / USA-UK / 113m / Col / Crime Comedy, Screwball Comedy
Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, David Huddleston, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tara Reid, Peter Stormare, John Turturro, David Thewlis
"Maybe it's the way the Coen brothers tie everything together with bowling that makes this Los Angeles-based tale of burnouts, gun buffs, doobies, tumbleweeds, art, nihilism, porn, pissed-on rugs, severed toes, Saddam Hussein, attack marmots, Teutonic technopop and Bob Dylan — not to mention extortion, kidnapping and death — such a hilarious pop-culture hash. The Big Lebowski is the best movie ever set mostly in a bowling alley." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Selected by Richard Kelly, Sam Raimi, Athina Rachel Tsangari, Ben Walters, Bence Fliegauf.
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El Verdugo

El Verdugo

Not on Your Life (English title); Executioner (alternative title)

1963 / Spain-Italy / 90m / BW / Comedy Drama, Black Comedy
Nino Manfredi, Emma Penella, Jose Isbert, Jose Luis Lopez Vazquez, Angel Alvarez, Guido Alberti, Julia Caba Alba, Maria Luisa Ponte, Maria Isbert, Erasmo Pascual
"Although his projects were often halted and cut by censors during the dictatorship, Berlanga managed to challenge the Franco myth through comedy, ridiculing Spanish foibles with chaotic farces and outlandish sight gags... His finest film, El Verdugo is a somewhat Buñuelian black tragicomedy about a mild-mannered undertaker's assistant who, through a bizarre series of circumstances, becomes a public executioner. Formally Berlanga's most elegant film, it was shot by Pasolini and Leone's cinematographer, the great Tonino Delli Colli. Despite censor cuts, Verdugo remains a powerful condemnation of capital punishment and the Francoist myths of duty and patriotism." - Elliott Stein, The Village Voice
Selected by Carlos Reygadas, Pedro Almodóvar, Fernando Colomo, Pablo Stoll, Nuria Vidal.
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Pandora's Box

Pandora's Box

Die Büchse der Pandora (original title)

1928 / Germany / 133m / BW / Drama, Melodrama
Louise Brooks, Fritz Kortner, Francis Lederer, Carl Goetz, Alice Roberts, Krafft Raschig, Gustav Diessl, Daisy d'Ora, Michael von Newlinsky, Siegfried Arno
"One of the masters of early German cinema, G. W. Pabst had an innate talent for discovering actresses (including Greta Garbo). And perhaps none of his female stars shone brighter than Kansas native and onetime Ziegfeld girl Louise Brooks, whose legendary persona was defined by Pabst’s lurid, controversial melodrama Pandora’s Box. Sensationally modern, the film follows the downward spiral of the fiery, brash, yet innocent showgirl Lulu, whose sexual vivacity has a devastating effect on everyone she comes in contact with. Daring and stylish, Pandora’s Box is one of silent cinema’s great masterworks and a testament to Brooks’s dazzling individuality." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Graham Fuller, Noël Burch, Peter Whitehead, Quentin Tarantino, Andrew Birkin.
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Broken Blossoms

Broken Blossoms

Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl (alternative title)

1919 / USA / 90m / BW / Melodrama, Romantic Drama
Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Donald Crisp, Arthur Howard, Edward Peil Sr., George Andre Beranger, Norman Selby, Ernest Butterworth, Fred Hamer, Wilbur Higby
"One of D.W. Griffith's most beautiful films, about the chaste love of a Chinese man (Barthelmess) for the frail daughter (Gish) of a loutish boxer. It perfectly fuses all the elements of Griffith's style: tender drama played off against scenes of violence; a rich, operatic sense of character and emotion; and a dreamlike acting style, given particular force by the subtlety of Gish's performance and the strength of Barthelmess's. Not to be missed." - Don Druker, Chicago Reader
Selected by Fernando F. Croce, Bahman Motamedian, Erica Gregor, Filipe Furtado, Jesús Piquero.
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284
The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums

The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums

Zangiku monogatari (original title); The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum (alternative title)

1939 / Japan / 143m / BW / Period Film, Romantic Drama
Shotaro Hanayagi, Kokichi Takada, Gonjuro Kawarazaki, Kakuko Mori, Tokusaburo Arashi, Yoko Umemura, Nobuko Fushimi, Kikuko Hanaoka, Kisho Hanayagi, Ryotaro Kawanami
"Not the best known of Kenji Mizoguchi's period masterpieces, but conceivably the greatest. The plot, which oddly resembles that of There's No Business Like Show Business, concerns the rebellious son of a theatrical family devoted to Kabuki who leaves home for many years, perfects his art, aided by a working-class woman who loves him, and eventually returns… Never before nor after (with the possible exception of The 47 Ronin) would Mizoguchi's refusal to use close-ups have more telling effect, and the theme of female sacrifice that informs most of his major works is given a singular resonance and complexity here." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Julian Graffy, Adriano Aprà, Andrei Ujica, Federico Rossin, Shinji Aoyama.
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Magnolia

Magnolia


1999 / USA / 188m / Col-BW / Drama, Ensemble Film
Tom Cruise, Julianne Moore, Jason Robards, Melinda Dillon, Philip Baker Hall, Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy, Luis Guzman, Alfred Molina, Michael Murphy
"Magnolia is operatic in its ambition, a great, joyous leap into melodrama and coincidence, with ragged emotions, crimes and punishments, deathbed scenes, romantic dreams, generational turmoil and celestial intervention, all scored to insistent music. It is not a timid film. Paul Thomas Anderson here joins Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich), David O. Russell (Three Kings) and their master, Martin Scorsese (Bringing Out the Dead), in championing an extroverted self-confidence that rejects the timid post-modernism of the 1990s. These are not movies that apologize for their exuberance, or shield themselves with irony against suspicions of sincerity." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Destin Daniel Cretton, Joss Whedon, David Michôd, Xavier Dolan, Joss Whedon.
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293
Distant Voices, Still Lives

Distant Voices, Still Lives


1988 / UK / 85m / Col / Family Drama, Biography
Freda Dowie, Pete Postlethwaite, Angela Walsh, Lorraine Ashbourne, Dean William, Sally Davies, Nathan Walsh, Susan Flanagan, Michael Starke, Vincent MaGuire
"Few British film-makers have dared to attempt such a thoroughly poetic treatment of their native land, and Terence Davies is the only one to have succeeded so spectacularly… Davies casts an unapologetically myth-making eye over his own adolescence in wartime Liverpool, forging primal drama out of father-son conflicts, sisterly solidarity and maternal fortitude. But what really sets his film apart is the stunning power of the images Davies conjures up. Long, stately shots combine with impassioned performances to create a visual tour de force unmatched elsewhere in British cinema… This film is a masterpiece." - Andrew Pulver, The Guardian
Selected by Carlos Reygadas, David Stratton, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Mark Cousins, Andrew Pulver.
257
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Paths of Glory

Paths of Glory


1957 / USA / 86m / BW / Anti-War Film, War Drama
Kirk Douglas, Adolphe Menjou, Ralph Meeker, George Macready, Wayne Morris, Timothy Carey, Joseph Turkel, Richard Anderson, Peter Capell, Suzanne Christian
"Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory is among the most powerful antiwar films ever made. A fiery Kirk Douglas stars as a World War I French colonel who goes head-to-head with the army’s ruthless top brass when his men are accused of cowardice after being unable to carry out an impossible mission. This haunting, exquisitely photographed dissection of the military machine in all its absurdity and capacity for dehumanization (a theme Kubrick would continue to explore throughout his career) is assembled with its legendary director’s customary precision, from its tense trench warfare sequences to its gripping courtroom climax to its ravaging final scene." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Joseph Cedar, Michael Caton-Jones, Woody Allen, David Leland, Ernesto Diezmartínez.
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Floating Clouds

Floating Clouds

Ukigumo (original title)

1955 / Japan / 123m / BW / Drama, Urban Drama
Hideko Takamine, Masayuki Mori, Mariko Okada, Isao Yamagata, Chieko Nakakita, Daisuke Kato, Mayuri Mokusho, Roy H. James, Haruna Kaburagi, Nobuo Kaneko
"Mikio Naruse belongs with Ozu and Mizoguchi in the great classical tradition of Japanese cinema… Floating Clouds, which was a huge popular success in Japan and remains his best-loved film today, tells of a young woman's determined love for a man she knows to be worthless; the film piles betrayal upon betrayal, but her hope is never shaken. Naruse's visual style is austere to the point of invisibility; his meanings are contained in his actors' faces and in his distinctive dovetailing of dramatic incidents, a narrative pattern that allows his characters no rest, but affords a strange peace in its constancy." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Ann Hui, Chris Fujiwara, Jean Narboni, Adrian Martin, Hirokazu Koreeda.
255
230
Three Colours: Blue

Three Colours: Blue

Trois couleurs: Bleu (original title); Blue (alternative title)

1993 / France-Poland-Switzerland / 100m / Col / Psychological Drama, Romantic Drama
Juliette Binoche, Benoit Regent, Helene Vincent, Florence Pernel, Emmanuelle Riva, Charlotte Very, Philippe Volter, Hugues Quester, Florence Vignon, Yann Tregouet
"In the devastating first film of the Three Colors trilogy, Juliette Binoche gives a tour de force performance as Julie, a woman reeling from the tragic death of her husband and young daughter. But Blue is more than just a blistering study of grief; it’s also a tale of liberation, as Julie attempts to free herself from the past while confronting truths about the life of her late husband, a composer. Shot in sapphire tones by Sławomir Idziak, and set to an extraordinary operatic score by Zbigniew Preisner, Blue is an overwhelming sensory experience." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Josué Méndez, Riri Riza, Helena Koder, Andrzej Kolodynski, David Sorfa.
254
236
My Neighbour Totoro

My Neighbour Totoro

Tonari no Totoro (original title)

1988 / Japan / 86m / Col / Children's Fantasy, Animation
Hitoshi Takagi, Noriko Hidaka, Chika Sakamoto, Shigesatu Itoi, Sumi Shimamoto, Toshiyuki Amagasa, Tanie Kitabayashi, Yuko Maruyama, Masashi Hirose, Reiko Suzuki
"Here is a children's film made for the world we should live in, rather than the one we occupy. A film with no villains. No fight scenes. No evil adults. No fighting between the two kids. No scary monsters. No darkness before the dawn. A world that is benign. A world where if you meet a strange towering creature in the forest, you curl up on its tummy and have a nap… My Neighbor Totoro has become one of the most beloved of all family films without ever having been much promoted or advertised… The new Anime Encyclopedia calls it the best Japanese animated film ever made. Whenever I watch it, I smile, and smile, and smile." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Andrew Osmond, Athina Rachel Tsangari, Manu Yáñez-Murillo, Bill Gosden, Claudia Winkleman.
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ivantheterriblepart1

Ivan the Terrible, Part 1

Ivan Groznyy I (original title)

1944 / USSR / 96m / BW / Historical Film, Biography
Nikolai Cherkasov, Lyudmila Tselikovskaya, Serafima Birman, Mikhail Nazvanov, Mikhail Zharov, Amvrosi Buchma, Mikhail Kuznetsov, Pavel Kadochnikov, Andrei Abrikosov, Aleksandr Mgebrov
"Part I takes up the history of Ivan when he is about to take on the trappings of the Byzantine Emperors and the title of Czar (Caesar) instead of the title of his predecessors—Grand Prince of Moscow. The first scene shows his second coronation—that as Czar. This scene also sets the style of the trilogy… Further, the first scene acts as a sort of overture introducing the three main themes of the trilogy: the personal life of Ivan; domestic problems within Russia and foreign problems of war and trade. The interweaving of these themes into a complex tapestry makes Part I one of the supreme masterpieces of cinematic art." - Rodney Farnsworth, Film Reference
Selected by Joan Mellen, Kristin Thompson, Ian Christie, Hal Hartley, Manoel de Oliveira.
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Crimes and Misdemeanors

Crimes and Misdemeanors


1989 / USA / 104m / Col / Comedy Drama, Ensemble Film
Caroline Aaron, Alan Alda, Woody Allen, Claire Bloom, Mia Farrow, Joanna Gleason, Anjelica Huston, Martin Landau, Jenny Nichols, Jerry Orbach
"The principal characters in Crimes and Misdemeanors, Mr. Allen's most securely serious and funny film to date, have a way of jumping headlong from the specific to the general, trying to place themselves in some larger system of things. So, too, does Mr. Allen, and never before has he made the leap with more self-assurance than in this adventurous dramatic comedy, which is a kind of companion piece to Hannah and Her Sisters. He hits the bull's-eye again." - Vincent Canby, The New York Times
Selected by Patricia Rozema, Jiri Menzel, Terry Jones, Bryan Singer, Nashen Moodley.
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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
"Possibly the most elaborate romantic comedy ever predicated on the gimmick of amnesia, Eternal Sunshine has a more than passing resemblance to Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, the two movies Charlie Kaufman wrote for Spike Jonze. It's also a notable improvement over Gondry's first feature, Human Nature (written by Kaufman as well). 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 Daniel Nettheim, Drake Doremus, Richard Curtis, James Gunn, Roberta Ciabarra.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
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Night of the Living Dead

Night of the Living Dead


1968 / USA / 96m / BW / Horror, Creature Film
Judith O'Dea, Duane Jones, Karl Hardman, Russell Streiner, Keith Wayne, Judith Ridley, Marilyn Eastman, Kyra Schon, Bill Heinzman, Charles Craig
"Night of the Living Dead came out of nowhere, or to be more precise, Pittsburgh, and turned into the most influential horror film since Psycho. George Romero's remarkably assured debut, made on a shoestring, about a group of people barricaded inside a farmhouse while an army of flesh-eating zombies roams the countryside, deflates all genre clichés. It traded the expressionistic sets of the traditional fright flick for a neorealistic style—Romero's use of natural locations and grainy black and white gave his gorefest the look and feel of a doc… This was Middle America at war, and the zombie carnage seemed a grotesque echo of the conflict then raging in Vietnam." - Elliott Stein, The Village Voice
Selected by Scott Foundas, Mario Van Peebles, Wes Craven, Pablo Stoll, Philip Ilson.
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Paris, Texas

Paris, Texas


1984 / USA / 150m / Col / Drama, Road Movie
Harry Dean Stanton, Dean Stockwell, Aurore Clement, Nastassja Kinski, Hunter Carson, Bernhard Wicki, Viva, Socorro Valdez, Tom Farrell, John Lurie
"New German Cinema pioneer Wim Wenders brings his keen eye for landscape to the American Southwest in Paris, Texas, a profoundly moving character study written by Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Sam Shepard. Paris, Texas follows the mysterious, nearly mute drifter Travis (Stanton) as he tries to reconnect with his young son, living with his brother (Stockwell) in Los Angeles, and his missing wife (Kinski). From this simple setup, Wenders and Shepard produce a powerful statement on codes of masculinity and the myth of the American family, as well as an exquisite visual exploration of a vast, crumbling world of canyons and neon." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Dario Oliveira, David Flint, José Teodoro, Luke Gibbons, Matthew Taylor.
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Zero for Conduct

Zero for Conduct

Zéro de conduite (original title)

1933 / France / 41m / BW / Coming-of-Age, Childhood Drama
Louis Lefevre, Gilbert Pluchon, Gerard de Bedarieux, Jean Daste, Constantine Goldstein-Kehler, Robert Le Flon, le nain Delfin, Louis de Gonzague-Frick, Du Verron, Leon Larive
"So effervescent and charming that one can easily forget its importance in film history, Jean Vigo’s enormously influential portrait of prankish boarding-school students is one of cinema’s great acts of rebellion. Based on the director’s own experiences as a youth, Zéro de conduite presents childhood as a time of unfettered imagination and brazen rule-flouting. It’s a sweet-natured vision of sabotage made vivid by dynamic visual experiments—including the famous, blissful slow-motion pillow fight." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Abel Ferrara, Guy Maddin, Steve McQueen, Gilberto Perez, James Marsh.
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Three Colours: Red

Three Colours: Red

Trois couleurs: Rouge (original title); Red (alternative title)

1994 / France-Switzerland-Poland / 99m / Col / Psychological Drama, Romantic Drama
Irene Jacob, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Federique Feder, Jean-Pierre Lorit, Samuel Le Bihan, Juliette Binoche, Julie Delpy, Benoit Regent, Zbigniew Zamachowski, Marion Stalens
"Krzysztof Kieślowski closes his Three Colors trilogy in grand fashion, with an incandescent meditation on fate and chance, starring Irène Jacob as a sweet-souled yet somber runway model in Geneva whose life dramatically intersects with that of a bitter retired judge, played by Jean‑Louis Trintignant. Meanwhile, just down the street, a seemingly unrelated story of jealousy and betrayal unfolds. Red is an intimate look at forged connections and a splendid final statement from a remarkable filmmaker at the height of his powers." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Sarah Polley, Destin Daniel Cretton, Asghar Farhadi, Tim Lucas, Krzysztof Zanussi.
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My Night at Maud's

My Night at Maud's

Ma nuit chez Maud (original title); My Night with Maud (alternative title)

1969 / France / 105m / BW / Comedy of Manners, Romantic Drama
Jean-Louis Trintignant, Francoise Fabian, Marie-Christine Barrault, Antoine Vitez, Leonide Kogan, Anne Dubot, Guy Leger, Marie Becker, Marie-Claude Rauzier
"In the brilliantly accomplished centerpiece of Rohmer’s Moral Tales series, Jean-Louis Trintignant plays Jean-Louis, one of the great conflicted figures of sixties cinema. A pious Catholic engineer in his early thirties, he lives by a strict moral code in order to rationalize his world… After spotting the delicate, blonde Françoise at Mass, he vows to make her his wife, although when he unwittingly spends the night at the apartment of the bold, brunette divorcée Maud, his rigid ethical standards are challenged... A breakout hit in the United States, My Night at Maud’s was one of the most influential and talked-about films of the decade." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Chris Fujiwara, Corneliu Porumboiu, Geoff Andrew, Patrick Tam, Eugene Green.
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Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day


1993 / USA / 103m / Col / Fantasy Comedy, Romantic Comedy
Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott, Stephen Tobolowsky, Brian Doyle-Murray, Marita Geraghty, Angela Paton, Rick Ducommun, Rick Overton, Robin Duke
"Groundhog Day is a film that finds its note and purpose so precisely that its genius may not be immediately noticeable. It unfolds so inevitably, is so entertaining, so apparently effortless, that you have to stand back and slap yourself before you see how good it really is… The movie, as everyone knows, is about a man who finds himself living the same day over and over and over again… What amazes me about the movie is that Murray and Ramis get away with it. They never lose their nerve. Phil undergoes his transformation but never loses his edge. He becomes a better Phil, not a different Phil. The movie doesn't get all soppy at the end." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Ryan Gilbey, Terry Jones, David O. Russell, Michel Gondry, Amanda Duthie.
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Unforgiven

Unforgiven


1992 / USA / 127m / Col / Western, Outlaw (Gunfighter) Film
Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Richard Harris, Jaimz Woolvett, Saul Rubinek, Frances Fisher, Anna Thomson, David Mucci, Anthony James
"Unforgiven is a classic Western for the ages. In his 10th excursion into the genre that made him a star more than 25 years ago, Clint Eastwood has crafted a tense, hard-edged, superbly dramatic yarn that is also an exceedingly intelligent meditation on the West, its myths and its heroes. With its grizzled cast of outstanding actors playing outlaws who have survived their primes, this is unapologetically a mature, contemplative film… Eastwood's telling of this grim, compelling tale is at least as impressive as in his best prior outings as a director -- The Outlaw Josey Wales, Bird and White Hunter, Black Heart." - Todd McCarthy, Variety
Selected by Ti West, Pablo Trapero, Diego Batlle, Pablo Fendrik, Lisa Mullen.
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The Thin Blue Line

The Thin Blue Line


1988 / USA / 96m / Col / Law & Crime, Documentary
Randall Adams, David Harris, Gus Rose, Jackie Johnson, Marshall Touchton, Dale Holt, Sam Kittrell, Edith James, Dennis White, Don Metcalfe
"Errol Morris's The Thin Blue Line is more like a waking nightmare than a docudrama. A true story of murder and justice evidently miscarried, wrapped in the fictional haze of a surrealistic whodunit, it will leave you in a trance for days. Bold and brilliant, some might say reckless, Morris's defense of convicted prisoner Randall Dale Adams might not stand up in a court of law, or a screening room of documentary purists. But it would transfix the lot. Morris takes the hybrid docudrama genre to its outer limits, intercutting newspaper headlines, bullet-wound diagrams and Texas road maps with grade-B film noir fare… The Thin Blue Line shouldn't be missed." - Desson Howe, The Washington Post
Selected by Van Papadopoulos, Kevin MacDonald, Gary Tarn, Richard Sowada, Bill Nichols.
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La Notte

La Notte


1961 / Italy-France / 120m / BW / Psychological Drama, Marriage Drama
Jeanne Moreau, Marcello Mastroianni, Monica Vitti, Bernhard Wicki, Rosy Mazzacurati, Maria Puzi Luzi, Guido A. Marsan, Vittorio Bertolini, Vincenzo Corbella, Ugo Fortunati
"An equally stunning follow-up to Michelangelo Antonioni's landmark 1960 film, L'avventura, La Notte explores similar themes of dysfunctional relationships and a seemingly unattainable search for sincere passion. Again, these underlying themes center on a loosely strung, somewhat inconsequential plot, elevated to fascinating heights by the film's meticulous pace and emphasis on visual nuance... Best appreciated when benchmarked against L'avventura's epic qualities and L'eclisse's almost painful austerity, La Notte serves as a perfect medium in terms of both narrative and technique -- engaging and poetic yet simple and direct." - Jason Birchmeier, All Movie
Selected by Girish Kasaravalli, Joachim Trier, Eloísa Solaas, Aaron Katz, Bryan Chang.
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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
"Tropical Malady is an experiment, a strange, dreamlike meditation on humanity, our need for love and our inner demons. It is actually two films; the first half describes the tender courtship of a soldier and a country boy who works in an ice-cutting plant, then it switches gears to follow another soldier (or is it the same soldier? Both are played by Sakda Kaewbuadee) into the jungle, where he pursues the ghost of a tiger, which at times transforms itself into a shaman... Tropical Malady is an intriguing emotional and intellectual puzzle that made me feel exhilarated and contemplative. There are far too few films that do that." - G. Allen Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle
Selected by Lisandro Alonso, Manu Yáñez-Murillo, Lalitha Gopalan, Anocha Suwichakornpong, Ben Rivers.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
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Johnny Guitar

Johnny Guitar


1954 / USA / 110m / Col / Western, Psychological Western
Joan Crawford, Sterling Hayden, Mercedes McCambridge, Scott Brady, Ward Bond, John Carradine, Ernest Borgnine, Ben Cooper, Royal Dano, Frank Ferguson
"Taking a story about two gutsy, gun-totin' matriarchs squabbling over the men they love and the ownership of a gambling saloon, Ray plays havoc with Western conventions… Love and hate, prostitution and frustration, domination and humiliation are woven into a hypnotic Freudian web of shifting relationships, illuminated by the director's precise, symbolic use of colour, and strung together with an unerring sense of pace. The whole thing is weird, hysterical, and quite unlike anything else in the history of the cowboy film." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Shinji Aoyama, Albert Serra, Massimo Causo, Dávid Klág, Christine Molloy.
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Meshes of the Afternoon

Meshes of the Afternoon


1943 / USA / 15m / BW / Avant-garde-Experimental, Surrealist Film
Maya Deren, Alexander Hammid
"Meshes of the Afternoon launched the American avant-garde film movement after World War II. Made in collaboration by Maya Deren and her husband Alexander Hammid, the film depicts a woman's imaginative dream and the way it eventually destroys the woman herself… Meshes is a landmark film that has provided an important model, setting the tone and style for other individual efforts over the next decade… The film consequently inspired poetic self-exploratory films by such other filmmakers as Kenneth Anger, Stan Brakhage, and Willard Maas." - Lauren Rabinovitz, Film Reference
Selected by Tom Gunning, Adam Hyman, Carolina López Caballero, David E. James, Ekkehard Knörer.
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The Shop Around the Corner

The Shop Around the Corner


1940 / USA / 97m / BW / Comedy, Romance
James Stewart, Margaret Sullavan, Frank Morgan, Joseph Schildkraut, Sara Haden, Felix Bressart, William Tracy, Inez Courtney, Charles Halton, Charles Smith
"This 1940 film is one of Ernst Lubitsch's finest and most enduring works, a romantic comedy of dazzling range that takes place almost entirely within the four walls of a leather-goods store in prewar Budapest. James Stewart is the earnest, slightly awkward young manager; Margaret Sullavan is the new sales clerk who gets on his nerves… The romance proceeds through Lubitsch's brilliant deployment of point of view, allowing the audience to enter the perceptions of each individual character at exactly the right moment to develop maximum sympathy and suspense." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by David Thomson, Molly Haskell, Scott Foundas, Mark Cousins, Whit Stillman.
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The Band Wagon

The Band Wagon


1953 / USA / 112m / Col / Musical, Comedy
Fred Astaire, Jack Buchanan, Cyd Charisse, Oscar Levant, Nanette Fabray, James Mitchell, Robert Gist, Thurston Hall, Ava Gardner, LeRoy Daniels
"The Band Wagon is the most frequent rival of Singin' in the Rain for honors as producer Arthur Freed's best musical. In some ways, the pictures are mirror images of each other. Both are about song-and-dance men whose careers are jeopardized. Both feature a production that starts out as a disaster and becomes a hit. And in both films, saving the production and the leading character's career parallels the personal salvation he finds through love. The Band Wagon, however, is the darker of the two films, set on a fading Broadway with a focus on old age and retirement to add to the leading character's professional and personal problems." - Brian Cady and Frank Miller, TCM
Selected by Stuart Klawans, Albert Serra, José Luis Garci, Fernando Mendez-Leite, Antonio Santamarina.
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Wings of Desire

Wings of Desire

Der Himmel über Berlin (original title)

1987 / France-West Germany / 130m / Col-BW / Fantasy, Romantic Fantasy
Bruno Ganz, Solveig Dommartin, Otto Sander, Curt Bois, Peter Falk, Lajos Kovacs, Hans Martin Stier, Elmar Wilms, Sigurd Rachmann, Beatrice Manowski
"Wings of Desire is one of cinema’s loveliest city symphonies. Bruno Ganz is Damiel, an angel perched atop buildings high over Berlin who can hear the thoughts—fears, hopes, dreams—of all the people living below. But when he falls in love with a beautiful trapeze artist, he is willing to give up his immortality and come back to earth to be with her. Made not long before the fall of the Berlin wall, this stunning tapestry of sounds and images, shot in black and white and color by the legendary Henri Alekan, is movie poetry. And it forever made the name Wim Wenders synonymous with film art." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Borislav Andjelic, Babak Payami, Minky Schlesinger, Audrius Stonys, Gareth Evans.
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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
"Terrence 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 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 David Denby, Roger Ebert, Guy Maddin, Fernando Meirelles, Juan Antonio Bayona.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
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Solaris

Solaris

Solyaris (original title)

1972 / USSR / 165m / Col-BW / Science Fiction, Psychological Sci-Fi
Donatas Banionis, Natalya Bondarchuk, Juri Jarvet, Vladislav Dvorzhetsky, Nikolai Grinko, Anatoli Solonitsyn, Olga Barnet, Vitalik Kerdimun, Olga Kizilova, Tatyana Malykh
"Ground control has been receiving mysterious transmissions from the three remaining residents of the Solaris space station. When cosmonaut and psychologist Kris Kelvin is dispatched to investigate, he experiences the same strange phenomena that afflict the Solaris crew, sending him on a voyage into the darkest recesses of his consciousness. With Solaris, the legendary Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky created a brilliantly original science-fiction epic that challenges our conceptions about love, truth, and humanity itself." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Bauyrzhan Nogerbek, Cristina Álvarez López, Dominique Martinez, Evans Chan, Gulnara Abikeyeva.
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The Treasure of the Sierre Madre

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre


1948 / USA / 124m / BW / Adventure, Drama
Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt, Bruce Bennett, Barton MacLane, Alfonso Bedoya, John Huston, Arturo Soto Rangel, Manuel Donde, Jose Torvay
"The Treasure of the Sierra Madre remains one of the most insightful films ever made about greed and the thorny effects of temptation on human nature... Partly realistic, partly poetic (the controlled lighting rarely goes for natural effect, instead waxing poetic on the respective characters' internal struggles), fully moral, this deservingly canonized behemoth is one of the relatively few films that transcends the medium to become a mandatory viewing experience for anyone that identifies themselves as a human being, period." - Rob Humanick, Slant Magazine
Selected by Lawrence Kasdan, Sam Raimi, John Sayles, Dennis Hopper, Rian Johnson.
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Bonnie and Clyde

Bonnie and Clyde


1967 / USA / 111m / Col / Gangster Film, Crime Drama
Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Michael J. Pollard, Gene Hackman, Estelle Parsons, Denver Pyle, Dub Taylor, Gene Wilder, Evans Evans, James Stiver
"Bonnie And Clyde was the Natural Born Killers of the '60s, criticized as too violent, too campy, and above all, too affectionate toward its reprehensible protagonists... It was simultaneously praised as stylish and modern, leading the American charge toward the French New Wave with its swerves between existential angst and comedy, and its pugnacious, fast-cut editing... It now comes across as a little ramshackle in its attempts to merge American and French cinematic innovations into something fresh, but the playful performances haven't aged, and it still finds all the carefree thrills of being young, dumb, in love with life, and ready for death." - Tasha Robinson, A.V. Club
Selected by Mike Figgis, Larry Clark, Lee Daniels, Annemarie Jacir, P.J. Hogan.
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Germany, Year Zero

Germany, Year Zero

Germania anno zero (original title)

1947 / Italy-West Germany / 74m / BW / War Drama, Childhood Drama
Edmund Moeschke, Ernst Pittschau, Barbara Hintz, Ingetraud Hinze, Franz-Otto Kruger, Erich Guhne, Alexandra Manys, Babsi Schultz-Reckewell, Hans Sangen, Hedi Blankner
"Roberto Rossellini followed Open City and Paisan with this film, the final chapter in what's come to be known as his “War Trilogy.” Filmed in the bombed-out Berlin of 1947, it deals with the aftermath of the war, a pervading moral crisis, and the fate of a young German boy. To the critics of the time, it seemed that Rossellini had betrayed the tenets of neorealism by introducing melodrama, an elliptical narrative, and intimations of a Christian consciousness. It now appears as Rossellini's first mature work, pointing to his masterpieces of the 50s." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Amos Gitai, Jean Narboni, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, Michael Haneke, Ariel Schweitzer.
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Tabu

Tabu

Tabu: A Story of the South Seas (original title)

1931 / USA / 82m / BW / Romance, Docudrama
Anne Chevalier, Matahi, Hitu, Bill Bambridge, Jules, Ah Fong
"Murnau's last film was begun as a collaboration with the documentarist Robert Flaherty, but resolved itself into Murnau's purest and least inhibited celebration of physical sensuality and love. Its plot is a simple Pacific islands folk tale: a young man and woman fall in love, thereby violating a local taboo, and their romance ends in inevitable tragedy. The film is a rhapsody of textures and an exceptionally sensuous play of light, rhythm and composition… Fetishistic to a degree, the film is none the less never patronising to its subject or its actors. It plays as a pre-colonial anachronism, rather like one of Melville's South Seas novels. It's extremely beautiful." - Tony Rayns, Time Out
Selected by Miguel Gomes, Miguel Marías, Rudolf Thome, Fred Camper, Enrique Bolado.
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The Exorcist

The Exorcist


1973 / USA / 122m / Col / Horror, Religious Drama
Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, Max von Sydow, Lee J. Cobb, Jason Miller, Jack MacGowran, Kitty Winn, Barton Heyman, Peter Masterson, Rudolf Schundler
"I've revisited The Exorcist over the years and found it effective every time. Because it's founded on characters, details and a realistic milieu, the shocks don't date; they still seem to grow from the material… The movie is more horrifying because it does not seem to want to be. The horror creeps into the lives of characters preoccupied with their lives: Father Karras (Miller) with his mother and his faith, Father Merrin (von Sydow) with his work and health, Chris MacNeil (Burstyn) with her career and marriage. The movie also gains power because it takes its theology seriously--for a movie, anyway." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Ben Stiller, M. Night Shyamalan, Mark Kermode, Alex Proyas, Edgar Wright.
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The Life of Oharu

The Life of Oharu

Saikaku ichidai onna (original title)

1952 / Japan / 146m / BW / Drama, Period Film
Kinuyo Tanaka, Tsukie Matsuura, Ichiro Sugai, Toshiro Mifune, Toshiaki Konoe, Kiyoko Tsuji, Hisako Yamane, Jukichi Uno, Eitaro Shindo, Masao Shimizu
"This chronicle of the decline of a woman, from service in the imperial court of 17th-century Japan through exile, concubinage and numerous stages of prostitution, should further enhance Mizoguchi's reputation as the cinema's greatest ever director of women, and one of the most meticulous craftsmen of the period film… It's also an extremely elegant movie whichever way you look at it: tiny details of movement by the actors, beautiful compositions and photography throughout, single fluid takes often serving to state a whole scene." - Rod McShane, Time Out
Selected by Bernard Eisenschitz, David Denby, Joan Mellen, Paolo Mereghetti, Enno Patalas.
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Mean Streets

Mean Streets


1973 / USA / 110m / Col / Crime, Urban Drama
Harvey Keitel, Robert De Niro, David Proval, Amy Robinson, Richard Romanus, Cesare Danova, Robert Carradine, David Carradine, Victor Argo, George Memmoli
"The definitive New York movie, and one of the few to successfully integrate rock music into the structure of film… Mean Streets is also pure Italian-American. Charlie (Keitel), a punk on the fringes of 'respectable' organised crime, ponders his adolescent confusions and loyalties. Beneath the swagger, he's embarrassed by his work, his religion, and by women and his friends, particularly Johnny Boy (De Niro), who owes everyone money. Scorsese directs with a breathless, head-on energy which infuses the performances, the sharp fast talk, the noise, neon and violence with a charge of adrenalin. One of the best American films of the decade." - Chris Petit, Time Out
Selected by Antoine Fuqua, Kathryn Bigelow, Catherine Hardwicke, Larry Clark, Nicoletta Romeo.
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The Graduate

The Graduate


1967 / USA / 105m / Col / Comedy, Coming-of-Age
Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman, Katharine Ross, William Daniels, Murray Hamilton, Elizabeth Wilson, Norman Fell, Buck Henry, Brian Avery, Walter Brooke
"Classic 1967 comedy about a recent college grad who drifts into an affair with an older woman, then falls goofily in love with her daughter and scrambles to escape the traps he's fallen into. Dustin Hoffman gives the inspired performance that launched his movie career, and director Mike Nichols shows a gift for social satire that has never glistened quite so brightly since. Anne Bancroft and Katherine Ross head the marvelous supporting cast. Simon & Garfunkel spice up the soundtrack with "The Sound of Silence" and other hits." - David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor
Selected by Jay Roach, Charles Gant, Claudia Winkleman, Gareth Edwards, Marc Webb.
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Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark


1981 / USA / 115m / Col / Adventure, Action
Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, Ronald Lacey, John Rhys-Davies, Denholm Elliott, Alfred Molina, Wolf Kahler, Anthony Higgins, Vic Tablian
"Released in 1981, Raiders Of The Lost Ark puts Ford in search of the Ark of the Covenant, racing against Nazis who would use it for their own purposes, and bulldozing through one action-packed episode after another. Much of the blame for the all-action-all-the-time approach of current summer blockbusters can be placed on Raiders, but if any of the copycats had Spielberg's command of storytelling and visual gags, it wouldn't matter. Raiders finds the right balance between reverence and wit, and the sight of Ford outrunning that giant boulder thrills as much on the 14th viewing as the first." - Keith Phipps, A.V. Club
Selected by Matthew Vaughn, Edgar Wright, Naman Ramachandran, Patrick Fahy, Xavier Pérez.
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Only Angels Have Wings

Only Angels Have Wings


1939 / USA / 121m / BW / Adventure, Buddy Film
Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Richard Barthelmess, Rita Hayworth, Thomas Mitchell, Sig Ruman, John Carroll, Allyn Joslyn, Noah Beery Jr., Victor Kilian
"Take Hollywood's idea of a small banana republic in Central America, move in on its bar cum rooming-house cum airstrip, focus on the group of people living and working there, and you've got the basic elements of Hawks' terrific Only Angels Have Wings… Hemmed in by impassable mountains (all the time) and fog and blizzards (most of the time), the personal and work ethics of this little crew become magnified to epic proportions. But it's an epic played out in the confined space of the Dutchman's bar; the more claustrophobic because these men are flyers and need the open sky. If it sounds improbable, it is. Mythical cinema at its best." - Jane Clarke, Time Out
Selected by Allan Arkush, Mika Kaurismäki, Mike D'Angelo, John Carpenter, Mariano Llinás.
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The Colour of Pomegranate

The Colour of Pomegranate

Sayat Nova (original title); The Colour of Pomegranates (alternative title)

1969 / USSR / 73m / Col / Avant-garde-Experimental, Essay Film
Sofico Chiaureli, M. Aleksanian, V. Galstian, G. Gegechkori, O. Minasian, Spartak Bagashvili, Medea Djaparidze, Yuri Amiryan, I. Babayan, Guranda Gabunia
"Paradjanov's extraordinary film traces the life of 18th century Armenian poet Sayat Nova, but with a series of painterly images strung together to form tableaux corresponding to moments of his life rather than any conventional biographic techniques… The result is a stream of religious, poetic and local iconography which has an arcane and astonishing beauty. Much of its meaning must remain essentially specific to the culture from which the film springs, and no one could pretend that it's all readily accessible, but audiences accustomed to the work of Tarkovsky should have little problem." - Chris Peachment, Time Out
Selected by Andrew Kotting, Ronald Bergan, Alfonso Crespo Cuaresma, Alin Tasciyan, Audrius Stonys.
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Diary of a Country Priest

Diary of a Country Priest

Journal d'un curé de campagne (original title)

1950 / France / 120m / BW / Psychological Drama, Religious Drama
Claude Laydu, Marie-Monique Arkell, Andre Guibert, Jean Riveyre, Nicole Maurey, Nicole Ladmiral, Martine Lemaire, Antoine Balpetre, Jean Danet, Gaston Severin
"Rarely have form and content been married as harmoniously as in Robert Bresson's breakthrough Diary of a Country Priest, which honors the piety of a besieged young man of the cloth with the unsparing rigor of a traditional Catholic mass… Historian Peter Cowie contends that no other director has ever matched Bresson's "simplicity of expression"… Nothing in Diary Of A Country Priest happens by accident: The stark images suggest a village bereft of natural and spiritual life, the camera moves only to emphasize key moments, and the soundtrack enforces the title character's isolation from the outside world." - Scott Tobias, A.V. Club
Selected by Jean-Marie Straub, Michel Gondry, Gavin Smith, Scott Foundas, Andrey Zvyagintsev.
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The Crowd

The Crowd


1928 / USA / 104m / BW / Drama, Urban Drama
James Murray, Eleanor Boardman, Bert Roach, Estelle Clark, Daniel G. Tomlinson, Dell Henderson, Lucy Beaumont, Freddie Burke Frederick, Alice Mildred Puter, Sidney Bracey
"King Vidor's 1928 classic, with James Murray as the “average man” picked out of the crowd by Vidor's gliding camera. In his autobiography, Vidor claims he sold the project to Irving Thalberg as a sequel to his hit war film, The Big Parade: “Life is like a battle, isn't it?” Accordingly, the misfortunes that befall Murray are hardly average, but the melodramatic elements are integral to Vidor's vision of individual struggle. The camera style owes something to Murnau, but the sense of space—the vast environments that define and attack his protagonists—is Vidor's own." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by David Sterritt, Antonio Campos, Joseph Fahim, Quim Casas, Manuel Mozos.
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Pasted Graphic

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre


1974 / USA / 83m / Col / Horror, Slasher Film
Marilyn Burns, Gunnar Hansen, Allen Danziger, Paul A. Partain, William Vail, Teri McMinn, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow, John Dugan, Robert Courtin
"Four decades haven't blunted the cutting edge of Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Not even the onslaught of sequels (the first of which, also under Hooper's direction, is actually kind of brilliant), rip-offs, and a couple of pitiful stabs at a remake could manage such a seemingly impossible task. The film has achieved the perfect storm necessary for enduring notoriety: It's a masterwork that flawlessly mirrors the time and place of its origin, while, at the same time, remaining one for the ages, thanks to its uncanny power of nearly subliminal suggestion, avant-garde editing and sound design, and its uncompromising vision of an American consumerist society run amok." - Budd Wilkins, Slant Magazine
Selected by Wes Craven, Rob Zombie, Takashi Miike, David Flint, Raya Martin.
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Chungking Express

Chungking Express

Chung Hing sam lam (original title)

1994 / Hong Kong / 104m / Col / Urban Drama, Romantic Drama
Brigitte Lin, Tony Leung, Faye Wong, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Valerie Chow, Piggy Chan, Guan Lina, Huang Zhiming, Liang Zhen, Zuo Songshen
"The whiplash, double-pronged Chungking Express is one of the defining works of nineties cinema and the film that made Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai an instant icon. Two heartsick Hong Kong cops (Kaneshiro and Leung), both jilted by ex-lovers, cross paths at the Midnight Express take-out restaurant stand, where the ethereal pixie waitress Faye (Faye Wong) works. Anything goes in Wong’s gloriously shot and utterly unexpected charmer, which cemented the sex appeal of its gorgeous stars and forever turned canned pineapple and the Mamas and the Papas’ “California Dreamin’” into tokens of romantic longing." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Richard Corliss, Cate Shortland, Dana Linssen, Hynek Pallas, James Nolen.
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Ivan the Terrible, Part 2

Ivan the Terrible, Part 2

Ivan Groznyy II: Boyarsky zagovor (original title)

1946 / USSR / 88m / Col-BW / Historical Film, Biography
Nikolai Cherkasov, Serafima Birman, Mikhail Nazvanov, Pavel Kadochnikov, Mikhail Zharov, Amvrosi Buchma, Vsevolod Pudovkin, Mikhail Kuznetsov, Aleksandr Mgebrov, Andrei Abrikosov
"The follow-up to famed Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein's epic of the first Russian tsar, Ivan the Terrible, Part II continues the saga of Ivan's efforts to consolidate power and unite the divided, feuding Russian empire… Some criticized Ivan as more a Hamlet-style, doubt-plagued hero than a realistic historical figure, but questions of realism or accuracy aside, many agreed that Ivan II was nevertheless a moving and highly ambitious addition to the Eisenstein legend. With his death at 50 of a heart attack, one of the cinema's greatest innovators was gone, leaving behind this and other profound documents of his cinematic genius." - Felicia Feaster, TCM
Selected by Michael Wood, Alexander Zeldovich, Paul Verhoeven, Andrzej Kolodynski, Ian Christie.
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Fargo

Fargo


1996 / USA / 98m / Col / Crime, Black Comedy
Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare, William H. Macy, Harve Presnell, Kristin Rudrud, John Carroll Lynch, Steve Reevis, Larry Brandenburg, Jose Feliciano
"The Coens are at their clever best with this snowbound film noir, a crazily mundane crime story set in their native Midwest. Purportedly based on real events, it brings them as close as they may ever come - not very - to everyday life and ordinary people. Perversely, the frozen north even brings out some uncharacteristic warmth in these coolly cerebral filmmakers, although anyone seeking the milk of human kindness would be well advised to look elsewhere. The Coens' outlook remains as jaundiced as it was in Blood Simple, the razor-sharp 1984 debut feature that the much more stylish and entertaining Fargo brings to mind." - Janet Maslin, The New York Times
Selected by Bong Joon-ho, Pawel Pawlikowski, Philip Kemp, Roberto Manassero, Briony Hanson.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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Sullivan's Travels

Sullivan's Travels


1941 / USA / 91m / BW / Comedy, Satire
Joel McCrea, Veronica Lake, Robert Warwick, William Demarest, Franklin Pangborn, Porter Hall, Robert Greig, Eric Blore, Byron Foulger, Maggie Hayes
"The sweetest, most generous-hearted satire of the Hollywood film industry the town has ever produced, Sullivan’s Travels was the fourth of the eight films Preston Sturges made during his astonishingly prolific streak between 1940 and 1944... It has survived its initial mixed critical reception and non-hit status to rank as one of Sturges’ most beloved films. Conceived as a self-justification for the creative path he had chosen, this film evolved into one from the heart, the single picture that moves through all the pratfalls and pranks and witticisms and barbs and in-jokes to achieve a synthesis that is both terribly funny and deeply moving." - Todd McCarthy, The Criterion Collection
Selected by Ben Stiller, Richard Linklater, Kevin Jackson, A.O. Scott, John Lasseter.
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Kind Hearts and Coronets

Kind Hearts and Coronets


1949 / UK / 104m / BW / Black Comedy, Crime Comedy
Dennis Price, Alec Guinness, Joan Greenwood, Valerie Hobson, Audrey Fildes, Miles Malleson, Clive Morton, Hugh Griffith, John Penrose, Cecil Ramage
"Director Robert Hamer’s fiendishly funny Kind Hearts and Coronets stands as one of Ealing Studios’ greatest triumphs, and one of the most wickedly black comedies ever made. Dennis Price is sublime as an embittered young commoner determined to avenge his mother’s unjust disinheritance by ascending to her family’s dukedom. Unfortunately, eight relatives, all played by the incomparable Alec Guinness, must be eliminated before he can do so." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Peter Bradshaw, Laurence Kardish, Pen-Ek Ratanaruang, Philip French, Terence Davies.
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Schindler's List

Schindler's List


1993 / USA / 195m / Col-BW / War Drama, Biography
Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, Caroline Goodall, Jonathan Sagalle, Embeth Davidtz, Andrzej Seweryn, Norbert Weisser, Elina Lowensohn, Malgoscha Gebel
"What is most amazing about this film is how completely Spielberg serves his story. The movie is brilliantly acted, written, directed and seen. Individual scenes are masterpieces of art direction, cinematography, special effects, crowd control. Yet Spielberg, the stylist whose films often have gloried in shots we are intended to notice and remember, disappears into his work. Neeson, Kingsley and the other actors are devoid of acting flourishes. There is a single-mindedness to the enterprise that is awesome." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Peter Farrelly, John Dahl, Michael Koresky, Matthias Greuling, Margarita Chapatte.
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Meet Me in St. Louis

Meet Me in St. Louis


1944 / USA / 113m / Col / Musical, Family Drama
Judy Garland, Margaret O'Brien, Leon Ames, Mary Astor, Lucille Bremer, June Lockhart, Tom Drake, Marjorie Main, Harry Davenport, Hank Daniels
"Vincente Minnelli created one of his masterpieces with this loosely plotted but tightly structured 1944 story of a middle-class family waiting through spring, summer, and fall for the opening of the Saint Louis World's Fair of 1904. One of the first films to integrate musical numbers into the plot, it explores, without condescension or simplemindedness, the feelings that drive the family members apart and then bring them back together again. And there's the sublime Minnellian spectacle of Judy Garland singing "The Trolley Song," "The Boy Next Door," and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." A great film." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Miguel Gomes, Paul Julian Smith, Philip French, Richard Dyer, Ali Smith.
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The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (original title)

1920 / Germany / 69m / BW / Horror, Costume Horror
Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Lil Dagover, Friedrich Feher, Hans Heinrich von Twardowski, Rudolf Lettinger, Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Hans Lanser-Ludolff, Henri Peters-Arnolds, Ludwig Rex
"Undoubtedly one of the most exciting and inspired horror movies ever made. The story is a classic sampling of expressionist paranoia about a hypnotist who uses a somnambulist to do his murders, full of the gloom and fear that prevailed in Germany as it emerged from WWI. There are plenty of extremely boring sociological/critical accounts of the film; best to avoid them and enjoy the film's extraordinary use of painted light and Veidt's marvellous performance." - David Pirie, Time Out
Selected by Catharine Des Forges, Domino Renee Perez, Francine Stock, Leonardo Quaresima, Manuel Mozos.
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The Piano

The Piano


1993 / Australia / 121m / Col / Romantic Drama, Period Film
Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill, Anna Paquin, Kerry Walker, Tungia Baker, Genevieve Lemon, Ian Mune, Peter Dennett, Alison Barrett
"The Piano plays itself with such contrapuntal richness, it resonates in you forever. Set in 19th-century New Zealand, this saga of will, destiny and passion starring Holly Hunter is an extraordinary symphony of sounds and silence, of lilting pleasure and tangled horror... There's something mystically compelling about writer/director Jane Campion's 1993 Cannes winner. On one level, it's a fairy tale for adults. But on others, it evokes powerful eroticism, sexual mustiness, emotional anguish and numerous other themes... You experience this mix of mythic and corporeal on the pinions of cinematic fancy." - Desson Howe, The Washington Post
Selected by Niki Caro, Pam Cook, Patricia Rozema, Xavier Dolan, Anchalee Chaiworaporn.
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The Thin Red Line

The Thin Red Line


1998 / USA / 170m / Col / War Drama, Ensemble Film
Sean Penn, Adrien Brody, James Caviezel, Ben Chaplin, George Clooney, John Cusack, Woody Harrelson, Elias Koteas, Nick Nolte, John Savage
"After directing two of the most extraordinary movies of the 1970s, Badlands and Days of Heaven, American artist Terrence Malick disappeared from the film world for twenty years, only to resurface in 1998 with this visionary adaptation of James Jones’s 1962 novel about the World War II battle for Guadalcanal. A big-budget, spectacularly mounted epic, The Thin Red Line is also one of the most deeply philosophical films ever released by a major Hollywood studio, a thought-provoking meditation on man, nature, and violence… The Thin Red Line is a kaleidoscopic evocation of the experience of combat that ranks as one of the greatest war films ever produced." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Sarah Polley, David Michôd, Ryan Gilbey, Fernando Meirelles, Jean-Marc Vallée.
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Spirited Away

Spirited Away

Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (original title)

2001 / Japan / 124m / Col / Fantasy Adventure, Anime
Rumi Hiragi, Miyu Irino, Mari Natsuki, Takashi Naito, Yasuko Sawaguchi, Tatsuya Gashuin, Ryunosuke Kamiki, Yumi Tamai, Yo Oizumi, Bunta Sugawara
"Magical is a word used casually about films like this, films about fantasy and childhood. Yet this one really does deserve it: an enchanted and enchanting feature from the Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki which left me feeling lighter than air. It is a beautifully drawn and wonderfully composed work of art - really, no other description will do - which takes us on a rocket-fuelled flight of fancy, with tenderly and shrewdly conceived characters on board... Spirited Away is fast and funny; it's weird and wonderful. Mostly wonderful." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Michael Dudok de Wit, Nigel Andrews, Pete Docter, Antti Alanen, Alexei Popogrebsky.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
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Vampyr

Vampyr

Vampyr - Der Traum des Allan Grey (original title)

1932 / France-Germany / 73m / BW / Horror, Gothic Film
Julian West, Henriette Gerard, Jan Hieronimko, Maurice Schutz, Rena Mandel, Sybille Schmitz, Albert Bras, N. Babanini, Jane Mora
"With Vampyr, Danish filmmaker Carl Theodor Dreyer’s brilliance at achieving mesmerizing atmosphere and austere, profoundly unsettling imagery (The Passion of Joan of Arc and Day of Wrath) was for once applied to the horror genre. Yet the result—concerning an occult student assailed by various supernatural haunts and local evildoers in a village outside Paris—is nearly unclassifiable, a host of stunning camera and editing tricks and densely layered sounds creating a mood of dreamlike terror. With its roiling fogs, ominous scythes, and foreboding echoes, Vampyr is one of cinema’s great nightmares." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Ben Rivers, Edgardo Cozarinsky, Richard Combs, Jean Narboni, Pierre Leon.
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Cache

Caché

Hidden (English title)

2005 / France-Austria-Germany-Italy / 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
"While Hidden is a gripping thriller, it is almost a moral and political enquiry into colonialism and its aftermath. The acting all around is outstanding, with Auteuil and Binoche working beautifully together as their marriage falls apart, expressing their emotional upheaval through the slight movement of an eye or the flicker of a lip. This is a movie that takes one back to the glory days of art-house films in the 1960s and 70s, when you left the cinema not in need of food and drink, but a sympathetic person to discuss the film with." - Philip French, The Observer
Selected by Tarsem Singh, Justin Kurzel, Agnieszka Holland, Lenny Abrahamson, Peter Bradshaw.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
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Ashes and Diamonds

Ashes and Diamonds

Popiól i diament (original title)

1958 / Poland / 96m / BW / Political Drama, War Drama
Zbigniew Cybulski, Ewa Krzyzewska, Adam Pawlikowski, Waclaw Zastrzezynski, Bogumil Kobiela, Jan Ciecierski, Stanislaw Milski, Zbigniew Skowronski, Barbara Krafftowna, Irena Orzecka
"On the last day of World War II in a small town somewhere in Poland, Polish exiles of war and the occupying Soviet forces confront the beginning of a new day and a new Poland. In this incendiary environment we find Home Army soldier Maciek Chelmicki (Cybulski), who has been ordered to assassinate an incoming commissar… Gorgeously photographed and brilliantly performed, Ashes and Diamonds masterfully interweaves the fate of a nation with that of one man, resulting in one of the most important Polish films of all time." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Andrei Plakhov, Francis Ford Coppola, Roy Andersson, Martin Scorsese, István Szabó.
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Wavelength

Wavelength


1967 / Canada-USA / 45m / Col / Abstract Film
Hollis Frampton, Amy Taubin, Lyne Grossman, Naoto Nakazawa, Roswell Rudd, Joyce Wieland, Amy Yadrin
"The decisiveness with which Snow staked out a territory for investigation, the simplicity and clarity of the film's overall gesture, and the intricacy of its details, were factors in the immediate and continuing attention this film has claimed. Wavelength describes a single zoom movement for three quarters of an hour across an almost empty New York loft, resting eventually with the frame of a black-and-white photograph of waves pinned to the wall of the room… Other avant-garde films have dwelled upon the uniqueness of the cinematic images, but none so systematically as Wavelength." - P. Adams Sitney, Film Reference
Selected by Kent Jones, Laura Mulvey, David Sterritt, Jean-Claude Rousseau, Malcolm le Grice.
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Two or Three Things I Know About Her

Two or Three Things I Know About Her

2 ou 3 choses que je sais d'elle (original title); Deux ou trois choses que je sais d'ellee (original title/alternative spelling)

1966 / France / 87m / Col / Essay Film, Urban Drama
Marina Vlady, Anny Duperey, Roger Montsoret, Joseph Gehrard, Raoul Levy, Jean Narboni, Yves Beneyton, Juliet Berto, Christophe Bourseiller, Marie Bourseiller
"The “her” of Jean-Luc Godard’s 1966 masterpiece is Paris in the throes of redevelopment. It’s also a Parisian housewife (the glowing Marina Vlady) who moonlights (or, rather, daylights) as a prostitute in order to afford the luxuries that come part and parcel with urban living. Less a narrative than a succession of loosely interconnected scenes laced through with Godard’s whispered musings on everything from the origins of language to the war in Vietnam, the film finds one of cinema’s greatest innovators at the height of his playfulness… For anyone who still wonders what “the big deal” was about Godard in the 1960s, this is one ticket you can’t afford to miss." - Scott Foundas, LA Weekly
Selected by Amy Taubin, J. Hoberman, James Quandt, Peter Rist, Henry Bean.
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A City of Sadness

A City of Sadness

Beiqing chengshi (original title)

1989 / Taiwan-Hong Kong / 157m / Col / Family Drama, Period Film
Tony Leung, Jack Kao, Tianlu Li, Wou Yi Fang, Ikuyo Nakamura, Shufen Xin, Sung Young Chen, Chen-Nan Tsai
"An extraordinarily ambitious sociohistorical epic, comparable in its impact to the Godfather films, Hou Hsiao-hsien’s A City of Sadness traces the tragic personal and political fortunes of the people of Taiwan in the years following World War II, when the Japanese ceded control of the island nation to Chiang Kai-shek’s Chinese Nationalist government… It may be the work in which this master filmmaker achieves the most exquisite balance between the violence of his subject matter and the beautiful stillness of his tableau style. One of the greatest movies of the ’80s." - Scott Foundas, LA Weekly
Selected by Bong Joon-ho, James Quandt, Abé Mark Nornes, David E. James, Gertjan Zuilhof.
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Nights of Cabiria

Nights of Cabiria

Le Notti di Cabiria (original title)

1957 / Italy-France / 110m / BW / Melodrama, Tragi-comedy
Giulietta Masina, Francois Perier, Amedeo Nazzari, Aldo Silvani, Franca Marzi, Dorian Gray, Mario Passante, Pina Gualandri, Polidor, Enio Girolami
"The story basically consists of five lengthy episodes in the life and career of a prostitute who repeatedly becomes disillusioned but keeps finding the resources to believe in romantic love just the same. Masina's exaggerated grimaces and clownlike features, which hark back to the tradition of silent comics, are undoubtedly mannerist, but part of Fellini's mastery is to make them necessary correlatives to his own vision of innocence. Too melodramatic and fanciful in turn to qualify as “neorealism” in the usual sense, despite the gritty Roman street slang contributed by Pasolini, this gains immeasurably, like many other Fellini films, from Nino Rota's wistful music." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Hirokazu Koreeda, Jirí Menzel, John Cameron Mitchell, James Gray, Ali Smith.
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Nanook of the North


1922 / USA / 79m / BW / Anthropology, Documentary
Nanook, Nyla, Cunayou, Allee, Allegoo
"Nanook of the North stands as a record of the intrepid kind of late 19th century explorer who somewhat romantically but never sentimentally came to love the place he explored. Its people, too. We can forgive him his choice of the harpoon as arising from an impulse to preserve a record of a culture fast vanishing even as he was photographing it. Flaherty had an eye, and often said, as only a man who has traversed it can say, that the Canadian landscape is itself a powerful character. Trail-blazing and, if not ethnographically pure, profoundly human in its ability to empathetically bring us into Inuit life,Nanook of the North remains an amazing film." - Jay Carr, TCM
Selected by Tony Palmer, Aki Kaurismäki, Hong Sang-soo, Les Blank, Jia Zhangke.