The 1,000 Greatest Films (700-601)

The banner image above is from Leos Carax’s Les Amants du Pont-Neuf.
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The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant

The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant

Die Bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant (original title)
1972 / West Germany / 124m / Col / Drama, Melodrama
Margit Carstensen, Hanna Schygulla, Irm Hermann, Katrin Schaake, Eva Mattes, Gisela Fackeldey
"Adapted from Fassbinder's own play, the film hardly hides its theatrical origins, turning them instead to its advantage. Rather than camouflage the proscenium, Petra makes it a prison, a gilded cage of suffocating aestheticism… Cinematographer Michael Ballhaus (who went on, of course, to a long career collaborating with Martin Scorsese) composes every frame within an inch of its life, trapping the figures with their own beauty… An incredible confluence of human insight and artistic expression, Petra is Fassbinder at his most over-the-top, but also his most exacting." - Sam Adams, Philadelphia City Paper
Selected by Nick Pinkerton, Richard Woolley, Tim Highsted, Leslie Camhi, Derek Jarman.
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648
Not Reconciled

Not Reconciled

Nicht versöhnt oder Es hilft nur Gewalt wo Gewalt herrscht (original title)
1965 / West Germany / 53m / BW / Drama, Family Drama
Heinrich Hargesheimer, Carlheinz Hargesheimer, Martha Staendner, Daniele Huillet, Henning Harmssen, Ulrich Hopmann, Joachim Weiler, Eva-Maria Bold, Hiltraud Wegener, Ulrich von Thuna
"Fifty years of German social and political history, from the anti-Communism of 1910 through the anti-semitism of the '30s to a political reprisal in 1960. Explored a-chronologically, in vignettes from the lives of three generations of a middle class family. Taken from Heinrich Böll's novel Billiards at Half Past Nine, but with all the mechanics of storytelling and the frosting of 'style' removed. Read the novel for the narrative; see Straub's movie for the steely precision of its ideas and images, enhanced by Brechtian acting and the absence of all redundancies. Difficult in ways that few films are, but necessarily difficult." - Tony Rayns, Time Out
Selected by Thom Andersen, Chris Petit, Daisuke Akasaka, Harun Farocki, Pietro Bianchi.
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Orlando

Orlando

1992 / UK-Russia-France-Italy-Netherlands / 94m / Col / Drama, Fantasy
Tilda Swinton, Billy Zane, John Wood, Lothaire Bluteau, Charlotte Valandrey, Heathcote Williams, Quentin Crisp, Dudley Sutton, Peter Eyre, Thom Hoffman
"There are lots of intellectual traditions vying for ascendancy in Potter's adaptation of Virginia Woolf's 1928 modernist novel, but the joy is that the film comes over simply: a beautiful historical pageant of 400 years of English history, full of visual and aural pleasures, sly jokes, thought-provoking insights, emotional truths - and romance… The fine, stylised performances from an idiosyncratic international cast are admirably headed by Swinton's magnificent Orlando, who acts as the film's complicitous eyes and ears; and there's little to fault in Alexei Rodionov's cinematography, which renders the scenes with rare sensitivity." - Wally Hammond, Time Out
Selected by B. Ruby Rich, Marit Kapla, Sophie Mayer, Yvonne Tasker, Anneke Smelik.
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Anatomy of a Murder

Anatomy of a Murder

1959 / USA / 160m / BW / Drama, Courtroom Drama
James Stewart, Ben Gazzara, Lee Remick, Arthur O'Connell, Eve Arden, George C. Scott, Kathryn Grant, Joseph N. Welch, Brooks West, Murray Hamilton
"This gripping envelope-pusher, the most popular film by Hollywood provocateur Otto Preminger, was groundbreaking for the frankness of its discussion of sex—but more than anything else, it is a striking depiction of the power of words. Featuring an outstanding supporting cast—with a young George C. Scott as a fiery prosecutor and the legendary attorney Joseph N. Welch as the judge—and an influential score by Duke Ellington, Anatomy of a Murder is an American movie landmark, nominated for seven Oscars, including best picture." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by V.F. Perkins, Christian Keathley, Glenn Kenny, Patrick Fahy, Barbet Schroeder.
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Akira

Akira

1988 / Japan / 124m / Col / Science Fiction, Anime
Mitsuo Iwara, Nozomu Sasaki, Mami Koyama, Taro Ishida, Jimmy Flanders, Drew Thomas, Barbara Larsen, Lewis Lemay, Stanley Gurd Jr., Takeshi Kusao
“In spite of its increasingly daring and experimental visual stylings, the Japanese animation industry has yet to produce a film that truly rivals Katsuhiro Otomo's much-heralded animated film adaptation of his 2,000-page comic book Akira. The 1988 cyberpunk extravaganza—in which a weak, put-upon biker punk named Tetsuo is suddenly endowed with phenomenal psychic powers, and uses them to exact violent retribution on any and all perceived authority figures—certainly has its problems…. But the imagery remains incomparable among animated films… Otomo's masterful and creepy use of sound, music, and silence creates a variety of powerful moods without forcing them.” - Tasha Robinson, A.V. Club
Selected by Huang Haojie, Taika Waititi, Richard Vine, Céline Sciamma, Christophe Gans.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
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Hatari!

Hatari!

1962 / USA / 159m / Col / Adventure, Comedy
John Wayne, Elsa Martinelli, Hardy Kruger, Gerard Blain, Red Buttons, Michele Girardon, Bruce Cabot, Valentin de Vargas, Eduard Franz, Eric Rungren
"John Wayne, Elsa Martinelli, Bruce Cabot, and Red Buttons have one hell of a good time (and a few tense moments) on the African plains capturing animals for American zoos. This late masterpiece by Howard Hawks transcends every literary value in the book to become a brilliantly entertaining and insightful work of pure cinema. All this, and John Wayne's rendition of “Whiskey, Leave Me Alone,” too." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Filipe Furtado, Flavia de la Fuente, Jorge García, Nico Simon, Nuria Vidal.
694
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Melancholia

Melancholia

2011 / Denmark-Sweden-France-Germany / 136m / Col / Science Fiction, Psychological Sci-Fi
Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Alexander Skarsgard, Brady Corbet, Cameron Spurr, Charlotte Rampling, Jesper Christensen, John Hurt, Stellan Skarsgard, Udo Kier
"Besides being an end of the world film, this is an Altmanesque comedy of a social event falling apart and a country-house drama that trumps family spats with the end of the world. Von Trier is a burr under the hide for many viewers, and the unconverted won't be convinced. But it's audacious, beautiful, tactful filmmaking and perhaps the perfect match for The Tree of Life on a bipolar double bill." - Kim Newman, Empire
Selected by Nigel Andrews, Stig Bjorkman, Angelina Nikonova, Jytte Jensen, David Sorfa.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
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The Last Emperor

The Last Emperor

1987 / China-Italy-UK-France / 160m / Col / Historical Film, Biography
John Lone, Joan Chen, Peter O'Toole, Ying Ruocheng, Victor Wong, Dennis Dun, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Maggie Han, Ric Young, Vivian Wu
“The power and scope of the film was, and remains, undeniable—the life of Emperor Pu Yi, who took the throne at age three, in 1908, before witnessing decades of cultural and political upheaval, within and without the walls of the Forbidden City. Recreating Ching dynasty China with astonishing detail and unparalleled craftsmanship by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro and production designer Ferdinando Scarfiotti, The Last Emperor is also an intimate character study of one man reconciling personal responsibility and political legacy." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Yojiro Takita, Ik-June Yang, Ringo Lam, Steven Seagal, Dayyan Eng.
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The Ice Storm

The Ice Storm

1997 / USA / 113m / Col / Family Drama, Ensemble Film
Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Joan Allen, Jamey Sheridan, Christina Ricci, Elijah Wood, Henry Czerny, Adam Hann-Byrd, David Krumholtz, Tobey Maguire
"Suburban Connecticut, 1973. While Richard Nixon’s “I am not a crook” speech drones from the TV, the Hood and Carver families try to navigate a Thanksgiving break simmering with unspoken resentment, sexual tension, and cultural confusion. With clarity, subtlety, and a dose of wicked humor, Academy Award–winning director Ang Lee renders Rick Moody’s acclaimed novel of upper-middle-class American malaise as a trenchant, tragic cinematic portrait of lost souls. Featuring a tremendous cast of established actors (Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, Sigourney Weaver) and rising stars (Tobey Maguire, Christina Ricci, Elijah Wood, Katie Holmes) The Ice Storm is among the finest films of the 1990s." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Saul Metzstein, Craig Johnson, Alberto Rodríguez, Dayyan Eng, Vicente Amorim.
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The Royal Tenenbaums

The Royal Tenenbaums

2001 / USA / 109m / Col / Comedy Drama, Comedy of Manners
Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow, Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Danny Glover, Bill Murray, Seymour Cassel, Kumar Pallana
"Royal Tenenbaum (Hackman) and his wife, Etheline (Huston), had three children and then they separated. Chas (Stiller) started buying real estate in his early teens… Margot (Paltrow) was a playwright and received a Braverman Grant of $50,000 in the ninth grade. Richie (Luke Wilson) was a junior champion tennis player… Virtually all memory of the brilliance of the young Tenenbaums was subsequently erased by two decades of betrayal, failure, and disaster. The Royal Tenenbaums is a hilarious, touching, and brilliantly stylized study of melancholy and redemption from Wes Anderson." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Hind Mezaina, Jan Distelmeyer, Giacomo Manzoli, Matthew Connolly, Cameron Crowe.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
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Un Chant d'amour

Un Chant d'amour

A Song of Love (English title)
1950 / France / 26m / BW / Avant-garde-Experimental, Surrealist Film
Java, Andre Reybaz, Lucien Senemaud
"Genet's overpowering 1950 short is a milestone not just of gay rebellion but also of pure sensual expression in film, a polemical vision of desire forged with the provocateur's randy ardor and the artist's spiritual directness. Having never made a film before or after, Genet nevertheless had an in-the-bone awareness of the medium as a procession of raptures—visual, cosmic, sensual—that could match and expand the passion of words on a page… A revolutionary vision of emancipation through sensuality, Un Chant d'Amour is a song of love both universal and eternal." - Fernando F. Croce, Slant Magazine
Selected by Neville de Almeida, Jane Giles, John Greyson, Todd Haynes, Karim Aïnouz.
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Le Million

Le Million

1931 / France / 85m / BW / Musical Comedy, Chase Movie
Rene Lefevre, Annabella, Jean-Louis Allibert, Raymond Cordy, Vanda Greville, Paul Ollivier, Constantin Siroesco, Odette Talazac, Pedro Elviro, Jane Pierson
"An impoverished artist discovers he has purchased a winning lottery ticket at the very moment his creditors come to collect. The only problem is, the ticket is in the pocket of his coat… which he left at his girlfriend’s apartment… who gave the coat to a man hiding from the police… who sells the coat to an opera singer who uses it during a performance. By turns charming and inventive, René Clair’s lyrical masterpiece had a profound impact on not only the Marx Brothers and Charlie Chaplin, but on the American musical as a whole." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by D.A. Pennebaker, Raymond Chirat, Leslie Halliwell, Dilys Powell, Richard Barkley.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
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They Were Expendable

They Were Expendable

1945 / USA / 135m / BW / War Drama, Combat Film
Robert Montgomery, John Wayne, Donna Reed, Jack Holt, Ward Bond, Marshall Thompson, Leon Ames, Louis Jean Heydt, Russell Simpson, Cameron Mitchell
"John Ford poured his accumulated emotions about World War II, a combination of personal bitterness and benign acceptance of duty, into this moving account of the fortunes of a PT-boat squadron as its ranks are thinned out up to the retreat from the Philippines. John Wayne, Ward Bond, and Robert Montgomery star in this 1945 example of the way Ford brilliantly intertwined intensely personal stories with magnificently epic narrative." - Don Druker, Chicago Reader
Selected by Christian Keathley, Patrick Russell, Karel Reisz, Peter von Bagh, John Milius.
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Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

1965 / USA / 83m / Col / Sexploitation, Action Comedy
Tura Satana, Haji, Lori Williams, Susan Bernard, Stuart Lancaster, Paul Trinka, Dennis Busch, Ray Barlow, Mickey Foxx, John Furlong
"A cross-breed of girl-gang movies with the brand of rural gothic that would lead to Deliverance and The Hills Have Eyes, Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is arguably as much an outrageous parody of the trash-exploitation film as it is a drive-in barnstormer… With its driving jazz score, hilarious dialogue and overdrive melodramatics, this is the ultimate expression of the American cinema's greatest fetishes: big breasts, fast cars, tight jeans, and sudden death. This is, in its own way, one of the great films of the 60's." - Kim Newman, Empire
Selected by David Flint, Helen Dewitt, Jane Giles, John Waters, Philip Ilson.
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Ashes of Time

Ashes of Time

Dung che sai duk (original title)
1994 / Hong Kong-Taiwan / 100m / Col / Adventure, Martial Arts
Brigitte Lin, Leslie Cheung, Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung, Jacky Cheung, Tony Leung Kai Fai, Li Bai, Carina Lau, Charlie Yeung, Shun Lau
“For all Ashes' frustrations, it's still a gorgeous piece of filmmaking. Wong and cinematographer Christopher Doyle create a desert wasteland landscape to match the characters' hollowed-out hearts. Vivid, forbidding colors fill the screen as they try to keep their pasts, with all its attendant desires and disappointments, at bay. In that they have much in common with the protagonists of the films Wong would make next. Those would prove more satisfying, but Ashes still provides a fascinating glimpse down a path perhaps advisedly not taken.“ - Keith Phipps, A.V. Club
Selected by Howard Hampton, Long Tin Shum, Felix Chong, Gao Xiaosong , Huang Yixi.
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The Navigator

The Navigator

1924 / USA / 59m / BW / Comedy, Slapstick
Buster Keaton, Kathryn McGuire, Frederick Vroom, Clarence Burton, H.N. Clugston, Noble Johnson
"Buster Keaton's 1924 film is about a rich young couple, who have never needed to look out for themselves, cast adrift on a deserted ocean liner. The ordinary difficulties of existence are magnified by the fact that all the facilities are intended not for individual needs but to cater to a thousand people. The situation is perfectly suited to Keaton's natural sense of surrealism—everything is too big, too full, and too much. Keaton and his girlfriend (McGuire) become two innocents lost in a threatening, mechanistic Eden, alone in their oversized world. A masterpiece, and very, very funny." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Götz Spielmann, Patrice Rollet, Vincent Ward, Peter Keough, Pascal Merigeau.
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Lolita

Lolita

1962 / UK / 152m / BW / Black Comedy, Psychological Drama
James Mason, Sue Lyon, Shelley Winters, Peter Sellers, Marianne Stone, Diana Decker, Jerry Stovin, Gary Cockrell, Suzanne Gibbs, Roberta Shore
"Of all of Stanley Kubrick's films, Lolita typically gets the lowest marks. While in many respects that's a fair assessment, it sells short the accomplishment of making a workable film of Vladimir Nabokov's novel within the restrictions of the early '60s, or any era, really… A daring experiment, and in many respects a successful one, Kubrick's film is ultimately unable to maintain the uncomfortable intensity of its early domestic scenes, but still has much more going for it than its reputation as an interesting failure would suggest." - Keith Phipps, All Movie
Selected by Abel Ferrara, Sofia Coppola, Grégory Valens, David Lynch, James Toback.
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Smiles of a Summer Night

Smiles of a Summer Night

Sommarnattens leende (original title)
1955 / Sweden / 108m / BW / Comedy, Ensemble Film
Eva Dahlbeck, Ulla Jacobsson, Harriet Andersson, Margit Carlquist, Gunnar Bjornstrand, Jarl Kulle, Ake Fridell, Bjorn Bjelvenstam, Naima Wifstrand, Bibi Andersson
"After fifteen films that received mostly local acclaim, the 1955 comedy Smiles of a Summer Night at last ushered in an international audience for Ingmar Bergman. In turn-of-the-century Sweden, four men and four women attempt to navigate the laws of attraction. During a weekend in the country, the women collude to force the men’s hands in matters of the heart, exposing their pretensions and insecurities along the way. Chock-full of flirtatious propositions and sharp witticisms delivered by such Swedish screen legends as Gunnar Björnstrand and Harriet Andersson, Smiles of a Summer Night is one of cinema’s great erotic comedies." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Derek Malcolm, Laurent Jullier, Angelo Signorelli, Marc Cerisuelo, David Edelstein.
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Sicilia!

Sicilia!

Sicily! (English title)
1999 / Italy-France-Germany / 66m / BW / Family Drama, Political Drama
Gianni Buscarino, Vittorio Vigneri, Angela Nugara, Carmelo Maddio, Ignazio Trombello, Simone Nucatola, Giovanni Interlandi, Giuseppe Bonta, Mario Baschieri, Angela Durantini
"Veteran experimentalists Straub and Huillet offer a compact adaptation of Conversation in Sicily, Elio Vittorini's anti-fascist novel of 1939 which was banned outright by the Italian authorities in 1942… Shot in high contrast b/w, which somehow only emphasises the luminescence of the Sicilian sunshine, it takes the form of static images and exchanges of dialogue… The starkness of the project may alienate many viewers, but there's no doubting the film-makers' committed investment in their subject matter." - Trevor Johnston, Time Out
Selected by Ian Penman, Kieron Corless, Manuel J. Lombardo, Eloísa Solaas, José Luis Torres Leiva.
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Abraham's Valley

Abraham's Valley

Vale Abraão (original title); Abraham Valley (alternative title)
1993 / Portugal-France-Switzerland / 187m / Col / Psychological Drama
Leonor Silveira, Cecile Sanz de Alba, Luis Miguel Cintra, Ruy de Carvalho, Luis Lima Barreto, Micheline Larpin, Diego Doria, Jose Pinto, Filipe Cochofel, Joao Perry
"Subtle, elegant, enigmatic, this movie by the veteran Oliveira exercises a powerful grip. Oliveira's style is hard to categorise (the director began making films in 1931): the timelessness of the modern-day setting, where the Lotuses and Maseratis seem so incongruous, is reminiscent of Resnais, but the languorous acting echoes the satiric irony of late Buñuel and the secretive minimalism of Bresson." - Wally Hammond, Time Out
Selected by Jean Narboni, Haden Guest, Cid Nader, Hu Di, Frédéric Maire.
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The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

2001 / USA-New Zealand / 178m / Col / Epic, Fantasy Adventure
Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom
"It's a wonderful movie. Watching it, one can't help but get the impression that everyone involved was steeped in Tolkien's work, loved the book, treasured it and took care not to break a cherished thing in it. Director Peter Jackson has created a film refreshingly free of ego, giving this technically advanced picture an old-fashioned rhythm and gravity… In spite of its stunning special effects and beautiful art direction, the film draws its power mainly from the essence, humanity and skill of its lead actors. Ian McKellen as Gandalf the wizard, Ian Holm as Bilbo Baggins, Elijah Wood as Frodo hit their roles head on, with conviction and purity of heart." - Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
Selected by S.F. Said, Liang Liang, Tian Guoping, Yan Peng, Paddy Considine.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
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Secrets & Lies

Secrets & Lies

1996 / UK / 142m / Col / Drama, Family Drama
Timothy Spall, Brenda Blethyn, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Claire Rushbrook, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth Berrington, Michele Austin, Lee Ross, Lesley Manville, Ron Cook
"Even as Leigh derives gentle comedy from the plight, aspirations and often pathetic attempts at communication of Cynthia (Blethyn) and her tribe, an immense, unforced sympathy is extended to all involved, a generosity of spirit thoroughly in keeping with the performances. Everyone's superb, Blethyn and Spall in particular. Yes, it's long, visually a little static, and rather narrowly concerned with the everyday experiences of one family, but that depth, focus and intensity of concentration result in a film of extraordinary emotional riches. Spellbinding." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Ahmed Atef, Anna Smith, Marek Hendrykowski, Patricia Rozema, Ji Zhi.
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The Death of Mr. Lazarescu

The Death of Mr. Lazarescu

Moartea domnului Lazarescu (original title)
2005 / Romania / 154m / Col / Drama, Medical Drama
Ioan Fiscuteanu, Luminata Gheorghiu, Gabriel Spahiu, Doru Ana, Dana Dogaru, Serban Pavlu, Florin Zamfirescu, Clara Voda, Adrian Titieni, Mihai Bratila
"The grinding ordeal endured by the ailing title character of The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, a thorny masterpiece by the Romanian director Cristi Puiu, concludes well after 3 a.m. in a Bucharest hospital as he lies dying, unattended on a gurney. That's more than five hours after this 62-year-old patient (Fiscuteanu) is carted by ambulance from his shabby, foul-smelling apartment to the first of four unwelcoming city hospitals… A sustained triumph of ensemble acting, the film seems so absolutely real it absorbs you into its world the same way a documentary like Frederick Wiseman's 1970 Hospital seeps into your consciousness." - Stephen Holden, The New York Times
Selected by Pawel Pawlikowski, Lenny Abrahamson, Bence Fliegauf, Christine Dollhofer, Alexey Medvedev.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
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The Sun Shines Bright

The Sun Shines Bright

1953 / USA / 90m / BW / Drama, Americana
Charles Winninger, Arleen Whelan, John Russell, Stepin Fetchit, Russell Simpson, Jane Darwell, Grant Withers, Ludwig Stossel, Francis Ford, Paul Hurst
"My favorite John Ford feature was also the director's, and it's one of his cheapest and coziest, made in black and white at Republic Pictures. Vaguely a remake of his 1934 Judge Priest, set in an idyllic Kentucky town at the turn of the century, it features the same alcoholic hero this time played by Charles Winninger and even more transparently a stand-in for Ford. The busy plot, confused by insensitive studio cutting, concerns racial strife, prostitution, prudery, and death and involves the entire community; Ford makes the film a ceremonial elegy and testament to everything that he loves and respects." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Fred Camper, Shinji Aoyama, Craig Keller, Angelo Signorelli, Bruno Fornara.
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The Hart of London

The Hart of London

1970 / Canada / 80m / Col-BW / Avant-garde-Experimental
"Jack Chambers's 80-minute The Hart of London is a sprawling, ambitious film that combines newsreel footage of disasters, urban and nature imagery, and footage evoking the cycles of life and death. It is one of those rare films that succeeds precisely because of its sprawl; raw and open-ended almost to the point of anticipating the postmodern rejection of "master narratives," it cannot be reduced to a simple summary, and changes on you from one viewing to the next." - Fred Camper
Selected by Félix García de Villegas Rey, Marcos Ortega, Mark Webber, Philip S. Solomon, Brian Frye.
675
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Zelig

Zelig

1983 / USA / 79m / Col-BW / Mockumentary, Fantasy Comedy
Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, Garrett Brown, Stephanie Farrow, Mary Louise Wilson, Sol Lomita, John Rothman, John Buckwalter, Martin Chatinover, Stanley Swerdlow
"Woody Allen's flawlessly realised fantasy about a 1920s man with "chameleon disorder" looks even more prescient and brilliant today. Released in 1983, Woody Allen's mockumentary drama Zelig was in some quarters regarded as a one-joke technical novelty. But in 2011, it looks like a masterpiece: a brilliant, even passionate historical pastiche, a superbly pregnant meditation on American society and individuality, and an eerie fantasy that will live in your dreams… Allen's recent comedy Midnight in Paris was a very decent homage to the jazz age, but it's not in the same league as this outstanding film." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Paul Wells, Antonio Mariotti, Federico Veiroj, Hua Jianping, Hua Jian.
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Nazarin

Nazarín

1958 / Mexico / 94m / BW / Religious Drama, Satire
Francisco Rabal, Marga Lopez, Rita Macedo, Jesus Fernandez, Ignacio Lopez Tarso, Luis Aceves Castaneda, Ofelia Guilmain, Noe Murayama, Rosenda Monteros, Victorio Blanco
"This deceptively simple masterwork was one of Buñuel's favorite films and one of his most curiously received, and with good reason. "Jacques Prévert, an adamant anticleric, regretted that I'd given a priest the leading role. 'It's ridiculous to worry about their problems,' he told me, believing as he did that all priests were thoroughly reprehensible," notes Buñuel in his autobiography. Others referred to the film as the director's "attempt at personal rehabilitation" and while Nazarín may find him uniquely sympathetic to the Catholic cause, Buñuel is still very much critical of the folly of a certain pure form of Christianity." - Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine
Selected by Arturo Ripstein, Hong Sang-soo, José María de Orbe, C.S. Venkiteswaran, Peter von Bagh.
673
665
The Man Who Would Be King

The Man Who Would Be King

1975 / USA / 129m / Col / Adventure, British Empire Film
Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Saeed Jaffrey, Christopher Plummer, Karroum Ben Bouih, Jack May, Shakira Caine, Doghmi Larbi, Mohammad Shamsi, Paul Antrim
"It's pure Huston: an impossible quest, an out-of-reach grail and an ironic twist leading to a supremely glorious failure. More than any other of his seventies films, Huston is able to turn their story into a strange sort of triumph by remaining true to his characters, right down to the riveting conclusion and the haunting coda narrated by Caine. He offers wonderfully old-fashioned storytelling—muscula​r, dramatic, grounded in character and driven by magnificent twists of luck and fate that arise like poetic justice dished out by a wry god—for the modern age." - Sean Axmaker, MSN Entertainment
Selected by Carl Gottlieb, Carlos Boyero, Lan Zuwei, Toni Vall, Daniel Monzón.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
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The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

1947 / USA / 104m / BW / Romance, Fantasy
Gene Tierney, Rex Harrison, George Sanders, Edna Best, Vanessa Brown, Anna Lee, Robert Coote, Natalie Wood, Isobel Elsom, Victoria Horne
"A beautifully crafted piece of Hollywood fantasy, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is a far-fetched but moving fable about a sea captain who haunts a widow… Enormously winning performances from the underrated Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison drive the film, and the direction of veteran Joseph L. Mankiewicz is almost flawless… The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is a superb illustration of how post-World War II Hollywood could deftly handle a romantic fable during an era when the movies could deliver escapism without big-budget pyrotechnics." - Michael Betzold, All Movie
Selected by Anne Billson, Donald Clarke, Isild Le Besco, Manuel Mozos, Mark Jancovich.
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Dogville

Dogville

2003 / Denmark-Sweden-France-UK-Germany-Finland-Italy-Netherlands-Norway / 177m / Col / Drama, Avant-garde-Experimental
Nicole Kidman, Harriet Andersson, Lauren Bacall, Jean-Marc Barr, Paul Bettany, Blair Brown, James Caan, Ben Gazzara, Philip Baker Hall, Udo Kier
"Lars von Trier's Dogville gives us America on a soundstage and a Rocky Mountain township rendered in chalk marks on the floor. It is Von Trier's America and Von Trier's township, and this enraged some viewers who dismissed the film as a crude, blinkered diatribe from a man too timid (on account of his aversion to air travel) to actually visit the country for himself. And yes, Dogville is crude and arguably blinkered as well. But it is also electrifying, gripping and audacious: the work of a director at the peak of his powers." - Xan Brooks, The Guardian
Selected by Stephen Thrower, Goran Gocic, Audrius Stonys, Evgeny Gusyatinskiy, Isamu Hirabayashi.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
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Vive L'Amour

Vive L'Amour

Ai qing wan sui (original title)
1994 / Taiwan / 118m / Col / Drama, Urban Drama
Chao-Jung Chen, Kang-Sheng Lee, Kuei-Mei Yang
"Tsai Ming-liang’s striking and beautiful second feature, a haunting look at alienation among three young individuals in Taipei–a real estate agent, a street vendor, and a gay and painfully withdrawn burial-plot salesman–won the Golden Lion at the Venice film festival and remains one of the key modernist works of the Taiwanese New Wave. Working principally without dialogue–with a feeling for both modern architecture and contemporary urban despair that often recalls Michelangelo Antonioni–it gathers force slowly but builds to a powerful and devastating finale." - Jonathan Rosenbaum
Selected by Paolo Bertolin, Jane Yu, Pawel Pawlikowski, Cui Zi'en, Andrew Yusu Cheng.
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The Son

The Son

Le Fils (original title)
2002 / Belgium-France / 103m / Col / Drama, Social Problem Film
Olivier Gourmet, Morgan Marinne, Isabella Soupart, Nassim Hassaini, Kevin Leroy, Felicien Pitsaer, Remy Renaud, Annette Closset, Fabian Marnette, Pierre Nisse
"This potent Belgian feature by brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne is every bit as good as their La promesse and Rosetta. Unlike them it can't be described in detail without telegraphing the plot's carefully structured exposition, but it involves a carpenter and teacher at a vocational workshop (Gourmet) who takes on a 16-year-old boy as an apprentice, with cataclysmic consequences… The Dardennes' extremely physical and visceral camera style plunges the viewer into an emotional maelstrom, and their subtle, unpredictable sense of character is predicated not on coercion of the audience but on an extraordinary respect for the viewer as well as the characters." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Celina Murga, Daniel Frampton, Eva af Geijerstam, Marc Munden, Andrew Droz Palermo.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
668
636
A Woman of Paris

A Woman of Paris

A Woman of Paris: A Drama of Fate (original title)
1923 / USA / 81m / BW / Romance, Melodrama
Edna Purviance, Clarence Geldart, Carl Miller, Lydia Knott, Charles K. French, Adolphe Menjou, Betty Morrissey, Malvina Polo
"Charles Chaplin wrote and directed this sophisticated comedy-drama for his longtime leading lady, Edna Purviance, in 1923. Chaplin's themes are emotional failure and moral blindness, effectively worked out through a tightly structured story of a girl who leaves her provincial hometown to become the mistress of a Parisian millionaire (Menjou). Because the film was unavailable for decades, it has acquired a reputation that it doesn't quite deserve. But it is a moving and entertaining work, executed with high finesse by a master cineast." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by José Luis Guerín, Igor Soukmanov, Martin Tudor Caranfil, Paulino Viota, Julio Pérez Perucha.
667
664
The Producers

The Producers

1968 / USA / 88m / Col / Showbiz Comedy, Farce
Zero Mostel, Gene Wilder, Kenneth Mars, Dick Shawn, Estelle Winwood, Renee Taylor, Lee Meredith, Christopher Hewett, Andreas Voutsinas, Michael Davis
"This is one of the funniest movies ever made. To see it now is to understand that. To see it for the first time in 1968, when I did, was to witness audacity so liberating that not even There's Something About Mary rivals it. The movie was like a bomb going off inside the audience's sense of propriety. There is such rapacity in its heroes, such gleeful fraud, such greed, such lust, such a willingness to compromise every principle, that we cave in and go along." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Christopher Fowler, Ian Penman, Joe Mantegna, Jonathan Ross, Bill Plympton.
666
642
Cool Hand Luke

Cool Hand Luke

1967 / USA / 126m / Col / Drama, Prison Film
Paul Newman, George Kennedy, J.D. Cannon, Lou Antonio, Robert Drivas, Strother Martin, Jo Van Fleet, Clifton James, Dennis Hopper, Harry Dean Stanton
"A big hit in 1967, this is one of Paul Newman’s most significant films, casting him as a mooncalf vandal whose destructive pre-credits spree — decapitating parking meters — lands him on a prison farm where his uppity, rebellious, downright mule-headed attitude brings him into major league conflict with the guards and makes him a heroic martyr for the other cons… Newman gives one of his best performances in this prison film, where he inspires life in to his fellow inmates and although the similarities to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest don't stop there, it still has something important to say, with several memorable moments and a superb supporting cast." - Kim Newman, Empire
Selected by Jeff Nichols, Ramin Bahrani, Andrew Stanton, Spike Lee, Kai Yin.
665
635
The Circus

The Circus

1928 / USA / 72m / BW / Comedy, Slapstick
Charles Chaplin, Merna Kennedy, Allan Garcia, Harry Crocker, George Davis, Henry Bergman, Stanley "Tiny" Sandford, John Rand, Steve Murphy, Albert Austin
"The Circus may be the film that most definitively silences critics who claim that Charlie Chaplin's movies aren't cinematic. It is Chaplin's great elegy to the lost art of music-hall pantomime and, for that matter, the soon-to-be lost art of silent-film comedy. Production on this most underrated of Chaplin's silent features wrapped three days after the premiere of The Jazz Singer. And yet, though the writing was on the wall that the silent clowns' days were numbered, The Circus never feels maudlin or self-pitying like Chaplin's later Limelight, where he mourns not the end of a particular aesthetic, but the very loss of his audience." - Christian Blauvelt, Slant Magazine
Selected by Ali Smith, Charles Barr, Emily Wardill, Arnost Lustig, Sakari Toiviainen.
664
608
Au revoir les enfants

Au revoir les enfants

1987 / France / 103m / Col / War Drama, Childhood Drama
Gaspard Manesse, Raphael Fejto, Francine Racette, Stanislas Carre de Malberg, Philippe Morier-Genoud, Francois Berleand, Francois Negret, Peter Fitz, Pascal Rivet, Benoit Henriet
"Au revoir les enfants tells a heartbreaking story of friendship and devastating loss concerning two boys living in Nazi-occupied France. At a provincial Catholic boarding school, the precocious youths enjoy true camaraderie—until a secret is revealed. Based on events from writer-director Malle’s own childhood, the film is a subtle, precisely observed tale of courage, cowardice, and tragic awakening." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Kenneth Branagh, Philip French, Danny Boyle, Arild Andresen, Don Boyd.
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670
Flaming Creatures

Flaming Creatures

1963 / USA / 43m / BW / Avant-garde-Experimental, Horror
Joel Markman, Mario Montez
"Forget everything you might have heard about Jack Smith's legendary bisexual, orgiastic, superlow-budget experimental masterpiece—a lot more is going on here, artistically and otherwise… This jubilant, celebratory film holds up amazingly well; despite its notoriety and censorship during the 60s, it's more than just an orgy of nude and seminude male, female, and transvestite bodies. The camera and even the cheap hothouse decor participate in the joyful free-for-all, suggesting both the privacy of a Josef von Sternberg wet dream and the collective force of a delirious apocalypse. But the simplest way to describe it is to call it a vision." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by J. Hoberman, Eloísa Solaas, Klaus Wyborny, Malcolm le Grice, Shanay Jhaveri.
662
659
La Belle noiseuse

La Belle noiseuse

1991 / France / 240m / Col / Drama, Psychological Drama
Michel Piccoli, Jane Birkin, Emmanuelle Beart, Marianne Denicourt, David Bursztein, Gilles Arbona, Marie-Claude Roger, Bernard Dufour, Marie Belluc, Leila Remili
"Jacques Rivette's La Belle Noiseuse is the best film I have ever seen about the physical creation of art, and about the painful bond between an artist and his muse. Winner of the Palme d'Or prize at Cannes that year, it ran to a full four hours, and so its theatrical life was limited. Rivette edited a 125-minute version titled Divertimento, but why bother with it? The greatness of La Belle Noiseuse is in the time it spends on the creation of art, and the creation and destruction of passion." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Adrian Danks, Martha Otte, Paul Buck, M.K. Raghavendra, Geoffrey Wong.
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676
The Right Stuff

The Right Stuff

1983 / USA / 193m / Col / Drama, Docudrama
Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid, Fred Ward, Barbara Hershey, Kim Stanley, Veronica Cartwright, Pamela Reed, Scott Paulin
"From the opening moments it is clear that we have the nearest modern equivalent to a Western: men of quiet virtue going skyward, leaving the tawdry world of log-rolling politicians behind. John Ford might have made it, and director Kaufman matches up to the master of this kind of poetic hero worship. Beginning with Chuck Yeager's breaking of the sound barrier in the late '40s, he uses the great test pilot as a counterpoint to the training and eventual missions of the seven astronauts chosen for America's first space programme." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Peter Segal, Tony Jones, Jordan Hoffman, Chris Peachment, Paul Taylor.
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672
Forbidden Games

Forbidden Games

Jeux interdits (original title)
1951 / France / 87m / BW / Childhood Drama, War Drama
Brigitte Fossey, Georges Poujouly, Lucien Hubert, Suzanne Courtal, Jacques Marin, Laurence Badie, Andre Wasley, Amedee, Denise Pereonne, Louis Sainteve
"For English-speaking audiences, Forbidden Games remains one of the two or three most important French films of the pre-New Wave era. Under Clément's direction, the two children are inestimably fresher and more engaging than almost any other child actors of the time. But beyond its immediate appeal, Forbidden Games remains important as an early conjunction of the realist style of director René Clément on the one side and the "cinema of quality" of the Aurenche/Bost script on the other. A tension is created by the film's hesitation between social allegory and anthropology and between a natural and a prettified style." - Dudley Andrew, Film Reference
Selected by Hubert Cornfield, Bryan Forbes, Xavier Dolan, Desirée de Fez, Pedro Olea.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
659
650
Possession

Possession

1981 / France-West Germany / 127m / Col / Marriage Drama, Supernatural Horror
Isabelle Adjani, Sam Neill, Margit Carstensen, Heinz Bennent, Johanna Hofer, Carl Duering, Shaun Lawton, Michael Hogben, Maximillian Ruthlein, Thomas Frey
"There are marriages on the rocks and then there's the fever-pitch non-bliss between Mark (Neill) and Anna (Adjani) in this head-spinning masterpiece from Poland's Andrzej Zulawski… Possession incorporates more and more fantastical elements as it goes on---such as a spectacular goo-and-gore-covered creature built by E.T. designer Carlo Rambaldi---but the story somehow remains rooted in the harsh realities of human experience. That the film is much more than a gawk-at-it freak show is testament to Zulawski's talent for making even the most exaggerated behavior resonate with pointed and potent emotion." - Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York
Selected by Anja Kirschner, David Panos, Mark Pilkington, Gerardo Naranjo, William Fowler.
658
628
Masculin Feminin

Masculin Feminin

Masculin féminin: 15 faits précis (original title)
1966 / France-Sweden / 103m / BW / Urban Drama, Ensemble Film
Jean-Pierre Leaud, Chantal Goya, Catherine-Isabelle Duport, Marlene Jobert, Michel Debord, Eva-Britt Strandberg, Birger Malmsten, Francoise Hardy, Elas Leroy, Brigitte Bardot
"With Masculin féminin, ruthless stylist and iconoclast Jean-Luc Godard introduces the world to “the children of Marx and Coca-Cola,” through a gang of restless youths engaged in hopeless love affairs with music, revolution, and each other. French new wave icon Jean-Pierre Leaud stars as Paul, an idealistic would-be intellectual struggling to forge a relationship with the adorable pop star Madeleine (real-life yé-yé girl Chantal Goya). Through their tempestuous affair, Godard fashions a candid and wildly funny free-form examination of youth culture in throbbing 1960s Paris, mixing satire and tragedy as only Godard can." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Gregg Araki, John Powers, Manohla Dargis, Mehmet Açar, Shane Danielsen.
657
643
Port of Shadows

Port of Shadows

Le Quai des brumes (original title)
1938 / France / 91m / BW / Romantic Drama, Crime Drama
Jean Gabin, Michele Morgan, Michel Simon, Pierre Brasseur, Robert Le Vigan, Raymond Aimos, Marcel Peres, Jenny Burnay, Edouard Delmont, Rene Genin
"Down a foggy, desolate road to the port city of Le Havre travels Jean (Gabin), an army deserter looking for another chance to make good on life. Fate, however, has a different plan for him, as acts of both revenge and kindness render him front-page news… Port of Shadows starkly portrays an underworld of lonely souls wrestling with their own destinies. Based on the novel by Pierre Mac Orlan, the inimitable team of director Marcel Carné and writer Jacques Prévert deliver a quintessential example of poetic realism and a classic film from the golden age of French cinema." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by John Sayles, David Panos, Igor Soukmanov, Michael Wedel, Nigel Algar.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
656
626
Othello

Othello

1952 / Italy-France-Morocco-USA / 90m / BW / Drama, Tragedy
Orson Welles, Michael MacLiammoir, Suzanne Cloutier, Robert Coote, Hilton Edwards, Fay Compton, Michael Lawrence, Nicholas Bruce, Jean Davis, Doris Dowling
"Welles' sixth feature was shot in fits and starts over a period of four years, on a dozen locations in Morocco and Italy, often without money. Naturally, Welles turned the limitations into strengths. When the costumes didn't show up, he filmed in a Turkish bath. When an actor couldn't make it, he used a stand-in and changed his camera angle. When challenged to match footage shot in Mogador and Venice, he contrived dazzling webs of montage. This is Shakespeare filmed with love and powerhouse enthusiasm, never with reverence. The visual rhetoric is synchronised with the verbal imagery: they hit sensory overload together. A very great film noir." - Tony Rayns, Time Out
Selected by George A. Romero, Ben Walters, Lamia Joreige, Leonardo Gandini, Li Juchuan.
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669
Moonfleet

Moonfleet

1955 / USA / 89m / Col / Costume Adventure, Swashbuckler
Stewart Granger, Jon Whiteley, George Sanders, Joan Greenwood, Viveca Lindfors, Melville Cooper, Jack Elam, Dan Seymour, Ian Wolfe, Liliane Montevecchi
"A boy and a rakish smuggler search for a legendary lost diamond in a wonderfully stylised version of 19th century Cornwall. The characters are linked and haunted by the memory of the boy's dead mother, and their 'romance' is a journey through a dark world of gallows and graveyards. Lang disliked working in CinemaScope, a ratio he described in Le Mépris as 'only good for funerals and snakes', but uses it brilliantly." - Steve Jenkins, Time Out
Selected by Carlos Losilla, Cristina Álvarez López, Javier Rebollo, Jed Rapfogel, Joan Pons.
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681
An American in Paris

An American in Paris

1951 / USA / 115m / Col / Musical, Romance
Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Oscar Levant, Georges Guetary, Nina Foch, Eugene Borden, Martha Bamattre, Mary Jones, Ann Codee, George Davis
"The great things remain great – Kelly’s effortless grace, Leslie Caron’s extraordinary face, Gershwin’s style-splicing score and Minnelli’s eye-ravishing colour palette. But time has not been wholly kind to An American in Paris: some of the early scenes can be a little self-satisfied and boys’-clubbish, while the love triangle between 39-year-old Kelly, his older rival Georges Guetary and the impossibly youthful 19-year-old Caron feels a mite creepy… Imperfect, then, but intermittently awe-inspiring." - Tom Huddleston, Time Out
Selected by Lars-Olav Beier, Sue Harris, Raquel Abad, Jaime E. Costa, Ken Wlaschin.
653
640
The Lady Vanishes

The Lady Vanishes

1938 / UK / 97m / BW / Spy Film, Thriller
Margaret Lockwood, Michael Redgrave, Paul Lukas, Dame May Whitty, Cecil Parker, Linden Travers, Naunton Wayne, Basil Radford, Mary Clare, Googie Withers
"In Alfred Hitchcock’s most quick-witted and devilish comic thriller, the beautiful Margaret Lockwood, traveling across Europe by train, meets a charming spinster (Whitty), who then seems to disappear into thin air. The younger woman turns investigator and finds herself drawn into a complex web of mystery and high adventure. Also starring Michael Redgrave, The Lady Vanishes remains one of the great filmmaker’s purest delights." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Charles Barr, J.M. Tyree, Manuel Antin, Jean Dutourd, Leslie Halliwell.
652
620
I Walked with a Zombie

I Walked with a Zombie

1943 / USA / 69m / BW / Horror, Supernatural Horror
Frances Dee, Tom Conway, James Ellison, Edith Barrett, Christine Gordon, Sir Lancelot, Darby Jones, James Bell, Theresa Harris, Jeni Le Gon
"I Walked With a Zombie is a master class in sight, sound, and suggestion from beginning to end. Jane Eyre's gothic romance is transplanted to the West Indies, where Betsey Connell (Dee) confronts the power of voodoo. In the film's most famous sequence, Betsey takes an extended trip through a sugar cane field and encounters the zombie Carrefour (Jones). Tourneur's images cast an unnerving spell, suggesting that the emotionally frustrated living may be the real zombies." - Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine
Selected by John Flaus, Patrice Rollet, Quim Casas, Michael Henry Wilson, Jacques Goimard.
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657
The Turin Horse

The Turin Horse

A Torinói ló (original title)
2011 / Hungary-France-Germany-Switzerland-USA / 146m / BW / Drama, Slice of Life
Janos Derzsi, Erika Bok, Mihaly Kormos, Ricsi
"Béla Tarr claims his ninth feature will be his last. If true, he departs with an intimate epic of grim, formal beauty and disconcerting foreboding. Opening with an equine anecdote about Nietzsche, the action switches to a cottage on a wind-blasted plain where carter János Derzsi ekes out a desperate existence with daughter Erika Bók, whose days are divided between fetching water from the well, cooking potatoes and gazing through the window. It’s gruelling, but utterly riveting: Tarr insists it’s simply a study in arduous monotony, but much can be read into this exceptional exercise in so called ‘remodernist’ cinema. It may be bleak, but this lingers in the mind long after you've seen it." - David Parkinson, Empire
Selected by Pere Portabella, Arturo Ripstein, Edgardo Cozarinsky, Jaan Ruus, Jiří Barta.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
650
607
Les Amants du Pont-Neuf

Les Amants du Pont-Neuf

The Lovers on the Bridge (English title)
1991 / France / 126m / Col / Romantic Drama, Urban Drama
Juliette Binoche, Denis Lavant, Klaus-Michael Gruber, Daniel Buain, Marion Statens, Edith Scob, Chrichan Larsson, Paulette Berthonnier, Georges Apperighis, Roger Berthonnier
"Set against the extravagant backdrop of France's bicentennial shenanigans, Carax's tale of amour fou is even bolder than Boy Meets Girl and Mauvais Sang. It's filled with ecstatic imagery which manages not to jar after the gritty realism of the early scenes, and constitutes a heady anthem to abstracted, mad passion: at once a modern fairy tale and a cinephile's folie de grandeur, frequently exhilarating but never wholly free of pretentiousness." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Chris Chang, Duane Hopkins, Pedro Aguilera, Wim Wenders, Yin Lichuan.
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673
Scarface (1932)

Scarface

Scarface, the Shame of the Nation (alternative title)
1932 / USA / 90m / BW / Gangster Film, Crime Drama
Paul Muni, Ann Dvorak, Karen Morley, Osgood Perkins, Boris Karloff, C. Henry Gordon, George Raft, Vince Barnett, Inez Palange, Edwin Maxwell
"With the gangster film ground rules freshly established by Little Caesar and The Public Enemy, producer Howard Hughes, director Howard Hawks and writer Ben Hecht were able to play an operatic variation in this masterpiece. The plot uses the familiar rise-and-fall-of-a-hood scenario, mixing incidental detail from the career of real-life scarface Al Capone with the history of the Borgia Family. It has the tabloid feel of earlier gangster films, but also a streak of extraordinarily black horror comedy… Atmospheric, mesmerising and darkly humourous with a sizzling script and cast. This is a true classic of its genre." - Kim Newman, Empire
Selected by Eloísa Solaas, Leonardo Gandini, Marc Cerisuelo, Luis Alberto de Cuenca, Olivier De Bruyn.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
648
633
Foolish Wives

Foolish Wives

1922 / USA / 117m / BW / Drama
Erich von Stroheim, Maude George, Mae Busch, Rudolph Christians, Miss DuPont, Dale Fuller, Al Edmundsen, Cesare Gravina, Malvina Polo, Louis K. Webb
"At the time of its release, Foolish Wives was the most expensive film ever produced, and though Von Stroheim was widely considered a lavish spendthrift, his films remain triumphs of period detail. The film features the most daring intertitles in the history of silent cinema, and Von Stroheim uses their stream-of-conscious nature to enhance the film's startling aesthetic shifts and to point to the politics at work throughout the narrative… Foolish Wives is a seductive film, but it's also supremely sad because Von Stroheim sees something morally and emotionally debilitating in the way his characters forcibly cling to facades." - Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine
Selected by Jesus Franco, Jesús Piquero, Martial Pisani, Carlos Garcia Brusco, Pere Gimferrer.
647
624
Les Diaboliques

Les Diaboliques

Diabolique (English title)
1955 / France / 114m / BW / Thriller, Psychological Thriller
Simone Signoret, Vera Clouzot, Paul Meurisse, Charles Vanel, Jean Brochard, Pierre Larquey, Michel Serrault, Noel Roquevert, Therese Dorny, Yves-Marie Maurin
"Before Psycho, Peeping Tom, and Repulsion, there was Diabolique. This thriller from Henri‑Georges Clouzot, which shocked audiences in Europe and the U.S., is the story of two women—the fragile wife and the willful mistress of the sadistic headmaster of a boys’ boarding school—who hatch a daring revenge plot. With its unprecedented narrative twists and terrifying images, Diabolique is a heart-grabbing benchmark in horror filmmaking, featuring outstanding performances by Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot, and Paul Meurisse." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by James Marsh, Van Papadopoulos, Billy Wilder, J. Lee Thompson, Diego Galán.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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713
Code Unknown

Code Unknown

Code inconnu: Récit incomplet de divers voyages (original title); Code inconnu (alternative title)
2000 / France-Germany-Romania / 116m / Col / Ensemble Film, Urban Drama
Juliette Binoche, Thierry Neuvic, Josef Bierbichler, Alexandre Hamidi, Maimouna Helene Diarra, Ona Lu Yenke, Djibril Kouyate, Luminita Gheorghiu, Crenguta Hariton, Bob Nicolaescu
"Austrian director Michael Haneke is a ruthless anthropologist of domestic nihilism, but his first French-language feature, Code Unknown, is also his most humane. It's less eager to implicate the audience in its exhibitions of motiveless savagery—as with the amiable psychopath's to-camera asides in Funny Games—and more inclined to arrange ordinary people not as isolated terrorist cells but as a frail, knotty web held together by selfish interdependence and clashing grievances… Code Unknown is Haneke's most expansive and, oddly, hopeful work—not a gaze into the void, but a fierce attempt to scramble out of it." - Jessica Winter, The Village Voice
Selected by Clio Barnard, Antonio Campos, Ruben Östlund, Laura Marks, Liz Helfgott.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
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Re-entry
The Wicker Man

The Wicker Man

1973 / UK / 103m / Col / Occult Horror, Police Detective Film
Edward Woodward, Britt Ekland, Diane Cilento, Christopher Lee, Ingrid Pitt, Lindsay Kemp, Russell Waters, Aubrey Morris, Walter Carr, Lesley Mackie
"Anthony Shaffer’s script – written at the end of an annus mirabilis in which he also wrote Sleuth and Frenzy – brews together a heady concoction of police procedural and post-Hammer horror with a pagan pastiche of counter-cultural faddishness, with scenes of dancing naked pregnant women in stone circles or a ranting, windswept Christopher Lee in drag beautifully filmed by Harry Waxman and accompanied by Paul Giovanni’s risible ’60s-style folk revival soundtrack. Essentially, it’s an insane guilty pleasure.” - Wally Hammond, Time Out
Selected by Tim Burton, Nicolas Barbano, Herschell Gordon Lewis, Reece Shearsmith, Anupama Chopra.
644
611
Harakiri

Harakiri

Seppuku (original title)
1962 / Japan / 133m / BW / Drama, Samurai Film
Tatsuya Nakadai, Rentaro Mikuni, Shima Iwashita, Akira Ishihama, Shichisaburo Amatsu, Yoshio Aoki, Jo Azumi, Hisashi Igawa, Yoshio Inaba, Akiji Kobayashi
"Following the collapse of his clan, an unemployed samurai (Nakadai) arrives at the manor of Lord Iyi, begging to be allowed to commit ritual suicide on the property. Iyi’s clansmen, believing the desperate ronin is merely angling for a new position, try to force his hand and get him to eviscerate himself—but they have underestimated his beliefs and his personal brand of honor. Winner of the Cannes Film Festival’s Special Jury Prize, Harakiri, directed by Masaki Kobayashi is a fierce evocation of individual agency in the face of a corrupt and hypocritical system." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Philip Kemp, Frances Morgan, Mikhail Iampolski, Dong Shu, Shi Wenhua.
643
594
W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism

W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism

W.R. - Misterije organizma (original title)
1971 / Yugoslavia / 84m / Col / Avant-garde-Experimental, Sex Comedy
Milena Dravic, Jagoda Kaloper, Zoran Radmilovic, Miodrag Andric, Jim Buckley, Jackie Curtis, Betty Dodson, Nancy Godfrey, Dragoljub Ivkov, Tuli Kupferberg
"What does the energy harnessed through orgasm have to do with the state of communist Yugoslavia circa 1971? Only counterculture filmmaker extraordinaire Dušan Makavejev has the answers (or the questions). His surreal documentary-fiction collision WR: Mysteries of the Organism begins as an investigation into the life and work of controversial psychologist and philosopher Wilhelm Reich and then explodes into a free-form narrative of a beautiful young Slavic girl’s sexual liberation. Banned upon its release in the director’s homeland, the art-house smash WR is both whimsical and bold in its blending of politics and sexuality." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Dina Iordanova, Richard Porton, Michal Oleszczyk, Roee Rosen, Robert Gardner.
642
634
The Last Bolshevik

The Last Bolshevik

Le Tombeau d'Alexandre (original title)
1993 / France-Finland / 120m / Col / Essay Film, Documentary
Rhona Campbell, Vladimir Dmitriyev, Viktor Dyomin, Marina Goldovskaya, Leonor Graser, Nikolai Izvolov, Marina Kalasieva, Yuri Kolyada, Kira Paramonova, Yuli Raizman
"A George Steiner aphorism near the start of the movie states “It is not the literal past that rules us, but images of the past,” and Chris Marker goes on to refine that idea in this extraordinary 1992 documentary about the obscure Soviet director Alexander Medvedkin, who hung on to Leninist ideals as he tried to ply a stirring, skeptical art under Stalinist eyes… Marker puts voice-over narration and interviews into a jazzy, contrapuntal relation to his bold visual assemblies; his montage moves on waves of thought and feeling, mixing wild propaganda with gritty pathos." - Michael Sragow, The New Yorker
Selected by Patricio Guzmán, Howard Hampton, Radu Jude, Luciano Barisone, Sanjin Pejkovic.
641
580
Full Metal Jacket

Full Metal Jacket

1987 / USA / 116m / Col / Anti-War Film, War Drama
Matthew Modine, Adam Baldwin, Vincent D'Onofrio, R. Lee Ermey, Dorian Harewood, Arliss Howard, Kevyn Major Howard, Ed O'Ross, Jon Stafford, John Terry
"This odd 1987 adaptation of Gustav Hasford's The Short-Timers, with script-writing assistance from Michael Herr as well as Hasford, has more to do with the general theme of colonization (of individuals and countries alike) and the suppression by male soldiers of their female traits than with the specifics of Vietnam or the Tet offensive. Elliptical, full of subtle inner rhymes, and profoundly moving, this is the most tightly crafted Kubrick film since Dr. Strangelove, as well as the most horrific; the first section alone accomplishes most of what The Shining failed to do." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Antonia Bird, Constantin Popescu, David Siegel, Desi del Valle, An Ying.
640
610
Les Vampires

Les Vampires

1915 / France / 440m / BW / Master Criminal Film, Crime Thriller
Musidora, Edouard Mathe, Marcel Levesque, Jean Ayme, Fernand Herrmann, Stacia Napierkowska, Edmund Breon, Renee Carl, Miss Edith, Louis Leubas
"Louis Feuillade's extraordinary ten-part silent serial of 1916, running just under eight hours, is one of the supreme delights of film—an account of the exploits of an all-powerful group of criminals called the Vampire Gang, headed by the infamous Irma Vep (Musidora), whose name is an anagram for “vampire.” Filmed mainly in Paris locations, Feuillade's masterpiece combines documentary with fantasy to create a dense world of multiple disguises, secret passageways, poison rings, and evil master plots that assumes an awesome cumulative power." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Ed Park, David Meeker, Kevin B. Lee, William Johnson, Chung Sung-ill.
639
618
The Virgin Spring

The Virgin Spring

Jungfrukällan (original title)
1959 / Sweden / 88m / BW / Drama, Period Film
Max von Sydow, Birgitta Valberg, Gunnel Lindblom, Birgitta Pettersson, Axel Duberg, Tor Isedal, Allan Edwall, Ove Porath, Axel Slangus, Gudrun Brost
"Bergman won his first Oscar for this cruel but unsensational medieval allegory, a tale of superstition, religious faith, rape and revenge set in a 14th century Sweden where the populace is vacillating between Christianity and paganism… The formal simplicity and overt symbolism (light and dark, fire and water) undercut the potentially sensationalist elements of the material, Sven Nykvist's luminous black-and-white photography conspiring with the austerity of Bergman's imagery to create an extraordinary metaphysical charge." - Nigel Floyd, Time Out
Selected by Wes Craven, Tara Brady, Péter Muszatics, Juan Antonio García Borrero, Srdan Golubovic.
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679
The Miracle of Morgan's Creek

The Miracle of Morgan's Creek

1944 / USA / 99m / BW / Satire, Screwball Comedy
Betty Hutton, Eddie Bracken, William Demarest, Diana Lynn, Brian Donlevy, Akim Tamiroff, Porter Hall, Emory Parnell, Jimmy Conlin, Almira Sessions
"Preston Sturges's affably blasphemous version of the Nativity, with Betty Hutton as a World War II good-time girl who finds herself in the family way after a dimly remembered night with a soldier whose name may or may not have been Ignatz Ratzkiwatzki. The real miracle is that Sturges got all of this past the production-code office in 1944, particularly the arrival of Hutton's blessing, as scheduled on Christmas morning, in the form of sextuplets. Caustic and chaotic in the arch Sturges manner, it's probably his funniest and most smilingly malicious film." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Peter Bogdanovich, Whit Stillman, Nicolas Rapold, John Pym, Fernando Trueba.
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706
Blood Simple

Blood Simple

1984 / USA / 97m / Col / Post-Noir (Modern Noir), Crime Thriller
John Getz, Frances McDormand, Dan Hedaya, M. Emmet Walsh, Samm-Art Williams, Deborah Neumann, Raquel Gavia, Van Brooks, Senor Marco, William Creamer
"Taking its title from Dashiell Hammett and borrowing a situation from James M. Cain, the Coen's 1984 debut was arguably the most influential noir since Chinatown (and until Reservoir Dogs)… From the initial storyboard to the final sound design, Blood Simple is a supremely calculated intellectual exercise. The super-studied, neon-colored compositions are stippled by perfectly arranged shadows. In addition to its cast, Blood Simple boasts some distinguished credits—it was the first feature shot by cinematographer-turned-director Barry Sonnenfeld and the first scored by the prolific composer Carter Burwell." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Mike D'Angelo, Harun Farocki, Lai Miu-suet, Javier Fesser, Ric Burns.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
636
584
The Lusty Men

The Lusty Men

1952 / USA / 113m / BW / Drama, Modern Western
Susan Hayward, Robert Mitchum, Arthur Kennedy, Arthur Hunnicutt, Glenn Strange, Lane Chandler, Frank Faylen, Walter Coy, Carol Nugent, Maria Hart
"A masterpiece by Nicholas Ray—perhaps the most melancholy and reflective of his films. This modern-dress western centers on Ray's perennial themes of disaffection and self-destruction: Arthur Kennedy is a young rodeo rider, eager for quick fame and easy money; Robert Mitchum is his older friend, a veteran who's been there and knows better. Working with the great cinematographer Lee Garmes, Ray creates an unstable atmosphere of dust and despair—trailer camps and broken-down ranches—that expresses the contradictory impulses of his characters: a lust for freedom balanced by a quest for security." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Chris Fujiwara, V.F. Perkins, Haden Guest, Luc Sante, Nick Pinkerton.
635
606
The Killer

The Killer

Dip huet seung hung (original title)
1989 / Hong Kong / 110m / Col / Crime, Action Thriller
Chow Yun-Fat, Danny Lee, Sally Yeh, Kenneth Tsang, Chu Kong, Lam Chung, Shing Fui-On, Ye Rongzu, Yi Fanwei, Huang Guangliang
"Hong Kong’s preeminent director, John Woo, transforms genres from both the East and the West to create this explosive and masterful action film. Featuring Hong Kong’s greatest star, Chow Yun-fat, as a killer with a conscience, the film is an exquisite dissection of morals in a corrupt society, highlighted with slow-motion sequences of brilliantly choreographed gun battles on the streets of Hong Kong." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Amanda Duthie, Anjelika Artyukh, Giacomo Calzoni, Raymond Lee, Hans Schifferle.
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732
La Haine

La Haine

Hate (English title)
1995 / France / 93m / Col / Urban Drama, Message Movie
Vincent Cassel, Hubert Kounde, Said Taghmaoui, Karim Belkhadra, Edouard Montoute, Francois Levantal, Solo Dicko, Marc Duret, Vincent Lindon, Karin Viard
"Mathieu Kassovitz took the film world by storm with La haine, a gritty, unsettling, and visually explosive look at the racial and cultural volatility in modern-day France, specifically the low-income banlieue districts on Paris’s outskirts. Aimlessly passing their days in the concrete environs of their dead-end suburbia, Vinz (Cassel), Hubert (Koundé), and Saïd (Taghmaoui)—a Jew, an African, and an Arab—give human faces to France’s immigrant populations… A work of tough beauty, La haine is a landmark of contemporary French cinema and a gripping reflection of its country’s ongoing identity crisis." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Ginette Vincendeau, Najwa Najjar, James Nolen, Andy Serkis, Riz Ahmed.
633
613
The Damned

The Damned

La Caduta degli dei (original title)
1969 / Italy-West Germany / 155m / Col / Political Drama, Family Drama
Dirk Bogarde, Ingrid Thulin, Helmut Griem, Helmut Berger, Renaud Verley, Umberto Orsini, Reinhard Kolldehoff, Albrecht Schoenhals, Florinda Bolkan, Charlotte Rampling
"Like so many of Visconti's films, The Damned is the story of the decline and decomposition of a family, and as in Senso and The Leopard in particular, the fortunes of individuals are linked to wider developments at a climactic moment of history… In short, The Damned , without being one of Visconti's finest films, is still a remarkable work, but it is one which, for its own sake, needs to be rescued from some of the more inflated claims—political, psycho-sexual, and mythological—which have sometimes been made for it, albeit with the best of intentions." - Julian Petley, Film Reference
Selected by Andrei Plakhov, Andriy Khalpakhchi, Jean-Stephane Sauvaire, Patrick Duynslaegher, Javier Angulo.
632
621
Shock Corridor

Shock Corridor

1963 / USA / 101m / BW / Drama, Psychological Drama
Peter Breck, Constance Towers, Gene Evans, James Best, Hari Rhodes, Larry Tucker, William Zuckert, Philip Ahn, Neyle Morrow, John Matthews
"In Shock Corridor, the great American writer-director-producer Samuel Fuller masterfully charts the uneasy terrain between sanity and madness. Seeking a Pulitzer Prize, reporter Johnny Barrett (Breck) has himself committed to a mental hospital to investigate a murder. As he closes in on the killer, insanity closes in on him. Constance Towers costars as Johnny’s coolheaded stripper girlfriend. With its startling commentary on racism and other hot-button issues in sixties America and its daring photography by Stanley Cortez, Shock Corridor has had far-reaching influence." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Amos Gitai, Mika Kaurismäki, Mark Duguid, Inácio Araujo, Chuck Bowen.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
631
619
Il Grido

Il Grido

The Cry (English title); The Outcry (alternative English title)
1957 / Italy / 111m / BW / Drama, Psychological Drama
Steve Cochran, Alida Valli, Dorian Gray, Betsy Blair, Gabriella Pallotta, Lynn Shaw, Mirna Girardi, Pina Boldrini, Guerrino Campanini, Lilia Landi
"Michelangelo Antonioni's The Cry provides a missing link between Italian neorealism and the director's later work. A factory mechanic loses his moorings when the woman he loves abandons him and their daughter; he and the child drift aimlessly through a nearly empty, semi-industrial landscape. The camera's spare, stunning compositions and the tone of loss and disaffection anticipate Antonioni's later, brilliant explorations of bourgeois anomie." - Leslie Camhi, The Village Voice
Selected by Erica Gregor, Firat Yucel, Francesco Pitassio, Fred Kelemen, Götz Spielmann.
630
592
Europa '51

Europa '51

The Greatest Love (USA title)
1952 / Italy / 113m / BW / Drama, Psychological Drama
Ingrid Bergman, Alexander Knox, Giulietta Masina, Ettore Giannini, Teresa Pellati, Sandro Franchina, William Tubbs, Alfred Brown, Gianna Segale, Tina Perna
"The second collaboration between Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman (after Stromboli), Europa '51 is a provocative, haunting, and compassionate examination of the isolating and often misunderstood path of personal redemption and spiritual service in contemporary society. Composed of alternating sequences of daytime and nighttime episodes (that would be similarly used by Federico Fellini in his subsequent film, La Dolce Vita), the film presents a recurring visual dichotomy that illustrates the polarizing division between wealth and poverty, spirituality and materialism, vanity and humility, selfishness and benevolence." - Acquarello, Strictly Film School
Selected by Julio Pérez Perucha, Manuel Ferrari, Marco Müller, Nicoletta Romeo, Ruy Gardnier.
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651
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

1939 / USA / 129m / BW / Comedy Drama, Message Movie
James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains, Edward Arnold, Guy Kibbee, Thomas Mitchell, Eugene Pallette, Beulah Bondi, Harry Carey, H.B. Warner
"Stewart's young Wisconsin senator exposing corruption and upholding true American values in a Senate House riddled with graft is quintessential Capra - popular wish-fulfilment served up with such fast-talking comic panache that you don't have time to question its cornball idealism. Scriptwriter Sidney Buchman's crackling dialogue is also lent sharp-tongued conviction by Rains, as the slimy senior senator, Jean Arthur as the hard-boiled dame finally won over by Stewart's honesty, and Harry Carey as the Vice President." - Nigel Floyd, Time Out
Selected by Danny Bilson, Zhong Dafeng, Ivan Passer, David Chan, Frederic Vitoux.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
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652
The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach

The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach

Chronik der Anna Magdalena Bach (original title)
1968 / West Germany-Italy / 94m / BW / Drama, Biopic
Gustav Leonhardt, Christiane Lang, Paolo Carlini, Ernst Castelli, Hans-Peter Boye, Joachim Wolff, Rainer Kirchner, Eckart Bruntjen, Walter Peters, Kathrien Leonhard
"Straub's account of Bach is nothing if not lucid: it documents the last 27 years of its subject's life (through the mediating eyes of his wife) principally in terms of his music. The music itself obviates any need for a 'drama' to present Bach; Straub celebrates its range and complexity while showing it always in performance, to emphasise the nature of Bach's work as musician/conductor. A narration (compiled from contemporary sources) sets the man in his economic and social context. With his minimalist's sensitivity to nuance and inflection, Straub eschews pointless cutting and camera movement. The beautiful result has the air of a crystal-clear meditation." - Tony Rayns, Time Out
Selected by Adriano Aprà, Michael Haneke, Andréa Picard, Margaret Deriaz, Sylvie Pierre.
627
609
Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

1956 / USA / 80m / BW / Science Fiction, Alien Invasion Film
Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter, Larry Gates, King Donovan, Carolyn Jones, Virginia Christine, Jean Willes, Ralph Dumke, Tom Fadden, Kenneth Patterson
"Shot in just 19 days, Siegel's economical adaptation of a Jack Finney story (script by Daniel Mainwaring of Out of the Past fame) is one of the most resonant sci-fi movies, and one of the simplest. It has been interpreted as an allegory against McCarthyism, though it could equally stand as anti-Communist. (In his book A Siegel Film, the director has nothing to say on the matter.) It's still a chilling picture, gaining over Phil Kaufman's smart remake by virtue of its intimate small town setting, and it has one of the greatest endings ever filmed." - Tom Charity, Time Out
Selected by David Pirie, John A. Russo, Dinko Tucakovic, Jacques Audiard, Kristian Lin..
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
626
571
Detour

Detour

1945 / USA / 69m / BW / Film Noir, Crime Drama
Tom Neal, Ann Savage, Claudia Drake, Edmund MacDonald, Tim Ryan, Esther Howard, Roger Clark, Pat Gleason, Don Brodie, Eddie Hall
"What can you say about a 69-minute grade-Z production from 1945 starring a catatonic unknown (Neal) and the most metaphysically distressing actress ever to grace an American film (Savage) that takes place mainly in front of a rear projection screen and a progression of minimally rendered motel rooms and roadside diners—except that it's one of the most daring and thoroughly perverse works of art ever to come out of Hollywood? The director was Edgar G. Ulmer, a master of cinematic stylization too long underappreciated." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Mark Webber, Richard Kuipers, Robert Polito, Gary Morris, Tony Krawitz.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
625
612
A.I. Artificial Intelligence

A.I. Artificial Intelligence

2001 / USA / 145m / Col / Science Fiction, Psychological Drama
Haley Joel Osment, Frances O'Connor, Sam Robards, Jude Law, Jake Thomas, Brendan Gleeson, William Hurt, Ken Leung, Theo Greenly, Ashley Scott
"Steven Spielberg's film, a project he inherited from Stanley Kubrick, to whom it is dedicated, is a work of brilliant artifice and profound intelligence...The movie's three distinct sections reveal an unsettlingly plausible vision of the future, and explore a rich, complex set of emotions and ideas. Mr. Spielberg accomplishes the improbable feat of melding Kubrick's chilly, analytical style with his own warmer, needier sensibility, and the result is an exquisitely layered, complex movie — the riskiest, most ambiguous, most intellectually challenging fairy tale the director has made to date." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Joseph McBride, Gabriel Carneiro, Ted Pigeon, Tom Charity, Bauyrzhan Nogerbek.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
624
593
An Angel at My Table

An Angel at My Table

1990 / New Zealand / 158m / Col / Biography, Psychological Drama
Kerry Fox, Karen Fergusson, Alexia Keogh, K.J. Wilson, Colin McColl, Martyn Sanderson, William Brandt, Peter Dennett, Iris Churn, Melina Bernecker
"With An Angel at My Table, Academy Award–winning filmmaker Jane Campion brings to the screen the harrowing true-life story of Janet Frame, New Zealand’s most distinguished author. The film follows Frame along her inspiring journey, from a poverty-stricken childhood to a misdiagnosis of schizophrenia and electroshock therapy to, finally, international literary fame. Beautifully capturing the color and power of the New Zealand landscape, the film earned Campion a sweep of her country’s film awards and the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Lizzie Francke, Lee Unkrich, Dominique Martinez, Frances Morgan, Keren Yedaya.
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735
Thelma & Louise

Thelma & Louise

1991 / USA / 128m / Col / Road Movie, Buddy Film
Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis, Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen, Christopher McDonald, Stephen Tobolowsky, Brad Pitt, Timothy Carhart, Lucinda Jenney, Jason Beghe
"As the film plunges toward its lacerating climax, some may have conflicting feelings about Thelma and Louise: Are they feminist martyrs or bitches from hell? Neither is the case. They're flesh-and-blood women out to expose the blight of sexism. Khouri's script isn't about rage or revenge; it's about waste. Director Scott, whose films (Alien, Blade Runner) are noted for their slick surface, cuts to the marrow this time. This wincingly funny, pertinent and heartbreaking road movie means to get under your skin, and it does." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Selected by Carol J. Clover, Marit Kapla, Yvonne Tasker, Havana Marking, David Wain.
622
579
The Party

The Party

1968 / USA / 99m / Col / Comedy, Slapstick
Peter Sellers, Claudine Longet, Marge Champion, J. Edward McKinley, Fay McKenzie, Sharron Kimberly, Denny Miller, Gavin MacLeod, Buddy Lester, Corinne Cole
"Blake Edwards effortlessly expands the style and format of a silent two-reel comedy into a feature-length celebration of the sight gag, as Indian bit player Peter Sellers, who has just destroyed a remake of Gunga Din, finds himself at an exclusive party at the Hollywood home of his producer. There are elephants, people falling into swimming pools, and mountains of soapsuds, but somehow the image that lingers in my mind is Sellers feeding “birdie num-nums” to a parrot." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Christoph Huber, Eric Derobert, Grégory Valens, Michaela Boland, Tobias Kniebe.
621
615
White Heat

White Heat

1949 / USA / 114m / BW / Crime, Gangster Film
James Cagney, Virginia Mayo, Edmond O'Brien, Margaret Wycherly, Steve Cochran, John Archer, Paul Guilfoyle, Fred Clark, Wally Cassell, Ford Rainey
"Psychopathic criminal with a mother complex makes a daring break from prison and leads his old gang in a chemical plant payroll heist. Shortly after the plan takes place, events take a crazy turn... With its 13 slayings, White Heat was hot stuff for 1949, prompting Bosley Crowther of the New York Times to declare it was "A cruelly vicious film"… Bridging the gap between the rise-and-fall pictures of the 1930s and the syndicate dramas that would dominate the 1950s, the film ends with a symbolic mushroom cloud, as Cody (Cagney) blows up a gas tank rather than be taken alive… Magnificent examination of the criminal mind and Cagney's finest moment." - David Parkinson, Empire
Selected by Fritz Göttler, Jonathan Kaplan, James Tucker, Richard Schickel, Jacques Goimard.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
620
605
Red Sorghum

Red Sorghum

Hong gao liang (original title)
1987 / China / 91m / Col / Rural Drama, Marriage Drama
Gong Li, Jiang Wen, Teng Rijun, Liu Ji, Cui Cun-hua, Qian Ming, Zhang Yimou
"The stuff of legend, Zhang Yimou's film satisfies both as straight folk tale and as a subversive tribute to the vitality and endurance of Chinese peasant culture… As the film develops, the tone shifts from light to dark, humour giving way to horror and sacrifice with the arrival of Japanese forces. Formerly a cameraman, Zhang fills the 'Scope screen with rich, sensuous images that illuminate and celebrate peasant life (waving sorghum fields, an eclipse of the sun), and uses actors, music and colour in a deeply expressive way. This, his debut as a director, confirms him as one of the finest and most versatile of China's 'Fifth Generation' film-makers." - Wally Hammond, Time Out
Selected by Alexey Medvedev, Han Jie, Yiwen Chen, Wei Te-Sheng, Fruit Chan.
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622
Titanic

Titanic

1997 / USA / 194m / Col / Romantic Epic, Disaster Film
Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Kathy Bates, Frances Fisher, Jonathan Hyde, Danny Nucci, David Warner, Bill Paxton, Bernard Hill
"James Cameron's 194-minute, $200 million film of the tragic voyage is in the tradition of the great Hollywood epics. It is flawlessly crafted, intelligently constructed, strongly acted and spellbinding. If its story stays well within the traditional formulas for such pictures, well, you don't choose the most expensive film ever made as your opportunity to reinvent the wheel... I found myself convinced by both the story and the saga. The setup of the love story is fairly routine, but the payoff--how everyone behaves as the ship is sinking--is wonderfully written, as passengers are forced to make impossible choices." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Javier Porta Fouz, Richard Woolley, Huang Haikun, Jin Jieli, Ching Siu-Tung .
618
614
Songs from the Second Floor

Songs from the Second Floor

Sånger från andra våningen (original title)
2000 / Sweden-France-Denmark-Norway-Germany / 98m / Col / Surrealist Film, Black Comedy
Lars Nordh, Stefan Larsson, Hanna Eriksson, Bengt C.W. Carlsson, Torbjorn Fahlstrom, Sten Andersson, Rolando Nunez, Lucio Vucina, Peter Roth, Klas-Gosta Olsson
"Swedish director Roy Andersson presents us with loosely connected scenes from the end of the world, in a series of bizarre tableaux unfolding in weirdly lucid dream-landscapes of vast plains, endless corridors and vertiginous perspective lines - each scene filmed in one long take from a static camera... Andersson has something of Woody Allen and Terry Gilliam, but with strains of anarchy and melancholy that are unique. Here is a film to try the patience of the non-believer, but astonish everyone else. Some might find it a curate's egg of strangeness. But it's one of the Fabergé variety." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Mike Leigh, Andrew Kotting, Lone Scherfig, Ruben Östlund, Babak Jalali.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
617
575
Le Sang des betes

Le Sang des bêtes

Blood of the Beasts (English title)
1949 / France / 20m / BW / Culture & Society, Documentary
Georges Hubert, Nicole Ladmiral
"Despite the grim content, this description of three abbatoirs is no vegetarian tract. What most fascinates Franju is the inflicting of violent death as a matter of banal 9-to-5 routine. We soon pick up the process: the pickaxe through the skull, the throatcutting, the steaming blood (it's winter) spilling across the stone floor, the hacking and dismembering… The slaughterhouses are placed in geographical context, with Kosma's lilting waltz theme accompanying an evocation of the outskirts of post-war Paris: canals, junk markets, scrubby wasteland. It's a gift of a subject for a surrealist like Franju: an everyday nightmare, at once atrocious and outlandishly beautiful." - Bob Baker, Time Out
Selected by Daniel Kasman, Paula Arantzazu Ruiz, Robert Gardner, Tom Vincent, Jacob Wong.
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660
Miller's Crossing

Miller's Crossing

1990 / USA / 115m / Col / Crime, Gangster Film
Gabriel Byrne, Albert Finney, Marcia Gay Harden, John Turturro, Jon Polito, J.E. Freeman, Mike Starr, Al Mancini, Richard Woods, Steve Buscemi
"Like Blood Simple and Raising Arizona, this works both as a crime thriller and as an ironic commentary on that genre. With fast, sharp, witty dialogue and Byzantine plotting, it charts the gang war between Leo (Finney) and Caspar (Polito) in an American city during Prohibition… It is also a tribute to the crime literature (notably Hammett) and movies of the '30s, artfully poised between 'realism' and a subtle acknowledgment of its own artifice… At times the criss-crossing of abstract motifs recalls the formal complexity of a Greenaway film. It's arguably the US mainstream's first art movie since Days of Heaven; and quite wonderful." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Ferenc Zalaba, Maura McHugh, Colin Quinn, Ruben Fleischer, Gerardo Herrero.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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617
Antonio das Mortes

Antonio das Mortes

O Dragão da Maldade contra o Santo Guerreiro (original title)
1969 / Brazil / 95m / Col / Adventure Drama, Political Drama
Mauricio do Valle, Odete Lara, Hugo Carvana, Lorival Pariz, Othon Bastos, Jofre Soares, Rosa Maria Penna, Emmanuel Cavalcanti, Vinicius Salvatori, Mario Gusmao
"Rocha's sequel to his own Black God, White Devil returns to the Brazilian Sertao in the period after 1940, the key year in which the last of the cangaceiro bandits was killed… This time, though, Rocha completely rejects the elements of realism that made his earlier films particularly obscure: the movie is styled and paced like a Leone Western, and is as flamboyantly operatic as a Jancsó parable. Interestingly, the lack of direct historical references makes the result all the more venomously agitational." - Tony Rayns, Time Out
Selected by David Sterritt, Okubo Ken, Rolando Caputo, Jonathan Demme, Enno Patalas.
614
599
Mother and Son

Mother and Son

Mat i syn (original title)
1997 / Russia-Germany / 73m / Col / Family Drama, Psychological Drama
Aleksei Ananishnov, Gudrun Geyer
"In a mountain cabin, a mother lies dying. Her devoted adult son tries to bring comfort to her final moments. In his arms, he carries his mother into nature for their last walks together. Despairing, he takes a walk alone onto mountain paths. That's all. Expect a flushed-out story and you'll be frustrated. Agree to be transported into a cloistered netherworld of mountains-and-valleys greenery and Sokurov's film is something else! It's an extraordinary trip to a terrain of hushed mystery bobbing below your consciousness. Using anamorphic camera lenses in groundbreaking ways, Sokurov creates one of the most painterly features of all times." - Gerald Peary, Boston Phoenix
Selected by Carlos Reygadas, Fran Gayo, Henk Camping, Martin Kanuch, Rada Sesic.
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699
The Fly

The Fly

1986 / USA / 100m / Col / Science Fiction, Horror
Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz, Joy Boushel, Les Carlson, George Chuvalo, David Cronenberg, Michael Copeman, Carol Lazare, Shawn Hewitt
"'What am I working on? I'm working on something that will change the world and human life as we know it!' So Seth Brundle (Goldblum) promises in the opening line of Cronenberg's inspired remake… This is a film about fusion. That of man and insect, of course; but also the emotional and physical fusion between man and woman - liberating and painful as that may be. The playful, quirky chemistry between Goldblum and Davis in the first half of the movie ensures that this gothic horror is heartbreaking as well as stomach-churning (the special effects by Chris Walas are still staggering)." - Tom Charity, Time Out
Selected by Roger Donaldson, Kleber Mendonça Filho, Cüneyt Cebenoyan, Hassan Hosseini, Daniel M. Kimmel.
612
563
Lancelot du Lac

Lancelot du Lac

Lancelot of the Lake (English title)
1974 / France-Italy / 84m / Col / Drama, Period Film
Luc Simon, Laura Duke Condominas, Humbert Balsan, Vladimir Antolek-Oresek, Patrick Bernhard, Arthur De Montalembert, Charles Balsan, Christian Schlumberger, Joseph-Patrick Le Quidre, Jean-Paul Leperlier
"This is the Arthurian legend stripped bare, spotlighting the characters' cruelty, pride, and the aching need for human affection. Bresson's shooting style has always been bare, and he manipulates his small inventory of images and sounds with masterful ease. The tournament provides a virtuoso example: the cameras mostly stick with the horses' feet or the jousters' weapons, and refuse to show us the whole spectacle… It's stunningly beautiful, mesmerising, exhausting, uplifting, amazing - all the things you could possibly expect from a masterpiece." - Geoff Brown, Time Out
Selected by Michael Haneke, Amit Dutta, Andrew Lampert, William E. Jones, Catherine Breillat.
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632
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Loong Boonmee raleuk chat (original title)
2010 / Thailand-UK-France-Germany-Spain-Netherlands / 113m / Col / Avant-garde-Experimental, Fantasy Drama
Thanapat Saisaymar, Jenjira Pongpas, Sakda Kaewbuadee, Natthakam Aphaiwonk, Geerasak Kulhong, Kanokporn Tongaram, Matthieu Ly, Vien Pimdee
"Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Thai movie has a cumbersome title, but it is a gloriously worthy winner of the Palme d'Or... This is a visionary film in the director's characteristic style: mysterious, dreamlike, gentle, quiet, magical. It has elements that are at first glance absurd, and at second or third glance, too, come to that. But they are beguiling and beautiful as well: the extended, wordless opening sequence in which a water buffalo appears to break free from its rope and roam the plains and forests of north-east Thailand at dusk is superbly filmed." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Nigel Andrews, Jean-Michel Frodon, Cui Zi'en, Gonçalo Tocha, Isamu Hirabayashi.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
610
587
All Quiet on the Western Front

All Quiet on the Western Front

1930 / USA / 133m / BW / War Drama, Anti-War Film
Lew Ayres, Louis Wolheim, John Wray, Slim Summerville, Russell Gleason, Ben Alexander, William Bakewell, Scott Kolk, Walter Rogers, Owen Davis Jr.
"Anti-war statements of the cinema in the subsequent 80 years have occasionally surpassed Milestone's technically and artistically groundbreaking film, but few can match it for relentless despair or elemental fury… Through both the refreshingly unsubtle rendering of its anti-war themes and a pre-Searchers doorway motif that suggests that we view these events as if from naïve, domesticated eyes, Milestone's film eschews the typically visceral nature of on-screen action, instead supplanting it with a sickening monotony that borders on nauseating, the camera often down in the dirt and mud with the men and every thunderous explosion as shuddering and final as the last." - Rob Humanick, Slant Magazine
Selected by Ronald Neame, Fred Zinnemann, Barthélemy Amengual, Vittorio De Seta, William Wyler.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
609
590
The Idiots

The Idiots

Idioterne (original title)
1998 / Denmark-Spain-Sweden-France-Netherlands-Italy / 117m / Col / Comedy Drama, Satire
Bodil Jorgensen, Jens Albinus, Anne Louise Hassing, Troels Lyby, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Louise Mieritz, Henrik Prip, Luis Mesonero, Knud Romer Jorgensen, Trine Michelsen
"Often looking rather like a filmed acting workshop, von Trier's first movie made according to the back-to-basics 'Dogma 95' manifesto centres on the emotional and social dynamics of a group of people who, for various reasons, go around pretending to be mentally and/or physically handicapped… Emotionally and intellectually, the movie never quite delivers on its promise, and the frequent views of the boom, the shadow of the camera crew and so forth are irritating distractions (manifesto or not, this is not 'pure' cinema), but it is consistently intriguing, involving, and finally quite unlike anything else." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Ruben Östlund, Mani Haghighi, Anton Dolin, Miroslaw Przylipiak, Noah Cowan.
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644
Loves of a Blonde

Loves of a Blonde

Lásky jedné plavovlásky (original title); A Blonde in Love (alternative title)
1965 / Czechoslovakia / 88m / BW / Comedy Drama, Satire
Hana Brejchova, Vladimir Pucholt, Vladimir Mensik, Antonin Blazejovsky, Milada Jezkova, Josef Sebanek, Ivan Kheil, Jiri Hruby, Marie Salacova, Jana Novakova
"With sixteen women to each man, the odds are against Andula in her desperate search for love—that is, until a rakish piano player visits her small factory town and temporarily eases her longings. A tender and humorous look at Andula’s journey, from the first pangs of romance to its inevitable disappointments, Loves of a Blonde immediately became a classic of the Czech New Wave and earned Milos Forman the first of his Academy Award nominations." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Ken Loach, Jamie Thraves, Martin Kanuch, Arnost Lustig, Les Blair.
607
603
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Moy drug Ivan Lapshin (original title)
1986 / USSR / 100m / Col-BW / Police Drama, Period Film
Andrei Boltnev, Nina Ruslanova, Andrei Mironov, Aleksei Zharkov, Zinaida Adamovich, Aleksandr Filippenko, Yuri Kuznetsov, Valeri Filonov, Anatoli Slivnikov, Andrei Dudarenko
"Gherman's masterly film (his third) is framed as an autobiographical reminiscence of the 1930s, just before the Stalinist terror began to bite. Through the eyes of a nine-year-old we watch episodes from the life of a small town police chief… Gherman's methods are resolutely observational and low key, and his subject is the lull before the storm; the drama emerges as if by accident from a collage of resonant and deeply felt scenes from day-to-day life. Wonderfully vivid performances and amazingly original camerawork (mostly in elegantly faded monochrome) bring a vanished world to life with complete conviction." - Tony Rayns, Time Out
Selected by John Powers, Julian Graffy, Alexei Popogrebsky, Anton Dolin, Radu Jude.
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Local Hero

Local Hero

1983 / UK / 111m / Col / Comedy, Comedy of Manners
Burt Lancaster, Peter Riegert, Denis Lawson, Fulton Mackay, Peter Capaldi, Rikki Fulton, Jenny Seagrove, Jennifer Black, Christopher Rozycki, John Gordon Sinclair
"Local Hero, which concerns the frustrations of a Texas oilman's attempts to buy up an idyllic Scottish village, ranks as a lyrical anti-urban comedy in the great tradition of films like I Know Where I'm Going and Whisky Galore!; and its essential triumph is to prove that comedy can still contain a gentle, almost mystical, aspect without necessarily being old-fashioned. The film achieves this best in its superb sense of location and the haunting contrast between Texas and Scotland." - David Pirie, Time Out
Selected by Cameron Crowe, Jane Lamacraft, Niki Caro, Ted Bonnitt, Antonia Bird.
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Amelie

Amélie

Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain (original title)
2001 / France-Germany / 122m / Col / Romance, Comedy
Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus, Lorella Cravotta, Serge Merlin, Jamel Debbouze, Claire Maurier, Clotilde Mollet, Yolande Moreau, Flora Guiet
"Basically a faux new-wave romp, Amélie achieves a high-tech remix of the playful narrative digressions in François Truffaut's Shoot the Piano Player and the prolix sight gags of Louis Malle's Zazie Dans le Metro. Jeunet loves nothing better than a pell-mell, wide-angle track into an open screaming mouth. Although there's a surfeit of business—thunderous cuts, convulsive white-outs, split screens, interpolated newsreels, X-ray shots, annotated frames, exaggerated sound effects—much of it is funny. Indeed, the manic pace serves to mitigate the movie's cloying sentimentality." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Hind Mezaina, Jean-Marc Vallée, Richard Woolley, Raymond Lee, Xu Yuan.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
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Elephant

Elephant

2003 / USA / 81m / Col / Drama, Ensemble Film
Alex Frost, Eric Deulen, John Robinson, Elias McConnell, Jordan Taylor, Carrie Finklea, Nicole George, Timothy Bottoms, Matt Malloy, Larry Laverty
"Elephant is a poetic disaster film that audaciously addresses the subject of American high school shootings. It was inspired by the 1999 Columbine massacre but incorporates details from other incidents, treating the material with a combination of bold aestheticism and documentary whimsy. Expertly shot by Harris Savides in the boxy 1.33:1 standard TV aspect ratio, the spectacle is designed for maximum glide—a film of long traveling shots over complex sound bridges. Less staged than unfurled, the narrative is essentially anecdotal. Characters are introduced as they hobnob in their school's cafeteria or pass through its sterile corridors." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Charity Wakefield, Antonio Termenini, Chiara Borroni, Stig Bjorkman, Wang Xiaoshuai.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
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The Age of Innocence

The Age of Innocence

1993 / USA / 133m / Col / Period Film, Romantic Drama
Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Winona Ryder, Alexis Smith, Geraldine Chaplin, Richard E. Grant, Alec McCowen, Mary Beth Hurt, Miriam Margolyes, Michael Gough
"The Age of Innocence is one of Scorsese's greatest films, improperly appreciated because, like Kundun (1997), it stands outside the main line of his work. Its story of a man of tradition who spends a lifetime of unrequited love resembles one of Scorsese's favorite films, Michael Powell's The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp... The film ends with a sense of loss, sadness and resignation, reminding me of the elegiac feeling in Orson Welles' The Magnificent Ambersons."- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Roberta Ciabarra, Heddy Honigmann, Luca Malavasi, Valentina Alfonsi, Sergio F. Pinilla.
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Bande a part

Bande à part

Band of Outsiders (English title)
1964 / France / 97m / BW / Drama, Crime Drama
Anna Karina, Claude Brasseur, Sami Frey, Louisa Colpeyn, Chantal Darget, Michel Delahaye, Daniele Girard, Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Makovski, Ernest Menzer
"Band of Outsiders is the Godard film for people who don't much care for Godard: a proto-slacker mood piece about two nondescript guys trying to persuade a beautiful girl to help them commit a robbery. Adapted from Dolores Hitchens's Fools' Gold, an American '50s crime novel published in France as part of the pulp Série Noire, it's more Renoir than Fuller—the least preoccupied with American culture of any of Godard's '60s films." - Amy Taubin, The Village Voice
Selected by Billy Chainsaw, Joshua Clover, Kaleem Aftab, Jean-Claude Brisseau, Jonathan Levine.
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The Holy Mountain

The Holy Mountain

1973 / Mexico-USA / 114m / Col / Avant-garde-Experimental, Surrealist Film
Alejandro Jodorowsky, Horacio Salinas, Zamira Saunders, Juan Ferrara, Adriana Page, Burt Kleiner, Valerie Jodorowsky, Nicky Nichols, Richard Rutowski, Luis Lomeli
"Jodorowsky finally earned his reputation as '70s cinema's mystic of mayhem with the big-budget 1973 folly The Holy Mountain, a scabrous satire of organized religion that follows a Christ figure, his disciples, and their bloody quest for the home of the gods… Witty, disgusting, eye-popping, and incomprehensible, The Holy Mountain is every bit as pop-philosophical as Jodorowsky's earlier work, but it also contains original visual ideas nearly every 30 seconds… It's all in service of a typically Jodorowskian call to action, urging us to abandon fantasy and embrace reality. But when fantasies are as sumptuous as The Holy Mountain, who'd ever want to leave?" - Noel Murray, A.V. Club
Selected by Jonathan Caouette, Anton Bitel, Jean-Stephane Sauvaire, Joko Anwar, Simon Rumley.