Peter Lorre, Otto Wernicke, Ellen Widmann, Gustaf Grundgens, Theodor Loos, Inge Landgut, Theo Lingen, Georg John, Ernst Stahl-Nachbaur, Paul Kemp
"A simple, haunting musical phrase whistled offscreen tells us that a young girl will be killed. “Who Is the Murderer?” pleads a nearby placard as serial killer Hans Beckert (Lorre) closes in on little Elsie Beckmann… In his harrowing masterwork M, Fritz Lang merges trenchant social commentary with chilling suspense, creating a panorama of private madness and public hysteria that to this day remains the blueprint for the psychological thriller." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Béla Tarr, Bernard Eisenschitz, Jean-Michel Frodon, Jørgen Leth, Kristin Thompson.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Tom Skerritt, Sally Kellerman, Robert Duvall, Jo Ann Pflug, Rene Auberjonois, Gary Burghoff, Fred Williamson, John Schuck
"Robert Altman's commercial breakthrough after more than 20 years of industrial films and TV work felt like a joyous shout of liberation, not just for its director but for the film industry in general. M*A*S*H was proudly, gleefully, gloriously rude as few previous Hollywood films had dared to be, not just in using four-letter words but also in a hilariously casual disrespect for religion, the military, American foreign policy, and authority as a whole… If you know M*A*S*H as a TV series and not as a film, prepare yourself for a shock; there is nothing warm and fuzzy about this movie, which makes its bitter humor all the more effective." - Mark Deming, All Movie
Selected by Duncan Jones, Scott Von Doviak, Michel Hazanavicius, Rokuro Mochizuki, Helmut Fiebig.
Mad Max 2
Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Vernon Wells, Emil Minty, Mike Preston, Kjell Nilsson, Virginia Hey, Syd Heylen, Moira Claux, David Slingsby
"George Miller's 1981 sequel to his 1980 sleeper, Mad Max. Set in a postapocalyptic Australia, where nomadic tribes battle each other for precious gasoline, it's a highly stylized, roaringly dynamic action film that shuns plot and characterization in favor of a crazy iconographical melange—it's like the work of a western punk trucker de Sade… For pure rhythm and visual panache, Miller has few real competitors; the climactic chase, with its deft variation of tempo and point of view, is a minor masterpiece." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Michael Koller, Sean Baker, Zack Snyder, Guillermo del Toro, Robert Rodriguez.
Danielle Darrieux, Charles Boyer, Vittorio De Sica, Mireille Perrey, Jean Debucourt, Lia de Lea, Jean Galland, Serge Lecointe, Hubert Noel, Leon Walther
"French master Max Ophuls’s most cherished work, The Earrings of Madame de… is an emotionally profound, cinematographically adventurous tale of false opulence and tragic romance. When the aristocratic woman known only as Madame de (the extraordinary Danielle Darrieux) sells her earrings, unbeknownst to her husband (Boyer), in order to pay personal debts, she sets off a chain reaction, the financial and carnal consequences of which can only end in despair. Ophuls adapts Louise de Vilmorin’s incisive fin de siècle novel with virtuosic camera work so elegant and precise it’s been called the equal to that of Orson Welles." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Kenneth Turan, Michel Ciment, Molly Haskell, Albert Serra, Tag Gallagher.
Mädchen in Uniform
1931 / Germany / 98m / BW / Psychological Drama, Coming-of-Age
Dorothea Wieck, Hertha Thiele, Ellen Schwanneke, Emilia Unda, Hedwig Schlichter, Gertrud de Lalsky, Erika Mann
"A key early German talkie: a powerful melodrama about life in a Prussian boarding school for the daughters of the bourgeoisie - a bastion of the ideology of 'strength through suffering'. The plot mechanics are predictable - unhappy pupil with crush on housemistress is driven to attempt suicide - but the atmosphere and sensitivity to teenage fears are not: stage actress Leontine Sagan brings an exceptionally warm touch to her depiction of female friendships, and her denunciation of the Prussian orthodoxy is more a matter of subtle imagery than shrill accusations." - Tony Rayns, Time Out
Selected by Ali Smith, Yvonne Rainer, Barbara Hammer, Andrea Weiss, Richard Dyer.
The Magnificent Ambersons
Joseph Cotten, Dolores Costello, Agnes Moorehead, Anne Baxter, Tim Holt, Ray Collins, Richard Bennett, Erskine Sanford, J. Louis Johnson, Donald Dillaway
"It was a much better picture than Kane—if they'd just left it as it was," Welles famously told Peter Bogdanovich decades later. But even still, The Magnificent Ambersons is a pretty sensational movie. The film language is more fluid and adept than Kane's, the expressionist lighting is more rigorously modulated. The astonishingly choreographed Christmas ball that serves to introduce the major characters is arguably the greatest set piece of Welles's career. The highly rehearsed ensemble, which complemented a contingent of Mercury Theater regulars with RKO cowhand Tim Holt, retired silent star Dolores Costello, and then-unknown Anne Baxter, is sensational." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Armond White, Carlos F. Heredero, John McNaughton, Joseph McBride, Kent Jones.
Tom Cruise, Julianne Moore, Jason Robards, Melinda Dillon, Philip Baker Hall, Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy, Luis Guzman, Alfred Molina, Michael Murphy
"Magnolia is operatic in its ambition, a great, joyous leap into melodrama and coincidence, with ragged emotions, crimes and punishments, deathbed scenes, romantic dreams, generational turmoil and celestial intervention, all scored to insistent music. It is not a timid film. Paul Thomas Anderson here joins Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich), David O. Russell (Three Kings) and their master, Martin Scorsese (Bringing Out the Dead), in championing an extroverted self-confidence that rejects the timid post-modernism of the 1990s. These are not movies that apologize for their exuberance, or shield themselves with irony against suspicions of sincerity." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Destin Daniel Cretton, Joss Whedon, David Michôd, Xavier Dolan, Joss Whedon.
Les Maîtres fous
"One of the guiding spirits of the French New Wave, ethnographic filmmaker Jean Rouch directed this 1955 documentary on the annual ceremony of Hauku priests and initiates in colonial Gold Coast (before it became Ghana). A masterpiece that exerted a strong influence on Jean Genet's play The Blacks, the film shows the Hauku performers impersonating their colonial rulers in the midst of their trances and animal sacrifices; Rouch's handling of this ceremony in relation to the performers' everyday lives as workers in nearby Accra is both authoritative and potent." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Nelson Pereira dos Santos, Cristina Nord, Henry Bean, Werner Herzog, Christoph Huber.
Make Way for Tomorrow
Victor Moore, Beulah Bondi, Fay Bainter, Thomas Mitchell, Porter Hall, Barbara Read, Maurice Moscovich, Elisabeth Risdon, Minna Gombell, Louise Beavers
"Leo McCarey’s Make Way for Tomorrow is one of the great unsung Hollywood masterpieces, an enormously moving Depression-era depiction of the frustrations of family, aging, and the generation gap. Victor Moore and Beulah Bondi headline a cast of incomparable character actors, starring as an elderly couple who must move in with their grown children after the bank takes their home, yet end up separated and subject to their offspring’s selfish whims. An inspiration for Ozu’s Tokyo Story, Make Way for Tomorrow is among American cinema’s purest tearjerkers, all the way to its unflinching ending, which McCarey refused to change despite studio pressure." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Dave Kehr, Pierre Rissient, Errol Morris, Filipe Furtado, Isaac León Frías.
The Maltese Falcon
Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Sydney Greenstreet, Gladys George, Peter Lorre, Barton MacLane, Elisha Cook Jr., Lee Patrick, Ward Bond, Jerome Cowan
"Huston's first film displays the hallmarks that were to distinguish his later work: the mocking attitude toward human greed; the cavalier insolence with which plot details are treated almost as asides; the delight in bizarre characterisations,… What makes it a prototype film noir is the vein of unease missing from the two earlier versions of Hammett's novel. Filmed almost entirely in interiors, it presents a claustrophobic world animated by betrayal, perversion and pain." - Tom Milne, Time Out
Selected by Geoff Dyer, Jørgen Leth, Klaus Kreimeier, Manthia Diawara, Charles Burnett.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
A Man Escaped
Francois Leterrrier, Charles LeClainche, Maurice Beerblock, Roland Monod, Jacques Ertaud, Roger Treherne, Jean-Paul Delhumeau, Jean-Philippe Delamarre, Cesar Gattegno, Jacques Oerlemans
"This stately yet uncommonly gripping 1956 feature is my choice as the greatest achievement of Robert Bresson, one of the cinema's foremost artists. The best of all prison-escape movies, it reconstructs the very notion of freedom through offscreen sounds and defines salvation in terms of painstakingly patient and meticulous effort. Bresson himself spent part of the war in an internment camp and subsequently lived through the German occupation of France, experiences that inform his magisterial grasp of what the concentrated use of sound and image can reveal about souls in hiding. Essential viewing." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Jean-Marie Straub, Hong Sang-soo, Carlos Reygadas, Kevin Jackson, Michael Atkinson.
Man of Aran
Colman "Tiger" King, Maggie Dillane, Michael Dillane, Pat Mullin, Patch Ruadh, Patcheen Faherty, Tommy O'Rourke, "Big Patcheen" Conneely, Stephen Dirrane, Pat McDonough
"Produced over two and a half years on the Aran Islands, Man of Aran studies a battered community that epitomizes the struggle between man and nature… Against the barren rocks and crashing waves, Man of Aran celebrates survival and resilience under punishing conditions, as the islanders dig through crevices for precious soil, fish from towering cliff faces, and battle a massive basking shark for two days, just to render enough oil for their lamps. In stark and pictorially ravishing terms, the film depicts man's heroic relationship with the environment–an unpredictable and merciless source of sustenance, peril, and unvarnished beauty." - Scott Tobias, A.V. Club
Selected by Andrei Ujica, Vladimir Carvalho, Jeff Masino, Sadullo Rakhimov, Vittorio De Seta.
The Man Who Fell to Earth
David Bowie, Rip Torn, Candy Clark, Buck Henry, Bernie Casey, Jackson D. Kane, Rick Riccardo, Tony Mascia, Linda Hutton, Hilary Holland
"The Man Who Fell to Earth is a daring exploration of science fiction as an art form. The story of an alien on an elaborate rescue mission provides the launching pad for Nicolas Roeg’s visual tour de force, a formally adventurous examination of alienation in contemporary life. Rock legend David Bowie, in his acting debut, completely embodies the title role, while Candy Clark, Buck Henry, and Rip Torn turn in pitch-perfect supporting performances." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Ted Bonnitt, Tom Milne, Mike Hodges, Kobena Mercer, Mike Figgis.
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
James Stewart, John Wayne, Vera Miles, Lee Marvin, Edmond O'Brien, Andy Devine, Woody Strode, Jeanette Nolan, John Carradine, Ken Murray
"A great film, rich in thought and feeling, composed in rhythms that vary from the elegiac to the spontaneous. This 1962 western flaunts its artificiality, both in its use of studio interiors and in the casting of an aging James Stewart as a young, idealistic lawyer who comes to the frontier. For some, the stylization is a crippling flaw, but I find it sublime: the film takes place, through elegant flashbacks, in a past that is remembered more than lived; essences are projected over particulars." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by John McNaughton, Richard Combs, José Luis Garci, Jesús Franco, A.O. Scott.
The Man Who Would Be King
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—muscular, 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 Adam McKay, David S. Goyer, Carlos Boyero, Toni Vall, Mike Hodges.
The Man with a Movie Camera
"An analytical account of the State of the (Soviet) Union at a crucial transitional stage, this is one of the most seminal and therefore controversial films in the history of cinema. Vertov's exhilarating and often hilarious exploration of the relations between cinema, actuality and history opened up all the issues Godard, the avant-gardes, and political film-makers have been wrestling with ever since. The film cannot easily be slotted into any single tradition, because it poses all the questions about the status of representation which dominant cinema represses. A truly radical and liberating work." - Peter Watts, Time Out
Selected by Amy Taubin, Adriano Aprà, Alexander Horwath, Esteve Riambau, B. Ruby Rich.
The Manchurian Candidate
Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, Angela Lansbury, Henry Silva, James Gregory, Leslie Parrish, John McGiver, Khigh Dhiegh, James Edwards
"Seen today, The Manchurian Candidate feels astonishingly contemporary; its astringent political satire still bites, and its story has uncanny contemporary echoes… The Manchurian Candidate is inventive and frisky, takes enormous chances with the audience, and plays not like a "classic" but as a work as alive and smart as when it was first released. "It may be," Pauline Kael wrote at the time, "the most sophisticated satire ever made in Hollywood." Yes, because it satirizes no particular target -- left, right, foreign, domestic -- but the very notion that politics can be taken at face value." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Mike Newell, Martin Campbell, F. Gary Gray, Dávid Klág, Colin Trevorrow.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Michael Murphy, Mariel Hemingway, Meryl Streep, Anne Byrne, Karen Ludwig, Michael O'Donoghue, Victor Truro, Tisa Farrow
"Filmed by Gordon Willis in Panavision on Technicolor stock that was printed in monochrome, this is not just Allen's most beautiful film. It's also the most personal… Typically, the critics chose to castigate Allen for choosing a 17 year-old blonde (Hemingway) as his soulmate. But she symbolises the energy and excitement that Isaac had forgotten existed within Manhattan and her parting exhortion to have faith in people is the solution to his emotional and artistic crises. One of Woody's most aesthetically gorgeous films as well as his classic love-hate letter to the city of his soul." - David Parkinson, Empire
Selected by Kenneth Branagh, Greg Mottola, Pen-Ek Ratanaruang, Mike D'Angelo, Martin McDonagh.
Josef Kemr, Magda Vasaryova, Nada Hejna, Jaroslav Moucka, Frantisek Velecky, Karel Vasicek, Ivan Paluch, Martin Mrazek, Vaclev Sloup, Pavla Polaskova
"An epic medieval meditation, filmed at some length from a purportedly unfilmable novel by Vladislav Vancura. Acting out the intrigue, suspicion and bloodlust of 13th century tribal rivalry, the plot, such as it is, is wilfully wayward and often close to impenetrable. As 'pure cinema', though, it's stark, daring and often astoundingly dynamic. Black and white 'Scope camerawork surveys a cruel, desolate landscape of plains, castles and forests populated by scavenging strays, strugglers, tyrants and wolf-men, while an eerily evocative sound design gives the picture a near hallucinatory quality." - Nick Bradshaw, Time Out
Selected by Agnieszka Holland, Garin Nugroho, Peter Hames, Hans-Michael Bock, Karel Och.
Sean Connery, Tippi Hedren, Diane Baker, Martin Gabel, Louise Latham, Alan Napier, Mariette Hartley, Bruce Dern, Bob Sweeney, Milton Selzer
"Universally despised on its first release, Marnie remains one of Alfred Hitchcock's greatest and darkest achievements… The examination of sexual power plays surpasses Fassbinder's films, which Marnie thematically resembles, going beyond a simple dichotomy of strength and weakness into a dense, shifting field of masochism, class antagonism, religious transgression, and the collective unconscious. The mise-en-scene tends toward a painterly abstraction, as Hitchcock employs powerful masses, blank colors, and studiously unreal, spatially distorted settings. Theme and technique meet on the highest level of film art." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Andrew Dominik, Richard Brody, Chris Fujiwara, David Meeker, Fritz Göttler.
Top 25 North American Films
1. Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)
2. Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
3. The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)
4. Sunrise (F.W. Murnau, 1927)
5. The Searchers (John Ford, 1956)
6. Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)
7. Singin' in the Rain (Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly, 1952)
8. Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976)
9. The Godfather Part II (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)
10. Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese, 1980)
11. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
12. City Lights (Charles Chaplin, 1931)
13. Touch of Evil (Orson Welles, 1958)
14. Some Like it Hot (Billy Wilder, 1959)
15. Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942)
16. The General (Buster Keaton & Clyde Bruckman, 1926)
17. Sunset Blvd. (Billy Wilder, 1950)
18. Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982)
19. Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954)
20. The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955)
21. Modern Times (Charles Chaplin, 1936)
22. Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974)
23. The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960)
24. North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959)
25. Rio Bravo (Howard Hawks, 1959)
The Marriage of Maria Braun
Hanna Schygulla, Klaus Lowitsch, Ivan Desny, Gisela Uhlen, Elisabeth Trissenaar, Gottfried John, Hark Bohm, George Byrd, Claus Holm, Gunter Lamprecht
"Maria (Schygulla) marries Hermann Braun in the last days of World War II, only to have him disappear in the war. Alone, Maria uses her beauty and ambition to prosper in Germany’s “economic miracle” of the 1950’s. Fassbinder’s biggest international box-office success and the first part of his “postwar trilogy,” The Marriage of Maria Braun is a heartbreaking study of a woman picking herself up from the ruins of her own life, as well as a pointed metaphorical attack on a society determined to forget its past." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Thomas Elsaesser, Brad Deane, Maria Ulfsak, Matthew Maniaci, Monika Treut.
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, Paul Schrader, Mehmet Açar.
The Match Factory Girl
Kati Outinen, Elina Salo, Esko Nikkari, Vesa Vierikko, Reijo Taipale, Silu Seppala, Outi Maenpaa, Marja Packalen, Richard Reitinger, Helka Viljanen
"Kaurismäki took his penchant for despairing character studies to unspeakably grim depths in the shockingly entertaining The Match Factory Girl. Kati Outinen is memorably impenetrable as Iris, whose grinding days as a cog in a factory wheel, and nights as a neglected daughter living with her parents, ultimately send her over the edge. Yet despite her transgressions, Kaurismäki makes Iris a compelling, even sympathetic figure." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Andreas Dresen, Eulàlia Iglesias Huix, M.K. Raghavendra, Lenny Abrahamson, Ulrich Gregor.
Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Joe Pantoliano, Gloria Foster, Marcus Chong, Julian Arahanga, Matt Doran, Belinda McClory
"The Matrix is just one big, fat, honking comic book of a sci-fi-martial-arts adventure flick. It goes over the top, comes back around the bottom and then back over the top again. It has stu-freakin'-pendous special effects, hipster sang-froid out the wazoo and a story line that makes only as much sense as it has to… Kudos to production designer Owen Paterson and comic-book artist Geof Darrow for their angular techno-grunge world of black leather, sunglasses after dark and tentacled machines. Mucho kudos to Hong Kong fight coordinator Yuen Wo Ping for his wire-stunt expertise that makes the actors fly through the air like a bunch of angry, buff marionettes." - Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post
Selected by Joss Whedon, Anjelika Artyukh, Fernando Solorzano, Gulnara Abikeyeva, Sek Kei.
A Matter of Life and Death
David Niven, Kim Hunter, Roger Livesey, Robert Coote, Marius Goring, Raymond Massey, Abraham Sofaer, Kathleen Byron, Richard Attenborough, Bonar Colleano
"Of all the films Powell and Pressburger made together, A Matter of Life and Death was Powell's favorite. Playful and profound, witty and carefully crafted, it distills the greatest of Powell's artistic gifts and celebrates, with an occasional self-conscious wink, the possibilities of film… Powell never allows A Matter of Life and Death to get wordy or ponderous, and never succumbs to the kind of sentimentality that Frank Capra evoked in It's a Wonderful Life. It's his vivid pleasure in his work -- his infatuation with film, his impeccable sense of color, and the warmth and cleverness of his and Pressburger's script -- that come through strongest." - Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle
Selected by Ian Christie, Anne Billson, Graham Fuller, Kevin Jackson, Mark Kermode.
McCabe & Mrs. Miller
Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, Rene Auberjonois, John Schuck, Keith Carradine, Hugh Millais, Shelley Duvall, Michael Murphy, William Devane, Bert Remsen
"Robert Altman has made a dozen films that can be called great in one way or another, but one of them is perfect, and that one is McCabe & Mrs. Miller. This is one of the saddest films I have ever seen, filled with a yearning for love and home that will not ever come -- not for McCabe, not with Mrs. Miller, not in the town of Presbyterian Church, which cowers under a gray sky always heavy with rain or snow. The film is a poem--an elegy for the dead." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Ryan Gilbey, A.O. Scott, Athina Rachel Tsangari, Bill Gosden, Dominique Martinez.
Harvey Keitel, Robert De Niro, David Proval, Amy Robinson, Richard Romanus, Cesare Danova, Robert Carradine, David Carradine, Victor Argo, George Memmoli
"The definitive New York movie, and one of the few to successfully integrate rock music into the structure of film… Mean Streets is also pure Italian-American. Charlie (Keitel), a punk on the fringes of 'respectable' organised crime, ponders his adolescent confusions and loyalties. Beneath the swagger, he's embarrassed by his work, his religion, and by women and his friends, particularly Johnny Boy (De Niro), who owes everyone money. Scorsese directs with a breathless, head-on energy which infuses the performances, the sharp fast talk, the noise, neon and violence with a charge of adrenalin. One of the best American films of the decade." - Chris Petit, Time Out
Selected by Antoine Fuqua, Kathryn Bigelow, Catherine Hardwicke, Larry Clark, Nicoletta Romeo.
Meet Me in St. Louis
Judy Garland, Margaret O'Brien, Leon Ames, Mary Astor, Lucille Bremer, June Lockhart, Tom Drake, Marjorie Main, Harry Davenport, Hank Daniels
"Vincente Minnelli created one of his masterpieces with this loosely plotted but tightly structured 1944 story of a middle-class family waiting through spring, summer, and fall for the opening of the Saint Louis World's Fair of 1904. One of the first films to integrate musical numbers into the plot, it explores, without condescension or simplemindedness, the feelings that drive the family members apart and then bring them back together again. And there's the sublime Minnellian spectacle of Judy Garland singing "The Trolley Song," "The Boy Next Door," and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." A great film." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Miguel Gomes, Paul Julian Smith, Philip French, Richard Dyer, Ali Smith.
Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Alexander Skarsgard, Brady Corbet, Cameron Spurr, Charlotte Rampling, Jesper Christensen, John Hurt, Stellan Skarsgard, Udo Kier
"A mysterious planet heads straight for earth, threatening to destroy all human life. The same premise has animated numerous sci-fi adventures, but this elegant drama by Danish writer-director Lars von Trier (Dogville, Antichrist) applies it to more philosophical ends. Von Trier came up with the idea after his shrink pointed out to him that depressed people often react more calmly to a crisis than happy ones, because they already understand that life is nasty, brutish, and short… Apocalyptic visions are nothing new in cinema, but they're almost always epic in scale; Von Trier's innovation is to peer down the large end of the telescope, observing the end of the world in painfully intimate terms. " - J.R. Jones, Chicago Reader
Selected by Nigel Andrews, Stig Bjorkman, Angelina Nikonova, Jytte Jensen, David Sorfa.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, Mark Boone Jr., Stephen Tobolowsky, Harriet Sansom Harris, Callum Keith Rennie, Larry Holden, Russ Fega, Jorja Fox
"From the start — and cheers here to Wally Pfister's camerawork and Dody Dorn's editing — this jolting jigsaw puzzle of a movie grabs you and won't let go… Memento is a movie that demands we trust no one. In only his second film, after 1999's Following, Nolan stages scenes of dizzying suspense that resonate with raw emotion. His reverse action isn't a trick — it's a way to put us inside Leonard's head… Nolan leaps into the wild blue and dares us to leap with him. Go for it." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Selected by Lisa Mullen, Mike D'Angelo, Laslo Rojas, James Frazier, Victor J. Morton.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
Memories of Underdevelopment
Sergio Corrieri, Daisy Granados, Eslinda Nunez, Omar Valdes, Rene de la Cruz, Yolanda Farr, Ofelia Gonzalez, Jose Gil Abad, Daniel Jordan, Beatriz Ponchora
"Memories of Underdevelopment is a dazzling piece of work, not just for its political bravery and relentlessly challenging outlook. It’s also a sly and witty but still heartfelt character study, with moments of real warmth glittering amid the revolutionary rubble. With the phrase ‘developing country’ now arbitrarily applied to approximately two thirds of the globe, Alea’s clear-sighted examination of what it means to be ‘developed’, both personally and politically, feels more apposite than ever… One of the true greats of radical cinema." - Tom Huddleston, Time Out
Selected by B. Ruby Rich, Walter Salles, Pablo Stoll, Abé Mark Nornes, Ambrosio Fornet.
Meshes of the Afternoon
Maya Deren, Alexander Hammid
"Meshes of the Afternoon launched the American avant-garde film movement after World War II. Made in collaboration by Maya Deren and her husband Alexander Hammid, the film depicts a woman's imaginative dream and the way it eventually destroys the woman herself… Meshes is a landmark film that has provided an important model, setting the tone and style for other individual efforts over the next decade… The film consequently inspired poetic self-exploratory films by such other filmmakers as Kenneth Anger, Stan Brakhage, and Willard Maas." - Lauren Rabinovitz, Film Reference
Selected by Tom Gunning, Adam Hyman, Carolina López Caballero, David E. James, Ekkehard Knörer.
Alfred Abel, Gustav Frohlich, Brigitte Helm, Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Fritz Rasp, Theodor Loos, Erwin Biswanger, Heinrich George, Olaf Storm, Hans Leo Reich
"The movie has a plot that defies common sense, but its very discontinuity is a strength. It makes Metropolis hallucinatory--a nightmare without the reassurance of a steadying story line. Few films have ever been more visually exhilarating… Metropolis does what many great films do, creating a time, place and characters so striking that they become part of our arsenal of images for imagining the world… Lang filmed for nearly a year, driven by obsession, often cruel to his colleagues, a perfectionist madman, and the result is one of those seminal films without which the others cannot be fully appreciated." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Atom Egoyan, Carrie Rickey, Graham Fuller, Patrick McGilligan, Thomas Elsaesser.
Jon Voight, Dustin Hoffman, Sylvia Miles, John McGiver, Brenda Vaccaro, Barnard Hughes, Jennifer Salt, Ruth White, Gil Rankin, Gary Owens
"The only X-rated movie to win the Best Picture Oscar (the rating has since been commuted to an R), Midnight Cowboy is a brutal bummer about loneliness and destitution, a cinematically adroit Lower Depths, with a stubbled, greasy Dustin Hoffman shivering in his unheated, condemned New York tenement as unsuccessful stud Jon Voight lies depressed and unemployed on the room's single cot… Midnight Cowboy is also a great picture, 113 minutes of stirring stuff, set to the ironic lilt of Jean "Toots" Thielemans's harmonica and Harry Nilsson's theme tune, Everybody's Talkin'." - Desson Howe, Washington Post
Selected by Peter Farrelly, Ray Lawrence, Ryan Fleck, Chris Shepherd, Jack Stevenson.
Robert De Niro, Charles Grodin, Yaphet Kotto, John Ashton, Dennis Farina, Joe Pantoliano, Richard Foronjy, Robert Miranda, Jack Kehoe, Wendy Phillips
"That old formula, handcuffed captor and captive who become buddies on the run, gets an injection of new life from the playing of the cast. Bounty hunter Jack Walsh (De Niro) captures bail-jumping accountant Jon Mardukas (Grodin) in New York, but his problems really start when he tries to deliver him to the bail bondsman in LA… Both actors get off on each other, improvising routines and inhabiting the standard Odd Couple teaming so interestingly that at times the film touches a profundity. Here and there, director Brest succumbs to the car chase, but overall the movie is way above average for the genre." - Brian Case, Time Out
Selected by Doug Liman, Nigel Cole, Jay DiPietro, Ruben Fleischer, Jackie Chan.
Joan Crawford, Jack Carson, Zachary Scott, Eve Arden, Ann Blyth, Bruce Bennett, George Tobias, Lee Patrick, Moroni Olsen, Jo Ann Marlowe
"James Cain's novel of the treacherous life in Southern California that sets house-wife-turned waitress-turned-successful restauranteur (Crawford) against her own daughter (Blyth) in competition for the love of playboy Zachary Scott, is brought fastidiously and bleakly to life by Curtiz' direction, Ernest Haller's camerawork, and Anton Grot's magnificent sets. Told in flashback from the moment of Scott's murder, the film is a chilling demonstration of the fact that, in a patriarchal society, when a woman steps outside the home the end result may be disastrous." - Phil Hardy, Time Out
Selected by Tim Highsted, Paul Julian Smith, Andy Medhurst, Anita Chaudhuri, Ngozi Onwurah.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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, Sek Kei, Jon Favreau, Ruben Fleischer.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
Million Dollar Baby
Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman, Jay Baruchel, Mike Colter, Lucia Rijker, Brian F. O'Byrne, Anthony Mackie, Margo Martindale, Riki Lindhome
"Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby is a masterpiece, pure and simple, deep and true. It tells the story of an aging fight trainer and a hillbilly girl who thinks she can be a boxer. It is narrated by a former boxer who is the trainer's best friend. But it's not a boxing movie. It is a movie about a boxer. What else it is, all it is, how deep it goes, what emotional power it contains, I cannot suggest in this review, because I will not spoil the experience of following this story into the deepest secrets of life and death." - Roger Ebert, Roger Ebert.com
Selected by Jeon Chanil, Luke Gibbons, Rogelio Llanos, Katja Nicodemus, Jerome Bimbenet.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
Top 25 South American Films
1. Black God, White Devil (Glauber Rocha, 1964)
2. City of God (Fernando Meirelles, 2002)
3. The Hour of the Furnaces (Octavio Getino & Fernando E. Solanas, 1968)
4. Barren Lives (Nelson Pereira dos Santos, 1963)
5. Terra em Transe (Glauber Rocha, 1967)
6. Antonio das Mortes (Glauber Rocha, 1969)
7. Limite (Mario Peixoto, 1931)
8. The Headless Woman (Lucrecia Martel, 2008)
9. Twenty Years Later (Eduardo Coutinho, 1985)
10. La Ciénaga (Lucrecia Martel, 2001)
11. The Age of the Earth (Glauber Rocha, 1980)
12. Black Orpheus (Marcel Camus, 1959)
13. Central Station (Walter Salles, 1998)
14. Pixote (Hector Babenco, 1981)
15. Rio 40 Graus (Nelson Pereira dos Santos, 1955)
16. Iracema (Jorge Bodanzky & Orlando Senna, 1976)
17. The Holy Girl (Lucrecia Martel, 2004)
18. The Battle of Chile: Part 2 (Patricio Guzmán, 1976)
19. Macunaima (Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, 1969)
20. The Battle of Chile: Part 1 (Patricio Guzmán, 1975)
21. Cannibal Holocaust (Ruggero Deodato, 1979)
22. The Battle of Chile: Part 3 (Patricio Guzmán, 1979)
23. La Libertad (Lisandro Alonso, 2001)
24. Bye Bye Brasil (Carlos Diegues, 1980)
25. Tire die (Fernando Birri, 1960)
Films ranked 14-25 are not in the current 1,000 Greatest Films listing.
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, R.V. Branham, Leslie Halliwell, Dilys Powell.
Miracle in Milan
Francesco Golisano, Paolo Stoppa, Emma Gramatica, Guglielmo Barnabo, Brunello Bovo, Anna Carena, Alba Arnova, Flora Cambi, Virgilio Riento, Arturo Bragaglia
"Miracolo a Milano was greeted with sharp denunciation from critics on the Italian right, all of whom accused De Sica of Communist leanings. It was much more wholeheartedly received in the United States… It is a transitional film in De Sica's career, for with it he moved out of the mainstream of neorealism. It remains a charming salute to the hope and perseverance of the common man, enhanced by the consummate cinematography of G.R. Aldo, a melodious score by Alessandro Cicognini and the wholly believable and unprepossessing acting of a cast made up of professional and non-professional actors." - Ronald Bowers, Film Reference
Selected by Les Blank, Marco Ettore Zucchi, Martin Kanuch, Milos Forman, Ed Lachman.
The Miracle of Morgan's Creek
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.
Margarita Terekhova, Filipp Yankovsky, Ignat Daniltsev, Anatoli Solonitsyn, Nikolai Grinko, L. Correcer, Alla Demidova, Oleg Yankovsky, Innokenti Smoktunovsky, L. Tarkovskaya
"Tarkovsky goes for the great white whale of politicised art - no less than a history of his country in this century seen in terms of the personal - and succeeds. Intercutting a fragmented series of autobiographical episodes, which have only the internal logic of dream and memory, with startling documentary footage, he lovingly builds a world where the domestic expands into the political and crisscrosses back again. Unique its form, unique its vision." - Chris Peachment, Time Out
Selected by Zhao Liang, Tarsem Singh, Agnieszka Holland, Andrei Plakhov, Ann Hui.
Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift, Thelma Ritter, Eli Wallach, Estelle Winwood, James Barton, Kevin McCarthy, Denis Shaw, Philip Mitchell
"Huston's direction is taut and Russell Metty's elegantly sombre and sparse black and white images provide the feel of a spontaneous and almost documentary-like approach to the material. The Misfits lends itself to readings from numerous critical perspectives but it is perhaps most meaningfully a film concerned with stardom and in particular its complex relation to both the star and her or his audience. As the film illustrates, Monroe hadn't really resolved the split between her being perceived as a sex symbol and as a serious performer. And, the fact that The Misfits is Monroe's and Gable's final film and one of Clift's last efforts, makes it an inescapably sad film." - Richard Lippe, Film Reference
Selected by Amos Gitai, Jan Troell, Mohamed Khan, Mika Kaurismäki, Steven Gaydos.
Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Henry Bergman, Stanley "Tiny" Sandford, Chester Conklin, Allan Garcia, Hank Mann, Louis Natheaux, Stanley Blystone, Sammy Stein
"Modern Times, Charlie Chaplin’s last outing as the Little Tramp, puts the iconic character to work as a giddily inept factory employee who becomes smitten with a gorgeous gamine (Goddard). With its barrage of unforgettable gags and sly commentary on class struggle during the Great Depression, Modern Times—though made almost a decade into the talkie era and containing moments of sound (even song!)—is a timeless showcase of Chaplin’s untouchable genius as a director of silent comedy." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Michel Gondry, Asghar Farhadi, Guillermo Del Toro, Greg Mottola, Jan Troell.
Moi, un Noir
Amadou Demba, Karidyo Faoudou, Gambi, Oumarou Ganda, Seydou Guede, Alassane Maiga, Petit Toure
"Jean Rouch completed this quasi-documentary in 1958, and it still feels ahead of its time. Rather than make his own record of Treichville, a district in the Ivory Coast city Abidjan, Rouch recruited several local men and women to create scenes based on their lives. With this innovative working method, Rouch raises a question implicit in all nonfiction filmmaking: Who’s the genuine auteur, the director or the subjects? And yet the results don’t feel at all cerebral… Jean-Luc Godard praised this as a masterpiece upon first release, and it’s easy to see why; the film introduces aesthetic and even philosophical conceits that would be central to his own work as a director." - Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader
Selected by Antonio Rodrigues, Elena Oroz, Manthia Diawara, Nicole Brenez, Raymond Depardon.
A Moment of Innocence
Mirhadi Taiebi, Ali Bakshi, Ammar Tafti, Mariyam Mohammad-Amini, Fariba Faghiri, Lotfollah Ghaslaghi, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Moharram Zainlazadeh, Ali Irani, Hana Makhmalbaf
"This 1996 film by Mohsen Makhmalbaf is one of his most seminal and accessible—a reconstruction of a pivotal incident during his teens that landed him in prison for several years during the shah's regime. A fundamentalist and activist at the time, Makhmalbaf stabbed a policeman; as a consequence he was shot and arrested. Two decades later, while auditioning people to appear in his film Salaam Cinema, he encountered the same policeman, now unemployed, and the two wound up collaborating on this film… This is a fascinating humanist experiment and investigation in its own right, full of warmth and humor as well as mystery." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Dina Iordanova, Mark Cousins, Richard Combs, John Cameron Mitchell, Kim Ji-Seok.
Jacques Tati, Jean-Pierre Zola, Adrienne Servantie, Alain Bercourt, Yvonne Arnaud, Lucien Fregis, Betty Schneider, Dominique Marie, J.F. Martial, Andre Dino
"Mon oncle marks Tati's second go-round as the bumbling, pipe-smoking Monsieur Hulot. This time out the character navigates a changing, increasingly modernized suburban landscape, which is at tremendous odds with his quaintly old-world upbringing. It's not a critique so much as a generous, all-encompassing compare-contrast: Tati never uses comedy to thumb his nose, but to uncover the humanity lurking within his rigorously composed frames. The end of Mon Oncle—in which Hulot's relatives send him off to find a full-time, "respectable" job—segues beautifully into Tati's next effort, the astonishing Play Time (1967)." - Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York
Selected by Aki Kaurismäki, Anton Corbijn, Iulia Blaga, Terry Jones, David Lynch.
Mon oncle d'Amérique
Gerard Depardieu, Nicole Garcia, Roger Pierre, Nelly Borgeaud, Pierre Arditi, Gerard Darrieu, Philippe Laudenbach, Marie Dubois, Henri Laborit, Bernard Malaterre
"The first genuine hit in Alain Resnais' career takes off from the behaviorist theories of French scientist Henri Laborit, which are illustrated by the stories of three separate characters (Depardieu, Pierre, and Garcia), each of whom identifies with a different French movie star and whose lives occasionally cross. While the quasi-determinist theories of Laborit are never very interesting or persuasive, the film can never really be reduced to them. What matters here is the fluidity of Resnais and screenwriter Jean Gruault's masterful storytelling; they manage to convey a dense, multilayered narrative with remarkable ease and simplicity." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Amit Dutta, Florence Almozini, Mike Hodges, José Eduardo Belmonte, Edward Yang.
Charles Chaplin, Martha Raye, Isobel Elsom, Mady Correll, Marilyn Nash, Irving Bacon, William Frawley, Charles Evans, Allison Roddan, Robert Lewis
"While the descriptive phrase "ahead of its time" is all too often dragged out and tacked on to one marginalized film work after another, in the case of Monsieur Verdoux it is perhaps quite appropriate, given not only the film's lackluster reception in its day, but its surprising formal subtleties. The film's quite hilarious sense of humor, one part slapstick, one part steely wit, works in fluid conjunction with Chaplin's bleaker ruminations, and both are still quite contemporary and relevant even while being bound within very specific contexts. Monsieur Verdoux still matters, and it's still an urgent work of necessary art." - Josh Vasquez, Slant Magazine
Selected by Jean-Marie Straub, Bernard Eisenschitz, Dan Fainaru, Andy Rector, David Meeker.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Neil Innes, Connie Booth, Carol Cleveland, Bee Duffell
"The Monty Python team's first original film is one of the most original, hilarious and visually striking comedies ever made… It may lack the authority-baiting, satire-with-a-purpose edge of Life of Brian, but Holy Grail is the looser, sillier, ultimately funnier film, packed with actual goofy laughs rather than hey-I-get-that cleverness. It’s aged better too, less beholden to outdated notions of race and revolutionary politics and more reliant on slapstick violence, sudden explosions, surrealist wordplay and scatological asides." - Tom Huddleston, Time Out
Selected by Benjamin Spacek, Jeffrey Overstreet, Eric Derobert, Gerard Krawczyk, David Fincher.
Monty Python's Life of Brian
Terry Jones, Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Carol Cleveland, Kenneth Colley, Gwen Taylor, Terence Bayler
"From the opening sequence, in which Brian is born in a manger next door to Joseph and Mary's, to the classic closing musical number of "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life," sung by a chorus of crucified criminals, Life of Brian leaves no piety unscathed. And it's the apotheosis of Pythonesque humor, an absurdist grab bag of the non sequiturs, puns and bawdy Britishisms that endeared the comedy troupe to the generation of Americans who came of age during the run of "Monty Python's Flying Circus" on TV in the 1970s… The movie still holds up beautifully, as both pointed satire and silly, stakes-free comedy." - Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
Selected by Andrew Kotting, Bence Fliegauf, Karen Oughton, Nancy Savoca, Michel Chion.
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.
Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper, Adolphe Menjou, Ullrich Haupt, Juliette Compton, Francis McDonald, Albert Conti, Eve Southern, Michael Visaroff, Paul Porcasi
"It's been customary to dismiss Sternberg's 'absurd' plots as mere vehicles for his experiments with lighting and decor, and his loving explorations of Dietrich's visual and emotional possibilities. The truth is that films like Morocco are completely homogeneous: the plotting and acting are in exactly the same expressionist register as everything else. Here, the highly nuanced portraits of men and a woman caught between the codes they live by and their deepest, secret impulses, remain very moving and 100 per cent modern." - Tony Rayns, Time Out
Selected by Tag Gallagher, Dan Sallitt, Seijun Suzuki, Pere Gimferrer, Laura Mulvey.
Mother and Son
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, Sukhdev Sandhu, Fran Gayo, Henk Camping, Martin Kanuch.
The Mother and the Whore
Jean-Pierre Leaud, Francoise Lebrun, Bernadette Lafont, Isabelle Weingarten, Jacques Renard, Jean-Noel Picq, Pierre Cottrell, Bernard Eisenschitz, Jean Douchet, Jean Eustache
"Three-and-a-half hours of people talking about sex sounds like a recipe for boredom; in Eustache's hands, it is anything but. There is no 'explicitness': the film is about attitudes to, and defences against, sex and the body. Using dialogue garnered entirely from real-life conversations and sticking entirely to a prepared script, Eustache has provided us with a ruthlessly sharp-eyed view of chic, supposedly liberated sexual relationships, revealing them to be no less a disaster area of tragic dimensions than their 'straighter' counterparts… The Mother and the Whore is an icy comment on the New Wave, informed throughout by Eustache's striking visual intelligence." - Verina Glaessner, Time Out
Selected by Quim Casas, Mark Cousins, José Luis Guerín, Corneliu Porumboiu, Mia Hansen-Løve.
Nargis, Sunil Dutt, Rajendra Kumar, Raaj Kumar, Kainhaiyalal, Jilloo Maa, Kumkum, Chanchal, Sheela Naik, Mukri
"Inspired by a Pearl S. Buck paean to the heroic Chinese peasantry, writer-director-producer Mehboob Khan transposed Buck's tale of suffering motherhood to a rural India enlivened by indigenous versions of Soviet-style tractor-opera, Italian neo-realism, Hollywood kiddie-cuteness, a dozen Technicolor musical numbers, and, most significantly, a metaphoric overlay of pop Hinduism… Mother India is played at a high emotional pitch that is rendered all the more forceful by Mehboob's taste for iconic, unmatched inserts, and builds to a climax of maternal sacrifice that trumps all surviving examples of Greek tragedy." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Shyam Benegal, Kevin B. Lee, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Subhash Ghai, Gurinder Chadha.
"Mothlight visualises a “day in the life” of an insect from birth to death… You could say Brakhage puts the “anima” back into animation, reanimating the dead, painstakingly affixing the remains of dead insects, leaves and the like onto the film strip, and feeding it through the projector back to life. Of course, the principle of film projection is the illusion of life through light, with the audience gathering to watch like moths attracted to a lamp: the beauty of Mothlight is the way Brakhage evokes the moth not through cartoon mimicry, but by the fragile sensation of its movement, batting against the screen, hurtling in descent. The effect is exhilarating and terrifying." - Darragh O'Donoghue, Senses of Cinema
Selected by David Curtis, Michael Glawogger, Robert Haller, Sean Cubitt, Mika Taanila.
Nadine Nortier, Marie Cardinal, Paul Hebert, Jean Vimenet, J-C Guilbert, Suzanne Huguenin, Raymonde Chabrun, Marie Susini, Marine Triche
"Adapted from a Georges Bernanos story, Mouchette describes the life and tribulations of a poor, barely mature peasant girl, and remains a magnificent and deeply rewarding example of Bresson's stripped-down methods of cutting and framing, sound and dialogue, performance and movement… Whatever Bresson's spiritual intentions the film provides boundless examples of cinema at its most sublime. In his angry yet compassionate denunciation of a rural society corrupting and undoing an unorthodox angel by self-interest, immorality, alcoholism and spiritual bankruptcy, the director conducts you to the heart of life's paradox." - Wally Hammond, Time Out
Selected by Manoel de Oliveira, Mika Kaurismäki, Richard Corliss, Tsai Ming-liang, Ulrich Seidl.
Top 25 Films Directed by Women
1. Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (Chantal Akerman, 1975)
2. Beau travail (Claire Denis, 1999)
3. The Piano (Jane Campion, 1993)
4. Meshes of the Afternoon (Maya Deren, 1943)
5. Cléo from 5 to 7 (Agnès Varda, 1961)
6. Wanda (Barbara Loden, 1970)
7. The Gleaners & I (Agnès Varda, 2000)
8. Daisies (Vera Chytilová, 1966)
9. The House is Black (Forugh Farrokhzad, 1963)
10. Triumph of the Will (Leni Riefenstahl, 1935)
11. India Song (Marguerite Duras, 1974)
12. Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola, 2003)
13. Orlando (Sally Potter, 1992)
14. Harlan County, U.S.A. (Barbara Kopple, 1976)
15. An Angel at My Table (Jane Campion, 1990)
16. The Ascent (Larisa Shepitko, 1976)
17. Olympia (Leni Riefenstahl, 1938)
18. The Headless Woman (Lucrecia Martel, 2008)
19. Vagabond (Agnès Varda, 1985)
20. La Ciénaga (Lucrecia Martel, 2001)
21. The Intruder (Claire Denis, 2004)
22. News from Home (Chantal Akerman, 1976)
23. D'Est (Chantal Akerman, 1993)
24. Near Dark (Kathryn Bigelow, 1987)
25. Le Bonheur (Agnès Varda, 1965)
Top 5 Films Co-Directed by Women
1. Gimme Shelter (Albert Maysles, David Maysles & Charlotte Zwerin, 1970)
2. Grey Gardens (David Maysles, Albert Maysles, Ellen Hovde & Muffie Meyer Maysles, 1975)
3. Salesman (Albert Maysles, David Maysles & Charlotte Zwerin, 1968)
4. Sicilia! (Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet, 1999)
5. Too Early, Too Late (Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet, 1981)
Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, John Leguizamo, Jim Broadbent, Richard Roxburgh, Garry McDonald, Jacek Koman, Matthew Whittet, Kerry Walker, Kylie Minogue
"Working with music director Marius DeVries and many of his regular collaborators, he [Luhrmann] has created a wonderful cutting-edge opera. He nods at cinema itself with glimpses of silent movie irising techniques, a beaming man-in-the-moon (straight out of the turn-of-the-century films of Georges Melies), and salutations to great screen divas from Dietrich to Minnelli… It's a wonderful postmodern hug of a movie, and never once do you not know you're watching a movie. But that's the point: Not to lose yourself in the movie, but to be brightly aware of your participation as a viewer. In Luhrmann's vision, that's what the movies are about." - Desson Howe, The Washington Post
Selected by Ahmed Atef, Marwan Hamed, Morgan Freeman, Rich Cline, Pam Cook.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
Mr. Hulot's Holiday
Jacques Tati, Nathalie Pascaud, Michelle Rolla, Louis Perrault, Andre Dubois, Valentine Camax, Suzy Willy, Lucien Fregis, Marguerite Gerard, Rene Lacourt
"The reedy, pipe-smoking Mr. Hulot spends a week's vacation at a slightly battered seaside hotel, where he battles inanimate objects and thinks—long and hard—about flirting with a pretty girl. Jacques Tati's 1953 masterpiece features some of the funniest and loveliest slapstick imaginable, yet it is also a work of impressive formal innovation, casting off the tyranny of a plotline in favor of loosely associated tones, episodes, and images. (Tati would find the visual correlative of this technique in his great 1968 Playtime.) The soundtrack, in which dialogue is subsumed by sound effects, is a masterful piece of musique concrete; Tati rerecorded and embellished it in 1961." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Peter Hames, Richard Lester, Benjamin Safdie, Robbie Collin, Mary Lea Bandy.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
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 Carlos Manga, Juan José Campanella, Ivan Passer, David Chan, Joseph McBride.
Naomi Watts, Laura Elena Harring, Ann Miller, Justin Theroux, Dan Hedaya, Robert Forster, Katharine Towne, Lee Grant, Billy Ray Cyrus, Chad Everett
"Fashioned from the ruins of a two-hour TV pilot rejected by ABC in 1999, Lynch's erotic thriller careens from one violent non sequitur to another. The movie boldly teeters on the brink of self-parody, reveling in its own excess and resisting narrative logic. This voluptuous phantasmagoria is certainly Lynch's strongest movie since Blue Velvet and maybe Eraserhead. The very things that failed him in the bad-boy rockabilly debacle of Lost Highway—the atmosphere of free-floating menace, pointless transmigration of souls, provocatively dropped plot stitches, gimcrack alternate universes—are here brilliantly rehabilitated." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Jonathan Caouette, Andrew Dominik, Guy Maddin, Kim Newman, Pawel Pawlikowski.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
Delphine Seyrig, Jean-Pierre Kerien, Nita Klein, Jean-Baptiste Thierree, Claude Sainval, Laurence Badie, Jean Champion, Jean Daste, Martine Vatel, Philippe Laudenbach
"Alain Resnais' 1963 film surpasses his better-known Last Year at Marienbad and Hiroshima, mon amour in terms of intricacy of construction and sensitivity to shades of memory and regret. Delphine Seyrig is a widow living in the provinces with her troubled stepson (Thierree), a veteran of the Algerian war who can't escape the memory of a young girl he tortured and killed. When Seyrig's former lover (Kerien) turns up with his new mistress, Seyrig, too, is plunged into an obsession with the past. A subtle, precise, and wrenching film, shot largely without recourse to the stylistic flourishes that made Resnais' reputation." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by James Quandt, Richard Combs, Anja Kirschner, David Panos, Fritz Göttler.
The Music Room
Chhabi Biswas, Gangapada Basu, Pinaki Sengupta, Padma Devi, Tulsi Lahiri, Kali Sarkar, Waheed Khan, Roshan Kumari, Sardar Akhtar, Tulshi Chakraborty
"With The Music Room, Satyajit Ray brilliantly evokes the crumbling opulence of the world of a fallen aristocrat (the beloved actor Chhabi Biswas) desperately clinging to a fading way of life. His greatest joy is the music room in which he has hosted lavish concerts over the years—now a shadow of its former vivid self. An incandescent depiction of the clash between tradition and modernity, and a showcase for some of India’s most popular musicians of the day, The Music Room is a defining work by the great Bengali filmmaker." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Amos Gitai, Derek Malcolm, Nasreen Munni Kabir, Paolo Mereghetti, Antonio Rodrigues.
My Darling Clementine
Henry Fonda, Victor Mature, Linda Darnell, Walter Brennan, Tim Holt, Cathy Downs, Ward Bond, Alan Mowbray, John Ireland, Roy Roberts
"My Darling Clementine is a great western, just as are Budd Boetticher's and Sam Peckinpah's, because of exactly what it delivers that westerns normally didn't: a measure of emotional maturity, a sense of dread and cost in regards to violence, a notion of frontier life being difficult and soul-hardening, not breezy and schoolyard fun. Ford didn't believe in this general perspective all the time, apparently (see Fort Apache  or The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance  for the flip-side), but when he did it made westerns in which a grown man could get lost." - Michael Atkinson, TCM
Selected by Jose Luis Guerin, Michael Caton-Jones, Michael Mann, Thom Andersen, Fernando Mendez-Leite.
My Friend Ivan Lapshin
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.
My Life as a Dog
Anton Glanzelius, Manfred Serner, Anki Liden, Tomas von Bromssen, Melinda Kinnaman, Ing-mari Carlsson, Kicki Rundgren, Lennart Hjulstrom, Leif Erickson, Christina Carlwind
"My Life as a Dog tells the story of Ingemar, a twelve-year-old from a working-class family sent to live with his uncle in a country village when his mother falls ill. There, with the help of the warmhearted eccentrics who populate the town, the boy finds both refuge from his misfortunes and unexpected adventure. Featuring an incredibly mature and unaffected performance by the young Anton Glanzelius, this film is a beloved and bittersweet evocation of the struggles and joys of childhood from Oscar-nominated director Lasse Hallström." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by José Padilha, Adam Elliot, Roger Donaldson, Robert Gardner, Nick Broomfield.
My Little Loves
Martin Loeb, Jacqueline Dufranne, Jacques Romain, Ingrid Caven, Vincent Testaniere, Roger Rizzi, Anne Stroka, Cirque Muller, Syndra Kahn, Jean-Jacques Bihan
"Following the success of The Mother and the Whore, Jean Eustache was finally able to make the equally personal but vastly different My Little Loves—a portrait of his childhood in the south of France in which every footstep, every gesture, and every visual detail seems drawn directly from the filmmaker’s memory. Young Martin Loeb plays Daniel, Eustache’s thirteen-year-old alter ego, and he figures in every scene of this exquisite chronicle of a “sentimental education.” Beautifully photographed by the great Nestor Almendros, My Little Loves reaches its emotional climax during an extended scene in which Daniel gets his first kiss in a movie theater showing Pandora and the Flying Dutchman." - Harvard Film Archive
Selected by Michel Gondry, Ulrich Seidl, Ira Sachs, Volker Pantenburg, José Luis Guerín.
My Neighbour Totoro
Hitoshi Takagi, Noriko Hidaka, Chika Sakamoto, Shigesatu Itoi, Sumi Shimamoto, Toshiyuki Amagasa, Tanie Kitabayashi, Yuko Maruyama, Masashi Hirose, Reiko Suzuki
"Here is a children's film made for the world we should live in, rather than the one we occupy. A film with no villains. No fight scenes. No evil adults. No fighting between the two kids. No scary monsters. No darkness before the dawn. A world that is benign. A world where if you meet a strange towering creature in the forest, you curl up on its tummy and have a nap… My Neighbor Totoro has become one of the most beloved of all family films without ever having been much promoted or advertised… The new Anime Encyclopedia calls it the best Japanese animated film ever made. Whenever I watch it, I smile, and smile, and smile." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Andrew Osmond, Athina Rachel Tsangari, Manu Yáñez-Murillo, Bill Gosden, Claudia Winkleman.
My Night at Maud's
Jean-Louis Trintignant, Francoise Fabian, Marie-Christine Barrault, Antoine Vitez, Leonide Kogan, Anne Dubot, Guy Leger, Marie Becker, Marie-Claude Rauzier
"In the brilliantly accomplished centerpiece of Rohmer’s Moral Tales series, Jean-Louis Trintignant plays Jean-Louis, one of the great conflicted figures of sixties cinema. A pious Catholic engineer in his early thirties, he lives by a strict moral code in order to rationalize his world… After spotting the delicate, blonde Françoise at Mass, he vows to make her his wife, although when he unwittingly spends the night at the apartment of the bold, brunette divorcée Maud, his rigid ethical standards are challenged... A breakout hit in the United States, My Night at Maud’s was one of the most influential and talked-about films of the decade." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Chris Fujiwara, Corneliu Porumboiu, Geoff Andrew, Patrick Tam, Eugene Green.
My Own Private Idaho
River Phoenix, Keanu Reeves, James Russo, William Richert, Rodney Harvey, Chiara Caselli, Udo Kier, Grace Zabriskie, Tom Troupe, Michael Parker
"River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves star in Gus Van Sant’s haunting tale of two young street hustlers: Mike Waters, a sensitive narcoleptic who dreams of the mother who abandoned him, and Scott Favor, the wayward son of the mayor of Portland and object of Mike’s desire. Navigating a volatile world of junkies, thieves, and johns, Mike takes Scott on a quest from the grungy streets to the open highways of the Pacific Northwest, in search of an elusive place called home. Visually dazzling and groundbreaking, My Own Private Idaho is a deeply moving look at unrequited love and life at society’s margins." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by John Greyson, Cate Shortland, Gunnar Almer, Sophie Mayer, Xavier Dolan.
David Thewlis, Lesley Sharp, Katrin Cartlidge, Greg Cruttwell, Claire Skinner, Peter Wight, Elizabeth Berrington, Ewen Bremner, Deborah MacLaren, Carolina Giametto
"The brilliant and controversial Naked, from director Mike Leigh, stars David Thewlis as Johnny, a charming and eloquent but relentlessly vicious drifter. Rejecting anyone who might care for him, the volcanic Johnny hurls himself around London on a nocturnal odyssey, colliding with a succession of other desperate and dispossessed people and scorching everyone in his path. With a virtuoso script and raw performances from Thewlis and costars Katrin Cartlidge and Lesley Sharp, Leigh’s depiction of England’s underbelly is an amalgam of black comedy and doomsday prophecy that took the best director and best actor prizes at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Sean Baker, Pavel Bednarik, Leonard Quart, Marian Crisan, Wesley Morris.
The Naked Island
Nobuko Otowa, Taiji Tonoyama, Shinji Tanaka, Masanori Horimoto
"The Naked Island is a fascinating early hybridization of documentary and fiction that takes to an important extreme the focus of Shindo’s early films on Japan’s working classes. An epic yet intimate chronicle of the daily lives and struggles of a farmer family on a remote Inland Sea island, Shindo’s internationally celebrated film revitalized the legacy of Flaherty’s Man of Iran and sharply divided Western critics… Today Shindo’s innovative use of non-actors to restage their own lives seems ahead of its time, equally innovative as the film’s use of a lush yet modernist score and near avoidance of dialogue- another remarkable updating and reinvention of Flaherty’s literary realism." - Harvard Film Archive
Selected by Girish Kasaravalli, Bauyrzhan Nogerbek, Zdena Škapová, Jerzy Kawalerowicz, Jerry Schatzberg.
Nanook of the North
Nanook, Nyla, Cunayou, Allee, Allegoo
"Nanook of the North stands as a record of the intrepid kind of late 19th century explorer who somewhat romantically but never sentimentally came to love the place he explored. Its people, too. We can forgive him his choice of the harpoon as arising from an impulse to preserve a record of a culture fast vanishing even as he was photographing it. Flaherty had an eye, and often said, as only a man who has traversed it can say, that the Canadian landscape is itself a powerful character. Trail-blazing and, if not ethnographically pure, profoundly human in its ability to empathetically bring us into Inuit life,Nanook of the North remains an amazing film." - Jay Carr, TCM
Selected by Tony Palmer, Aki Kaurismäki, Hong Sang-soo, Les Blank, Jia Zhangke.
Albert Dieudonne, Gina Manes, Annabella, Vladimir Roudenko, Edmond Van Daele, Alexander Koubitzky, Antonin Artaud, Abel Gance, Nicolas Koline, Pierre Batcheff
"Despite its simplistic view of Napoleon himself - seen from childhood to the fascistic start of his empire-building as a 'man of destiny', guided through hardships and loneliness by his 'inner eagle' - the film is completely vindicated by Gance's raving enthusiasm for his medium. All of the brilliant experiments with film language remain potent, from the montages of flash-frames to the bombastic poetry of the triptych finale; even the gags are still funny. The many highpoints include the hour-long siege of Toulon in torrential rain, won by strategies prefigured in the opening snowball fight, and Gance's own patrician performance as the cold-blooded Saint-Just." - Tony Rayns, Time Out
Selected by Kenneth Branagh, Li Yang, Mia Hansen-Løve, Olivier Assayas, Christopher Frayling.
Ned Beatty, Karen Black, Ronee Blakley, Keith Carradine, Geraldine Chaplin, Shelley Duvall, Allen Garfield, Henry Gibson, Scott Glenn, Jeff Goldblum
"Spacious, shrewdly detailed and conceived with compassion and wit, it unfurls at an unhurried walking pace, spreading itself across a very American urban landscape. Nashville is the home of the Grand Old Opry, the epicentre of American country music where musicians, producers, promoters and good ol' boys are getting pressured by a political wheeler-dealer into supporting an independent new presidential candidate. Dozens of stories and lives criss-cross each other… Their intersections are brilliantly constructed by Altman, yet everything appears utterly natural and unforced - could a modern screenplay seminar teach anything like this?" - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Richard Linklater, Armond White, Patrick McGilligan, Peter Tscherkassky, Benjamin Safdie.
Top 25 Short Films
1. La Jetée (Chris Marker, 1962)
2. Partie de campagne (Jean Renoir, 1936)
3. Un Chien andalou (Luis Buñuel, 1928)
4. Night and Fog (Alain Resnais, 1955)
5. Meshes of the Afternoon (Maya Deren, 1943)
6. Zero for Conduct (Jean Vigo, 1933)
7. Listen to Britain (Humphrey Jennings, 1942)
8. Le Voyage dans la lune (Georges Méliès, 1902)
9. The House is Black (Forugh Farrokhzad, 1963)
10. Land Without Bread (Luis Buñuel, 1932)
11. Tale of Tales (Yuriy Norshteyn, 1979)
12. Scorpio Rising (Kenneth Anger, 1964)
13. Un Chant d'amour (Jean Genet, 1950)
14. Flaming Creatures (Jack Smith, 1963)
15. The Seasons (Artavazd Peleshian, 1975)
16. The Red Balloon (Albert Lamorisse, 1956)
17. Le Sang des bêtes (Georges Franju, 1949)
18. Les Maîtres fous (Jean Rouch, 1955)
19. Simon of the Desert (Luis Buñuel, 1965)
20. A Diary for Timothy (Humphrey Jennings, 1945)
21. Elephant (Alan Clarke, 1989)
22. Outer Space (Peter Tscherkassky, 1999)
23. Mothlight (Stan Brakhage, 1963)
24. Unsere Afrikareise (Peter Kubelka, 1966)
25. The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes (Stan Brakhage, 1971)
All films above are less than 45 minutes in length.
National Lampoon's Animal House
John Belushi, Tim Matheson, John Vernon, Verna Bloom, Tom Hulce, Cesare Danova, Peter Riegert, Donald Sutherland, Mary Louise Weller, Stephen Furst
"Animal House marked a new era in American comedy, bringing together the anarchic Ivy League sensibilities of the Harvard Lampoon and the freewheeling, sketch-driven style of Chicago's legendary Second City improv troupe. It was a match that would come to define and dominate the approach to modern comedy… As a cultural phenomenon, Animal House was one of the first big studio comedies aimed at the teen/college demographic and has the dubious distinction of spawning the toga party and making food fights seem like a venerable American institution… This is likely the only film in the National Film Registry to feature a character imitating a zit with a mouthful of mashed potatoes." - Rob Nixon, TCM
Selected by Bobby Farrelly, Michael Tolkin, Richard Curtis, David Fincher, David Wain.
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, Terry Jones, Vincent Ward, Peter Keough.
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.
Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, Jenette Goldstein, Joshua Miller, Tim Thomerson, Marcie Leeds, Kenny Call, Ed Corbett
"Bigelow's track record as a director is spotty, but in 1987 she directed the flat-out classic Near Dark, an enormously influential vampire Western… Vampires have generally symbolized a distinctly European strain of upscale decadence, and Near Dark's key innovation was in stripping the genre of its gothic signifiers and replacing them with unmistakably American ones… Near Dark's vampire-Western fusion has been co-opted by movies like From Dusk Till Dawn and John Carpenter's Vampires, but Bigelow's film has lost none of its freshness or vitality. It's the most quintessentially American vampire movie ever made." - Nathan Rabin, A.V. Club
Selected by Danny Boyle, Christine Dollhofer, Christian Petzold, Andy Medhurst, Pam Cook.
Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch, Robert Duvall, Wesley Addy, Ned Beatty, Arthur Burghardt, Bill Burrows, John Carpenter, Jordan Charney
"Two decades later, this iconic American New Wave renegade text is even more startling than it once was—was Hollywood ever this cerebral, this caustic, this ethically apocalyptic? That 90 percent of Network's satire has become fulfilled prophecy by now doesn't take the shine off of its broadsword. Reality-show whoredom, death TV, New Globalistic anti-humanism, audience as robotic consumer—it's all here and all still hamburger in the teeth of this movie, written with hissing rage and in huge, thoughtful paragraphs by Paddy Chayefsky and directed with a vivid sense of '70s genuineness by Sidney Lumet." - Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice
Selected by Cyrus Frisch, George Clooney, Bennett Miller, David Michôd, P.J. Hogan.
The New World
Colin Farrell, Christopher Plummer, Christian Bale, Wes Studi, David Thewlis, Yorick van Wageningen, Q'Orianka Kilcher, Ben Mendelsohn, Raoul Trujillo, John Savage
"Malick's films have more voice-over commentary and narration, mostly of a formal, literary kind, than they have dialogue… The New World will not be to everyone's taste. You have to adjust to his thoughts and rhythms. But it is a masterpiece, alert and sensitive to the flowing of water, the rippling of forests and fields, the texture of newly cut and weathered timber… The New World is a profound, revealing, wonderful film about the meeting of two cultures and the shaping of a new one. And it has a feeling of rare authenticity in its mood, language and treatment of Native American life." - Philip French, The Observer
Selected by Chris Stults, Duane Hopkins, Keeto Lam, Paul Clark, Christophe Goffette.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
New York, New York
Liza Minnelli, Robert De Niro, Lionel Stander, Barry Primus, Mary Kay Place, George Auld, George Memmoli, Dick Miller, Diahnne Abbott, Selma Archerd
"Martin Scorsese’s criminally neglected tribute to the heyday of the MGM musical has aged astonishingly well. Following his ’70s hat-trick of Mean Streets, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore and Taxi Driver, it was the director’s first critical and commercial flop. But as per usual, Scorsese was ahead of his time, incorporating freeform East Coast film acting with the opulent fakery of the classic studio production, complete with giant sets, musical numbers and a cast of thousands. It’s also the movie that gave Sinatra and the big apple its signature tune, the title song astonishingly overlooked in the Best Song Oscar category." - Damon Wise, Empire
Selected by Judith Williamson, Joanna Hogg, Milan Pavlovic, Lizzie Francke, Tsui Hark.
News from Home
"Akerman explores the disjunction between European myths about New York - with its monumental cityscapes and cinematic glamour - and the reality, a place of hopeless ghettos and monotonous suburbs. In counterpoint to cinema-photographer Babette Mangolte's powerful images of the city, the soundtrack consists of banal letters from a petit bourgeois Belgian mother to her daughter in New York. A considerable contribution to the hinterland area between narrative cinema and the avant-garde." - Lynda Myles, Time Out
Selected by Ira Sachs, Richard Kwietniowski, Anna Petrus, Acquarello, Matthew Lehrer.
Night and Fog
"Ten years after the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps, filmmaker Alain Resnais documented the abandoned grounds of Auschwitz. One of the first cinematic reflections on the horrors of the Holocaust, Night and Fog contrasts the stillness of the abandoned camps’ quiet, empty buildings with haunting wartime footage. With Night and Fog, Resnais investigates the cyclical nature of man’s violence toward man and presents the unsettling suggestion that such horrors could come again." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Michael Apted, Alex Gibney, Tata Amaral, Ann Turner, Elizabeth Wood.
A Night at the Opera
Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Kitty Carlisle, Allan Jones, Margaret Dumont, Sig Ruman, Walter Woolf King, Edward Keane, Robert Emmett O'Connor
"The Marx Brothers at the turning point, just before their gradual descent into mediocrity at the hands of MGM, who wanted their comedy to be rationed and rationalised. It's a top budget job, opulent and meticulous, with its fair share of vices: this is the first Marx Brothers film where you really feel like strangling the romantic leads. But it has even more virtues: there's no Zeppo, the script's generally great (Kaufman and Ryskind), Dumont's completely great, and the Brothers get to perform some of their most irresistible routines - the stateroom scene and all." - Geoff Brown, Time Out
Selected by Ken Russell, Aaron Katz, Isabelle Stever, Jack Lechner, Daniel Sánchez Arévalo.
Night of the Demon
Dana Andrews, Peggy Cummins, Niall MacGinnis, Maurice Denham, Athene Seyler, Reginald Beckwith, Liam Redmond, Ewan Roberts, Peter Elliott, Rosamund Greenwood
"A major work in that minor genre, horror movies. Intelligent, delicate, and actually frightening (no kidding), this was directed by Jacques Tourneur, author of many of the best of Val Lewton's famous series of B-budget shockers. A shot or two of a cheesy monster (insisted upon by the producer) are the only violations of the film's sublime allusiveness, through which the unseen acquires a palpitating presence. Tourneur is attempting a rational apprehension of the irrational, examining not so much the supernatural itself but the insecurities it springs from and the uses it may be put to." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Billy Chainsaw, Mark Pilkington, Anne Billson, Pascal Bonitzer, Simon Mizrahi.
The Night of the Hunter
Robert Mitchum, Lillian Gish, Shelley Winters, Peter Graves, Billy Chapin, James Gleason, Sally Ann Bruce, Evelyn Varden, Don Beddoe, Gloria Castillo
"The Night of the Hunter—incredibly, the only film the great actor Charles Laughton ever directed—is truly a stand-alone masterwork. A horror movie with qualities of a Grimm fairy tale, it stars a sublimely sinister Robert Mitchum as a traveling preacher named Harry Powell, whose nefarious motives for marrying a fragile widow, played by Shelley Winters, are uncovered by her terrified young children. Graced by images of eerie beauty and a sneaky sense of humor, this ethereal, expressionistic American classic—also featuring the contributions of actress Lillian Gish and writer James Agee—is cinema’s most eccentric rendering of the battle between good and evil." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Andrew Dominik, Jan Troell, Nicolas Philibert, Paolo Mereghetti, Pere Portabella.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
Night of the Living Dead
Judith O'Dea, Duane Jones, Karl Hardman, Russell Streiner, Keith Wayne, Judith Ridley, Marilyn Eastman, Kyra Schon, Bill Heinzman, Charles Craig
"Night of the Living Dead came out of nowhere, or to be more precise, Pittsburgh, and turned into the most influential horror film since Psycho. George Romero's remarkably assured debut, made on a shoestring, about a group of people barricaded inside a farmhouse while an army of flesh-eating zombies roams the countryside, deflates all genre clichés. It traded the expressionistic sets of the traditional fright flick for a neorealistic style—Romero's use of natural locations and grainy black and white gave his gorefest the look and feel of a doc… This was Middle America at war, and the zombie carnage seemed a grotesque echo of the conflict then raging in Vietnam." - Elliott Stein, The Village Voice
Selected by Scott Foundas, Mario Van Peebles, Wes Craven, Pablo Stoll, Philip Ilson.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O'Hara, William Hickey, Glenn Shadix, Paul Reubens, Ken Page, Ed Ivory, Susan McBride, Debi Durst
"The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Tim Burton film in the sense that the story, its world and its look first took shape in Burton's mind, and he supervised their filming. But the director of the film, a veteran stop-action master named Henry Selick, is the person who has made it all work. And his achievement is enormous. Working with gifted artists and designers, he has made a world here that is as completely new as the worlds we saw for the first time in such films as Metropolis (1927), The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari or Star Wars… The songs by Danny Elfman are fun, too, a couple of them using lyrics so clever they could be updated from Gilbert & Sullivan." - Roger Ebert, Roger Ebert.com
Selected by Isamu Hirabayashi, José Luis Rebordinos, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Alexandre Tylski, Josef Schnelle.
Nights of Cabiria
Giulietta Masina, Francois Perier, Amedeo Nazzari, Aldo Silvani, Franca Marzi, Dorian Gray, Mario Passante, Pina Gualandri, Polidor, Enio Girolami
"The story basically consists of five lengthy episodes in the life and career of a prostitute who repeatedly becomes disillusioned but keeps finding the resources to believe in romantic love just the same. Masina's exaggerated grimaces and clownlike features, which hark back to the tradition of silent comics, are undoubtedly mannerist, but part of Fellini's mastery is to make them necessary correlatives to his own vision of innocence. Too melodramatic and fanciful in turn to qualify as “neorealism” in the usual sense, despite the gritty Roman street slang contributed by Pasolini, this gains immeasurably, like many other Fellini films, from Nino Rota's wistful music." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Hirokazu Koreeda, Jirí Menzel, John Cameron Mitchell, James Gray, Ali Smith.
Burt Lancaster, Robert De Niro, Gerard Depardieu, Dominique Sanda, Francesca Bertini, Laura Betti, Sterling Hayden, Donald Sutherland, Stefania Sandrelli, Romolo Valli
"Upon its release in 1977, 1900 became an infamous flop. But seen with diminished expectations, 1900 is just fine: a well-plotted history play studded with artful sequences and Bertolucci's particular brand of earthiness, bordering on vulgarity. 1900 may seem too conventional compared to the blazing fire of Bertolucci's previous films, but as the film rambles toward its beautifully symbolic final shot of a man on train tracks, it takes its place at the center of the director's career-long, fragmentary 20th-century mosaic." - Noel Murray, A.V. Club
Selected by Rolf De Heer, Lone Scherfig, Bruno Barreto, Mikel Olaciregui, Helena Koder.
Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas, Ina Claire, Sig Ruman, Felix Bressart, Bela Lugosi, Alexander Granach, Gregory Gaye, Richard Carle, Edwin Maxwell
"Directed by Ernst Lubitsch and co-scripted by Billy Wilder, this enduring delight stands at the crossroads of American screen comedy. Studded with instances of the 'Lubitsch Touch' and imbued with the screwball spirit, it contains significant traces of the acerbic satire that would become Wilder's trademark in the less innocent postwar world… Lubitsch managed to relax Garbo to the extent that she was not only very funny, but also more feminine than in any role bar Camille and it's the fact that she comes across as a woman and not an icon that makes this performance so memorable… Iridescent and teaming with vitality, Garbo glows in her penultimate film " - David Parkinson, Empire
Selected by Fernando Trueba, Carrie Rickey, Cameron Crowe, Marc Cerisuelo, Jean Dutourd.
No Country for Old Men
Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson, Kelly Macdonald, Garret Dillahunt, Tess Harper, Barry Corbin, Stephen Root, Rodger Boyce
"No Country for Old Men is purgatory for the squeamish and the easily spooked. For formalists — those moviegoers sent into raptures by tight editing, nimble camera work and faultless sound design — it’s pure heaven... Joel and Ethan Coen, who share writing and directing credit here, combine virtuosic dexterity with mischievous high spirits, as if they were playing Franz Liszt’s most treacherous compositions on dueling banjos… In the Coen canon it belongs with Blood Simple, Miller’s Crossing and Fargo as a densely woven crime story made more effective by a certain controlled stylistic perversity." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Farai Sevenzo, Milan Pavlovic, Mohamed Al-Daradji, Philip Berk, Andrew Droz Palermo.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
North by Northwest
Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Jessie Royce Landis, Leo G. Carroll, Martin Landau, Philip Ober, Josephine Hutchinson, Adam Williams, Edward Platt
"The romcom suspense caper is a cinematic recipe that Alfred Hitchcock took with him to his grave; certainly I can't imagine anyone now succeeding in blending thrills, spills, caresses and laughs the way he did in this sublime classic from 1959… Cary Grant plays Roger Thornhill, a debonair Madison Avenue ad executive mistaken for a US agent by sinister foreign forces led by James Mason, fitted up for a murder he didn't commit and then pursued across America for some sensational setpieces, including the stunningly nightmarish crop-duster plane sequence. Naturally, he has a classic Hitchcock blonde for company: Eva Marie Saint." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Chris Fujiwara, Eran Kolirin, Jeff Nichols, V.F. Perkins, Michel Hazanavicius.
Max Schreck, Alexander Granach, Gustav von Wangenheim, Greta Schroeder, G.H. Schnell, Ruth Landshoff, John Gottowt, Gustav Botz, Max Nemetz, Wolfgang Heinz
"A masterpiece of the German silent cinema and easily the most effective version of Dracula on record. F.W. Murnau's 1922 film follows the Bram Stoker novel fairly closely, although he neglected to purchase the screen rights—hence, the title change. But the key elements are all Murnau's own: the eerie intrusions of expressionist style on natural settings, the strong sexual subtext, and the daring use of fast-motion and negative photography." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Christopher Frayling, Guillermo Del Toro, Ann Hui, Werner Herzog, Antonia Quirke.
Oleg Yankovsky, Erland Josephson, Domiziana Giordano, Patrizia Terreno, Laura De Marchi, Delia Boccardo, Milena Vukotic, Raffaele Di Mario, Rate Furlan, Livio Galassi
"Another of Tarkovsky's strange, hauntingly beautiful meditations on man's search for self. The film may forsake the run-down space station of Solaris or the miraculous Zone of Stalker for the hilltop villages of Tuscany, but its framework is familiar (flashbacks in spectral black-and-white, the use of rich sepia alongside pastel colour to blur distinctions between dream and reality), and so are its themes (memory, melancholia, disenchantment with the material world, dogged stumbling after salvation)… Tarkovsky remains as much a metaphysician as anything else, and Nostalgia isn't an entertainment but an article of faith." - Angus MacKinnon, Time Out
Selected by Krzysztof Zanussi, Guy Désiré Yameogo, Bryan Chang, Henk Camping, Jason Anderson.
Nostalgia for the Light
Gaspar Galaz, Lautaro Nunez, Luis Henriquez, Miguel (Architect), Victor Gonzalez, Vicky Saaveda, Violeta Berrios, George Preston, Valentina Rodriguez
"Chilean documentary Nostalgia for the Light is a film of heart-stopping beauty and devastating horror. You wouldn't imagine the two could co-exist, but Patricio Guzman's film shows us a place where they do – in Chile's Atacama Desert. This is apparently the driest place on earth, the only expanse that, seen from space, registers as a patch of brown. Clear skies make it an ideal spot from which to observe the universe; it is also, however, where the Pinochet regime installed a vast concentration camp, and where thousands of its victims' bodies are buried to this day.“ - Jonathan Romney, The Independent
Selected by B. Ruby Rich, Gareth Evans, Michael Koller, Tata Amaral, Aurélio Michiles.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
Top 25 Science-Fiction Films
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)
2. Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982)
3. Metropolis  (Fritz Lang, 1927)
4. Stalker (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1979)
5. A Clockwork Orange (Stanley Kubrick, 1971)
6. La Jetée (Chris Marker, 1962)
7. Star Wars (George Lucas, 1977)
8. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (Steven Spielberg, 1982)
9. Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979)
10. Brazil (Terry Gilliam, 1985)
11. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Steven Spielberg, 1977)
12. Solaris (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1972)
13. Eraserhead (David Lynch, 1977)
14. Videodrome (David Cronenberg, 1983)
15. The Empire Strikes Back (Irvin Kershner, 1980)
16. Bride of Frankenstein (James Whale, 1935)
17. The Matrix (Lana Wachowski & Lilly Wachowski, 1999)
18. The Thing (John Carpenter, 1982)
19. Back to the Future (Robert Zemeckis, 1985)
20. Le Voyage dans la lune (Georges Méliès, 1902)
21. WALL-E (Andrew Stanton, 2008)
22. Aliens (James Cameron, 1986)
23. Mad Max 2 (George Miller, 1981)
24. The Terminator (James Cameron, 1984)
25. Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011)
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, Gilberto Perez.
Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Louis Calhern, Leopoldine Konstantin, Reinhold Schunzel, Moroni Olsen, Ivan Triesault, Alexis Minotis, Wally Brown
"In Notorious, a brilliant allegory of love and betrayal, Hitchcock fuses two of his favorite elements: suspense and romance. A beautiful woman with a tainted past (Bergman) is enlisted by American agent Devlin (Grant) to spy on a ring of Nazis in post-war Rio. Her espionage work becomes life-threatening after she marries the most debonair of the Nazi ring, Alex (Rains). Only Devlin can rescue her, but to do so he must face his role in her desperate situation and acknowledge that he’s loved her all along. Stunning performances, Ben Hecht’s excellent script, and Hitchcock’s direction at its best make Notorious a perfect film." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Jean-Claude Rousseau, John Powers, José Luis Garci, Kent Jones, Kim Newman.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
Jeanne Moreau, Marcello Mastroianni, Monica Vitti, Bernhard Wicki, Rosy Mazzacurati, Maria Puzi Luzi, Guido A. Marsan, Vittorio Bertolini, Vincenzo Corbella, Ugo Fortunati
"An equally stunning follow-up to Michelangelo Antonioni's landmark 1960 film, L'avventura, La Notte explores similar themes of dysfunctional relationships and a seemingly unattainable search for sincere passion. Again, these underlying themes center on a loosely strung, somewhat inconsequential plot, elevated to fascinating heights by the film's meticulous pace and emphasis on visual nuance... Best appreciated when benchmarked against L'avventura's epic qualities and L'eclisse's almost painful austerity, La Notte serves as a perfect medium in terms of both narrative and technique -- engaging and poetic yet simple and direct." - Jason Birchmeier, All Movie
Selected by Girish Kasaravalli, Joachim Trier, Eloísa Solaas, Aaron Katz, Bryan Chang.
Alain Delon, Domiziana Giordano, Jacques Dacqmine, Christophe Odent, Roland Amstutz, Cecile Reigher, Laurence Cote, Joseph Lisbona, Veronique Muller, Joe Sheridan
"Godard's opening salvo of the '90s sustains an elegiac note to unexpectedly potent effect. While the connecting narrative's a characteristically wilful and oblique affair, in which fabulously wealthy Giordano adopts drifter Delon as a house guest, their tentative emotional rapprochement set against the scheming of sundry business types, it's the larger view of a society obsessed by consumption and commodities at the expense of culture, moral integrity and human feelings that leaves the stronger impression… Godard conjures a fragmentary celluloid music expressing a deep sense of loss." - Trevor Johnston, Time Out
Selected by Armond White, Gavin Smith, Jean Narboni, Chung Sung-ill, Ekkehard Knörer.
La Nuit du carrefour
Michael Duran, Georges Koudria, Jane Pierson, Pierre Renoir, Winna Winifried
"The screen's first Simenon adaptation, a wonderfully impenetrable mystery in which a series of murders and murder attempts gradually unravel a tale of star-crossed love and stolen diamonds, centring on a lonely crossroads, a sleazy garage, and a semi-derelict house harbouring an enigmatic, drug-stupefied femme fatale. Shot almost entirely on location and in direct sound, with most of the action taking place at night or in permanently shrouding mists, the whole film is seen and heard as through a glass, darkly… Weird, hallucinating and oddly poetic, it prefigures the treacherous perspectives of the later film noir." - Tom Milne, Time Out
Selected by Jean-Marie Straub, James Naremore, Cristina Fernandes, Martial Pisani, Gilbert Adair.
Sandrine Battistella, Jean-Luc Godard, Pierre Oudrey, Alexandre Rignault, Rachel Stefanopoli
"Often juxtaposing or superimposing two or more video images within the same 'Scope frame, Jean-Luc Godard's remarkable 1975 feature—one of the most ambitious and innovative films in his career—literally deconstructs family, sexuality, work, and alienation before our very eyes. Our ears are given a workout as well; the punning commentary and dialogue, whose overlapping meanings can only be approximated in the subtitles, form part of one of his densest sound tracks… In many respects, this is a film about reverse angles and all that they imply; it forms one of Godard's richest and most disturbing meditations on social reality." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Álvaro Arroba, Daisuke Akasaka, Edgar Pêra, Federico Rossin, Santiago Gallego.