The 1,000 Greatest Films (200-101)

The banner image above is from Howard Hawks' His Girl Friday.
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The Birds

The Birds


1963 / USA / 120m / Col / Horror, Natural Horror
Tippi Hedren, Rod Taylor, Suzanne Pleshette, Jessica Tandy, Veronica Cartwright, Ruth McDevitt, Ethel Griffies, Charles McGraw, Joe Mantell, Doodles Weaver
"The Birds is Coming' the advance posters twittered ungrammatically but with justifiable excitement. With death dropping blandly out of a clear sky - its menace magnified into apocalypse from the crop-dusting scene in North by Northwest - this is Hitchcock at his best. Full of subterranean hints as to the ways in which people cage each other, it's fierce and Freudian as well as great cinematic fun, with ample fodder for the amateur psychologist following up on Hitch's tortuous involvement with his leading ladies." - Tom Milne, Time Out
Selected by Leonardo García Tsao, Raymond Bellour, Sean Durkin, Bigas Luna, José Mojica Marins.
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Breaking the Waves

Breaking the Waves


1996 / Denmark-Sweden-France-Netherlands-Norway-Iceland-Spain / 156m / Col / Psychological Drama, Romantic Drama
Emily Watson, Stellan Skarsgard, Katrin Cartlidge, Jean-Marc Barr, Adrian Rawlins, Jonathan Hackett, Sandra Voe, Udo Kier, Mikkel Gaup, Roef Ragas
"Courting and sometimes winning ridicule, daring to fuse true love with lurid exploitation and pure religious faith, the Danish director Lars von Trier has created a fierce, wrenchingly passionate film about the struggles of a shy young woman who is goodness personified… With a plot that owes as much to the Marquis de Sade as it does to higher-minded sources, von Trier begins his film as a powerfully carnal love story and eventually leaves it, by his own description, "treading on the verge of kitsch." A narrative path leading from the sincere to the ludicrous, and culminating in a final image of flabbergasting transcendance, gives Breaking the Waves its surprising power." - Janet Maslin, The New York Times
Selected by Jonathan Caouette, Lone Scherfig, Pawel Pawlikowski, Sukhdev Sandhu, Drake Doremus.
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Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom

Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom

Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma (original title)

1975 / Italy / 117m / Col / Drama, Sex Horror
Paolo Bonacelli, Giorgio Cataldi, Umberto Paolo Quintavalle, Aldo Valletti, Caterina Boratto, Helene Surgere, Sonia Saviange, Elsa De Giorgi, Ines Pellegrini, Rinaldo Missaglia
"The notorious final film from Pier Paolo Pasolini, Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom has been called nauseating, shocking, depraved, pornographic... It’s also a masterpiece. The controversial poet, novelist, and filmmaker’s transposition of the Marquis de Sade’s eighteenth-century opus of torture and degradation to Fascist Italy in 1944 remains one of the most passionately debated films of all time, a thought-provoking inquiry into the political, social, and sexual dynamics that define the world we live in." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Amos Gitai, Gaspar Noé, Lalitha Gopalan, David Ehrenstein, Michael Haneke.
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Belle de jour

Belle de jour


1967 / France-Italy / 100m / Col / Satire, Psychological Drama
Catherine Deneuve, Jean Sorel, Michel Piccoli, Genevieve Page, Pierre Clementi, Francisco Rabal, Georges Marchal, Francoise Fabian, Maria Latour, Macha Meril
"Catherine Deneuve’s porcelain perfection hides a cracked interior in one of the actress’s most iconic roles: Séverine, a Paris housewife who begins secretly spending her after­noon hours working in a bordello. This surreal and erotic late-sixties daydream from provocateur for the ages Luis Buñuel is an examination of desire and fetishistic pleasure (its characters’ and its viewers’), as well as a gently absurdist take on contemporary social mores and class divisions. Fantasy and reality commingle in this burst of cinematic transgression, which was one of Buñuel’s biggest hits." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by José Mojica Marins, Andrew Sarris, Alan Jones, Edgar Pêra, Glenn Kenny.
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Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Close Encounters of the Third Kind


1977 / USA / 135m / Col / Science Fiction, Adventure Drama
Richard Dreyfuss, Francois Truffaut, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon, Bob Balaban, Warren Kemmerling, Cary Guffey, J. Patrick McNamara, Roberts Blossom, Philip Dodds
"For better or worse, one of Steven Spielberg's best films, and perhaps still the best expression of his benign, dreamy-eyed vision. Humanity's first contact with alien beings proves to be a cause for celebration and a form of showbiz razzle-dazzle that resembles a slowly descending chandelier in a movie palace… Very close in overall spirit and nostalgic winsomeness to the fiction of Ray Bradbury, with beautiful cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond that deservedly won an Oscar. This is dopey Hollywood mysticism all right, but thanks to considerable craft and showmanship, it packs an undeniable punch." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Denis Villeneuve, Joe Wright, Richard Kelly, Roland Emmerich, Andrew Stanton.
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Kes

Kes


1969 / UK / 113m / Col / Coming-of-Age, Family Drama
David Bradley, Lynne Perrie, Freddie Fletcher, Colin Welland, Brian Glover, Bob Bowes, Bernard Atha, Laurence Bould, Joey Kaye, Robert Naylor
"Ken Loach’s Kes, is cinema’s quintessential portrait of working-class Northern England. Billy (an astonishingly naturalistic David Bradley) is a fifteen-year-old miner’s son whose close bond with a wild kestrel provides him with a spiritual escape from his dead-end life. Kes brought to the big screen the sociopolitical engagement Loach had established in his work for the BBC, and pushed the British “angry young man” film of the sixties into a new realm of authenticity, using real locations and nonprofessional actors. Loach’s poignant coming-of-age drama remains the now legendary director’s most beloved and influential film." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Michel Gondry, Michael Apted, Paul Greengrass, Ray Lawrence, Sam Mendes.
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Paisan

Paisan

Paisà (original title)

1946 / Italy / 120m / BW / Drama, War Drama
Maria Michi, Gar Moore, Carmela Sazio, Robert Van Loon, Benjamin Emmanuel, Harold Wagner, Dotts Johnson, Harriet Medin, William Tubbs, Dale Edmonds
"Roberto Rossellini’s follow-up to his breakout Rome Open City was the ambitious, enormously moving Paisan, which consists of six episodes set during the liberation of Italy at the end of World War II, and taking place across the country, from Sicily to the northern Po Valley. With its documentary-like visuals and its intermingled cast of actors and nonprofessionals, Italians and their American liberators, this look at the struggles of different cultures to communicate and of people to live their everyday lives in extreme circumstances is equal parts charming sentiment and vivid reality." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Martin Scorsese, Edgardo Cozarinsky, Federico Rossin, Jan Distelmeyer, Manuel Asín.
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Red River

Red River


1948 / USA / 133m / BW / Western, Epic Western
John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, Walter Brennan, Joanne Dru, Coleen Gray, John Ireland, Noah Beery Jr., Paul Fix, Harry Carey Jr., Harry Carey
"Hawks' leisurely adaptation of Borden Chase's story about the establishing of the Chisholm Trail by Wayne and Clift's cattle train is a sheer delight that works on many levels. Firstly, it's an examination of Wayne's heroic image, here shown to be needlessly authoritarian and stubborn… Secondly, it's yet another variation on Hawks' perennial concern with the theme of self-respect and professionalism… Finally, it's an intimate epic celebrating the determination to establish civilisation in the wilderness… Immaculately shot by Russell Harlan, perfectly performed by a host of Hawks regulars, and shot through with dark comedy, it's probably the finest Western of the '40s." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Lawrence Kasdan, Rudolf Thome, Wes Craven, Violeta Kovacsics, Fred Camper.
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The Quiet Man

The Quiet Man


1952 / USA / 129m / Col / Comedy Drama, Romance
John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Victor McLaglen, Barry Fitzgerald, Ward Bond, Mildred Natwick, Arthur Shields, Jack MacGowran, Francis Ford, Eileen Crowe
"John Ford's 1952 Oscar winner is a tribute to an Ireland that exists only in the imaginations of songwriters and poets like Ford, a fairy green place where people really do say "faith and begorrah." John Wayne is an Irish-born American boxer who returns to his native village to (1) claim the family homestead, (2) win acceptance from the Abbey Players who populate the area, and (3) win the heart and hand—and dowry—of the local beauty, Maureen O'Hara, by winning over (and ultimately pummeling senseless) her hard-drinking brother, Victor McLaglen. A wonderful film, with a marvelous supporting cast headed by Barry Fitzgerald as Wayne's pixieish helper." - Don Druker, Chicago Reader
Selected by Amos Gitai, Albert Serra, Fernando Trueba, George A. Romero, Carlos Losilla.
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Le Samourai

Le Samouraï


1967 / France / 95m / Col / Crime Thriller, Post-Noir (Modern Noir)
Alain Delon, Nathalie Delon, Francois Perier, Caty Rosier, Jacques Leroy, Jean-Pierre Posier, Catherine Jourdan, Michel Boisrond, Robert Favart, Roger Fradet
"Melville's hombres don't talk a lot, they just move in and out of the shadows, their trenchcoats lined with guilt and their hats hiding their eyes. This is a great movie, an austere masterpiece, with Delon as a cold, enigmatic contract killer who lives by a personal code of bushido. Essentially, the plot is about an alibi, yet Melville turns this into a mythical revenge story, with Cathy Rosier as Delon's black, piano-playing nemesis who might just as easily have stepped from the pages of Cocteau or Sophocles as Vogue. Similarly, if Delon is Death, Périer's cop is a date with Destiny." - Adrian Turner, Time Out
Selected by Ginette Vincendeau, John Michael McDonagh, Mike Hodges, Monte Hellman, Constantin Popescu.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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Death in Venice

Death in Venice

Morte a Venezia (original title)

1971 / Italy / 130m / Col / Drama, Period Film
Dirk Bogarde, Bjorn Andresen, Silvana Mangano, Romolo Valli, Mark Burns, Nora Ricci, Marisa Berenson, Carole Andre, Leslie French, Franco Fabrizi
"Dirk Bogarde gave the greatest performance of his career, in fact one of the greatest of any screen performances, in Visconti's magnificent 1971 version of the Thomas Mann novella, played out in a series of long, often wordless takes which are miraculously suffused with spiritual meaning… Some of the "flashback" scenes debating art and life sound a little shrill, and the extraordinary addiction Visconti had to the slow zooms which attend almost every shot look eccentric, though they are of their time. This is exalted film-making." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Stanley Kwan, Susanne Bier, Beat Glur, Emilio Bustamante, Fernando Lara.
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Umberto D.

Umberto D.


1952 / Italy / 89m / BW / Urban Drama, Melodrama
Carlo Battisti, Maria Pia Casilio, Lina Gennari, Alberto Albani Barbieri, Memmo Carotenuto, Elena Rea, Ileana Simova, Lamberto Maggiorani
"This neorealist masterpiece by Vittorio De Sica follows an elderly pensioner as he strives to make ends meet during Italy’s postwar economic recovery. Alone except for his dog, Flike, Umberto struggles to maintain his dignity in a city where human kindness seems to have been swallowed up by the forces of modernization. His simple quest to satisfy his basic needs—food, shelter, companionship—makes for one of the most heartbreaking stories ever filmed, and an essential classic of world cinema." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Derek Malcolm, Andrzej Zulawski, Maura McHugh, Edna Fainaru, Martha P. Nochimson.
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Sweet Smell of Success

Sweet Smell of Success


1957 / USA / 96m / BW / Drama, Media Satire
Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Susan Harrison, Martin Milner, Sam Levene, Barbara Nichols, Emile Meyer, Jeff Donnell, Joseph Leon, Edith Atwater
"In the swift, cynical Sweet Smell of Success, directed by Alexander Mackendrick, Burt Lancaster stars as the vicious Broadway gossip columnist J. J. Hunsecker, and Tony Curtis as Sidney Falco, the unprincipled press agent Hunsecker ropes into smearing the up-and-coming jazz musician romancing his beloved sister. Featuring deliciously unsavory dialogue, in an acid, brilliantly structured script by Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman, and noirish neon cityscapes from Oscar-winning cinematographer James Wong Howe, Sweet Smell of Success is a cracklingly cruel dispatch from the kill-or-be-killed wilds of 1950s Manhattan." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Penny Woolcock, Philip Kemp, Mike Hodges, F. Gary Gray, Sacha Gervasi.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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McCabe & Mrs. Miller

McCabe & Mrs. Miller


1971 / USA / 121m / Col / Drama, Revisionist Western
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.
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Night and Fog

Night and Fog

Nuit et brouillard (original title)

1955 / France / 32m / Col-BW / Military & War, Documentary
Michel Bouquet
"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.
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The Best Years of Our Lives

The Best Years of Our Lives


1946 / US / 172m / BW / Family Drama, Ensemble Film
Fredric March, Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews, Teresa Wright, Virginia Mayo, Harold Russell, Hoagy Carmichael, Cathy O'Donnell, Gladys George, Roman Bohnen
"I’d call this the best American movie about returning soldiers I’ve ever seen — the most moving and the most deeply felt. It bears witness to its times and contemporaries like few other Hollywood features, and Gregg Toland’s deep-focus cinematography is one of the best things he ever did. The rest of the cast — including Dana Andrews, Myrna Loy, Teresa Wright, Fredric March, Cathy O’Donnell, Virginia Mayo, Hoagy Carmichael, and Ray Collins — is strong too." - Jonathan Rosenbaum
Selected by Steve Buscemi, Bruce La Bruce, Francis Ford Coppola, Genevieve Sellier, Cameron Crowe.
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There Will Be Blood

There Will Be Blood


2007 / USA / 158m / Col / Family Drama, Period Film
Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Kevin J. O'Connor, Ciaran Hinds, Dillon Freasier, Sydney McAllister, David Willis, David Warshofsky, Colton Woodward, Colleen Foy
"With its lowering, psychotic atmosphere and its Bunyanesque surnames, There Will Be Blood is so potent and so strange that it almost seems to have been delivered here from another planet. I can only describe it as an epic portrait, running from the beginning of the 20th century to the great crash of 1929. The movie speaks of oil's savage, entrepreneurial pre-history... This is a dark, uncompromising film, thrillingly original and distinctive, with a visionary passion. It is a movie against which all directors, and all moviegoers, will want to measure themselves. Anderson is doing something new with cinema, and you can hardly ask for more than that." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Sarah Polley, Agnieszka Holland, Manohla Dargis, Sam Mendes, Wesley Morris.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
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The Great Dictator

The Great Dictator


1940 / USA / 128m / BW / Comedy, Anti-War Film
Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Jack Oakie, Reginald Gardiner, Henry Daniell, Maurice Moscovich, Billy Gilbert, Emma Dunn, Grace Hayle, Carter DeHaven
"In his controversial masterpiece The Great Dictator, Charlie Chaplin offers both a cutting caricature of Adolf Hitler and a sly tweaking of his own comic persona. Chaplin, in his first pure talkie, brings his sublime physicality to two roles: the cruel yet clownish “Tomainian” dictator and the kindly Jewish barber who is mistaken for him. Featuring Jack Oakie and Paulette Goddard in stellar supporting turns, The Great Dictator, boldly going after the fascist leader before the U.S.’s official entry into World War II, is an audacious amalgam of politics and slapstick that culminates in Chaplin’s famously impassioned speech." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Nelson Pereira dos Santos, Dina Iordanova, Richard Brody, Julio Medem, Michel Gondry.
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Out of the Past

Out of the Past


1947 / USA / 97m / BW / Crime, Film Noir
Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas, Rhonda Fleming, Richard Webb, Steve Brodie, Virginia Huston, Paul Valentine, Dickie Moore, Ken Niles
"Out of the Past is cinematic perfection, a Hollywood classic that's as great and as enjoyable as its reputation has promised. The apotheosis of '40s film noir… The picture contains everything one might want in an old-time studio film -- plus good taste, complicated emotions and an adult moral sense. The black-and-white cinematography is stunning, even apart from its psychological pertinence. Robert Mitchum and Kirk Douglas, stars who went on to become icons, were rarely as vivid as they are here. Yet this is director Jacques Tourneur's show all the way. Tourneur doesn't sustain a mood so much as build it." - Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
Selected by Lawrence Kasdan, Nick James, Alex Gibney, Patrick Keiller, Edgar Pêra.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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Ran

Ran


1985 / France-Japan / 161m / Col / Historical Epic, Samurai Film
Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Terao, Jinpachi Nezu, Daisuke Ryu, Mieko Harada, Yoshiko Miyazaki, Takashi Nomura, Hisashi Igawa, Peter, Masayuki Yui
"Ran is as close to perfect as filmmaking gets. List any element -- from concept through cinematography, battle action, editing, acting, sound, music, costumes or whatever, right down to makeup -- and Kurosawa's commitment is total. Ran is proof that the spirit can be captured on film. Kurosawa's was. This epic retelling of Shakespeare's King Lear is set in feudal Japan, with the overlord Hidetora as the Lear figure, who starts with everything and ends with nothing… In Ran, the horrors of life are transformed by art into beauty. It is finally so moving that the only appropriate response is silence." - Bob Graham, San Francisco Chronicle
Selected by Abel Ferrara, Fernando Meirelles, Krzysztof Zanussi, James Gray, Faouzi Bensaïdi.
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Rocco and His Brothers

Rocco and His Brothers

Rocco e i suoi fratelli (original title)

1960 / Italy-France / 180m / BW / Family Drama, Urban Drama
Alain Delon, Renato Salvatori, Annie Girardot, Katina Paxinou, Roger Hanin, Paolo Stoppa, Suzy Delair, Claudia Cardinale, Spiros Focas, Claudia Mori
"The word "operatic" is often overused, but no other would apply to Rocco and His Brothers. It is a combination that should not work, but does, between operatic melodrama and seamy social realism, which at no point in its 177-minute running time seem to clash, although they should. We buy the whole overwrought package, the quiet truth, the flamboyant excess, even the undercurrent of homoeroticism that Visconti never quite reconciles. The excitement of the film is that so much is happening, in so many different ways, all struggling to find a fusion." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Julian Graffy, Arturo Ripstein, Vladimir Carvalho, Ramin Bahrani, Alan Pauls.
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The Last Laugh

The Last Laugh

Der Letzte Mann (original title)

1924 / Germany / 77m / BW / Drama, Psychological Drama
Emil Jannings, Maly Delschaft, Max Hiller, Emilie Kurz, Hans Unterkircher, Olaf Storm, Hermann Vallentin, Georg John, Emmy Wyda, Harald Madsen
"The 1924 film in which F.W. Murnau freed his camera from its stationary tripod and took it on a flight of imagination and expression that changed the way movies were made. Cameras had tracked and panned before, but never to such a deliberate and spectacular degree. Emil Jannings is the hotel doorman whose life is ruined when he is shunted to semiretirement as a lavatory attendant and his beautiful uniform is taken away from him. The film was a great international success and secured a Hollywood contract for its German director." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Laurence Kardish, Richard Brody, Andreas Dresen, Annette Kuhn, Barry Salt.
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Performance

Performance

1970 / UK / 105m / Col / Psychological Drama, Satire
James Fox, Mick Jagger, Anita Pallenberg, Michele Breton, Ann Sidney, Johnny Shannon, Anthony Valentine, John Burdon, Stanley Meadows, Allan Cuthbertson
"Roeg's debut as a director is a virtuoso juggling act which manipulates its visual and verbal imagery so cunningly that the borderline between reality and fantasy is gradually eliminated. The first half-hour is straight thriller enough to suggest a Kray Bros documentary… the latter half becomes one of Roeg's most complex visual kaleidoscopes as pop star and enforcer coalesce in a marriage of heaven and hell (or underworld and underground) where the common denominator is Big Business." - Tom Milne, Time Out
Selected by John Michael McDonagh, Ben Wheatley, Billy Chainsaw, Brian Dillon, Clio Barnard.
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Celine and Julie Go Boating

Celine and Julie Go Boating

Céline et Julie vont en bateau (original title)

1974 / France / 192m / Col / Avant-garde-Experimental, Surrealist Film
Juliet Berto, Dominique Labourier, Bulle Ogier, Marie-France Pisier, Barbet Schroeder, Nathalie Asnar, Marie-Therese Saussure, Philippe Clevenot, Anne Zamire, Jean Douchet
"Don’t let the extended running time dissuade you: This is the rare breezy three-plus hours that manages to explore heady concepts—from the malleability of personality to the fine line separating voyeurism and participation—without once feeling labored. Much of the film’s buoyancy has to do with the indelible onscreen pairing of Berto and Labourier; the further they descend into their virtual wonderland, which Rivette cleverly visualizes with strategically repeated visuals and a minimum of ostentatious effects, the more infectious the duo’s natural enthusiasm becomes… Cinema this alive is a rare bird, indeed." - Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York
Selected by David Thomson, Kim Newman, Michael Atkinson, Quim Casas, Nick Roddick.
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Brazil

Brazil


1985 / UK / 131m / Col / Science Fiction, Satire
Jonathan Pryce, Robert De Niro, Katharine Helmond, Ian Holm, Bob Hoskins, Michael Palin, Ian Richardson, Peter Vaughan, Kim Greist, Jim Broadbent
"Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet called it "retro-futurism," and that's as good a label as any to slap on Terry Gilliam's Brazil, a willfully absurdist dystopian fable about an impossible future that feels more like an antiquated past, a Romantic pretzel- twisting of Orwell and a nursery-rhyme-inflected sci-fi dream epic that appropriates equal parts Fritz Lang, Hellzapoppin', Orson Welles, and illustrator Brian Froud. It remains a stunning achievement, if nearly as exhausting and frustrating as the Tex Avery bureaucracy it roasts, but Gilliam's stylistic dysfunctionalities, art-directed out of junkyards, are what still percolate in the forebrain." - Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice
Selected by Mark Kermode, Ari Folman, Nadia Tass, Ben Wheatley, Darren Aronofsky.
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Earth

Earth

Zemlya (original title)

1930 / USSR / 75m / BW / Drama, Rural Drama
Semyon Svashenko, Stepan Shkurat, Nikolai Nademsky, Yuliya Solntseva, Yelena Maksimova, I. Franko, Pyotr Masokha, V. Mikhajlov, Pavel Petrik, P. Umanets
"The astonishingly beautiful Earth is unlike anything else in movies. Drafted to make a film on rural collectivization, Dovzhenko produced a myth presenting the creation of the kolkhoz as a natural phenomenon, part of a cosmic cycle of birth and death. Murdered by a crazed kulak (or wealthy peasant), Earth's young hero is a martyr to the fertility of harvest. Released amid the campaign to liquidate the kulaks, Earth is ultimately a pagan myth made to celebrate a tragic social experiment." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Gilberto Perez, Jirí Menzel, Kevin Jackson, John Gianvito, Albert Serra.
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Spring in a Small Town

Spring in a Small Town

Xiao cheng zhi chun (original title)

1948 / China / 85m / BW / Drama, Romantic Drama
Wei Wei, Yu Shi, Li Wei, Chaoming Cui, Hongmei Zhang
"The crowning achievement of one of China's finest directors, this unique film both reflects and dissects the mood of helpless impotence which afflicted many Chinese in the years after the war. After a 10-year absence, a doctor visits a married couple living in a bomb-scarred country town. The husband is a broken man, close to suicide; the wife was once his lover and they start to drift back into an affair under the nose of her husband. The sense of frustration and enervation is palpable, underlined by Fei's brilliant idea to use dissolves within scenes, but the counter-current of renascent desire makes this also a very sensual movie." - Tony Rayns, Time Out
Selected by Garin Nugroho, Tony Rayns, Tsai Ming-liang, Wang Xiaoshuai, Zhang Yuan.
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The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (original title)

1964 / France-Germany / 91m / Col / Musical, Romance
Catherine Deneuve, Nino Castelnuovo, Anne Vernon, Ellen Farnen, Marc Michel, Mireille Perrey, Jean Champion, Harald Wolff, Dorothee Blank, Pierre Caden
"Jacques Demy's 1964 classic The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, which demonstrates that it is possible for a drama sung from beginning to end to be not just emotionally involving but artistically innovative… This everyday love stuff is without a doubt one of the most romantic films ever made, but the psychological details are firmly rooted in reality, and it's lifted into another, magical dimension by dazzling, colour-coded production design… Michel Legrand's music, with its plaintive love theme, is exquisite, but it's when you stop being aware that everyone's singing their lines and start getting swept along by the story that you know the film really hits the spot." - Anne Billson, The Telegraph
Selected by Destin Daniel Cretton, Hirokazu Koreeda, Flavia de la Fuente, Isabelle Stever, David Panos.
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The Travelling Players

The Travelling Players

O Thiasos (original title)

1975 / Greece / 230m / Col / Drama, Political Drama
Eva Kotamanidou, Aliki Georgouli, Stratos Pahis, Maria Vassiliou, Petros Zarkadis, Kiriakos Katrivanos, Yannis Firios, Nina Papazaphiropoulou, Alekos Boubis, Kosta Stiliaris
"Angelopoulos' defiantly subversive film follows a nomadic acting troupe that bears witness to a country ravaged by civil war… For Leftist sympathizer Angelopoulos, the shift from Nazi Occupation to field marshal Marcel Papagos' prevailing dictatorship was virtually indistinguishable… His firm grasp of politics and theater gives The Travelling Players enormous thematic complexity and relevance, however difficult it is to understand at times. But even the most clueless outsider can still soak in the magisterial beauty of Angelopoulos' images, which mournfully depict corroded buildings and emptied streets while celebrating the country's enduring natural beauty." - Scott Tobias, A.V. Club
Selected by David Stratton, Simon Louvish, Cui Zi'en, Alin Tasciyan, Pema Tseden.
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Dekalog

Dekalog

The Decalogue (USA title)

1988 / Poland / 550m / Col / Drama, Psychological Drama
Miroslaw Baka, Henryk Baranowski, Artur Barcis, Aleksander Bardini, Maja Barelkowska, Adrianna Biedrzynska, Henryk Bista, Ewa Blaszczyk, Bozena Dykiel, Janusz Gajos
"If its 10 parts inevitably vary in quality, in its entirety, the cycle -- which was first shown on Polish television in 1988-89 -- stands as a masterwork of modern cinema, essential viewing for anyone who cares about the movies as a serious art form… Without sermonizing or even trying to prove the existence of a divine power operating in the universe, these oblique dramatic parables imagine lives influenced by unseen forces whose intentions can't be predicted or even begun to be grasped." - Stephen Holden, The New York Times
Selected by Sarah Polley, Tarsem Singh, Kenneth Turan, Esin Kucuktepepinar, Avinoam Harpak.
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Black Narcissus

Black Narcissus


1947 / UK / 99m / Col / Melodrama, Religious Drama
Deborah Kerr, Sabu, David Farrar, Flora Robson, Jean Simmons, Kathleen Byron, Jenny Laird, Esmond Knight, Judith Furse, May Hallatt
"Run, don't walk to see this 1947 classic from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger… With each fade to black, you can see Deborah Kerr's eyes become, subliminally, twin gimlet gleams in the dark. The co-directors created from Rumer Godden's novel an extraordinary melodrama of repressed love and Forsterian Englishness - or rather Irishness - coming unglued in the vertiginous landscape of South Asia… The studio sets and backdrops are superbly and still convincingly rendered, and the film looks more beautiful than ever." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Kenneth Branagh, Peter Bradshaw, Andrew Haigh, Carol Morley, Nick James.
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The Deer Hunter

The Deer Hunter


1978 / USA / 183m / Col / Ensemble Film, War Drama
Robert De Niro, John Cazale, John Savage, Christopher Walken, Meryl Streep, George Dzundza, Chuck Aspegren, Shirley Stoler, Rutanya Alda, Pierre Segui
"The Deer Hunter is a three-hour movie in three major movements. It is a progression from a wedding to a funeral. It is the story of a group of friends. It is the record of how the war in Vietnam entered several lives and altered them terribly forever. It is not an anti-war film. It is not a pro-war film. It is one of the most emotionally shattering films ever made… It is said to be about many subjects: About male bonding, about mindless patriotism, about the dehumanizing effects of war… It is about any of those things that you choose, if you choose, but more than anything else, it is a heartbreakingly effective fictional machine that evokes the agony of the Vietnam time." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Götz Spielmann, Matthew Vaughn, Michael Dudok de Wit, Ray Lawrence, Susanne Bier.
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Imitation of Life

Imitation of Life


1959 / USA / 124m / Col / Melodrama, Family Drama
Lana Turner, John Gavin, Sandra Dee, Dan O'Herlihy, Susan Kohner, Juanita Moore, Robert Alda, Mahalia Jackson, Karen Dicker, Terry Burnham
"Sirk's last movie in Hollywood is a coldly brilliant weepie, a rags-to-riches tale of two intertwined families, in which the materialist optimism is continually counterpointed by an emphasis upon racist tension and the degeneration of family bonds. Despite the happy ending, what one remembers from the film is the steadily increasing hopelessness, given its most glorious visual expression in the scene of the maid's extravagant funeral… Forget those who decry the '50s Hollywood melodrama; it is through the conventions of that hyper-emotional genre that Sirk is able to make such a devastatingly embittered and pessimistic movie." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Laura Mulvey, Paul Julian Smith, David Sterritt, Carol Morley, Catherine Gautier.
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Mouchette

Mouchette


1967 / France / 80m / BW / Drama, Childhood Drama
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.
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The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath


1940 / USA / 129m / BW / Rural Drama, Americana
Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine, Charley Grapewin, Dorris Bowdon, Russell Simpson, John Qualen, O.Z. Whitehead, Eddie Quillan, Zeffie Tilbury
"Inspired by childhood memories of the great potato famine, John Ford's magnificent adaptation of John Steinbeck's book is somehow both sentimental and austere; it reminds you that Ireland is the land of Samuel Beckett as well as Sean O'Casey. Ford and cinematographer Gregg Toland manage the unbelievable task of making Henry Fonda unrecognizable at first: His haggard, sallow face holds no trace of movie-star familiarity. The masterful Toland outdoes himself, surpassing even Steinbeck's rough-hewn poetry. The harsh light and menacing shadows split the world into temporary winners and all-time losers, with community the only way to weather the storm." - Sam Adams, Philadelphia City Paper
Selected by Dina Iordanova, Lawrence Kasdan, Michael Caton-Jones, Julio Medem, Simon Louvish.
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L'Argent

L'Argent

Money (English title)

1983 / France-Switzerland / 90m / Col / Drama, Crime
Christian Patey, Sylvie Van den Elsen, Michel Briguet, Vincent Risterucci, Caroline Lang, Beatrice Tabourin, Didier Baussy, Marc Ernest Fourneau, Bruno Lapeyre, Francois-Marie Banier
"Robert Bresson's final film—made when he was 81—is a harrowing scour of ideological cinema, based on a sermonic Tolstoy story about greed but turned by Bresson into a pantomime stations of the cross, so completely focused on sensuous minutiae, moral interrogation, and the fastidious lasering away of movie bullshit (like acting and action) that it comes as close as any movie has to 15th-century Christian icons. Except the film's not expressly Christian—Bresson is far less a spiritualist than a precision pragmatist—and it is totally modern." - Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice
Selected by Amos Gitai, Fred Camper, Andrei Ujica, Hirokazu Koreeda, James Quandt.
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The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp


1943 / UK / 163m / Col / Drama, Period Film
Roger Livesey, Anton Walbrook, Deborah Kerr, Roland Culver, James McKechnie, John Laurie, Ursula Jeans, David Hutcheson, Albert Lieven, Arthur Wontner
"The passions and pitfalls of a lifetime in the military are dramatized in Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s magnificent epic, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. The film follows the exploits of pristine British soldier Clive Candy (Livesey) as he battles to maintain his honor and proud gentlemanly conduct through romance, three wars, and a changing world. Vibrant and controversial, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp is at once a romantic portrait of a career soldier and a pointed investigation into the nature of aging, friendship, and obsolescence." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Clare Stewart, Geoffrey Macnab, Kevin MacDonald, Errol Morris, Andrew Tracy.
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Napoleon

Napoléon


1927 / France / 235m / BW / Historical Epic, Biography
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.
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The Passenger

The Passenger

Professione: reporter (original title)

1975 / Italy / 119m / Col / Road Movie, Psychological Drama
Jack Nicholson, Maria Schneider, Jenny Runacre, Ian Hendry, Steven Berkoff, Ambroise Bia, Jose Maria Caffarel, James Campbell, Manfred Spies, Jean-Baptiste Tiemele
"Released in 1975 to mixed reviews and audience indifference -- if you went to see a Nicholson film that year, it was One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest -- The Passenger now looks to be one of the deepest, most rigorous, and most rewarding films of its era. In a post-'60s culture increasingly obsessed with the self, the movie pulled the rug out from under its main character's very identity, asking us to consider whether a man's name or his actions outlast him. This may be the first existentialist star vehicle, and it is mesmerizing. The movie is also as methodical as a case study, so if you have a need for speed, stay away. Your loss." - Ty Burr, The Boston Globe
Selected by Chris Darke, Walter Salles, Tata Amaral, Ulrich Seidl, Andrzej Kolodynski.
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Duck Soup

Duck Soup


1933 / USA / 70m / BW / Anarchic Comedy, Farce
Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Zeppo Marx, Margaret Dumont, Louis Calhern, Edgar Kennedy, Raquel Torres, Verna Hillie, Leonid Kinskey
"When the gang hooked up with a distinguished director, Leo McCarey, for the first and last time of their careers, their talents were perfectly channeled into 1933's Duck Soup, arguably the funniest movie ever made. The brothers claim that the film's story—about a leader (Groucho) who arbitrarily takes his country to war—was never intended as satire, but only Dr. Strangelove matches its audacity in sending up the follies of nationalism and conflict. The buildup to Groucho's fight with a neighboring country, triggered by an ambassador calling him an "upstart," leads to a joyous musical setpiece in which the prospect of war sends the nation into a state of perverse ecstasy." - Scott Tobias, A.V. Club
Selected by Edgar Wright, Ben Walters, Chris Knight, Howard Hampton, Jan Lumholdt.
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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Il Buono, il brutto, il cattivo (original title)

1966 / Italy-Spain / 161m / Col / Spaghetti Western, Outlaw (Gunfighter) Film
Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef, Aldo Giuffre, Luigi Pistilli, Rada Rassimov, Enzo Petito, Claudio Scarchilli, John Bartha, Mario Brega
"The Good, the Bad and the Ugly remains an overpowering cinematic experience. From its first image, in which a vast landscape is suddenly blocked out as a cowboy’s crater-cheeked, beady-eyed visage fills the screen, it’s evident that we’re in an Old West closer to Mars than to Monument Valley… And then there’s Ennio Morricone’s mad hyena of a score, cackling and piercing and swelling like a bestial physical outgrowth of the story. Above all an epic of visceral saturation, Leone’s feverish behemoth demands to be seen on a screen big enough to accommodate every inch of its bracing, luxuriant spectacle." - Fernando F. Croce, Reverse Shot
Selected by Peter Tscherkassky, Eran Kolirin, Quentin Tarantino, Martin McDonagh, Matthew Vaughn.
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Cries and Whispers

Cries and Whispers

Viskningar och rop (original title)

1972 / Sweden / 106m / Col / Drama, Family Drama
Harriet Andersson, Kari Sylwan, Ingrid Thulin, Liv Ullmann, Anders Ek, Inga Gill, Erland Josephson, Henning Moritzen, Georg Arlin, Lena Bergman
"Legendary director Ingmar Bergman creates a testament to the strength of the soul—and a film of absolute power. Karin and Maria come to the aid of their dying sister, Agnes, but jealousy, manipulation, and selfishness come before empathy. Agnes, tortured by cancer, transcends the pettiness of her sisters’ concerns to remember moments of being—moments that Bergman, with the help of Academy Award–winning cinematographer Sven Nykvist, translates into pictures of staggering beauty and unfathomable horror." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Margarethe von Trotta, Andrei Plakhov, Geoffrey Macnab, Julian Jarrold, Xavier Dolan.
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The River (1951)

The River


1951 / France-India-USA / 99m / Col / Drama, Romantic Drama
Patricia Walters, Radha, Adrienne Corri, Nora Swinburne, Esmond Knight, Arthur Shields, Suprova Mukerjee, Thomas E. Breen, Sahjan Singh, Richard Foster
"Director Jean Renoir’s entrancing first color feature—shot entirely on location in India—is a visual tour de force. Based on the novel by Rumer Godden, the film eloquently contrasts the growing pains of three young women with the immutability of the holy Bengal River, around which their daily lives unfold. Enriched by Renoir’s subtle understanding and appreciation for India and its people, The River gracefully explores the fragile connections between transitory emotions and everlasting creation." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Adriano Aprà, Bernard Eisenschitz, Joseph McBride, Miguel Gomes, Miguel Marías.
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The Red Shoes

The Red Shoes


1948 / UK / 133m / Col / Romantic Drama, Musical Drama
Anton Walbrook, Moira Shearer, Marius Goring, Leonide Massine, Robert Helpmann, Albert Basserman, Esmond Knight, Ludmilla Tcherina, Frederick Ashton, Jean Short
"The Red Shoes, the singular fantasia from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, is cinema’s quintessential backstage drama, as well as one of the most glorious Technicolor feasts ever concocted for the screen. Moira Shearer is a rising star ballerina torn between an idealistic composer and a ruthless impresario intent on perfection. Featuring outstanding performances, blazingly beautiful cinematography by Jack Cardiff, Oscar-winning sets and music, and an unforgettable, hallucinatory central dance sequence, this beloved classic, now dazzlingly restored, stands as an enthralling tribute to the life of the artist." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by John McNaughton, Pam Cook, David Ehrenstein, Ken Russell, Martin Scorsese.
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King Kong

King Kong


1933 / USA / 103m / BW / Adventure, Monster Film
Fay Wray, Bruce Cabot, Robert Armstrong, Frank Reicher, Noble Johnson, James Flavin, Sam Hardy, Steve Clemente, Victor Wong, Paul Porcasi
"If this glorious pile of horror-fantasy hokum has lost none of its power to move, excite and sadden, it is in no small measure due to the remarkable technical achievements of Willis O'Brien's animation work, and the superbly matched score of Max Steiner… The throbbing heart of the film lies in the creation of the semi-human simian himself, an immortal tribute to the Hollywood dream factory's ability to fashion a symbol that can express all the contradictory erotic, ecstatic, destructive, pathetic and cathartic buried impulses of 'civilised' man." - Wally Hammond, Time Out
Selected by Peter Jackson, Gaspar Noé, Anne Billson, Andrew Osmond, Antonia Quirke.
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Beau Travail

Beau travail


1999 / France / 92m / Col / Drama, Psychological Drama
Denis Lavant, Michel Subor, Gregoire Colin, Richard Courcet, Nicolas Duvauchelle, Adiatou Massidi, Mickael Rakovski, Dan Herzberg, Giuseppe Molino, Marta Tafesse Kassa
"Claire Denis's film is a mesmeric, masculine ballet whose beauty and confident power, manifested in lugubrious scenes which suspend the normal rules of narrative procedure, simply go beyond conventional ideas of transgression or homoeroticism… What is really remarkable about Denis's film is the way she succeeds in fusing the real and the dreamlike, the naturalistic and the figurative, into one visual conceit. Never for one moment does this shimmering, simmering emotional desert storm of a film relax its grip on your senses." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Steve McQueen, Joanna Hogg, Ira Sachs, Adam Nayman, Annemarie Jacir.
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Rosemary's Baby

Rosemary's Baby


1968 / USA / 136m / Col / Occult Horror, Psychological Thriller
Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Sidney Blackmer, Maurice Evans, Ralph Bellamy, Angela Dorian, Patsy Kelly, Elisha Cook Jr., Charles Grodin
"Horrifying and darkly comic, Rosemary’s Baby was Roman Polanski’s Hollywood debut. This wildly entertaining nightmare, faithfully adapted from Ira Levin’s best seller, stars a revelatory Mia Farrow as a young mother-to-be who grows increasingly suspicious that her overfriendly elderly neighbors (played by Sidney Blackmer and an Oscar-winning Ruth Gordon) and self-involved husband (John Cassavetes) are hatching a satanic plot against her and her baby. In the decades of occult cinema that Polanski’s ungodly masterpiece has spawned, it has never been outdone for sheer psychological terror." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Juan Antonio Bayona, Ray Lawrence, Sam Mendes, Wes Anderson, Sean Durkin.
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Chimes at Midnight

Chimes at Midnight

Campanadas a medianoche (Spanish title), Falstaff (alternative title)

1966 / France-Spain-Switzerland / 115m / BW / Drama, Tragi-comedy
Orson Welles, Keith Baxter, John Gielgud, Jeanne Moreau, Margaret Rutherford, Marina Vlady, Walter Chiari, Norman Rodway, Alan Webb, Fernando Rey
"Othello is full of the breathtaking daredevilry of Citizen Kane. Chimes at Midnight is something very different. It is somber and wintry in ways that recall the sense of loss and regret that permeate The Magnificent Ambersons, though it is no less audacious than Othello. Among other things, Chimes at Midnight is an adaptation of a Shakespearean play that Shakespeare never wrote, at least not in quite this form… More than anything else, however, Chimes at Midnight carries an astonishing emotional kick that seems to grow each time I see it. Shakespeare really isn't supposed to be so moving in this day and age." - Vincent Canby, The New York Times
Selected by Joseph McBride, Pere Portabella, Todd McCarthy, V.F. Perkins, David Sterritt.
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The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

Le Charme discret de la bourgeoisie (original title)

1972 / France / 100m / Col / Satire, Black Comedy
Fernando Rey, Delphine Seyrig, Stephane Audran, Bulle Ogier, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Paul Frankeur, Julien Bertheau, Claude Pieplu, Michel Piccoli, Milena Vukotic
"Luis Buñuel's surreal masterpiece from 1972, co-written with Jean-Claude Carrière, is stranger and more sensual than ever. The weirdness under the conventions throbs even more insistently and indiscreetly, now that those conventions themselves are historically distant. We can see with hindsight how Buñuel's subversion absorbed the various modish forms of agitprop and radical chic, and subverted those as well… An exotic and brilliant hothouse flower of a film." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Woody Allen, David O. Russell, Akira Tochigi, Amir Emary, Ben Gibson.
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The Gospel According to St. Matthew

The Gospel According to St. Matthew

Il Vangelo secondo Matteo (original title)

1964 / Italy-France / 135m / BW / Hagiography, Religious Drama
Enrique Irazoqui, Margherita Caruso, Susanna Pasolini, Marcello Morante, Mario Socrate, Settimo Di Porto, Otello Sestili, Ferruccio Nuzzo, Giacomo Morante, Alfonso Gatto
"Although or maybe becuase he was an atheist, Pier Paolo Pasolini’s life of Christ is one of the most powerful biblical films ever made. Using a cast of non-pro actors and dialogue drawn straight from Matthew’s gospel, Pasolini tells his story with unblinking simplicity, shooting documentary-style. The miracles, meanwhile, are low-key. Pasolini’s is a Marxist Christ, angered by social injustice – but even so, the film was approved by the Vatican and given a screening in Notre Dame." - Philip Kemp, Total Film
Selected by Derek Cianfrance, Jonathan Glazer, Jørgen Leth, Paul Greengrass, Patrick Tam.
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On the Waterfront

On the Waterfront


1954 / USA / 108m / BW / Message Movie, Urban Drama
Marlon Brando, Eva Marie Saint, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger, Leif Erickson, Martin Balsam, Pat Henning, James Westerfield, Tony Galento
"Marlon Brando gives the performance of his career as the tough prizefighter-turned-longshoreman Terry Malloy in this masterpiece of urban poetry. A raggedly emotional tale of individual failure and social corruption, On the Waterfront follows Terry’s deepening moral crisis as he must decide whether to remain loyal to the mob-connected union boss Johnny Friendly (Cobb) and Johnny’s right-hand man, Terry’s brother, Charley (Steiger), as the authorities close in on them. Driven by the vivid, naturalistic direction of Elia Kazan and savory, streetwise dialogue by Budd Schulberg, On the Waterfront was an instant sensation, winning eight Oscars." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Chris Columbus, Robert De Niro, Richard Eyre, Roger Corman, George A. Romero.
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Brief Encounter

Brief Encounter


1945 / UK / 85m / BW / Drama, Romance
Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard, Stanley Holloway, Cyril Raymond, Joyce Carey, Valentine Dyall, Everley Gregg, Margaret Barton, Dennis Harkin, Marjorie Mars
"After a chance meeting on a train platform, a married doctor (Howard) and a suburban housewife (Johnson) enter into a muted but passionate, ultimately doomed, love affair. With its evocatively fog-enshrouded setting, swooning Rachmaninoff score, and pair of remarkable performances (Johnson was nominated for an Oscar for her role), David Lean’s film of Noel Coward’s play Still Life deftly explores the thrill, pain, and tenderness of an illicit romance, and has influenced many a cinematic brief encounter since its release." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Kenneth Branagh, Nick Roddick, Richard Kwietniowski, Joe Wright, Robert Altman.
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The Conversation

The Conversation


1974 / USA / 113m / Col / Thriller, Paranoid Thriller
Gene Hackman, John Cazale, Cindy Williams, Allen Garfield, Frederic Forrest, Teri Garr, Robert Duvall, Michael Higgins, Elizabeth MacRae, Harrison Ford
"The same year Francis Coppola made The Godfather Part II, he also wrote and directed another great, landmark American film of the '70s. A tense, paranoia thriller, The Conversation is also a disturbing exploration of privacy and personal responsibility in the age of technological intrusion. Gene Hackman finds bittersweet poignancy in solitary surveillance expert Harry Caul, indifferent to the subjects of his eavesdropping until the furtive confidences of illicit lovers arouse guilt and longings that draw him into a murder plot and corporate conspiracy." - Angie Errigo, Empire
Selected by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Tarsem Singh, David Stratton, Jan Sverák, James Gunn.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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Come and See

Come and See

Idi i smotri (original title)

1985 / USSR / 136m / Col / War Drama, Coming-of-Age
Aleksei Kravchenko, Olga Mironova, Liubomiras Lauciavicius, Vladas Bagdonas, Juris Lumiste, Viktor Lorents, Kazimir Rabetsky, Yevgeni Tilicheyev, Aleksandr Berda, G. Velts
"It is, of course, impossible for cinema to accurately portray the horrors of life during wartime, though that never seems to stop directors from trying. In a century of harrowing, brutally realistic war pictures, from The Battle of the Somme to Saving Private Ryan, no one has come closer to achieving this goal than Elem Klimov in Come and See… It achieves precisely what it intends: to honestly illustrate, within the confines of a 142-minute narrative film, the devastation that war, and in this case genocide, wreaks upon a helpless populace." - Tom Huddleston, Time Out
Selected by Ben Wheatley, Gillies MacKinnon, Lizzie Francke, Mark Cousins, Michael Glawogger.
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His Girl Friday

His Girl Friday


1940 / USA / 92m / BW / Screwball Comedy, Romantic Comedy
Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy, Gene Lockhart, Helen Mack, Porter Hall, Roscoe Karns, John Qualen, Ernest Truex, Billy Gilbert
"Perhaps the funniest, certainly the fastest talkie comedy ever made, this inspired adaptation of Hecht and MacArthur's The Front Page adds an extra dimension of exploitation by turning Hildy Johnson into Walter Burns' ex-wife… Charles Lederer's frantic script needs to be heard at least a dozen times for all the gags to be caught; Russell's Hildy more than equals Burns (Grant) in cunning and speed; and Hawks transcends the piece's stage origins effortlessly, framing with brilliance, conducting numerous conversations simultaneously, and even allowing the film's political and emotional thrust to remain upfront alongside the laughs. Quite simply a masterpiece." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by David Thomson, Quentin Tarantino, Geoff Andrew, John Powers, Demetrios Matheou.
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Double Indemnity

Double Indemnity


1944 / USA / 106m / BW / Film Noir, Crime Thriller
Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Edward G. Robinson, Porter Hall, Jean Heather, Tom Powers, Fortunio Bonanova, Richard Gaines, John Philliber, Bess Flowers
"As poised and languorous as a cat, Stanwyck’s definitive femme fatale could be one of the savvy minxes of the actress’ delectable Pre-Code years – the jailhouse alpha female in Ladies They Talk About, the secretary trampolining up the office ranks one bed at a time in Baby Face – grown older and harder, her manicured ruthlessness calcifying into brutal amorality. With diamond-hard repartee by Wilder and Raymond Chandler (by way of James M Cain’s novel) and ghoulish cinematography by the great John Seitz, this is the gold standard of ’40s noir, straight down the line." - Jessica Winter, Time Out
Selected by Joel Schumacher, Mike D'Angelo, José Luis Garci, Carol J. Clover, Carlos Bonfil.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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Alien

Alien


1979 / USA / 117m / Col / Horror, Science Fiction
Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Yaphet Kotto, Ian Holm, Bolaji Badejo, Helen Horton, Eddie Powell
"Alien has been called the most influential of modern action pictures, and so it is, although Halloween also belongs on the list. Unfortunately, the films it influenced studied its thrills but not its thinking. We have now descended into a bog of Gotcha! movies in which various horrible beings spring on a series of victims, usually teenagers… A few more ambitious and serious sci-fi films have also followed in the footsteps of Alien, notably the well-made Aliens (1986) and Dark City (1998). But the original still vibrates with a dark and frightening intensity." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Jan Sverák, Danny Boyle, Aaron Katz, Alejandro Amenábar, David Michôd.
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The Exterminating Angel

The Exterminating Angel

El Ángel exterminador (original title)

1962 / Mexico / 95m / BW / Comedy Drama, Satire
Silvia Pinal, Enrique Rambal, Lucy Gallardo, Claudio Brook, Tito Junco, Bertha Moss, Jacqueline Andere, Jose Baviera, Augusto Benedico, Luis Beristain
"Luis Buñuel’s ferociously brilliant The Exterminating Angel is one of his most provocative and unforgettable works. In it we watch a trivial breach of etiquette transform into the destruction of civilization. Not only does this story undermine our confidence in our social institutions but it challenges our powers of cognition and perception, which are shown to be easily distorted by unreliable narratives. Perhaps most threatening, despite the emotional distance from the characters that Buñuel’s satiric vision grants us, we are ultimately forced to see that we in the audience are also objects of his attack." - Marsha Kinder, The Criterion Collection
Selected by Jean-Claude Rousseau, Michael Haneke, Andrew Tracy, Carmen Gray, David Flint.
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Stagecoach

Stagecoach


1939 / USA / 96m / BW / Western, Traditional Western
John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Thomas Mitchell, John Carradine, Andy Devine, George Bancroft, Louise Platt, Donald Meek, Berton Churchill, Tim Holt
"This is where it all started. John Ford’s smash hit and enduring masterpiece Stagecoach revolutionized the western, elevating it from B movie to the A-list and establishing the genre as we know it today. The quintessential tale of a group of strangers thrown together into extraordinary circumstances, Stagecoach features outstanding performances from Hollywood stalwarts Claire Trevor, John Carradine, and Thomas Mitchell, and, of course, John Wayne, in his first starring role for Ford, as the daredevil outlaw the Ringo Kid. Superbly shot and tightly edited, Stagecoach (Ford’s first trip to Monument Valley) is Hollywood storytelling at its finest." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Nelson Pereira dos Santos, Arturo Ripstein, Philip French, Charles Barr, Jeff Nichols.
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Do the Right Thing

Do the Right Thing


1989 / USA / 120m / Col / Urban Drama, Ensemble Film
Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Richard Edson, Giancarlo Esposito, Spike Lee, Bill Nunn, John Turturro, Paul Benjamin, John Savage
"The hottest day of the year explodes on-screen in this vibrant look at a day in the life of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Featuring a stellar ensemble cast that includes Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Richard Edson, Giancarlo Esposito, Robin Harris, Samuel L. Jackson, Bill Nunn, Rosie Perez, and John Turturro, Spike Lee’s powerful portrait of urban racial tensions sparked controversy while earning popular and critical praise." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Ginette Vincendeau, Steve McQueen, Kevin Smith, Wesley Morris, Asif Kapadia.
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Days of Heaven

Days of Heaven


1978 / USA / 95m / Col / Rural Drama, Romantic Drama
Richard Gere, Brooke Adams, Sam Shepard, Linda Manz, Robert J. Wilke, Jackie Shultis, Stuart Margolin, Timothy Scott, Gene Bell, Doug Kershaw
"One-of-a-kind filmmaker-philosopher Terrence Malick has created some of the most visually arresting films of the twentieth century, and his glorious period tragedy Days of Heaven, featuring Oscar-winning cinematography by Nestor Almendros, stands out among them… A love triangle, a swarm of locusts, a hellish fire—Malick captures it all with dreamlike authenticity, creating a timeless American idyll that is also a gritty evocation of turn-of-the-century labor." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Bruce McDonald, Mark Romanek, Niki Caro, Adam Hyman, Dávid Klág.
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Trouble in Paradise

Trouble in Paradise


1932 / USA / 83m / BW / Sophisticated Comedy, Romantic Comedy
Herbert Marshall, Miriam Hopkins, Kay Francis, Charlie Ruggles, Edward Everett Horton, C. Aubrey Smith, Robert Greig, George Humbert, Rolfe Sedan, Luis Alberni
"When thief Gaston Monescu (Marshall) meets his true love in pickpocket Lily (Hopkins), they embark on a scam to rob lovely perfume company executive Mariette Colet (Francis). But when Gaston becomes romantically entangled with Mme. Colet, their larcenous ruse is jeopardized and Gaston is forced to choose between two beautiful women. Legendary director Ernst Lubitsch’s masterful touch is in full flower in Trouble in Paradise, a pinnacle of the sophisticated romantic comedy, loaded with sparkling dialogue, witty innuendo, and elegant comic invention." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Joseph McBride, Wes Anderson, Michel Ciment, Edgardo Cozarinsky, James Naremore.
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Ali: Fear Eats teh Soul

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul

Angst essen Seele auf (original title); Fear Eats the Soul (alternative title)

1974 / West Germany / 94m / Col / Melodrama, Psychological Drama
Brigitte Mira, El Hedi ben Salem, Barbara Valentin, Irm Hermann, Elma Karlowa, Anita Bucher, Gusti Kreissl, Doris Mattes, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Karl Scheydt
"Rainer Werner Fassbinder, already the director of almost twenty films by the age of twenty-nine, paid homage to his cinematic hero, Douglas Sirk, with this updated version of Sirk’s All That Heaven Allows. Lonely widow Emmi Kurowski (Brigitte Mira) meets Arab worker Ali (El Hedi ben Salem) in a bar during a rainstorm. They fall in love––to their own surprise––and to the shock of family, colleagues, and drinking buddies. In Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, Fassbinder expertly uses the emotional power of the melodrama to underscore the racial tensions threatening German culture." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by James Quandt, Lodge Kerrigan, Tsai Ming-liang, Clio Barnard, Abderrahmane Sissako.
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Histoire(s) du cinema

Histoire(s) du cinéma


1998 / France / 265m / Col-BW / Essay Film, Documentary
Jean-Luc Godard, Alain Cuny, Juliette Binoche, Serge Daney, Julie Delpy
"Well over a decade in the making, this eight-part, 264-minute video is Jean-Luc Godard's magnum opus, but it's never been widely seen… Daunting, provocative, and very beautiful, this meditative essay looks at the history of the 20th century through cinema and vice versa, mainly through a rich assortment of clips (sometimes superimposing more than one), sound tracks (sometimes paired with visuals from other films), poetic commentary (with plenty of metaphors), and captions. For better and for worse, it's comparable to James Joyce's Finnegans Wake in both its difficulty and its playfulness." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Adriano Aprà, Carlos F. Heredero, Berenice Reynaud, Chris Darke, Jonathan Rosenbaum.
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The Lady Eve

The Lady Eve


1941 / USA / 94m / BW / Romantic Comedy, Sophisticated Comedy
Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda, Charles Coburn, Eugene Pallette, William Demarest, Eric Blore, Melville Cooper, Martha O'Driscoll, Janet Beecher, Robert Greig
"A conniving father and daughter meet up with the heir to a brewery fortune—a wealthy but naïve snake enthusiast—and attempt to bamboozle him at a cruise ship card table. Their plan is quickly abandoned when the daughter falls in love with their prey. But when the heir gets wise to her gold-digging ways, she must plot to re-conquer his heart. One of Sturges’s most clever and beloved romantic comedies, The Lady Eve balances broad slapstick and sophisticated sexiness with perfect grace." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Peter Bogdanovich, Gregg Araki, Paul Schrader, Richard Corliss, Stephanie Zacharek.
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Un Chien andalou

Un Chien andalou

An Andalusian Dog (English title)

1928 / France / 16m / BW / Avant-garde-Experimental, Surrealist Film
Pierre Batcheff, Simone Mareuil, Jaime Miravilles, Salvador Dali, Luis Buñuel, Robert Hommet, Marval, Fano Messan, Jeanne Rucas
"Un Chien Andalou was born of the encounter between my dreams and Dali's," said Buñuel in his autobiography. The film represents the purest form of autonomy in cinema. It is the quintessential surrealist primer and, not until Michelangelo Antonioni's L'Avventura, would a film so blazingly lead the way for a new cinematic language. Buñuel has said that Un Chien Andalou was the result of conscious automatism. And while it can be read as a mechanism analogous to a dream, the film itself is less a dream than an abstraction of a dream filtered through the logic of reality." - Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine
Selected by Philippe Parreno, Peter Tscherkassky, Tony Rayns, Ying Liang, Gaspar Noé.
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E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial


1982 / USA / 115m / Col / Science Fiction, Children's Fantasy
Dee Wallace, Henry Thomas, Peter Coyote, Robert MacNaughton, Drew Barrymore, K.C. Martel, Sean Frye, Tom Howell, Erika Eleniak, David O'Dell
"ET: The Extra Terrestrial - the story of the little boy from a broken home who befriends an extra-terrestrial creature stranded on Earth - really is a masterpiece... This is a brilliant film about the alienated and powerless experience of being a child, especially a child forced to absorb the scalding ironies of divorce; it works as a brilliant metaphor for this pain as well being a superb sci-fi adventure. It is a visionary romance - and there have never been many of those." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Carrie Rickey, Terry Jones, Cyrus Frisch, Juan Antonio Bayona, Alejandro Amenábar.
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A Matter of Life and Death

A Matter of Life and Death

Stairway to Heaven (alternative title)

1946 / UK / 104m / Col / Romantic Fantasy, Heaven-Can-Wait Fantasy
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.
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Rome, Open City

Rome, Open City

Roma, città aperta (original title); Open City (alternative title)

1945 / Italy / 105m / BW / War Drama, Resistance Film
Anna Magnani, Aldo Fabrizi, Marcello Pagliero, Vito Annichiarico, Nando Bruno, Harry Feist, Giovanna Galletti, Francesco Grandjacquet, Maria Michi, Eduardo Passarelli
"This was Roberto Rossellini’s revelation, a harrowing drama about the Nazi occupation of Rome and the brave few who struggled against it… Rome Open City is a shockingly authentic experience, conceived and directed amid the ruin of World War II, with immediacy in every frame. Marking a watershed moment in Italian cinema, this galvanic work garnered awards around the globe and left the beginnings of a new film movement in its wake." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Geoffrey Macnab, Nelson Pereira dos Santos, Laurence Kardish, Philippe Parreno, Allan Sekula.
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Yi yi

Yi yi

A One and a Two... (English title)

2000 / Taiwan-Japan / 173m / Col / Ensemble Film, Family Drama
Nien-Jen Wu, Elaine Jin, Issei Ogata, Kelly Lee, Jonathan Chang, Hsi-Sheng Chen, Su-Yun Ko, Michael Tao, Shu-shen Hsiao, Adrian Lin
"The extraordinary, internationally embraced Yi Yi, directed by the late Taiwanese master Edward Yang, follows a middle-class family in Taipei over the course of one year, beginning with a wedding and ending with a funeral. Whether chronicling middle-age father NJ’s tentative flirtations with an old flame or precocious young son Yang-Yang’s attempts at capturing reality with his beloved camera, the filmmaker deftly imbues every gorgeous frame with a compassionate clarity. Warm, sprawling, and dazzling, this intimate epic is one of the undisputed masterworks of the new century." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Wesley Morris, Carlo Chatrian, Nick James, Aditya Assarat, Kim Young-Jin.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
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Partie de campagne

Partie de campagne

A Day in the Country (English title); Une Partie de campagne (alternative title)

1936 / France / 40m / BW / Comedy Drama, Romance
Sylvia Bataille, Georges St. Saens, Jane Marken, Andre Gabriello, Jacques Brunius, Paul Temps, Gabrielle Fontan, Jean Renoir, Marguerite Renoir, Pierre Lestringuez
" It may be only a featurette, but this masterly adaptation of a Maupassant story is rich in both poetry and thematic content. On an idyllic country picnic, a young girl leaves her family and fiancé for a while, and succumbs to an all-too-brief romance. The careful reconstruction of period (around 1860) is enhanced by a typically touching generosity towards the characters and an aching, poignant sense of love lost but never forgotten. And, as always in Renoir, the river is far, far more than just a picturesque stretch of water. Witty and sensuous, it's pure magic." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Jirí Menzel, Mike D'Angelo, Fernando Trueba, Kevin Macdonald, Carlos Losilla.
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The Spirit of the Beehive

The Spirit of the Beehive

El Espíritu de la colmena (original title)

1973 / Spain / 95m / Col / Drama, Childhood Drama
Fernando Fernan Gomez, Teresa Gimpera, Ana Torrent, Isabel Telleria, Ketty de la Camara, Estanis Gonzalez, Jose Villasante, Juan Francisco Margallo, Laly Soldevila, Miguel Picazo
"Beehive remains arguably the finest and most beautifully wrought first film of the European '70s, a mysterious crucible as elusive, concrete, and visually primal as anything by Herzog, Straub, Olmi, or Denis. But it is also an unashamedly symbol-drunk piece of work; as if shopworking with folklore that doesn't exist, Erice insists through his visuals that everything, even the vast, furrowed Castilian plains themselves, signifies emotional intangibles… Shot in an unforgettably jaundiced twilight, Beehive is a graceful and potent lyric on children's vulnerable hunger, but it's also a sublime study on cinema's poetic capacity to reflect and hypercharge reality." - Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice
Selected by Chris Darke, James Marsh, Monte Hellman, Miguel Gomes, Julian Jarrold.
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Vivre sa vie

Vivre sa vie

My Life to Live (English title); Vivre sa vie: Film en douze tableaux (original title)

1962 / France / 85m / BW / Psychological Drama, Urban Drama
Anna Karina, Saddy Rebbot, Andre S. Labarthe, Guylaine Schlumberger, Brice Parain, Peter Kassovitz, Gerard Hoffman, Monique Messine, Paul Pavel, Dimitri Dineff
"Vivre sa vie was a turning point for Jean-Luc Godard and remains one of his most dynamic films, combining brilliant visual design with a tragic character study. The lovely Anna Karina, Godard’s greatest muse, plays Nana, a young Parisian who aspires to be an actress but instead ends up a prostitute, her downward spiral depicted in a series of discrete tableaux of daydreams and dances. Featuring some of Karina and Godard’s most iconic moments—from her movie theater vigil with The Passion of Joan of Arc to her seductive pool-hall strut—Vivre sa vie is a landmark of the French New Wave that still surprises at every turn." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Ronald Bergan, Béla Tarr, Jean-Michel Frodon, Jørgen Leth, Rudolf Thome.
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Badlands

Badlands


1973 / USA / 95m / Col / Crime Drama, Americana
Martin Sheen, Sissy Spacek, Warren Oates, Ramon Bieri, Alan Vint, Gary Littlejohn, John Carter, Bryan Montgomery, Gail Threlkeld, Charles Fitzpatrick
"The movie is brilliantly composed with a loose, directionless swing that looks easy (but isn't), and a superbly delicate, literate voiceover from Spacek that conveys the bizarre babes-in-the-wood quality of their life together on the run. There are unforgettable sequences, especially at the very end when the captured Kit answers questions from fascinated state troopers as if at a press conference. An unmissable, transcendentally beautiful classic." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by
Andrew Dominik, Gregg Araki, Jeff Nichols, Nick Roddick, Martin McDonagh.
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Don't Look Now

Don't Look Now


1973 / UK / 110m / Col / Psychological Thriller, Supernatural Thriller
Donald Sutherland, Julie Christie, Hilary Mason, Clelia Matania, Massimo Serato, Renato Scarpa, Giorgio Trestini, Leopoldo Trieste, David Tree, Ann Rye
"Until Nicolas Roeg made Don't Look Now, Venice was always used in films to symbolize romance, passion and sensuous dreams. But when Roeg went there in the dead of winter to make his now-classic Gothic thriller, the city's canals and ancient buildings were shrouded in fog and sinister mystery. The result is a haunting, beautiful labyrinth that gets inside your bones and stays there… Don't Look Now still has the power to frighten and disorient -- to suggest a world that's perilous, cruel and out of control. Roeg created an atmosphere thick with portents and subliminal clues and edited the film in a fractured manner that distorts time and perception." - Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle
Selected by Edgar Wright, Lizzie Francke, Mark Kermode, Andrew Haigh, Ray Lawrence.
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Nosferatu

Nosferatu

Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (original title)

1922 / Germany / 84m / BW / Horror, Gothic Film
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.
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Los Olvidados

Los Olvidados

The Young and the Damned (English title)

1950 / Mexico / 88m / BW / Juvenile Delinquency Film, Urban Drama
Alfonso Mejia, Roberto Cobo, Estela Inda, Miguel Inclan, Alma Delia Fuentes, Jesus Navarro, Francisco Jambrina, Hector Portillo, Salvador Quiros, Victor Manuel Mendoza
"A great, great movie, as well as a personal favorite, Los Olvidados is the means by which exiled Luis Buñuel re-established his international reputation. This low-budget account of Mexico City street kids, inspired by actual cases as well as Buñuel's impressions of his new country, is a masterpiece of social surrealism and the founding work of third-world barrio horror. Los Olvidados is strong enough to make a hardened Communist cry or drive a (true) Christian to despair. The title is in part ironic: Once seen, this movie can never be forgotten." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Nelson Pereira dos Santos, Abel Ferrara, Carlos Reygadas, Guillermo Del Toro, James Marsh.
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A Brighter Summer Day

A Brighter Summer Day

Gu ling jie shao nian sha ren shi jian (original title)

1991 / Taiwan / 237m / Col / Drama, Coming-of-Age
Guozhu Zhang, Elaine Jin, Wang Juan, Zhang Han, Jiang Xiuqiong, Lai Fanyun, Chen Chang, Shiang-chyi Chen, Lisa Yang
"In every aspect of technique — from the smoky colors and the bustling, off-center compositions to the architecture of the story and the emotional precision of the performances — this film is a work of absolute mastery. Its imaginative authority and the scale of its achieved ambition make it not just a wonderful movie but also an essential piece of modern cinema. It is also — fair warning — four hours long. But they are not difficult hours, given Mr. Yang’s novelistic interest in character and his skill as a choreographer of dramatic incidents." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Nick James, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Stanley Kwan, Lou Ye, Adam Nayman.
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Bringing Up Baby

Bringing Up Baby


1938 / USA / 102m / BW / Screwball Comedy, Romantic Comedy
Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, Charlie Ruggles, May Robson, Barry Fitzgerald, Walter Catlett, Fritz Feld, Leona Roberts, George Irving, Virginia Walker
"Though it's almost impossible, try to sit back sometime and enjoy this 1938 Howard Hawks masterpiece not only for its gags, but for the grace of its construction, the assurance of its style, and the richness of its themes. Cary Grant's adventures with Katharine Hepburn lead from day into night, tameness into wildness, order into chaos; needless to say, it's a deeply pessimistic film, though it draws its grim conclusions in a searingly bright and chipper way. Amazingly, the film was a failure when first released, but time has revealed its brilliance, as well as the apparent impossibility of its like ever being seen again (What's Up, Doc? notwithstanding)." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Philip Kemp, V.F. Perkins, Doug Liman, Andrei Gorzo, Carlo Chatrian.
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Notorious

Notorious


1946 / USA / 101m / BW / Thriller, Romantic Mystery
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.
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My Darling Clementine

My Darling Clementine


1946 / USA / 97m / BW / Western, Traditional Western
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 [1948] or The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance [1962] 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.
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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


1975 / USA / 133m / Col / Comedy Drama, Psychological Drama
Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, William Redfield, Brad Dourif, Will Sampson, Sydney Lassick, Christopher Lloyd, Danny De Vito, Scatman Crothers, Michael Berryman
"A rare screen adaptation of a beloved novel that maintains the emotional and dramatic power of the original while establishing its own distinctive approach to the story, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is an underdog masterpiece. "It was a classic story: the story of an individual fighting the system," is how producer Michael Douglas explained his attraction to Ken Kesey's novel about a strong-willed rebel fighting a domineering head nurse in a mental hospital… One of the great stories of defiance in the face of unchecked power, and one of the most powerful character dramas of its time." - Sean Axmaker, TCM
Selected by Jan Sverák, Peter Farrelly, Ray Lawrence, Rolf De Heer, Jean-Marc Vallée.
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L'Age d'or

L'Âge d'or

The Golden Age (English title)

1930 / France / 63m / BW / Avant-garde/Experimental, Surrealist Film
Gaston Modot, Lya Lys, Max Ernst, Pierre Prevert, Caridad de Laberdesque, Lionel Salem, Madame Noizet, Jose Artigas, Jacques Brunius, Paul Eluard
"Luis Buñuel's first and most radical feature was banned for decades, and it continues to pack a jolt. Forsaking consecutive plot, the film is more like an anarchist bomb, starting off as a documentary before assaulting church, state, and society—particularly high society—in the name of eros. Funny, blasphemous, sexy, strange, subtle, and evocative in its use of sound, it's also thoroughly Buñuelian, though without the bittersweet sense of resigned acceptance that characterizes some of his later works." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Aki Kaurismäki, David Robinson, Guy Maddin, James Naremore, Jonathan Glazer.
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Hiroshima mon amour

Hiroshima mon amour

Hiroshima, mon amour (alternative title); Hiroshima, My Love (English title)

1959 / France-Japan / 91m / BW / Psychological Drama, Romantic Drama
Emmanuelle Riva, Eiji Okada, Bernard Fresson, Stella Dassas, Pierre Barbaud
"A cornerstone film of the French New Wave, Alain Resnais’ first feature is one of the most influential films of all time. A French actress (Riva) and a Japanese architect (Okada) engage in a brief, intense affair in postwar Hiroshima, their consuming fascination impelling them to exorcise their own scarred memories of love and suffering. Utilizing an innovative flashback structure and an Academy Award-nominated® screenplay by novelist Marguerite Duras, Resnais delicately weaves past and present, personal pain and public anguish, in this moody masterwork." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by David Thomson, Chris Darke, Raymond Bellour, Patrick Keiller, Roy Andersson.
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All About Eve

All About Eve


1950 / USA / 138m / BW / Satire, Showbiz Drama
Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders, Celeste Holm, Thelma Ritter, Marilyn Monroe, Gary Merrill, Hugh Marlowe, Gregory Ratoff, Barbara Bates
"In 1950, the movies recognised stardom as a pathological disorder. Exhibit A was Sunset Blvd, exhibit B All About Eve. Set in the Broadway jungle rather than among the ‘sun-burnt eager beavers’ of Hollywood, Joseph L Mankiewicz’s film dissects the narcissism and hypocrisy of the spotlight as sharply as Wilder’s, but pays equal attention to the challenges of enacting womanhood. All About My Mother (not to mention Showgirls) would be unimaginable without it." - Ben Walters, Time Out
Selected by Pedro Almodóvar, Gunnar Almer, Hannah Patterson, Irina-Margareta Nistor, Jason Anderson.
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Madame de...

Madame de...

The Earrings of Madame de... (USA title)

1953 / France-Italy / 105m / BW / Period Film, Romantic Drama
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.
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Star Wars

Star Wars

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (alternative title)

1977 / USA / 121m / Col / Science Fiction, Space Adventure
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Phil Brown
"Lucas's science fiction adventure is an exhilarating update of Flash Gordon, very much in the same half-jokey, half-earnest mood, but backed by special effects that, for once, really work and are intelligently integrated with the story. By this point, Lucas's film has been accused of everything from hazy characterization to crypto-fascism (the finale is, indeed, a restaging of Triumph of the Will), and it has become painfully clear that the film's apparent naivete is anything but—Lucas doesn't make a move without the market research to back him up. But it remains the most appealing film in the subgenre it launched, with its finger on something basic and satisfying." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Gareth Edwards, Matthew Vaughn, Jan Sverák, J.J. Abrams, David Michôd.
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Letter from an Unknown Woman

Letter from an Unknown Woman


1948 / USA / 90m / BW / Melodrama, Romantic Drama
Joan Fontaine, Louis Jourdan, Mady Christians, Marcel Journet, Art Smith, John Good, Leo B. Pessin, Carol Yorke, Howard Freeman, Erskine Sanford
"Arguably the greatest of all screen romantic melodramas, and a supreme example of the skills of exiled European craftsmen working in Hollywood who were able to recreate turn of the 20th Century Vienna on a studio sound stage, Letter from an Unknown Woman is one of my ten best films of all time… Ophuls had difficulties kick-starting a Hollywood career, and Letter from an Unknown Woman, made in 1948, was the second of only four Hollywood films he made, all of them great. It was adapted from a novella by Stefan Zweig and the superb camerawork is the work of Franz Planer." - David Stratton, ABC
Selected by Edgardo Cozarinsky, Gerald Peary, Guy Maddin, José Luis Guerín, Patrick Tam.
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Ikiru

Ikiru

To Live (English title); Living (alternative title)

1952 / Japan / 143m / BW / Drama, Psychological Drama
Takashi Shimura, Nobuo Kaneko, Kyoko Seki, Shin'ichi Himori, Haruo Tanaka, Minoru Chiaki, Miki Odagiri, Kamatari Fujiwara, Makoto Kobori, Kumeko Urabe
"Considered by some to be Akira Kurosawa’s greatest achievement, Ikiru presents the director at his most compassionate—affirming life through an exploration of a man’s death. Takashi Shimura portrays Kanji Watanabe, an aging bureaucrat with stomach cancer forced to strip the veneer off his existence and find meaning in his final days. Told in two parts, Ikiru offers Watanabe’s quest in the present, and then through a series of flashbacks. The result is a multifaceted look at a life through a prism of perspectives, resulting in a full portrait of a man who lacked understanding from others in life." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Amy Taubin, Michael Caton-Jones, Gerald Peary, Nick Roddick, Simon Louvish.
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Sherlock Jr.

Sherlock Jr.

Sherlock Junior (alternative spelling)

1924 / USA / 44m / BW / Comedy, Slapstick
Buster Keaton, Kathryn McGuire, Joe Keaton, Erwin Connelly, Ward Crane, Jane Connelly, George Davis, Doris Deane, Ruth Holly, Kewpie Morgan
"Keaton's third feature under his own steam is an incredible technical accomplishment, but also an almost Pirandellian exploration of the nature of cinematic reality. Buster plays a cinema projectionist, framed for theft by a jealous rival for his girl's hand, who daydreams himself into life as a daring detective. In an unforgettable sequence, Buster (actually fallen asleep beside the projector) forces his way onto the screen and into the movie he is projecting, only to find himself beset by perils and predicaments as the action around him changes in rapid montage… It leaves Chaplin standing." - Tom Milne, Time Out
Selected by Carrie Rickey, Chris Darke, Gilberto Perez, Kenneth Turan, Michael Atkinson.
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Manhattan

Manhattan


1979 / USA / 96m / BW / Urban Comedy, Romantic Comedy
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.
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Once Upon a Time in America

Once Upon a Time in America


1984 / Italy-USA / 229m / Col / Crime, Gangster Film
Robert De Niro, James Woods, Elizabeth McGovern, Treat Williams, Tuesday Weld, Burt Young, Joe Pesci, Danny Aiello, William Forsythe, James Hayden
"A hallucinatory, melancholic meditation on grief, ambition, and betrayal, Leone's film purports to be a gangster film but, in reality, is something more like a romantic evocation of a gangster film… Leone marries a European art-film sensibility to his flamboyant and slightly cartoonish trademark cinematic mannerisms. The result is a haunting, thematically complex movie that, instead of a straightforward genre film, works like an elegiac poem about the cost one pays for dreaming big and trusting blindly… It's an entrancing and stirring epic from one of the cinema's most expressionistic artists, and one of the most consistently fascinating films I've ever seen." - Nick Schager, Lessons of Darkness
Selected by Li Yang, Steve McQueen, Li Shaohong, Diego Lerer, Edvinas Puksta.
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A Woman Under the Influence

A Woman Under the Influence


1974 / USA / 155m / Col / Marriage Drama, Psychological Drama
Peter Falk, Gena Rowlands, Katharine Cassavetes, Lady Rowlands, Fred Draper, O.G. Dunn, Elsie Arnes, Vincent Barbi, Cliff Carnell, Nick Cassavetes
"John Cassavetes’ devastating drama details the emotional breakdown of a suburban housewife and her family’s struggle to save her from herself. Starring Peter Falk and Gena Rowlands (in two of the most harrowing screen performances of the 1970s) as a married couple deeply in love yet unable to express that love in terms the other can understand, the film is an uncompromising portrait of domestic turmoil… One of the benchmark films of American independent cinema—a heroic document from a true maverick director." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Derek Cianfrance, Abel Ferrara, David Sterritt, Tom Charity, Hirokazu Koreeda.
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L'Eclisse

L'Eclisse

The Eclipse (English title)

1962 / Italy-France / 126m / BW / Psychological Drama, Urban Drama
Monica Vitti, Alain Delon, Francisco Rabal, Lilla Brignone, Louis Seigner, Rosanna Rory, Mirella Ricciardi, Cyrus Elias
"The conclusion of Michelangelo Antonioni’s informal trilogy on modern malaise, L’eclisse tells the story of a young woman (Vitti) who leaves one lover (Rabal) only to drift into a relationship with another (Delon). Using the architecture of Rome as a backdrop for the couple’s doomed affair, Antonioni reaches the apotheosis of his modernist style, returning to his favorite themes: alienation and the difficulty of finding connections in an increasingly mechanized world." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Andrei Plakhov, Gilberto Perez, Judith Williamson, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Tim Lucas.
106
103
Gone with the Wind

Gone with the Wind


1939 / USA / 222m / Col / Romantic Epic, Historical Epic
Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Leslie Howard, Hattie McDaniel, Olivia de Havilland, Thomas Mitchell, Ona Munson, Ann Rutherford, Evelyn Keyes, Fred Crane
"Frankly you would have to be as black-hearted as Rhett Butler not to give a damn. In nearly four hours of ravishing Technicolor, Gone With the Wind does it bigger and better than almost anything else. The story opens in the last graceful, lazy days of the Old South, soon to be ripped apart by civil war, and sees out the painful reconstruction years. But what's history next to the epic love story of bad seeds Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler?.. Directed with pace and spirit by tough guy Victor Fleming, this is a love story to get your teeth into." - Cath Clarke, The Guardian
Selected by Les Blank, Peter Whitehead, José Luis Garci, Ken Russell, José Mojica Marins.
105
96
La Jetee

La Jetée

The Pier (English title); The Jetty (alternative title)

1962 / France / 27m / BW / Science Fiction, Avant-garde-Experimental
Helene Chatelain, Davos Hanich, Jacques Ledoux, Jean Negroni, Andre Heinrich, Jacques Branchu, Pierre Joffroy, Etienne Becker, Ligia Branice, William Klein
"Marker's most definitive foray onto the terrain of narrative fiction film and one of cinema’s most elegant and remarkable meditations on its own nature as a medium, despite (or rather because of) its being composed almost entirely of still photographs… It is certainly not the only film to be composed out of still images, but its triumph is to harness them, using the classic grammar of the narrative fiction film, to the ultimate spare, stripped-down storyline (a mere twenty-seven minutes in length): a postapocalyptic science-fiction tale of tragic heroism and lost love, which turns on the fatal attraction of images and the price paid for that desire." - Catherine Lupton, The Criterion Collection
Selected by Tarsem Singh, Raymond Bellour, James Marsh, Chris Darke, Patrick Keiller.
104
101
The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz


1939 / USA / 101m / Col-BW / Children's/Family, Musical Fantasy
Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Billie Burke, Frank Morgan, Margaret Hamilton, Charley Grapewin, Clara Blandick, Pat Walshe
"The Wizard of Oz remains the weirdest, scariest, kookiest, most haunting and indelible kid-flick-that's-really-for-adults ever made in Hollywood… The Wizard of Oz is our most indelible fairy tale because it prophesies, with mythic surrealism, a society in which the patriarchal brain (i.e., the Wizard) is about to be torn down, in which women (i.e., the Witch) have matched the male will to destruction and power, but where there also appears a benevolent new breed of valiant softy-man (i.e., the Scarecrow et al.), who can make the world safe again. In 1939, this was but a dream somewhere over the rainbow of tomorrow." - Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
Selected by Steve Buscemi, Manohla Dargis, Miguel Gomes, Peter Farrelly, James Cameron.
103 Up Arrow
107
To Be or Not to Be

To Be or Not to Be


1942 / USA / 99m / BW / Comedy, Satire
Jack Benny, Carole Lombard, Robert Stack, Felix Bressart, Lionel Atwill, Stanley Ridges, Sig Ruman, Tom Dugan, Charles Halton, Peter Caldwell
"Ernst Lubitsch directed this 1942 film from his own story about a troupe of Polish actors stranded in the Nazi-occupied Warsaw of World War II. It could be his finest achievement, and it's certainly one of the most profound, emotionally complex comedies ever made, covering a range of tones from satire to slapstick to shocking black humor. The issues, as the title suggests, are deeply serious, but it's part of the film's strategy—and the strategy it endorses for its characters—never to openly acknowledge them." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Allan Arkush, Götz Spielmann, V.F. Perkins, Mika Kaurismäki, Michel Hazanavicius.
102 Up Arrow
114
The Mother and the Whore

The Mother and the Whore

La Maman et la putain (original title)

1973 / France / 210m / BW / Psychological Drama, Urban Drama
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.
101
97
Satantango

Sátántangó


1994 / Hungary-Germany-Switzerland / 450m / BW / Drama, Ensemble Film
Mihaly Vig, Putyi Horvath, Laszlo feLugossy, Eva Almassy Albert, Janos Derzsi, Iren Szajki, Alfred Jarai, Miklos Szekely B., Erzsebet Gaal, Erika Bok
"Most simply described, Tarr's masterpiece—adapted from a much esteemed, if still untranslated, novel by László Krasznahorkai—is a bleakly comic allegory of social disintegration on the muddy puszta. Set on an entropic collective farm during the last years of Hungarian Communism, it's a mordant, characteristically Eastern European tale of hapless peasants and charismatic swindlers. With fewer shots than the average 90-minute feature, Sátántangó is a double tour de force—for the actors, as the camera circles them in lengthy continuous takes, and for Tarr, who constructs his narrative out of these morose blocks of real time." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Zhao Liang, Jonathan Romney, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Ronald Bergan, Ying Liang.