The 1,000 Greatest Films (400-301)

The banner image above is from Aleksandr Sokurov's Russian Ark.
Le Plaisir

Le Plaisir

House of Pleasure (English title)

1952 / France / 97m / BW / Romance, Drama
Claude Dauphin, Gaby Morlay, Madeleine Renaud, Jean Servais, Daniel Gelin, Simone Simon, Danielle Darrieux, Ginette Leclerc, Jean Gabin, Pierre Brasseur
"Ophüls' second French film following his return from the USA was adapted from three stories by Maupassant… Although Ophüls had to drop a fourth story intended to contrast pleasure and death, these three on old age, purity and marriage are shot with a supreme elegance and sympathy, and the central tale in particular luxuriates in the Normandy countryside. The whole is summed up by the concluding line, that 'happiness is no lark'." - David Thompson, Time Out
Selected by V.F. Perkins, Alexander Jacoby, David Hare, Anja Kirschner, Fernando F. Croce.
The Gleaners & I

The Gleaners & I

Les Glaneurs et la glaneuse (original title)

2000 / France / 82m / Col / Culture & Society, Documentary
Bodan Litnanski, Peter Rnic, Agnes Varda, Francois Wertheimer
"The French title of this delightful, encouraging documentary underlines how Agnès Varda identifies with her subjects - social marginals who 'glean' a living, from the earth (caravan dwellers) or from refuse (the teacher of Malian and Senegalese immigrants whom she befriends at a Paris street market). The veteran film-maker is newly inspired and energised by the freedom her DV camera brings. The film is marked by youthful freshness, and the integrity and sympathy of both the images and the commentary, as Varda hurtles us to Arras, Beaune or Paris in search of the new generation of foragers." - Wally Hammond, Time Out
Selected by Sukhdev Sandhu, Charles Musser, Marina Warner, Sophie Mayer, Eleanor Burke & Ron Eyal.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
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Theorem (English title)

1968 / Italy / 98m / Col / Drama, Religious Drama
Terence Stamp, Silvana Mangano, Massimo Girotti, Anne Wiazemsky, Laura Betti, Andres Jose Cruz, Ninetto Davoli, Luigi Barbini, Adele Cambria, Carlo de Mejo
"Apart from his final feature, Salo, this is probably Pier Paolo Pasolini's most controversial film, and to my mind one of his very best, though it has the sort of audacity and extremeness that send some American audiences into gales of derisive, self-protective laughter. The title is Italian for “theorem,” in this case a mythological figure: an attractive young man (Stamp) who visits the home of a Milanese industrialist and proceeds to seduce every member of the household—father, mother (Mangano), daughter (Wiazemsky), son, and maid (Betti)... It's an “impossible” work: tragic, lyrical, outrageous, indigestible, deeply felt, and wholly sincere." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Krzysztof Zanussi, Dāvis Sīmanis, Chadi Zeneddine, Inge de Leeuw, Nadav Lapid.
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2008 / USA / 98m / Col / Sci-Fi Adventure, Animation
Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin, Fred Willard, MacInTalk, John Ratzenberger, Kathy Najimy, Sigourney Weaver, Kim Kopf, Lori Alan
"Many will attempt to describe WALL-E with a one-liner. It’s R2-D2 in love. 2001: A Space Odyssey starring The Little Tramp. An Inconvenient Truth meets Idiocracy on its way to Toy Story. But none of these do justice to a film that’s both breathtakingly majestic and heartbreakingly intimate—and, for a good long while, absolutely bereft of dialogue save the squeals, beeps, and chirps of a sweet, lonely robot who, aside from his cockroach pet, is the closest thing to the last living being on earth." - Robert Wilonsky, The Village Voice
Selected by Richard Corliss, Wally Hammond, Leslie Felperin, Kjetil Lismoen, Wendy Ide.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
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The Hustler

The Hustler

1961 / USA / 135m / BW / Drama, Sports Drama
Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, George C. Scott, Piper Laurie, Myron McCormick, Murray Hamilton, Michael Constantine, Stefan Gierasch, Jake LaMotta, Gordon B. Clarke
"Newman is Fast Eddie, doing his best to convince the world that he can take on Minnesota Fats (Gleason) at pool and walk away with the world title. As always with Walter Tevis (the author of the original book), it takes defeat, and a longish dark night of the soul with Laurie, a drunken, lame waif of a woman, before he can summon the self-respect to return to battle. Rossen allows much space to the essentially concentrated, enclosed scenes of the film, and so it rests solidly on its performances. A wonderful hymn to the last true era when men of substance played pool with a vengeance." - Chris Peachment, Time Out
Selected by Jeff Nichols, Michael Apted, Sek Kei, Borja Cobeaga, Carlos Boyero.
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Brokeback Mountain

Brokeback Mountain

2005 / USA-Canada / 134m / Col / Romantic Drama, Modern Western
Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Randy Quaid, Anne Hathaway, Michelle Williams, Graham Beckel, Roberta Maxwell, Anna Faris, Linda Cardellini, Peter McRobbie
"The lonesome chill that seeps through Ang Lee's epic western is as bone deep as the movie's heartbreaking story of two cowboys who fall in love almost by accident. One night, when their campfire dies, and the biting cold drives them to huddle together in a bedroll, a sudden spark between Ennis Del Mar (Ledger) and Jack Twist (Gyllenhaal) flares into an undying flame. Both Mr. Ledger and Mr. Gyllenhaal make this anguished love story physically palpable… Brokeback Mountain is ultimately not about sex (there is very little of it in the film) but about love: love stumbled into, love thwarted, love held sorrowfully in the heart." - Stephen Holden, The New York Times
Selected by Jaime Chávarri, Peter Machen, Patricia Rozema, Jane Yu, Robert Cashill.
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The Dead

The Dead

1987 / USA / 83m / Col / Drama, Period Film
Anjelica Huston, Donal McCann, Helena Carroll, Dan O'Herlihy, Donal Donnelly, Cathleen Delany, Ingrid Craigie, Rachael Dowling, Marie Kean, Frank Patterson
"What looked unimaginative then now appears bold, almost experimental: The Dead sometimes looks a little like an old-style live television broadcast of a stage-play on a single set, but this unitary effect has rigour, clarity and life. Huston holds his nerve and just follows, with eagle-eyed attention to detail, the inconsequential chatter and the to-ings and fro-ings of the dinner-jacketed folk, giving no hint of the final revelation… Fine performances from everyone, and a self-effacing, enigmatic star turn from Anjelica Huston herself." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Luke Gibbons, Ricardo Bedoya, Stanislav Zelvensky, Carlos F. Heredero, Mario Monicelli.
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High Noon

High Noon

1952 / USA / 84m / BW / Western, Psychological Western
Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Lloyd Bridges, Thomas Mitchell, Katy Jurado, Otto Kruger, Lon Chaney Jr., Harry Morgan, Ian MacDonald, Eve McVeagh
"The term "psychological Western" has become something of a cliche. If you had to label Fred Zinnemann's masterpiece, it should be called a neo-realist Western on account of the understated performances and Floyd Crosby's stark imagery. Written as a rejoinder to that pro-witchhunt parable, On The Waterfront, this treatise on fidelity to principle is told in real time to add to the suspense and boasts a performance of rare grit and dignity by the finest lawman of them all, Gary Cooper." - David Parkinson, Empire
Selected by Pablo Giorgelli, George A. Romero, Carlos Manga, Morgan Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton.
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French Cancan

French Cancan

1955 / France / 93m / Col / Comedy Drama, Musical Comedy
Jean Gabin, Francoise Arnoul, Maria Felix, Anna Amendola, Dora Doll, Giani Esposito, Philippe Clay, Michel Piccoli, Edith Piaf, Patachou
"Nineteenth-century Paris comes vibrantly alive in Jean Renoir’s exhilarating tale of the opening of the world-renowned Moulin Rouge. Jean Gabin plays the wily impresario Danglard, who makes the cancan all the rage while juggling the love of two beautiful women—an Egyptian belly-dancer and a naive working girl turned cancan star. This celebration of life, art and the City of Light (with a cameo by Edith Piaf) is a Technicolor tour de force by a master of modern cinema." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Peter Bogdanovich, Tag Gallagher, Carlos Diegues, Ain-Ling Wong, Daniel Kasman.
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Closely Watched Trains

Closely Watched Trains

Ostre sledované vlaky (original title); Closely Observed Trains (UK title)

1966 / Czechoslovakia / 89m / BW / War, Comedy Drama
Vaclav Neckar, Jitka Bendova, Vladimir Valenta, Josef Somr, Vlastimil Brodsky, Jiri Menzel, Libuse Havelkova, Alois Vachek, Jitka Zelenohorska, Ferdinand Kruta
"At a village railway station in occupied Czechoslovakia, a bumbling dispatcher’s apprentice longs to liberate himself from his virginity. Oblivious to the war and the resistance that surrounds him, this young man embarks on a journey of sexual awakening and self-discovery, encountering a universe of frustration, eroticism, and adventure within his sleepy backwater depot. Wry and tender, Academy Award-winning Closely Watched Trains is a masterpiece of human observation and one of the best-loved films of the Czech New Wave." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Mike Newell, Ken Loach, Andrew Pulver, Alexey Medvedev, Gusztáv Schubert.
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Silence of the Lambs

The Silence of the Lambs

1991 / USA / 118m / Col / Thriller, Police Detective Film
Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine, Anthony Heald, Diane Baker, Brooke Smith, Kasi Lemmons, Tracey Walter, Roger Corman
"From Thomas Harris’s novel, director Jonathan Demme explodes and reconstructs a classic genre, laying a foundation of emotional and political commitment beneath a perfectly constructed psychological thriller. Fourteen years after her controversial role in Taxi Driver, Jodie Foster finally makes the transformation from helpless victim to rescuing hero in this dark, gender-bending fairy tale of an American obsession: serial murder. As Hannibal “the Cannibal” Lecter, Anthony Hopkins is the archetypal antihero—cultured, quick-witted, uncontainable—a portrait of all the sharpest human faculties gone diabolically wrong." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, M. Night Shyamalan, David Fincher, Kike Maíllo, Juanma Bajo Ulloa.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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The Lonely Wife (English title)

1964 / India / 117m / BW / Drama, Romantic Drama
Soumitra Chatterjee, Madhabi Mukherjee, Shailen Mukherjee, Shyamal Ghoshal, Gitali Roy, Bholanath Koyal, Suku Mukherjee, Dilip Bose, Joydeb, Bankim Ghosh
"This relatively early film by Satyajit Ray, based on a Tagore novel of Victorian India, may be the first of his features in which he really discovers mise-en-scene, and it's an exhilarating encounter. It's typically rich in the nuances of grief and in extraordinarily allusive dialogue, though not very much happens in terms of plot (a sensitive woman is neglected by her newspaper-publisher husband and drawn to his younger cousin). But at every moment, the gorgeous cinematography and expressive camera movements and dissolves have plenty of stories of their own to tell. You shouldn't miss this." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by David Stratton, Philip Kemp, Ain-Ling Wong, Naman Ramachandran, Sanjeev Verma.
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Stromboli, terra di Dio (Italian title)

1950 / Italy / 107m / BW / Melodrama, Marriage Drama
Ingrid Bergman, Mario Vitale, Renzo Cesana, Mario Sponzo, Gaetano Famularo
"Roberto Rossellini's 1949 masterwork. Ingrid Bergman plays a young woman displaced by the war, who marries a young fisherman in order to free herself from an internment camp. But she doesn't fit into his island society, and the more she tries to escape, the more spiritually isolated she feels. Rossellini's technique is thoroughly modern: it could have been made last week, or next year, by Jean-Luc Godard. The island setting is made solid and real, but the landscape still carries a powerful metaphorical force. The ending seems all the more beautiful for being dramatically arbitrary: grace enters Bergman's life at the brink of a volcano." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Adriano Aprà, Mariano Llinás, Alberto Pezzotta, Alan Pauls, Chung Sung-ill.
Ivan's Childhood

Ivan's Childhood

Ivanovo detstvo (original title); My Name Is Ivan (alternative title)

1962 / USSR / 94m / BW / War, Childhood Drama
Nikolai Burlyayev, Irina Tarkovskaya, Valentin Zubkov, Yevgeni Zharikov, Stepan Krylov, Nikolai Grinko, Dmitri Milyutenko, Valentina Malyavina, Irma Raush, Andrei Konchalovsky
"Anyone familiar with the dense, monumental later works of slow-cinema pioneer Andrei Tarkovsky might find his 1962 debut surprisingly straightforward (not to mention brief, at a mere 92 minutes). The plot is relatively direct, following battle-scarred orphan Ivan and the men who use him – benevolently, but worryingly – to spy on the German forces huddled just across the swamp. But Ivan’s Childhood could only be a Tarkovsky film. No other director is simultaneously so precise and so otherworldly, so uncompromisingly bleak and so awake to the possibilities of joy… Tarkovsky would go on to make grander, weightier, more iconic films, but it’s tough to argue he ever made a better one." - Tom Huddleston, Time Out
Selected by Pablo Larraín, Abderrahmane Sissako, Agnès Devictor, Gary Crowdus, Ann Turner.
Out 1, noli me tangere

Out 1, noli me tangere

Out 1 (alternative title)
1971 / France / 729m / Col-BW / Drama, Comedy
Michele Moretti, Hermine Karagheuz, Karen Puig, Pierre Baillot, Marcel Bozonnet, Jean-Pierre Leaud, Michel Lonsdale, Sylvain Corthay, Edwine Moatti, Bernadette Onfroy
"An eight-part serial running about 12 and a half hours, this 1971 comedy drama is Jacques Rivette's grandest experiment and most exciting adventure in filmmaking. Balzac's History of the Thirteen, about a few Parisians who hope to control the city through their hidden interconnections, inspired its tale, dominated by two theater groups and two solitary individuals. Some of the major actors of the French New Wave participated, creating their own characters and improvising their own dialogue… What emerges is the definitive film about 60s counterculture." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Dennis Lim, Jonathan Romney, David Ehrenstein, B. Kite, Brad Stevens.
Stranger Than Paradise

Stranger Than Paradise

1984 / USA / 90m / BW / Comedy, Road Movie
John Lurie, Eszter Balint, Richard Edson, Cecilla Stark, Danny Rosen, Rammellzee, Tom DiCillo, Richard Boes, Rockets Redglare, Harvey Perr
"Rootless Hungarian émigré Willie (Lurie), his pal Eddie (Edson), and visiting sixteen-year-old cousin Eva (Balint) always manage to make the least of any situation, whether aimlessly traversing the drab interiors and environs of New York City, Cleveland, or an anonymous Florida suburb. With its delicate humor and dramatic nonchalance, Jim Jarmusch’s one-of-a-kind minimalist masterpiece, Stranger Than Paradise, forever transformed the landscape of American independent cinema." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Whit Stillman, Ari Folman, Babak Jalali, Pablo Stoll, Cristián Jiménez.
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The Young Girls of Rochefort

The Young Girls of Rochefort

Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (original title)

1967 / France / 124m / Col / Romance, Musical
Catherine Deneuve, Francoise Dorleac, George Chakiris, Jacques Perrin, Michel Piccoli, Jacques Riberolles, Grover Dale, Henri Cremieux, Danielle Darrieux, Gene Kelly
"There’s an enchanting minor strain in French cinema devoted to visually reproducing the heady sensation of going to the cinema. And so it is with Jacques Demy’s pastel-hued masterpiece Les Demoiselles de Rochefort, a luminous musical about dreams, romance and destiny which lovingly reworks the classic Hollywood ‘putting on a show’ template into an essay on the emotional rollercoaster ride that is movie-going… The film centres on Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac as the ‘pair of twins, born in the sign of Gemini’ looking to escape the sleepy environs of Rochefort for life in the big city… See it, and swoon." - David Jenkins, Time Out
Selected by Geoff Andrew, Michael Omasta, Keith Uhlich, David Jenkins, Girish Shambu.
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Pasted Graphic


1970 / USA / 105m / Col / Drama, Road Movie
Barbara Loden, Michael Higgins, Dorothy Shupenes, Peter Shupenes, Jerome Thier, Marian Thier, Anthony Rotell, M.L. Kennedy, Charles Dosinan, Frank Jourdano
"One of the most notorious orphans of the American New Wave, Barbara Loden's Wanda is actually a benchmark of the era—in a period of gritty, working-class neo-neorealism, here was a genuine indie (unlike most of the "wave" 's important films) that out-low-classed the competition… Loden wrote, directed, and starred in this fascinating portrait of a dim, soul-beaten woman… Equal parts Cassavetes-style vérité, Actors Studio resolve, and remarkable prophecy of the say-little, know-less, just-watch minimalism of recent Asian cinema, Wanda is also an overwhelming portrait—caught in grainy 16mm—of Middle America in the late '60s. " - Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice
Selected by Margarethe von Trotta, Adrian Martin, Ray Carney, James Naremore, Berenice Reynaud.
High and Low

High and Low

Tengoku to jigoku (original title)

1963 / Japan / 142m / BW / Drama, Post-Noir (Modern Noir)
Toshiro Mifune, Kyoko Kagawa, Tatsuya Mihashi, Tatsuya Nakadai, Isao Kimura, Kenjiro Ishiyama, Takeshi Kato, Takashi Shimura, Jun Tazaki, Yutaka Sada
"Toshiro Mifune is unforgettable as Kingo Gondo, a wealthy industrialist whose family becomes the target of a cold-blooded kidnapper in High and Low, the highly influential domestic drama and police procedural from director Akira Kurosawa. Adapting Ed McBain’s detective novel King’s Ransom, Kurosawa moves effortlessly from compelling race-against-time thriller to exacting social commentary, creating a diabolical treatise on contemporary Japanese society." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Thom Andersen, Anne Thompson, Celina Murga, Haden Guest, James Mottram.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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Dead Ringers

Dead Ringers

1988 / Canada / 115m / Col / Drama, Psychological Thriller
Jeremy Irons, Genevieve Bujold, Heidi von Palleske, Jonathan Haley, Nicholas Haley, Barbara Gordon, Shirley Douglas, Stephen Lack, Nick Nichols, Lynne Cormack
"In Dead Ringers, David Cronenberg tells the chilling story of identical twin gynecologists—suave Elliot and sensitive Beverly, bipolar sides of one personality—who share the same practice, the same apartment, the same women. When a new patient, glamorous actress Claire Niveau, challenges their eerie bond, they descend into a whirlpool of sexual confusion, drugs, and madness. Jeremy Irons’ s tour-de-force performance—as both twins—raises disturbing questions about the nature of personal identity." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Ant Timpson, David O. Mahony, Diego Lerer, Philippa Hawker, Stephen Thrower.


1959 / USA / 87m / BW / Drama, Ensemble Film
Lelia Goldoni, Ben Carruthers, Hugh Hurd, Anthony Ray, Rupert Crosse, Dennis Sallas, Tom Allen, David Pokitillow, David Jones, Pir Marini
"John Cassavetes’ directorial debut revolves around an interracial romance between Lelia (Goldoni), a light-skinned black woman living in New York City with her two brothers, and Tony (Ray), a white man. The relationship crumbles when Tony meets Lelia’s brother Hugh (Hurd), a talented dark-skinned jazz singer struggling to find work, and discovers the truth about Lelia’s racial heritage. Shot on location in Manhattan with a cast and crew made up primarily of amateurs, Cassavetes’ Shadows is a visionary work that is widely considered the forerunner of the American independent film movement." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Carlos Diegues, Adam Hyman, Andrew Šprah, Balazs Vizer, Bruce Jenkins.
A Star is Born

A Star is Born

1954 / USA / 154m / Col / Musical, Showbiz Drama
Judy Garland, James Mason, Jack Carson, Charles Bickford, Tommy Noonan, Lucy Marlow, Amanda Blake, Irving Bacon, Hazel Shermet, James Brown
"Brutally cut after its first release and further disfigured by the insertion of the long, tasteless production number “Born in a Trunk,” George Cukor's 1954 film somehow survives—and even touches greatness at times. Judy Garland gives everything she has as the young star on the way up; her performance is an emotional autobiography. And James Mason, as the aging star on the way out, balances her vulnerability with a tense distance, transcending the pathos his part was written for. This was Cukor's first complete film in color and his first in 'Scope: both elements are used with a bold assurance and perfect expressiveness." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Kevin Thomas, Mike D'Angelo, Linda Ruth Williams, Isild Le Besco, Shu Kei.
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The Tree of Wooden Clogs

The Tree of Wooden Clogs

L'Albero degli zoccoli (original title)

1978 / Italy / 185m / Col / Rural Drama, Family Drama
Luigi Ornaghi, Francesca Moriggi, Omar Brignoli, Antonio Ferrari, Teresa Brescianini, Giuseppe Brignoli, Carlo Rota, Pasqualina Brolis, Massimo Fratus, Francesco Villa
"The Tree of Wooden Clogs was taken from stories Olmi's grandmother told him. Using peasants from the area as actors, it was made with direct sound (very unusual in Italy)… Its strength lies not just in its ravishing depiction of the changing seasons in a stunning part of Lombardy nor in its human sympathies, which are never patronising to the ordinary people he finds so unordinary, but in its measured, cumulative approach to the hard life of those close to penury and exploited by the powerful. For instance, the tree of the title is cut down by a father to make a pair of clogs for his son to reach school. For which he pays a terrible price." - Derek Malcolm, The Guardian
Selected by Mike Leigh, Charles Burnett, Ken Loach, Zdena Škapová, M.F. Thomas.
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A Moment of Innocence

A Moment of Innocence

Nun va Goldoon (original title)

1996 / Iran-France / 78m / Col / Comedy Drama, Satire
Mirhadi Taiebi, Ali Bakshi, Ammar Tafti, Mariyam Mohammad-Amini, Fariba Faghiri, Lotfollah Ghaslaghi, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Moharram Zainlazadeh, Ali Irani, Hana Makhmalbaf
"This 1996 film by Mohsen Makhmalbaf is one of his most seminal and accessible—a reconstruction of a pivotal incident during his teens that landed him in prison for several years during the shah's regime. A fundamentalist and activist at the time, Makhmalbaf stabbed a policeman; as a consequence he was shot and arrested. Two decades later, while auditioning people to appear in his film Salaam Cinema, he encountered the same policeman, now unemployed, and the two wound up collaborating on this film… This is a fascinating humanist experiment and investigation in its own right, full of warmth and humor as well as mystery." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Dina Iordanova, Mark Cousins, Richard Combs, John Cameron Mitchell, Kim Ji-Seok.
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The Cloud-Capped Star

The Cloud-Capped Star

Meghe Dhaka Tara (original title)

1960 / India / 126m / BW / Family Drama, Rural Drama
Supriya Choudhury, Anil Chatterjee, Bijon Bhattacharya, Niranjan Ray, Gita Ghatak, Gita De, Dwiju Bhawal, Gyanesh Mukherjee, Ranen Ray Choudhury, Satindra Bhattacharya
"For Western viewers it's perhaps most easily approached as a bitter critique of harsh social and economic conditions, particularly those arising from the 1947 Partition of East Bengal. More interesting cinematically, however, is Ghatak's inventive, not quite naturalistic treatment of the story: in order to underline or undercut certain elements in terms of narrative, theme and characterisation, the performances, images, music and, most especially, sound are given almost expressionist nuances." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Alexander Horwath, Nasreen Munni Kabir, Raymond Bellour, Shoma A. Chatterji, Carol Morley.
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Landscape in the Mist

Landscape in the Mist

Topio stin omichli (original title)

1988 / Greece-France-Italy / 125m / Col / Road Movie, Childhood Drama
Tania Palaiologou, Aliki Georgouli, Dimitris Kaberidis, Vassilis Kolovos, Ilias Logothetis, Gerasimos Skiadaressis, Stratos Tzortzoglou, Michalis Zeke
"Theo Angelopoulos's 1988 underseen, underworshipped epiphany nevertheless redefined the art film, hijacking the Antonioni/Tarkovsky long-take syntax and winnowing away its metaphysics, emerging with a heart-stopping odyssey of wintery orphanhood and breathless images. A young sister and brother launch out into the industrial Greek hinterlands to find a rumored father that doesn't exist, and the passage of their journey is, for us, an ordeal by sympathy, monolithic visions, adult monstrosity, and effortless metaphoric torque… Angelopoulos never married his ambitious pyramid-making to human experience this perfectly before or after." - Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice
Selected by Ann Hui, Stanley Kwan, Evans Chan, Kalle Løchen, Kim Dong-Ho.


The Bodyguard (English title)

1961 / Japan / 110m / BW / Adventure, Samurai Film
Toshiro Mifune, Eijiro Tono, Kamatari Fujiwara, Tatsuya Nakadai, Yoko Tsukasa, Isuzu Yamada, Daisuke Kato, Seizaburo Kawazu, Takashi Shimura, Hiroshi Tachikawa
"Akira Kurosawa has any number of dramatic and cinematic cliches (both American and Japanese) to overcome—and does so brilliantly—in this action-packed, highly comic 1961 translation of Dashiell Hammett's Red Harvest to the samurai movie tradition. Toshiro Mifune is again incomparable as the masterless samurai who wanders into a small war between two rival gangs and proceeds to set things right by further stirring them up." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Greg Mottola, Francis Ford Coppola, Lawrence Kasdan, Philip Kemp, Duncan Jones.
All That Heaven Allows

All That Heaven Allows

1955 / USA / 89m / Col / Melodrama, Romantic Drama
Jane Wyman, Rock Hudson, Agnes Moorehead, Conrad Nagel, Virginia Grey, Charles Drake, Gloria Talbott, William Reynolds, Jacqueline de Wit, Leigh Snowden
"Jane Wyman is a repressed wealthy widow and Rock Hudson is the hunky Thoreau-following gardener who loves her in Douglas Sirk’s heartbreakingly beautiful indictment of 1950s small-town America. Sirk utilizes expressionist colors, reflective surfaces, and frames-within-frames to convey the loneliness and isolation of a matriarch trapped by the snobbery of her children and the gossip of her social-climbing country club chums." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Boris Nelepo, John David Rhodes, Jon Robertson, Luke Gibbons, Peter Matthews.
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Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

1969 / USA / 112m / Col / Western, Buddy Film
Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katharine Ross, Strother Martin, Henry Jones, Jeff Corey, Cloris Leachman, Ted Cassidy, George Furth, Kenneth Mars
"Though Conrad Hall's stunning vistas and gorgeous exploration of wide-open spaces hearken back to John Ford, Butch Cassidy otherwise radiates the youthful energy, manic pop playfulness, and antic clowning of the French New Wave. The film's subversive attitude toward genres and genre-mashing echoes the pioneering work of Jean-Luc Godard, and Newman and Redford deliver an extended master class on the uses of old-school, twinkly-eyed movie-star charisma." - Nathan Rabin, A.V. Club
Selected by Chris Columbus, Robert Redford, Bobby Farrelly, Jeff Nichols, Peter Farrelly.


Nostalgia (English title)

1983 / Italy / 120m / Col / Drama, Psychological Drama
Oleg Yankovsky, Erland Josephson, Domiziana Giordano, Patrizia Terreno, Laura De Marchi, Delia Boccardo, Milena Vukotic, Raffaele Di Mario, Rate Furlan, Livio Galassi
"Another of Tarkovsky's strange, hauntingly beautiful meditations on man's search for self. The film may forsake the run-down space station of Solaris or the miraculous Zone of Stalker for the hilltop villages of Tuscany, but its framework is familiar (flashbacks in spectral black-and-white, the use of rich sepia alongside pastel colour to blur distinctions between dream and reality), and so are its themes (memory, melancholia, disenchantment with the material world, dogged stumbling after salvation)… Tarkovsky remains as much a metaphysician as anything else, and Nostalgia isn't an entertainment but an article of faith." - Angus MacKinnon, Time Out
Selected by Krzysztof Zanussi, Guy Désiré Yameogo, Bryan Chang, Henk Camping, Jason Anderson.
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1976 / USA / 121m / Col / Comedy Drama, Media Satire
Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch, Robert Duvall, Wesley Addy, Ned Beatty, Arthur Burghardt, Bill Burrows, John Carpenter, Jordan Charney
"Two decades later, this iconic American New Wave renegade text is even more startling than it once was—was Hollywood ever this cerebral, this caustic, this ethically apocalyptic? That 90 percent of Network's satire has become fulfilled prophecy by now doesn't take the shine off of its broadsword. Reality-show whoredom, death TV, New Globalistic anti-humanism, audience as robotic consumer—it's all here and all still hamburger in the teeth of this movie, written with hissing rage and in huge, thoughtful paragraphs by Paddy Chayefsky and directed with a vivid sense of '70s genuineness by Sidney Lumet." - Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice
Selected by Cyrus Frisch, George Clooney, Bennett Miller, David Michôd, P.J. Hogan.
I Know Where I'm Going!

I Know Where I'm Going!

1945 / UK / 91m / BW / Drama, Romance
Wendy Hiller, Roger Livesey, Finlay Currie, Pamela Brown, Nancy Price, John Laurie, Norman Shelley, Catherine Lacey, George Carney, Walter Hudd
"The film isn't as deep or ambitious as some of the Powell-Pressburger films that followed, but it's still a delightful love story, blessed with attractive leads, lovely locations, and witty dialogue. Easily the equal of any contemporaneous Hollywood romance, Where I'm Going features an underlying motif of eschewing materialism for more sublime pleasures—driven home by Livesey's classic line, "They're not poor, they just haven't any money." - Noel Murray, A.V. Club
Selected by Molly Haskell, Nick James, Anne Thompson, Charles Whitehouse, Christian Keathley.


1995 / USA / 174m / Col / Crime, Thriller
Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight, Tom Sizemore, Amy Brenneman, Wes Studi, Dennis Haysbert, Mykelti Williamson, Diane Venora
"Heat occupies an exalted position among the countless contemporary crime films. Stunningly made and incisively acted by a large and terrific cast, Michael Mann's ambitious study of the relativity of good and evil stands apart from other films of its type by virtue of its extraordinarily rich characterizations and its thoughtful, deeply melancholy take on modern life… Rarely in the crime genre have so many characters been so deeply drawn, and only occasionally has there been this kind of grand, even philosophical view of lawless behavior that so effectively serves to paint a bigger picture of society at large. Overall impact is not only exciting but powerfully sad." - Todd McCarthy, Variety
Selected by Mia Hansen-Løve, Neil Marshall, Gorazd Trušnovec, Peter Körte, Ding Sheng.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
Man of Aran

Man of Aran

1934 / UK / 77m / BW / Anthropology, Documentary
Colman "Tiger" King, Maggie Dillane, Michael Dillane, Pat Mullin, Patch Ruadh, Patcheen Faherty, Tommy O'Rourke, "Big Patcheen" Conneely, Stephen Dirrane, Pat McDonough
"Produced over two and a half years on the Aran Islands, Man of Aran studies a battered community that epitomizes the struggle between man and nature… Against the barren rocks and crashing waves, Man of Aran celebrates survival and resilience under punishing conditions, as the islanders dig through crevices for precious soil, fish from towering cliff faces, and battle a massive basking shark for two days, just to render enough oil for their lamps. In stark and pictorially ravishing terms, the film depicts man's heroic relationship with the environment–an unpredictable and merciless source of sustenance, peril, and unvarnished beauty." - Scott Tobias, A.V. Club
Selected by Andrei Ujica, Vladimir Carvalho, Jeff Masino, Sadullo Rakhimov, Vittorio De Seta.
Chelsea Girls

Chelsea Girls

1966 / USA / 210m / Col-BW / Avant-garde-Experimental, Trash Film
Brigid Berlin, Randy Borscheidt, Ari Boulogne, Angelina 'Pepper' Davis, Dorothy Dean, Eric Emerson, Patrick Flemming, Ed Hood, Arthur Loeb, Donald Lyons
"The most celebrated Andy Warhol feature, and for many the best, is made up of a dozen 33-minute reels that are projected two at a time, side by side… The people shown include such Warhol “superstars” as Nico, Ondine, Gerard Malanga, Marie Menken, Mary Woronov, Ingrid Superstar, Brigid Polk, and International Velvet… They engage in a number of activities and dialogues for 210 minutes, and the results are often spellbinding; the juxtaposition of two film images at once gives the spectator an unusual amount of freedom in what to concentrate on and what to make of these variously whacked-out performers." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Berenice Reynaud, Ed Halter, Bruce Jenkins, Jacob Perlin, Jed Rapfogel.
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Woman in the Dunes

Woman in the Dunes

Suna no onna (original title); Woman of the Dunes (alternative title)

1964 / Japan / 127m / BW / Avant-garde-Experimental, Psychological Drama
Eiji Okada, Kyoko Kishida, Hiroko Ito, Koji Mitsui, Sen Yano, Ginzo Sekiguchi, Kiyohiko Ichiha, Hiroyuki Nishimoto, Tamotsu Tamura, Hideo Kanze
"One of the sixties’ great international art-house sensations, Woman in the Dunes was for many the grand unveiling of the surreal, idiosyncratic worldview of Hiroshi Teshigahara. Eija Okada plays an amateur entomologist who has left Tokyo to study an unclassified species of beetle that resides in a remote, vast desert; when he misses his bus back to civilization, he is persuaded to spend the night in the home of a young widow (Kishida) who lives in a hut at the bottom of a sand dune. What results is one of cinema’s most bristling, unnerving, and palpably erotic battles of the sexes, as well as a nightmarish depiction of everyday Sisyphean struggle." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Yorgos Lanthimos, Doris Dörrie, Andrey Zvyagintsev, Mike D'Angelo, Ben Rivers.
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In a Year with 13 Moons

In a Year with 13 Moons

In einem Jahr mit 13 Monden (original title); In a Year of 13 Moons (alternative title)

1978 / West Germany / 129m / Col / Drama, Psychological Drama
Volker Spengler, Ingrid Caven, Gottfried John, Elisabeth Trissenaar, Eva Mattes, Gunther Kaufmann, Lilo Pempeit, Isolde Barth, Karl Scheydt, Walter Bockmayer
"Another story about the crazy things people do for love, In A Year With 13 Moons details the lonely street life of a Frankfurt drifter who had a sex-change operation in Casablanca years earlier… Structurally radical and emotionally operatic, the film links several bravura set pieces, including a monologue on self-mutilation set on the killing floor of a slaughterhouse, a long take of a nun recalling Spengler's harrowing childhood at an orphanage… At once melodramatic and coolly distant, wrenching and clinical, Fassbinder's character study never telegraphs the "right" way to respond to it, which leaves viewers with plenty to sort out afterwards." - Scott Tobias, A.V. Club
Selected by Stanley Kwan, Laurence Kardish, Cristina Nord, Ed Gonzalez, Emily Wardill.


Novecento (original title)

1976 / Italy-France-West Germany / 245m / Col / Political Drama, Family Drama
Burt Lancaster, Robert De Niro, Gerard Depardieu, Dominique Sanda, Francesca Bertini, Laura Betti, Sterling Hayden, Donald Sutherland, Stefania Sandrelli, Romolo Valli
"Upon its release in 1977, 1900 became an infamous flop. But seen with diminished expectations, 1900 is just fine: a well-plotted history play studded with artful sequences and Bertolucci's particular brand of earthiness, bordering on vulgarity. 1900 may seem too conventional compared to the blazing fire of Bertolucci's previous films, but as the film rambles toward its beautifully symbolic final shot of a man on train tracks, it takes its place at the center of the director's career-long, fragmentary 20th-century mosaic." - Noel Murray, A.V. Club
Selected by Rolf De Heer, Lone Scherfig, Bruno Barreto, Mikel Olaciregui, Helena Koder.
Cleo from 5 to 7

Cléo from 5 to 7

Cléo de 5 à 7 (original title)

1962 / France / 90m / BW / Drama, Psychological Drama
Corinne Marchand, Antoine Bourseiller, Dorothee Blank, Dominique Davray, Michel Legrand, Jose-Luis de Villalonga, Loye Payen, Renee Duchateau, Lucienne Marchand, Serge Korber
"Agnes Varda’s Cléo from 5 to 7, the first fully-achieved feature by the woman who would become the premiere female director of her generation, dazzled when it opened, and looks even more timely today in its tackling of the fashionable subject of female identity as a function of how women see and are seen by the world… Through an arresting use of Paris as both visual centerpiece and reflection of a woman’s inner journey, Varda paints an enduring portrait of a woman’s evolution from a shallow and superstitious child-woman to a person who can feel and express shock and anguish and finally empathy." - Molly Haskell, The Criterion Collection
Selected by Carrie Rickey, Ginette Vincendeau, Ben Russell, David Sorfa, J.M. Tyree.
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The Tenant

The Tenant

Le Locataire (original title)

1976 / France-USA / 125m / Col / Thriller, Black Comedy
Roman Polanski, Isabelle Adjani, Shelley Winters, Melvyn Douglas, Jo Van Fleet, Bernard Fresson, Lila Kedrova, Claude Dauphin, Claude Pieplu, Rufus
"One of Polanski's most viscerally troubling movies. The plot, about a lodger who becomes convinced that the other residents of his apartment building are out to do him harm, has obvious similarities to Rosemary's Baby, but the familiar form is merely a vehicle for Polanski's neuroses, never unveiled so nakedly as here. The first movie Polanski directed after fleeing sexual assault charges in California, The Tenant is consumed with repulsion for its title character, not at all coincidentally played by Polanski himself (his only self-directed lead)… The Tenant goes off the rails in its last third. But damned if it doesn't almost take you with it." - Sam Adams, Philadelphia City Paper
Selected by Jonathan Caouette, Andrew Dominik, Juan Antonio Bayona, Mark Webber, Milcho Manchevski.
The Double Life of Veronique

The Double Life of Veronique

La Double vie de Véronique (original title)

1991 / France / 97m / Col / Romantic Drama, Psychological Drama
Irene Jacob, Halina Gryglaszewska, Kalina Jedrusik, Aleksander Bardini, Wladyslaw Kowalski, Jerzy Gudejko, Jan Sterninski, Philippe Volter, Sandrine Dumas, Louis Ducreux
"Krzysztof Kieślowski’s international breakthrough remains one of his most beloved films, a ravishing, mysterious rumination on identity, love, and human intuition. Irène Jacob is incandescent as both Weronika, a Polish choir soprano, and her double, Véronique, a French music teacher… Aided by Slawomir Idziak’s shimmering cinematography and Zbigniew Preisner’s haunting, operatic score, Kieślowski creates one of cinema’s most purely metaphysical works. The Double Life of Véronique is an unforgettable symphony of feeling." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Gregg Araki, José Teodoro, Fung Ka Ming, Lucy Virgen, Matthew Taylor.
The King of Comedy

The King of Comedy

1983 / USA / 109m / Col / Showbiz Comedy, Black Comedy
Robert De Niro, Jerry Lewis, Diahnne Abbott, Sandra Bernhard, Ed Herlihy, Lou Brown, Whitey Ryan, Doc Lawless, Marta Heflin, Katherine Wallach
"The salutary tale of an aspiring comedian (De Niro) who kidnaps his idol, Jerry Langford (Lewis, playing close to type), in order to ensure a TV spot, The King of Comedy has more to say about the parlous state of modern celebrity culture than any other movie I can call to mind… Perfectly pitched between satire and horror, The King of Comedy finds both its director and star working at the peak of their powers – the dramatic punch of the piece being strengthened by understatement, by the fact that neither director nor star are grandstanding… The King of Comedy is quite breathtakingly brilliant." - Mark Kermode, The Guardian
Selected by Francis Ford Coppola, Lizzie Francke, Bryan Singer, Ant Timpson, Jan Lumholdt.
This is Spinal Tap

This is Spinal Tap

1984 / USA / 82m / Col / Mockumentary, Showbiz Comedy
Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner, R.J. Parnell, David Kaff, June Chadwick, Ed Begley Jr., Tony Hendra, Bruno Kirby
"Since the antics of so many heavy metal bands already teeter on the edge of self-parody, it would have been no surprise if this spoof 'rockumentary' about a comeback tour by a has-been English rock group had turned out to be a one-joke movie. In the event, Reiner's brilliantly inventive script and smart visuals avoid all the obvious pitfalls, making this one of the funniest ever films about the music business. Filmed in cinéma vérité style, it follows the group from venue to venue, observing the trials and tribulations of life on the road, personal tensions within the group, and problems with expanding egos." - Nigel Floyd, Time Out
Selected by Claudia Winkleman, Jasper Sharp, Niki Caro, Sacha Gervasi, Antonia Quirke.
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Last Tango in Paris

Last Tango in Paris

Ultimo tango a Parigi (original title)

1972 / France-Italy / 136m / Col / Psychological Drama, Erotic Drama
Marlon Brando, Maria Schneider, Maria Michi, Catherine Allegret, Marie-Helene Breillat, Catherine Breillat, Jean-Pierre Leaud, Darling Legitimus, Catherine Sola, Mauro Marchetti
"The Francis Bacon paintings that haunt the opening credits are the first hint that life might be both tortuous and beautiful in Bertolucci’s unforgettable portrait of grief and anonymous sex in 1970s Paris. The city looks to have been built uniquely for the occasion as Brando gives his best performance in years as Paul, an American mourning his wife’s suicide… Vittorio Storaro’s photography – all yellows and browns – takes its cue from Brando’s camel coat, and the film’s volatile emotional register springs from that staggering opening shot of Brando howling under a railway bridge as Schneider ambles past, carefree and beautiful. It’s Brando’s film: his monologues devastate." - Dave Calhoun, Time Out
Selected by Zhang Yuan, Aditya Assarat, Keith Griffiths, Gus Van Sant, Rob Nilsson.
The Bridge on the River Kwai

The Bridge on the River Kwai

1957 / UK / 161m / Col / War, Drama
William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Sessue Hayakawa, James Donald, Andre Morell, Geoffrey Horne, Peter Williams, John Boxer, Percy Herbert
"The Bridge on the River Kwai is David Lean's last film not to succumb to bloat. Despite its grand, Oscar-bait stature, the 1957 epic subtly develops its themes about the irrationality of honor and the hypocrisy of Britain's class system without ever compromising its thrilling war narrative. Whereas Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago feel more pictorial than cinematic, The Bridge on the River Kwai carefully builds its psychological tension until it erupts in a blinding flash of sulfur and flame." - Christian Blauvelt, Slant Magazine
Selected by Marc Webb, Craig Brewer, Herschell Gordon Lewis, Nicholas Meyer, Norman Jewison.
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Palm Beach Story

The Palm Beach Story

1942 / USA / 90m / BW / Screwball Comedy, Comedy of Manners
Claudette Colbert, Joel McCrea, Rudy Vallee, Mary Astor, Siegfried Arno, Robert Warwick, William Demarest, Franklin Pangborn, Arthur Stuart Hull, Torben Meyer
"Sturges was riding high in the early '40s, writing and directing comedies of such density and wit that a moment's inattention might make an audience miss six great one-liners, five amazing bits of business, four eight-syllable words, and three crowd scenes. And few of his films were as smoothly accomplished as The Palm Beach Story, a knowing satire on the driving forces of sex and money, with Colbert fleeing from her righteous and penniless husband into the ridiculous arms of yachtsman billionaire Rudy Vallee. Hilarious, irresistible, impeccably cast." - Geoff Brown, Time Out
Selected by Ryan Gilbey, Gus Van Sant, Kevin Macdonald, Tom Charity, Julie Pearce.
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The Celebration (English title)

1998 / Denmark / 105m / Col / Ensemble Film, Family Drama
Henning Moritzen, Ulrich Thomsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Paprika Steen, Birthe Neumann, Trine Dyrholm, Helle Dolleris, Therese Glahn, Klaus Bondam, Bjarne Henriksen
"Though it dedicates itself to avoiding directorial egotism, in accordance with strict rules of the Danish filmmakers' collective known as Dogma 95, Thomas Vinterberg's Celebration is still a virtuoso feat… The Celebration, which easily accommodates allusions to both Cries and Whispers and The Godfather, features a large, credible cast all over the hotel, from patrician guests to flirtatious waitresses to Helene's American boyfriend (a black man whose presence brings out the considerable worst in this family) to a kitchen staff bent on settling old scores. They and Vinterberg succeed dizzyingly well in making this a party to remember." - Janet Maslin, The New York Times
Selected by Destin Daniel Cretton, Mike Figgis, Terry Jones, Craig Brewer, Angelina Nikonova.
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An Affair to Remember

An Affair to Remember

1957 / USA / 115m / Col / Romance, Melodrama
Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr, Cathleen Nesbitt, Richard Denning, Neva Patterson, Robert Q. Lewis, Charles Watts, Fortunio Bonanova, Matt Moore, Louis Mercier
"Often regarded (or dreaded) as the ultimate chick flick, due in no small amount to its fetish-object role in Sleepless in Seattle, An Affair to Remember deserves better than to be the receptor of Meg Ryan's crocodile tears. A remake by Leo McCarey of his own 1939 classic Love Affair, the film progresses as a graceful switch from romantic comedy to weepie melodrama, reflecting the director's deep-rooted belief in the intricate bond between laughter and tears." - Fernando F. Croce, Slant Magazine
Selected by Miguel Marías, Jean-Claude Rousseau, Carlos Losilla, José Luis Garci, Catherine Gautier.
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Salvatore Giuliano

Salvatore Giuliano

1962 / Italy / 125m / BW / Crime, Political Drama
Frank Wolff, Salvo Randone, Frederico Zardi, Sennuccio Benelli, Giuseppe Calandra, Pietro Cammarata, Max Cartier, Nando Cicero, Giuseppe Teti, Cosimo Torino
"Filming in the exact locations and enlisting a cast of native Sicilians once impacted by the real Salvatore Giuliano, director Francesco Rosi harnessed the facts and myths surrounding the true story of the bandit’s death to create a startling exposé of Sicily and the tangled relations between its citizens, the Mafia, and government officials. A groundbreaking work of political filmmaking, Salvatore Giuliano established Rosi’s reputation and assured his place in cinema history." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Michel Ciment, Martin Scorsese, Dan Georgakas, Firat Yucel, Gary Crowdus.
Le Voyage dans la lune

Le Voyage dans la lune

A Trip to the Moon (English title); Voyage to the Moon (alternative title)

1902 / France / 14m / BW / Science Fiction, Space Adventure
Victor Andre, Bleuette Bernon, Brunnet, Jeanne d'Alcy, Henri Delannoy, Depierre, Farjaut, Kelm, Georges Melies
"Partly inspired by Jules Verne's early work of science fiction De la terre à la lune (1865) and by H. G. Wells's prophetic novel The First Men in the Moon (1901), Georges Méliès's Le voyage dans la lune (1902) is remarkable for its imaginative, and continually diverting, narrative development. The serious, didactic purpose of the literary antecedents is ignored to provide an engaging entertainment… Méliès was director, producer, set designer, and leading actor. In his exuberant narrative Méliès successfully mixes traditional stage-craft with his extensive repertory of special effects." - R.F. Cousins, Film Reference
Selected by Pam Cook, Jeff Masino, Norbert Pfaffenbichler, Frank Kessler, Marit Kapla.
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The Green Ray

The Green Ray

Le Rayon vert (original title); Summer (USA title)

1986 / France / 96m / Col / Romantic Drama, Urban Drama
Marie Riviere, Vincent Gauthier, Carita, Lisa Heredia, Beatrice Romand, Basile Gervaise, Rosette, Eric Hamm, Joel Comarlot, Amira Chemakhi
"Eric Rohmer's compassionate, humane masterpiece was only made in 1986, but seems from another age entirely. Delphine (Rivière), a thoughtful young twentysomething, has no boyfriend and can't find anyone to go on holiday with - and becomes very unhappy. Delphine has nothing to guide her, nothing to help her stem or understand the tears: this is before Prozac, before therapy, before Ally McBeal… This simple, improvised tale tells an unglamorous truth about being young: how restless and frustrating it really often is… Its delicacy, charm and tenderness are irresistible." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Carlos F. Heredero, Hong Sang-soo, Mia Hansen-Løve, Joanna Hogg, David Jenkins.
Don't Look Back

Don't Look Back

1967 / USA / 96m / BW / Music, Documentary
Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Donovan, Albert Grossman, Bob Neuwirth, Alan Price, Tito Burns, Derroll Adams, Chris Ellis, Allen Ginsberg
"An unforgettable all-access pass behind the scenes of Bob Dylan's '65 British tour, D.A. Pennebaker's landmark 1967 rock doc all but invented the form while presaging the music video with its oft-copied "Subterranean Homesick Blues" clip. Pennebaker hangs with Dylan and his entourage (including Joan Baez, Alan Price, and the droll Bob Neuwirth) as they move through a blur of indistinguishable hotel rooms and concert halls, pursued by highbrow journalists who want to talk to the oracle. The concert footage of the young Dylan in his punky prime is electrifying, but the most fun comes from the privileged glimpses of his sadistic wit." - Jim Ridley, The Village Voice
Selected by John Cameron Mitchell, Andrew Šprah, Bill Nichols, Carlos Reviriego, Charles Musser.
I Was Born, But...

I Was Born, But…

Otona no miru ehon - Umarete wa mita keredo (original title)

1932 / Japan / 100m / BW / Comedy Drama, Coming-of-Age
Tatsuo Saito, Mitsuko Yoshikawa, Hideo Sugawara, Tomio Aoki, Takeshi Sakamoto, Seiichi Kato, Shoichi Kojufita, Seiji Nishimura, Teruyo Hayami, Chishu Ryu
"One of Ozu’s most popular films, I Was Born, But… is a blithe portrait of the financial and psychological toils of one family, as told from the rascally point of view of a couple of stubborn little boys. For two brothers, the daily struggles of bullies and mean teachers is nothing next to the mortification they feel when they realize their good-natured father’s low-rung social status. Reworked decades later as Ozu’s Technicolor comedy Good Morning, it’s a poignant evocation of the tumult of childhood, as well as a showcase for Ozu’s expertly timed comedy editing." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Jonathan Rosenbaum, Peter Rist, Abé Mark Nornes, Arthur Mas, Jan Lumholdt.
Russian Ark

Russian Ark

Russkiy kovcheg (original title)

2002 / Russia-Germany-Japan-Canada-Finland-Denmark / 96m / Col / Avant-garde-Experimental, Essay Film
Sergei Dontsov, Mariya Kuznetsova, Leonid Mozgovoy, David Giorgobiani, Aleksandr Chaban, Maxim Sergeyev, Anna Aleksakhina, Natalia Nikulenko, Vladimir Baranov, Boris Smolkin
"Russian Ark is a magnificent conjuring act, an eerie historical mirage evoked in a single sweeping wave of the hand by Alexander Sokurov. The 96-minute film, shot in high-definition video in the Hermitage at St. Petersburg, consists of one continuous, uninterrupted take. Thanks to recent technological innovation, it is the longest unbroken shot in the history of film… Mr. Sokurov, who has always been drawn to historical subjects, has said that he wanted to capture "the flow of time" in a pure cinematic language that suggests "a single breath." And that's what Russian Ark accomplishes." - Stephen Holden, The New York Times
Selected by Pere Portabella, Ronald Bergan, Stuart Klawans, Mark Cousins, Helena Koder.
Days of Being Wild

Days of Being Wild

A Fei zheng chuan (original title)

1990 / Hong Kong / 94m / Col / Drama, Ensemble Film
Leslie Cheung, Maggie Cheung, Andy Lau, Carina Lau, Rebecca Pan, Jacky Cheung, Danilo Antunes, Hung Mei-Mei, Ling-Hung Ling, Tony Leung
"Wong Kar-Wai's second feature is a brilliant dream of Hong Kong life in 1960… The terrific, all-star cast enacts this as a series of emotionally unresolved encounters; the swooningly beautiful camera and design work takes its hallucinatory tone from the protagonist's own uncertainties. The mysterious appearance of Tony Leung only in the closing scene heralds a sequel that will sadly never be made. But this is already some kind of masterpiece." - Tony Rayns, Time Out
Selected by Aditya Assarat, Clare Stewart, Christine Dollhofer, Ed Park, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky.
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The Lost Highway

Lost Highway

1997 / USA-France / 134m / Col / Mystery, Surrealist Film
Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette, Balthazar Getty, Robert Loggia, Robert Blake, Gary Busey, Richard Pryor, Natasha Gregson Wagner, Michael Massee, Lucy Butler
"Bill Pullman stars as a jazz saxophonist whose fiery solos grant him a passion and eloquence he seems incapable of anywhere else… The Lynch themes of voyeurism, obsession, unsettling sexuality, and the modern echoes of film noir flow without a filter. Lost Highway is a disquieting, disorienting film that doesn't just improve with repeat viewings, it practically requires them. Typical of Lynch, it commands attention while stirring the impossible desire to look away." - Keith Phipps, A.V. Club
Selected by Amanda Duthie, Edward Lawrenson, Frances Morgan, Khalil Joreige, Mauro Andrizzi.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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Kiss Me Deadly

Kiss Me Deadly

1955 / USA / 106m / BW / Thriller, Film Noir
Ralph Meeker, Albert Dekker, Maxine Cooper, Paul Stewart, Gaby Rodgers, Cloris Leachman, Jack Lambert, Wesley Addy, Nick Dennis, Marian Carr
"In this atomic adaptation of Mickey Spillane’s novel, directed by Robert Aldrich, the good manners of the 1950s are blown to smithereens. Ralph Meeker stars as snarling private dick Mike Hammer, whose decision one dark, lonely night to pick up a hitchhiking woman sends him down some terrifying byways. Brazen and bleak, Kiss Me Deadly is a film noir masterwork as well as an essential piece of cold war paranoia, and it features as nervy an ending as has ever been seen in American cinema." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Mike Hodges, Thom Andersen, José Luis Cienfuegos, Park Chan-wook, Mika Taanila.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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1968 / UK / 111m / Col-BW / Drama, Satire
Malcolm McDowell, David Wood, Richard Warwick, Christine Noonan, Robert Swann, Rupert Webster, Hugh Thomas, Peter Jeffrey, Mona Washbourne, Arthur Lowe
"Lindsay Anderson’s If…. is a daringly anarchic vision of British society, set in a boarding school in late-sixties England. Before Kubrick made his mischief iconic in A Clockwork Orange, Malcolm McDowell made a hell of an impression as the insouciant Mick Travis, who, along with his school chums, trumps authority at every turn, finally emerging as a violent savior in the vicious games of one-upmanship played by both students and masters. Mixing color and black and white as audaciously as it mixes fantasy and reality, If…. remains one of cinema’s most unforgettable rebel yells." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Richard Linklater, Charles Gant, Fung Ka Ming, Chris Shepherd, Maria Kuvshinova.
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Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks

Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks

2003 / China / 551m / Col / Culture & Society, Documentary
"Bracketed by stunning long shots taken from the front of a moving freight train, Wang Bing’s epic, three-part documentary is an astonishingly intimate record of China’s painful transition from state-run industry to a free market… Wang and his sound engineer, Lin Xudong, painstakingly document the death throes of the Tie Xi industrial district in the city of Shenyang, in northeast China, a once-vibrant symbol of a thriving socialist economy. As factories close and workers lose not only their jobs but also their homes and social networks, the filmmakers patiently observe the end of an era and the fortitude of those left floundering in its wake." - Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times
Selected by João Moreira Salles, Sukhdev Sandhu, Berenice Reynaud, Lou Ye, Andrew Šprah.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
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Shoot the Piano Player

Shoot the Piano Player

Tirez sur le pianiste (original title); Shoot the Pianist (alternative title)

1960 / France / 92m / BW / Crime Drama, Post-Noir (Modern Noir)
Charles Aznavour, Marie Dubois, Nicole Berger, Michele Mercier, Albert Remy, Claude Mansard, Daniel Boulanger, Richard Kanayan, Jacques-Jean Aslanian, Serge Davri
"François Truffaut is drunk on the possibilities of cinema in this, his most playful film. Part thriller, part comedy, part tragedy, Shoot the Piano Player relates the adventures of mild-mannered piano player Charlie (Charles Aznavour, in a triumph of hangdog deadpan) as he stumbles into the criminal underworld and a whirlwind love affair. Loaded with gags, guns, clowns, and thugs, this razor-sharp homage to the American gangster film is pure nouvelle vague." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Todd McCarthy, Mariano Llinás, Andrew Pulver, Gary Crowdus, Miguel Pendás.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

1937 / USA / 83m / Col / Children's Fantasy, Animated Musical
Adriana Caselotti, Harry Stockwell, Lucille LaVerne, Moroni Olsen, Billy Gilbert, Pinto Colvig, Otis Harlan, Scotty Mattraw, Roy Atwell, Stuart Buchanan
"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was immediately hailed as a masterpiece. (Sergei Eisenstein called it the greatest movie ever made.) It remains the jewel in Disney's crown, and although inflated modern grosses have allowed other titles to pass it in dollar totals, it is likely that more people have seen it than any other animated feature. The word genius is easily used and has been cheapened, but when it is used to describe Walt Disney, reflect that he conceived of this film, in all of its length, revolutionary style and invention, when there was no other like it--and that to one degree or another, every animated feature made since owes it something." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Jan Troell, Michel Hazanavicius, Terry Jones, Christopher Frayling, Dusan Makavejev.
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Through the Olive Trees

Through the Olive Trees

Zire darakhatan zeyton (original title); Under the Olive Trees (alternative title)

1994 / Iran-France / 103m / Col / Drama, Docudrama
Mohamad Ali Keshavarz, Farhad Kheradmand, Zarifeh Shiva, Hossein Rezai, Tahereh Ladanian, Hocine Redai, Zahra Nourouzi, Nasret Betri, Azim Aziz Nia, Astadouli Babani
"Get used to the long takes and what at first appears to be an inconsequential narrative, and pretty soon the many levels of intellectual and emotional meaning will work their magic: it's a witty, poignant, illuminating film about the problems that affect movie-makers faced with intractable reality, about cinema's potential as a unifying force, and about the determination and the ability of people to survive tragedy, poverty, injustice and the vicissitudes of love. Sheer brilliance." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Ying Liang, Laura Mulvey, Gilberto Perez, Kristin Thompson, Khalil Joreige.
How Green Was My Valley

How Green Was My Valley

1941 / USA / 118m / BW / Family Drama, Rural Drama
Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O'Hara, Roddy McDowall, Donald Crisp, Anna Lee, John Loder, Barry Fitzgerald, Patric Knowles, Sara Allgood, Morton Lowry
"John Ford's 1942 Oscar winner is an immensely moving study of stresses, changes, and heroism in a Welsh coal-mining family as it passes from the blissful 19th century to the grim 20th. As in all the best Fordian cinema, though everything changes and most things die or disappear, what remains in memory and in spirit triumphs—and what on the surface is a tender and sad film becomes instead joyous and robust. Expert performances from Donald Crisp, Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O'Hara, and a host of brilliant character actors enhance a magnificent movie experience." - Don Druker, Chicago Reader
Selected by Kristin Thompson, Tag Gallagher, Peter Bogdanovich, Andy Rector, Hideo Nakata.
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Happy Together

Happy Together

Xi qi bi ren (original title)

1997 / Hong Kong / 97m / Col / Romance, Drama
Leslie Cheung, Tony Leung, Chen Chang, Gregory Dayton
"Loose, buoyant and bracingly original, Happy Together is the story of a gay couple who are miserable together and incapable of doing much about it. On vacation in Argentina, Lai and Ho, played by Chinese superstars Tony Leung and Leslie Cheung, are at the literal (and emotional) edge of their world… Rather than being enslaved by the forms and formulas of the Hollywood movies he grew up on, Wong has twisted, eviscerated and redefined film technique. His film is a splash of cold, fresh water on the face of a tired, over-fed beast." - Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle
Selected by Gregg Araki, Edgardo Cozarinsky, Eva af Geijerstam, Jane Yu, Marcelo Alderete.
Back to th Future

Back to the Future

1985 / USA / 116m / Col / Teen Movie, Sci-Fi Comedy
Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Thomas F. Wilson, Claudia Wells, Marc McClure, Wendie Jo Sperber, George DiCenzo, James Tolkan
"Back to the Future stands up on its own as a well-oiled, brilliantly-edited example of new-school, Spielberg-cultivated thrill-craft, one that endures even now that its visual effects and haw-haw references to Pepsi Free and reruns seem as dated as full-service gas stations apparently did in 1985. Its schematic organization of what Marty and Doc need to accomplish and its steadily mounting series of mishaps demonstrating how they can go wrong represent probably the most carefully-scripted blockbuster in Hollywood history, but the movie's real coup is in how it subtly mocks the political pretensions of the era—not the 1950s, but rather the 1980s." - Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine
Selected by Anna Smith, Mariano Martín Kairuz, Matthew Vaughn, Robbie Collin, Destin Daniel Cretton.
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City of God

City of God

Cidade de Deus (original title)

2002 / Brazil-Germany-France / 129m / Col / Crime Drama, Coming-of-Age
Matheus Nachtergaele, Seu Jorge, Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro Firmino da Hora, Phellipe Haagensen, Douglas Silva, Jonathan Haagensen, Jefechander Suplino, Alice Braga, Roberta Rodriguez Silvia
"Run, don't walk, to the cinema is all I can say. This electrifying picture is part tender coming-of-age film and part gang-warfare epic from the Brazilian slum, or favela, told from the viewpoint of the children who manage to be both its underclass and its criminal overlords. It's a movie with all the dials cranked up to 11, an overwhelming, intoxicating assault on the senses, and a thriller so tense that you might have the red seat plush in front of you - or even some unfortunate's hair - gripped in both fists." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by José Padilha, James Gunn, Tata Amaral, Ahmed Atef, Steven Markovitz.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
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Where is the Friend's Home?

Where is the Friend's Home?

Khane-ye doust kodjast? (original title); Where is My Friend's House? (alternative title)

1987 / Iran / 85m / Col / Drama, Childhood Drama
Babak Ahmed Poor, Ahmed Ahmed Poor, Kheda Barech Defai, Iran Outari, Ait Ansari, Sadika Taohidi, Biman Mouafi, Ali Djamali, Aziz Babai, Nadir Ghoulami
"It's entirely possible that Abbas Kiarostami, who's been making films in Iran for about three decades, is our greatest living filmmaker… Where Is the Friend's House? is a miniature epic about a schoolboy trying to return a classmate's notebook… This is a sustained meditation on singular landscapes and the way ordinary people live in them; an obsessional quest that takes on the contours of a parable; a concentrated inquiry that raises more questions than it answers; and a comic as well as cosmic poem. It's about making discoveries and cherishing what's in the world—including things that we can't understand." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Nicolas Philibert, Judith Williamson, Tadao Sato, Werner Herzog, Sanjeewa Pushpakumara.
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Eyes Without a Face

Eyes Without a Face

Les Yeux sans visage (original title)

1960 / France-Italy / 88m / BW / Horror, Gothic Film
Pierre Brasseur, Alida Valli, Edith Scob, Francois Guerin, Juliette Mayniel, Beatrice Altariba, Alexandre Rignault, Rene Genin, Claude Brasseur, Michel Etcheverry
"An incredible amalgam of horror and fairytale in which scalpels thud into quivering flesh and the tremulous heroine (Scob) remains a prisoner of solitude in a waxen mask of eerie, frozen beauty… Illuminated throughout by Franju's unique sense of poetry - nowhere more evident than in the final shot of Scob wandering free through the night, her mask discarded but her face seen only by the dogs at her feet and the dove on her shoulder - it's a marvellous movie in the fullest sense." - Tom Milne, Time Out
Selected by Mark Kermode, Ed Park, Gráinne Humphreys, Paul Mayersberg, Peter Strickland.
West Side Story

West Side Story

1961 / USA / 151m / Col / Musical Romance, Juvenile Delinquency Film
Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, George Chakiris, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno, Tucker Smith, Simon Oakland, Tony Mordente, Eliot Feld, David Winters
"West Side Story is a superb musical, one of the best combinations of music and dance ever put to film. This seemed to have been the underlying quest of Gene Kelly's career at MGM - as soon as he was successful enough to push his own ideas, his musicals steered toward complex ballet sequences. Jerome Robbins apparently had the same filmic goal. There are plenty of musicals that display some of the charm of original Broadway choreography, such as Fosse's Damn Yankees, and The Pajama Game, but West Side Story seeks to re-invent the stage dancing for the camera. The guts of the play are the dancing and the music, and both are heavily altered." - Glenn Erickson, DVD Savant
Selected by Andrew Birkin, Will Brooker, Gurinder Chadha, Grégory Valens, Spike Lee.
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Eyes Wide Shut

Eyes Wide Shut

1999 / USA-UK / 159m / Col / Marriage Drama, Psychological Drama
Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Sydney Pollack, Madison Eginton, Marie Richardson, Rade Serbedzija, Vinessa Shaw, Todd Field, Alan Cumming, LeeLee Sobieski
"Eyes Wide Shut epitomizes Kubrick's commendable and audacious willingness to venture into unexplored territory and risk making a fool of himself. Like Crash and Blue Velvet, two similarly fearless, sexually transgressive but ultimately moralistic films that straddled the fine line between genius and lunacy, Eyes Wide Shut is above all a masterpiece of sustained tone, a tightrope act that pays off in rich and unexpected ways… As deceptively simple as an Aesop fable, and as haunting and enigmatic as a half-remembered dream, Eyes Wide Shut is a towering final achievement from one of cinema's greatest innovators." - Nathan Rabin, A.V. Club
Selected by Adrian Martin, Kent Jones, Craig Keller, Ed Park, Mia Hansen-Løve.
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Make Way for Tomorrow

Make Way for Tomorrow

1937 / USA / 92m / BW / Family Drama, Marriage Drama
Victor Moore, Beulah Bondi, Fay Bainter, Thomas Mitchell, Porter Hall, Barbara Read, Maurice Moscovich, Elisabeth Risdon, Minna Gombell, Louise Beavers
"Leo McCarey’s Make Way for Tomorrow is one of the great unsung Hollywood masterpieces, an enormously moving Depression-era depiction of the frustrations of family, aging, and the generation gap. Victor Moore and Beulah Bondi headline a cast of incomparable character actors, starring as an elderly couple who must move in with their grown children after the bank takes their home, yet end up separated and subject to their offspring’s selfish whims. An inspiration for Ozu’s Tokyo Story, Make Way for Tomorrow is among American cinema’s purest tearjerkers, all the way to its unflinching ending, which McCarey refused to change despite studio pressure." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Dave Kehr, Pierre Rissient, Errol Morris, Filipe Furtado, Isaac León Frías.
A Touch of Zen

A Touch of Zen

Hsia nu (original title)

1971 / Taiwan / 200m / Col / Martial Arts, Drama
Billy Chan, Ping-yu Chang, Roy Chiao, Shih Chun, Hsue Han, Yin-Chieh Han, Feng Hsu, Ching-Ying Lam, Tien Miao, Peng Tien
"King Hu's remarkable Ming Dynasty epic deliberately makes itself impossible to define, beginning as a ghost story, then turning into a political thriller, and finally becoming a metaphysical battle as the role of the monk Hui-Yuan (Chiao) comes to the fore. Structured like a set of Chinese boxes, twice forcing you to expand your frame of reference and reassess the meaning of what you've seen, it begins with a realistic portrait of life in a sleepy town outside Peking, and ends with extended fantasies of Zen Buddhism in action - and in between has a core of action scenes that transform Peking Opera stagecraft into sheer flights of imagination." - Tony Rayns, Time Out
Selected by Peter Rist, Alberto Pezzotta, Michael Berry, Okajima Hisashi, Michael Koller.
Red Desert

Red Desert

Il Deserto rosso (original title)

1964 / Italy-France / 118m / Col / Drama, Psychological Drama
Monica Vitti, Richard Harris, Carlo Chionetti, Xenia Valderi, Rita Renoir, Lili Rheims, Aldo Grotti, Valerio Bartoleschi, Emanuela Paola Carboni, Bruno Borghi
"This provocative look at the spiritual desolation of the technological age—about a disaffected woman, brilliantly portrayed by Antonioni muse Monica Vitti, wandering through a bleak industrial landscape beset by power plants and environmental toxins, and tentatively flirting with her husband’s coworker, played by Richard Harris—continues to keep viewers spellbound. With one startling, painterly composition after another—of abandoned fishing cottages, electrical towers, looming docked ships—Red Desert creates a nearly apocalyptic image of its time, and confirms Antonioni as cinema’s preeminent poet of the modern age." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Pedro Almodóvar, Marc Forster, Enno Patalas, Andréa Picard, Emma Wilson.
Dog Day Afternoon

Dog Day Afternoon

1975 / USA / 125m / Col / Crime, Urban Drama
Al Pacino, John Cazale, Sully Boyar, Charles Durning, Chris Sarandon, Penelope Allen, Beulah Garrick, Carol Kane, James Broderick, Sandra Kazan
"Al Pacino heads a stellar ensemble cast in Sidney Lumet’s tense, unbearably moving tale of a first-time crook whose plan to rob a Brooklyn bank goes spectacularly awry. Though primarily confined to a single location, the film is filled to brimming with distinctly New York characters… At the center of it all is Pacino’s Sonny Wortzik, who alternates between cocky displays of street-theater bravado (his famous “Attica!” speech) and devastating moments of walls-are-closing-in introspection. You can see the film’s influence in multifaceted heist movies like Reservoir Dogs and Heat (also starring Pacino), but nothing matches Dog Day’s earthy, unsentimental vision." - Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York
Selected by Bruce Robinson, Richard Lester, Bong Joon-ho, Niki Caro, David Dobkin.
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The Kid

The Kid

1921 / USA / 60m / BW / Comedy Drama, Melodrama
Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Jackie Coogan, Baby Hathaway, Carl Miller, Granville Redmond, May White, Tom Wilson, Henry Bergman, Lita Grey
"A picture with a smile and perhaps a tear' says the opening title of Chaplin's first feature. There's no perhaps about it, what with Charlie struggling to nurture a cast-off illegitimate child in the face of unfeeling cops, doctors and orphanage workers. As always, Chaplin's opulent Victorian sentimentality is made palatable both by the amazing grace of his pantomimic skills and the balancing presence of harsh reality: the drama and the intertwining gags are played out amongst garbage, flophouses, a slum world depicted with Stroheim-like detail." - Geoff Brown, Time Out
Selected by David Robinson, Abderrahmane Sissako, Wang Xiaoshuai, Guy Désiré Yameogo, Casper Tybjerg.
I Am Cuba

I Am Cuba

Soy Cuba (original title)

1964 / USSR-Cuba / 141m / BW / Drama, Avant-garde-Experimental
Sergio Corrieri, Salvador Wood, Jose Gallardo, Raul Garcia, Luz Maria Collazo, Jean Bouise, Alberto Morgan, Celia Rodriguez, Fausto Mirabal, Roberto Garcia York
"This Soviet-Cuban hymn from 1964 to the Castro revolution has more than its fair share of agitprop naivety - but for its sheer dazzling technique, and the glorious beauty of its monochrome cinematography, it deserves impregnable classic status… To the accompaniment of narration co-scripted by Yevgeny Yevtushenko, the story is achieved in a series of superbly choreographed single-take sequences, with a drama-doc vérité effect… I Am Cuba combines the high-minded severity of Russian cinema with the exuberance of Vigo or Fellini, and even anticipates the conspiracy-fear of Oliver Stone." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Dina Iordanova, Ronald Bergan, Mike Leigh, Gillies MacKinnon, Peter Bradshaw.
Midnight Cowboy

Midnight Cowboy

1969 / USA / 113m / Col / Urban Drama, Buddy Film
Jon Voight, Dustin Hoffman, Sylvia Miles, John McGiver, Brenda Vaccaro, Barnard Hughes, Jennifer Salt, Ruth White, Gil Rankin, Gary Owens
"The only X-rated movie to win the Best Picture Oscar (the rating has since been commuted to an R), Midnight Cowboy is a brutal bummer about loneliness and destitution, a cinematically adroit Lower Depths, with a stubbled, greasy Dustin Hoffman shivering in his unheated, condemned New York tenement as unsuccessful stud Jon Voight lies depressed and unemployed on the room's single cot… Midnight Cowboy is also a great picture, 113 minutes of stirring stuff, set to the ironic lilt of Jean "Toots" Thielemans's harmonica and Harry Nilsson's theme tune, Everybody's Talkin'." - Desson Howe, Washington Post
Selected by Peter Farrelly, Ray Lawrence, Ryan Fleck, Chris Shepherd, Jack Stevenson.
It Happened One Night

It Happened One Night

1934 / USA / 105m / BW / Romantic Comedy, Screwball Comedy
Claudette Colbert, Clark Gable, Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns, Alan Hale, Ward Bond, Henry Wadsworth, Claire McDowell, Arthur Hoyt, Blanche Frederici
"Every line of dialogue is calculated bliss, the chemistry between the leads is magnificent, and the backdrop of Depression-era America allows for a prescient and amusing subplot about how well-heeled urbanites are compelled to misbehave when they have no money in their designer pockets. It’s probably more historically important than it is a masterpiece (the last 20 minutes take the missed connections and misunderstandings an inch too far), but it’s still very easy to fall in love with.." - David Jenkins, Time Out
Selected by Susanne Bier, Kevin Thomas, Chris Knight, Graham Shirley, Juan Antonio García Borrero.
The Time to Live and the Time to Die

The Time to Live and the Time to Die

Tong nien wang shi (original title)

1985 / Taiwan / 137m / Col / Coming-of-Age, Family Drama
Ann-Shuin Yiu, Feng Tien, Mei-Feng, Yu-Yuen Tang, Shufen Xin, Xiao Ai
"A subtle, deeply moving picture of Taiwanese history seen through the eyes of a boy whose family has recently emigrated from the Mainland… Hou's autobiographically-based film is as beautifully performed, shot and scored as his earlier Summer at Grandpa's, but there is a distinct progress in the depiction of the wider dynamics of society. It is the unflinching, unsentimental honesty that supplies the elegiac intelligence: Hou's quiet style bursts forth, here and there, into sudden, superlative scenes of untrammelled emotional power. It's a brilliantly simple but multi-faceted portrait of loss and the complacency of childhood: quite literally, we can't go home again." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Ann Hui, Bryan Chang, Phan Dang-Di, Heddy Honigmann, Tien-Hsiang Wen.
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Written on the Wind

Written on the Wind

1956 / USA / 99m / Col / Melodrama, Family Drama
Lauren Bacall, Robert Stack, Dorothy Malone, Rock Hudson, Robert Keith, Grant Williams, Robert J. Wilke, Edward Platt, Harry Shannon, John Larch
"Bathed in lurid Technicolor, melodrama maestro Douglas Sirk’s Written on the Wind is the stylishly debauched tale of a Texas oil magnate brought down by the excesses of his spoiled offspring. Features an all-star quartet that includes Robert Stack as a pistol-packin’ alcoholic playboy; Lauren Bacall as his long-suffering wife; Rock Hudson as his earthy best friend; and Dorothy Malone (who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance) as his nymphomaniac sister." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Dominik Graf, Elisabeth Bronfen, Richard Kwietniowski, Laura Marks, Clare Stewart.
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This Strange Passion (English title)

1952 / Mexico / 91m / BW / Black Comedy, Satire
Arturo de Cordova, Delia Garces, Luis Beristain, Aurora Walker, Carlos Martinez Baena, Manuel Donde, Rafael Banquells, Fernando Casanova, Jose Pidal, Roberto Meyer
"Released at the pinnacle of his prolific Mexican period, Él remains one of Luis Buñuel's crowning achievements. "Ironically, there's absolutely nothing Mexican about Él; it's simply the portrait of a paranoiac, who, like a poet, is born, not made," says the director in his autobiography. Though set in Mexico and ripe with authentic details from daily life, Él is less a portrait of machismo gone awry than it is a brutal and absurd glimpse at one man's runaway paranoia" - Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine
Selected by Miguel Gomes, Jean Narboni, Carlos Saura, Ed Gonzalez, Daniela Michel.
Werckmeister Harmonies

Werckmeister Harmonies

Werckmeister harmóniák (original title)

2000 / Hungary-Germany-France-Switzerland-Italy / 145m / BW / Horror, Psychological Drama
Lars Rudolph, Peter Fitz, Hanna Schygulla, Janos Derzsi, Djoko Rossich, Tamas Wichmann, Ferenc Killai, Mihaly Kormos, Putyi Horvath, Eva Almassy Albert
"Béla Tarr's Werckmeister Harmonies is a totally sustained immersion in the magisterially bleak, voluptuously monochromatic, undeniably beautiful universe of muddy villages and cell-like rooms that the Hungarian filmmaker has created in collaboration with reclusive novelist László Krasznahorkai… Werckmeister Harmonies is a work of bravura filmmaking—mainly a series of extremely long, largely mobile takes, edited without the normal pattern of shot-countershot. Tarr's camera style has its equivalent in Krasznahorkai's lengthy, convoluted sentences, although the results are quite different. Werckmeister is largely taciturn and anything but literary." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Peter Hames, Carlos Reygadas, David Michôd, Ben Hopkins, Kata Anna Varo.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
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Dawn of the Dead

Dawn of the Dead

1978 / USA / 126m / Col / Horror, Creature Film
David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott Reiniger, Gaylen Ross, David Crawford, David Early, George A. Romero, Tom Savini, James A. Baffico, Howard Smith
"Dawn of the Dead is one of the best horror films ever made -- and, as an inescapable result, one of the most horrifying. It is gruesome, sickening, disgusting, violent, brutal and appalling. It is also (excuse me for a second while I find my other list) brilliantly crafted, funny, droll, and savagely merciless in its satiric view of the American consumer society. Nobody ever said art had to be in good taste… If you have seen Night of the Living Dead, you will recall it as a terrifying horror film punctuated by such shocking images as zombies tearing human flesh from limbs. Dawn includes many more scenes like that, more graphic, more shocking, and in color." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Sean Baker, Peter Jackson, Edgar Wright, Nathan Lee, Gonzalo Maza.
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The Killing of a Chinese Bookie

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie

1976 / USA / 109m / Col / Crime, Drama
Ben Gazzara, Timothy Carey, Seymour Cassel, Azizi Johari, Meade Roberts, Alice Fredlund, Virginia Carrington, Soto Joe Hugh, Robert Phillips, Morgan Woodward
"John Cassavetes engages film noir in his own inimitable style with The Killing of a Chinese Bookie. Ben Gazzara brilliantly portrays gentlemen’s club owner Cosmo Vitelli, a man dedicated to pretenses of composure and self-possession. When he runs afoul of a group of gangsters, Cosmo is forced to commit a horrible crime in a last-ditch effort to save his beloved club and his way of life. Suspenseful, mesmerizing, and idiosyncratic, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie is a thought-provoking examination of desperation and masculine identity." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Edgardo Cozarinsky, Lenny Abrahamson, Lisandro Alonso, Jørgen Leth, Lukas Moodysson.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.


Oktyabr (original title)

1927 / USSR / 103m / BW / Historical Film, Docudrama
Vasili Nikandrov, Vladimir Popov, Boris Livanov, Layaschenko, Chibisov, Mikholyev, N. Podvoisky, Smelsky, Eduard Tisse
"Expanding on his editing experiments in Battleship Potemkin (1925), Sergei Eisenstein melded documentary realism with narrative metaphor to depict the pivotal events of the Russian Revolution in October… Eisenstein constructed October as an elaborate "intellectual montage," deriving meaning from the metaphorical or symbolic relationships between shots… While the film's whole is not as great as its parts, the abstract power and narrative innovation of its greatest sequences still render it a seminal work in the development of film form." - Lucia Bozzola, All Movie
Selected by Tata Amaral, Beat Glur, Gertrud Koch, Manuel Asín, Michael O'Pray.
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1972 / USA / 128m / Col / Musical, Drama
Liza Minnelli, Michael York, Helmut Griem, Joel Grey, Fritz Wepper, Marisa Berenson, Elisabeth Neumann-Viertel, Sigrid von Richthofen, Helen Vita, Gerd Vespermann
"This viscerally powerful, deliriously inspired musical stands the test of time, and then some. Bob Fosse's classic 1972 movie about a decadent cabaret in Weimar Berlin gave us one of Hollywood's great female leads: gorgeous, vulnerable star turn Sally Bowles, a role in which Liza Minnelli gives the performance of a lifetime. Fosse unleashes some show-stoppingly sexy dance sequences - for Minnelli, and also for MC Joel Grey - and cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth lights and frames everything with genius." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Anjelika Artyukh, Jurgis Krasons, Lisa Mullen, Rada Sesic, Michael Koresky.
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The Thing

The Thing

1982 / USA / 108m / Col / Science Fiction, Horror
Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, T.K. Carter, David Clennon, Keith David, Richard Dysart, Charles Hallahan, Peter Maloney, Richard Masur, Donald Moffat
"A flop upon its release (by Universal, two weeks after Spielberg's E.T.), this spatial masterpiece of desolate Arctic vistas at odds with close-quarters claustrophobia has since been hailed as a high totem of modern horror-making. There remains something deeply unnerving about Carpenter's ambiguity as to whether the movie's shape-shifting alien is distorting its hosts' personalities or merely revealing something of their primal selves." - Scott Foundas, The Village Voice
Selected by Ben Wheatley, Edgar Wright, Mark Sinker, Ferenc Zalaba, Alejandro G. Calvo.
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The Matrix

The Matrix

1999 / USA-Australia / 136m / Col / Science Fiction, Sci-Fi Action
Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Joe Pantoliano, Gloria Foster, Marcus Chong, Julian Arahanga, Matt Doran, Belinda McClory
"The Matrix is just one big, fat, honking comic book of a sci-fi-martial-arts adventure flick. It goes over the top, comes back around the bottom and then back over the top again. It has stu-freakin'-pendous special effects, hipster sang-froid out the wazoo and a story line that makes only as much sense as it has to… Kudos to production designer Owen Paterson and comic-book artist Geof Darrow for their angular techno-grunge world of black leather, sunglasses after dark and tentacled machines. Mucho kudos to Hong Kong fight coordinator Yuen Wo Ping for his wire-stunt expertise that makes the actors fly through the air like a bunch of angry, buff marionettes." - Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post
Selected by Joss Whedon, Anjelika Artyukh, Fernando Solorzano, Gulnara Abikeyeva, Sek Kei.
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1964 / USA / 129m / Col / Romantic Mystery, Psychological Thriller
Sean Connery, Tippi Hedren, Diane Baker, Martin Gabel, Louise Latham, Alan Napier, Mariette Hartley, Bruce Dern, Bob Sweeney, Milton Selzer
"Universally despised on its first release, Marnie remains one of Alfred Hitchcock's greatest and darkest achievements… The examination of sexual power plays surpasses Fassbinder's films, which Marnie thematically resembles, going beyond a simple dichotomy of strength and weakness into a dense, shifting field of masochism, class antagonism, religious transgression, and the collective unconscious. The mise-en-scene tends toward a painterly abstraction, as Hitchcock employs powerful masses, blank colors, and studiously unreal, spatially distorted settings. Theme and technique meet on the highest level of film art." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Andrew Dominik, Richard Brody, Chris Fujiwara, David Meeker, Fritz Göttler.
Killer of Sheep

Killer of Sheep

1977 / USA / 83m / BW / Drama, Family Drama
Henry G. Sanders, Kaycee Moore, Charles Bracy, Angela Burnett, Eugene Cherry, Jack Drummond
"Connoisseurs of 1970s independent cinema will relish every moment of this brilliant low-budget feature from Charles Burnett. After many career frustrations, Burnett went on to make To Sleep With Anger in 1990, but this is surely his great film, a masterpiece of unforced, vernacular movie-making. With its gloriously free-wheeling cinematography, pungent improvised dialogue, distinctive ambient sound and dramatic scenes that appear to have been serendipitously discovered by Burnett's camera, this is a hidden gem that sparkles in the light." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Ray Carney, Sukhdev Sandhu, Andy Rector, Andrew Šprah, Billy Woodberry.
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The Crime of Monsieur Lange

The Crime of Monsieur Lange

Le Crime de Monsieur Lange (original title)

1936 / France / 90m / BW / Drama, Crime Drama
Rene Lefevre, Jules Berry, Odette Florelle, Marcel Levesque, Nadia Sibirskaia, Sylvia Bataille, Henri Guisol, Odette Talazac, Maurice Baquet, Marcel Duhamel
"One of Renoir's most completely delightful movies (scripted by Jacques Prévert in the euphoria of the Popular Front days), a comedy-thriller-romance about employees of a publishing firm setting up a glorious collective when their lecherous and oppressive boss suddenly goes missing… Fantasy, politics and gentle naturalism combine to perfection, while Renoir's sympathies for his domestic revolutionaries are so infectious as to make the film genuinely uplifting." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Patrick Keiller, Philip Kemp, Todd McCarthy, Tom Charity, Allan Arkush.
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1984 / USA / 158m / Col / Musical Drama, Biography
F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge, Simon Callow, Roy Dotrice, Christine Ebersole, Jeffrey Jones, Charles Kay, Kenny Baker, Lisabeth Bartlett
"Milos Forman's Amadeus is one of the riskiest gambles a filmmaker has taken in a long time -- a lavish movie about Mozart that dares to be anarchic and saucy, and yet still earns the importance of tragedy. This movie is nothing like the dreary educational portraits we're used to seeing about the Great Composers, who come across as cobwebbed profundities weighed down with the burden of genius. This is Mozart as an eighteenth-century Bruce Springsteen, and yet (here is the genius of the movie) there is nothing cheap or unworthy about the approach." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Li Shaohong, Dorian Branea, Milcho Manchevski, Youngmee Hwang, Jordan Hoffman.
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Lola Montes

Lola Montès

The Sins of Lola Montes (alternative title)

1955 / France-West Germany / 116m / Col / Drama, Period Film
Martine Carol, Peter Ustinov, Anton Walbrook, Ivan Desny, Will Quadflieg, Oskar Werner, Lisa Delamare, Paulette Dubost, Henri Guisol, Helena Manson
"Lola Montès is a visually ravishing, narratively daring dramatization of the life of the notorious courtesan and showgirl, played by Martine Carol. With his customary cinematographic flourish and, for the first time, vibrant color, Max Ophuls charts the course of Montès’s scandalous past through the invocations of the bombastic ringmaster (Ustinov) of the American circus where she has ended up performing. Ophuls’s final film, Lola Montès is at once a magnificent romantic melodrama, a meditation on the lurid fascination with celebrity, and a one-of-a-kind movie spectacle." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Dominik Graf, David Ehrenstein, Kevin Thomas, Andrea Dittgen, Gertrud Koch.
In the Realm of the Senses

In the Realm of the Senses

Ai No Corrida (original title); Empire of the Senses (alternative title)

1976 / Japan-France / 109m / Col / Erotic Drama, Psychological Drama
Tatsuya Fuji, Eiko Matsuda, Aoi Nakajima, Yasuko Matsui, Meika Seri, Kanae Kobayashi, Taiji Tonoyama, Kyoji Kokonoe, Naomi Shiraishi, Hiroko Fuji
"Still censored in its own country, In the Realm of the Senses, by Japanese director Nagisa Oshima, remains one of the most controversial films of all time. A graphic portrayal of insatiable sexual desire, Oshima’s film, set in 1936 and based on a true incident, depicts a man and a woman (Tatsuya Fuji and Eiko Matsuda) consumed by a transcendent, destructive love while living in an era of ever escalating imperialism and governmental control. Less a work of pornography than of politics, In the Realm of the Senses is a brave, taboo-breaking milestone." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Luca Guadagnino, Anchalee Chaiworaporn, Goran Gocic, Katsue Tomiyama, Milcho Manchevski.
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Bride of Frankenstein

Bride of Frankenstein

1935 / USA / 75m / BW / Monster Film, Sci-Fi Horror
Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Valerie Hobson, Elsa Lanchester, Ernest Thesiger, Una O'Connor, Dwight Frye, O.P. Heggie, Gavin Gordon, Douglas Walton
"The best of the Frankenstein movies--a sly, subversive work that smuggled shocking material past the censors by disguising it in the trappings of horror. Some movies age; others ripen. Seen today, Whale's masterpiece is more surprising than when it was made because today's audiences are more alert to its buried hints of homosexuality, necrophilia and sacrilege. But you don't have to deconstruct it to enjoy it; it's satirical, exciting, funny, and an influential masterpiece of art direction." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Joe Dante, Guillermo del Toro, David Rooney, Donald Clarke, Robert Cashill.
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All About My Mother

All About My Mother

Todo sobre mi madre (original title)

1999 / Spain-France / 101m / Col / Comedy Drama, Ensemble Film
Cecilia Roth, Marisa Paredes, Penelope Cruz, Candela Pena, Antonia San Juan, Rosa Maria Sarda, Toni Canto, Eloy Azorin, Fernando Fernan Gomez, Fernando Guillen
"In All About My Mother the world of acting becomes a source of inspiration to women as they improvise their way through their own lives, with the kind of strength, passion and humor this filmmaker has always celebrated. Mr. Almodóvar has expressed the idea of life as a divine form of acting before, but never with the kind of clarity and beauty that glitter here. All About My Mother, his best film by far, is all about how tragedies of the flesh can yield renewal and hope despite the pain they leave behind, which is as clear an understanding of what makes movies tick as Mr. Almodóvar will ever need." - Janet Maslin, The New York Times
Selected by Andrei Plakhov, Ann Hui, Ben Gibson, Emma Wilson, Gráinne Humphreys.
The Sacrifice

The Sacrifice

Offret (original title)

1986 / France-Sweden / 145m / Col / Psychological Drama, Religious Drama
Erland Josephson, Susan Fleetwood, Valerie Mairesse, Allan Edwall, Guorun Gisladottir, Sven Wollter, Filippa Franzen, Tommy Kjellqvist, Per Kallman, Tommy Nordahl
"Andrei Tarkovsky's final film from 1986 looks to me quite different twenty years on. It is brilliant and audacious, with one of the most extraordinary final sequences in modern cinema, and all in a manner which Hollywood in the succeeding decade would learn to call "high concept". But it is more complex and ambiguous than it appeared at the time: its tragic meaning has darkened and clotted with time… Tarkovsky died the year of its release; Susan Fleetwood died of cancer died nine years later, thus robbing us of one of the great actresses of her generation." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Pere Portabella, Julio Medem, Alan Pauls, Antonio Delgado, Ian Wild.
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Mr. Hulot's Holiday

Mr. Hulot's Holiday

Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot (original title); Monsieur Hulot's Holiday (alternative title)

1953 / France / 86m / BW / Comedy, Slapstick
Jacques Tati, Nathalie Pascaud, Michelle Rolla, Louis Perrault, Andre Dubois, Valentine Camax, Suzy Willy, Lucien Fregis, Marguerite Gerard, Rene Lacourt
"The reedy, pipe-smoking Mr. Hulot spends a week's vacation at a slightly battered seaside hotel, where he battles inanimate objects and thinks—long and hard—about flirting with a pretty girl. Jacques Tati's 1953 masterpiece features some of the funniest and loveliest slapstick imaginable, yet it is also a work of impressive formal innovation, casting off the tyranny of a plotline in favor of loosely associated tones, episodes, and images. (Tati would find the visual correlative of this technique in his great 1968 Playtime.) The soundtrack, in which dialogue is subsumed by sound effects, is a masterful piece of musique concrete; Tati rerecorded and embellished it in 1961." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Peter Hames, Richard Lester, Benjamin Safdie, Robbie Collin, Mary Lea Bandy.
The Empire Strikes Back

The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (alternative title)

1980 / USA / 124m / Col / Science Fiction, Space Adventure
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Kenny Baker, Alec Guinness, Peter Mayhew, Frank Oz
"The Empire Strikes Back is the best of three Star Wars films, and the most thought-provoking. After the space opera cheerfulness of the original film, this one plunges into darkness and even despair, and surrenders more completely to the underlying mystery of the story. It is because of the emotions stirred in Empire that the entire series takes on a mythic quality that resonates back to the first and ahead to the third. This is the heart." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Bryan Singer, Ferenc Zalaba, Gyorgy Palfi, Matthew Leyland, John Singleton.
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Peeping Tom

Peeping Tom

1960 / UK / 109m / Col / Thriller, Psychological Thriller
Karlheinz Bohm, Anna Massey, Maxine Audley, Moira Shearer, Esmond Knight, Michael Goodliffe, Shirley Anne Field, Brenda Bruce, Bartlett Mullins, Martin Miller
"Few films have as strange and tortured a destiny as Peeping Tom. Unanimously savaged by critics at the time of its 1960 release, Michael Powell's sympathetic portrait of a mild-mannered serial killer was pulled from London theaters in less than a week… Today, thanks largely to a 1980 revival engineered by Powell enthusiast and fellow director Martin Scorsese, Peeping Tom is rightly seen as a horror classic and sophisticated psychological journey… Peeping Tom was a bold, subversive risk. Far ahead of its time, it's a study in voyeurism that equates photography and moviemaking with scopophilia, the morbid urge to gaze." - Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle
Selected by Anurag Kashyap, Gerardo Naranjo, Richard Kwietniowski, Thomas Dawson, Keith Uhlich.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.