The 1,000 Greatest Films (500-401)

The banner image above is from Dennis Hopper's Easy Rider.
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All That Jazz

All That Jazz

1979 / USA / 123m / Col / Musical, Showbiz Drama
Roy Scheider, Jessica Lange, Ann Reinking, Leland Palmer, Cliff Gorman, Ben Vereen, Erzsebet Foldi, Michael Tolan, Max Wright, William LeMassena
"Fosse might owe a lot to Fellini's plunge into self-obsession, but the pungent texture of showbiz grime and sweaty, thrusting body geometry are completely his own. In powerhouse numbers like "Take Off With Us" and the infamous "Bye-Bye Love", Fosse brings his own unique style of rhythmic, dance-like film editing that he initiated with Cabaret to its apotheosis. Never content to cut on a beat, instead he makes razor-sharp edits at the change of a dancer's direction, or as an extension of his combination moves. In essence, he turns the art of the edit into its own form of choreography. All That Jazz may be Fosse's finest cinematic achievement.." - Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine
Selected by Jan Svěrák, Juan José Campanella, Nae Caranfil, Sofia Coppola, Odie Henderson.


1995 / USA / 119m / Col / Medical Drama, Psychological Drama
Julianne Moore, Xander Berkeley, Dean Norris, Peter Friedman, Susan Norman, Kate McGregor Stewart, Mary Carver, Julie Burgess, James LeGros, Jessica Harper
"Todd Haynes's enviro-disease masterpiece Safe might just be the most terrifying film of the last decade. There are no monsters or homicidal maniacs here—instead, the film's horror emanates from an abstruse place where suburban drudgery gives way to a self-inflicted, existential crisis. The film's narrative is far from typical and its protagonist, Carol White (Moore), is painfully unextraordinary. She is the marginal housewife whose slight frame seems to wither beneath her giant shoulder pads. Carol is privileged yet disconnected from everything in her life—her husband, her friends, even her stepson." - Sal Cinquemani, Slant Magazine
Selected by Ray Carney, Ryan Gilbey, Charles Gant, Christine Molloy, David Filipi.
Withnail & I

Withnail & I

1987 / UK / 105m / Col / Comedy, Buddy Film
Richard E. Grant, Paul McGann, Richard Griffiths, Ralph Brown, Michael Elphick, Daragh O'Malley, Michael Wardle, Una Brandon-Jones, Noel Johnson, Irene Sutcliffe
"London. The 1960s. Two unemployed actors—acerbic, elegantly wasted Withnail (RGrant) and the anxiety-ridden “I” (McGann)—drown their frustrations in booze, pills, and lighter fluid. When Withnail’s Uncle Monty (Griffiths) offers his cottage, they escape the squalor of their flat for a week in the country. They soon realize they’ve gone on holiday by mistake when their wits—and friendship—are sorely tested by violent downpours, less than hospitable locals, and empty cupboards. An intelligent, superbly acted, and hilarious film." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Steven Galvin, Justin Kurzel, Andrew Birkin, Paul Tanter, Sacha Gervasi.
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Talk to Her

Talk to Her

Hable con ella (original title)

2002 / Spain / 112m / Col / Melodrama, Romantic Drama
Javier Camara, Dario Grandinetti, Leonor Watling, Rosario Flores, Mariola Fuentes, Geraldine Chaplin, Pina Bausch, Malou Airaudo, Roberto Alvarez, Elena Anaya
"Like all great doomed affairs, Talk to Her is full of lovely, sweet suffering. And when it's over, the realization of how much the movie means to you really sinks in; you can't get it out of your heart. Pedro Almodóvar has created a tragic comedy about need, its liberating and shackling powers. Movies haven't been so rapturous about characters plummeting to an awful end at least since the last Almodóvar film, All About My Mother (1999). But he doesn't mine the comic strip soap opera mystique so extravagantly here; everything falls into place with an almost surreal delicacy." - Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times
Selected by Paul Julian Smith, Youngmee Hwang, Dave Calhoun, Rob White, Shyamaprasad.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
Miracle in Milan

Miracle in Milan

Miracolo a Milano (original title)

1951 / Italy / 95m / BW / Fantasy Comedy, Satire
Francesco Golisano, Paolo Stoppa, Emma Gramatica, Guglielmo Barnabo, Brunello Bovo, Anna Carena, Alba Arnova, Flora Cambi, Virgilio Riento, Arturo Bragaglia
"Miracolo a Milano was greeted with sharp denunciation from critics on the Italian right, all of whom accused De Sica of Communist leanings. It was much more wholeheartedly received in the United States… It is a transitional film in De Sica's career, for with it he moved out of the mainstream of neorealism. It remains a charming salute to the hope and perseverance of the common man, enhanced by the consummate cinematography of G.R. Aldo, a melodious score by Alessandro Cicognini and the wholly believable and unprepossessing acting of a cast made up of professional and non-professional actors." - Ronald Bowers, Film Reference
Selected by Les Blank, Marco Ettore Zucchi, Martin Kanuch, Milos Forman, Ed Lachman.
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The Wedding March

The Wedding March

1928 / USA / 113m / BW / Drama, Melodrama
Erich von Stroheim, Fay Wray, Matthew Betz, ZaSu Pitts, George Fawcett, Maude George, George Nichols, Dale Fuller, Hughie Mack, Cesare Gravina
"Like Foolish Wives, Greed and Queen Kelly, The Wedding March survives as a mutilated masterpiece, even this first part having been cut from 14 reels to ll. Charting the ill-starred romance between a Viennese prince and a lowly commoner, the film would perhaps appear to be its cynical creator's most romantic work, were it not for the marvellously detailed portrait of the corruption of society in general, rich and poor. Nevertheless, it is the love scenes, played beneath shimmering apple blossoms in lyrical soft focus, that stick in the memory, ironically turning what is now the film's ending - the frustration of that love - into one of the director's most bitterly pessimistic scenes." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Jean Narboni, Bernard Eisenschitz, Peter von Bagh, Stefan Grissemann, Richard Koszarski.
Tale of Tales

Tale of Tales

Skazka skazok (original title)

1979 / USSR / 29m / Col / Avant-garde-Experimental, Animation
Aleksandr Kalyagin
"It’s as if Norshteyn sat with these images all his life, drawing them with such lucidity and palpable depth of feeling, that they make even the untold hours of ingenuity and laborious craft behind Pixar films feel relatively disposable. It summons a concept of the fermented image: a vision that has stayed with a person for as long as they’ve been breathing, and perhaps beyond that, like the wolf that lurks throughout the film, a folkloric figure as old as Russian blood. It’s a vision that nurtures, like the suckling breast that satiates the infant who sees the wolf just as its eyes pull into sleep." - Kevin B. Lee, Shooting Down Pictures
Selected by Peter Hames, Pietro Marcello, Alexei Popogrebsky, Carolina López Caballero, Clare Kitson.
Winter Light

Winter Light

Nattvardsgästerna (original title)

1962 / Sweden / 80m / BW / Psychological Drama, Religious Drama
Ingrid Thulin, Gunnar Bjornstrand, Max von Sydow, Gunnel Lindblom, Allan Edwall, Kolbjorn Knudsen, Olof Thunberg, Elsa Ebbesen, Lars-Olof Andersson, Eddie Axberg
"God, why did you desert me?” With Winter Light, master craftsman Ingmar Bergman explores the search for redemption in a meaningless existence. In this stark depiction of spiritual crisis, small-town pastor Tomas Ericsson (Björnstrand) performs his duties mechanically before a dwindling congregation. When he is asked to assist with a troubled parishioner’s (von Sydow) debilitating fear of nuclear annihilation, Tomas is terrified to find that he can provide nothing but his own uncertainty. Beautifully photographed by Sven Nykvist, Winter Light is an unsettling look at the human craving for personal validation in a world seemingly abandoned by God." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Fernando Mendez-Leite, Robert Beeson, Jan Holmberg, David Cox, Catharine Des Forges.
Mon oncle

Mon oncle

My Uncle (English title)

1958 / France / 126m / Col / Satire, Domestic Comedy
Jacques Tati, Jean-Pierre Zola, Adrienne Servantie, Alain Bercourt, Yvonne Arnaud, Lucien Fregis, Betty Schneider, Dominique Marie, J.F. Martial, Andre Dino
"Mon oncle marks Tati's second go-round as the bumbling, pipe-smoking Monsieur Hulot. This time out the character navigates a changing, increasingly modernized suburban landscape, which is at tremendous odds with his quaintly old-world upbringing. It's not a critique so much as a generous, all-encompassing compare-contrast: Tati never uses comedy to thumb his nose, but to uncover the humanity lurking within his rigorously composed frames. The end of Mon Oncle—in which Hulot's relatives send him off to find a full-time, "respectable" job—segues beautifully into Tati's next effort, the astonishing Play Time (1967)." - Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York
Selected by Aki Kaurismäki, Anton Corbijn, Iulia Blaga, Terry Jones, David Lynch.
The Cranes Are Flying

The Cranes Are Flying

Letyat zhuravli (original title)

1957 / USSR / 94m / BW / Melodrama, Romantic Drama
Tatyana Samojlova, Aleksei Batalov, Vasili Merkuryev, Aleksandr Shvorin, Svetlana Kharitonova, Konstantin Nikitin, Valentin Zubkov, Antonina Bogdanova, Boris Kovovkin, Yekaterina Kupriyanova
"Veronica and Boris are blissfully in love, until the eruption of World War II tears them apart. Boris is sent to the front lines…and then communication stops. Meanwhile, Veronica tries to ward off spiritual numbness while Boris’s draft-dodging cousin makes increasingly forceful overtures. Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 1958 Cannes Film Festival, The Cranes Are Flying is a superbly crafted drama, bolstered by stunning cinematography and impassioned performances." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Gerald Peary, Roger Michell, Xavier Dolan, Alexander Zeldovich, Alexei Popogrebsky.
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1965 / UK / 105m / BW / Thriller, Psychological Thriller
Catherine Deneuve, Yvonne Furneaux, John Fraser, Ian Hendry, Patrick Wymark, Valerie Taylor, Helen Fraser, Renee Houston, James Villiers, Hugh Futcher
"Roman Polanski followed up his international breakthrough Knife in the Water with this controversial, chilling tale of psychosis. Catherine Deneuve is Carol, a fragile, frigid young beauty cracking up in her London flat when left alone by her vacationing sister. She is soon haunted by specters real and imagined, and her insanity grows to a violent, hysterical pitch. Thanks to its disturbing detail and Polanski’s adeptness at turning claustrophobic space into an emotional minefield, Repulsion is a surreal, mind-bending odyssey into personal horror, and it remains one of cinema’s most shocking psychological thrillers." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Bruce Robinson, Billy Chainsaw, Donald Clarke, Mar Diestro-Dopido, Hubert Cornfield.
India Song

India Song

1975 / France / 120m / Col / Avant-garde-Experimental, Psychological Drama
Delphine Seyrig, Michel Lonsdale, Mathieu Carriere, Claude Mann, Vernon Dobtcheff, Didier Flamand, Claude Juan, Satasinh Manila, Nicole Hiss, Monique Simonet
"India Song is radical in both form and content. Like Alain Resnais's L'année dernière à Marienbad, Duras's film offers an ambiguity of narrative—a type of enigma which paradoxically calls for a reading and yet makes any reading tentative. The film asks, who is Anne-Marie Stretter, the protagonist? What is her relation to men? To India? Or to a beggar woman whose destiny somehow parallels her own? In answering these questions or, more precisely, in eluding any definitive answer, the film expresses some important feminist perspectives while making innovations in film narrative." - Rodney Farnsworth, Film Reference
Selected by Drake Stutesman, Henk Camping, Lourdes Monterrubio, Maja Bogojevic, Paul Buck.
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Steamboat Bill Jr.

Steamboat Bill, Jr.

1928 / USA / 71m / BW / Adventure Comedy, Slapstick
Buster Keaton, Ernest Torrence, Marion Byron, Tom McGuire, Tom Lewis, Joe Keaton
"A marvellous comedy set in a lazy riverside town in the Deep South, with Buster as the foppish, city-educated boy who returns home to prove a grave disappointment to his father… Hilarious, of course, with both delicately observed jokes and energetically athletic stuntwork coursing through the movie. But what really delights is the detailed depiction of small town life, plus Keaton's comic awareness of his own persona; a sequence in which he and his father are buying a hat to replace his wimpy beret is a model of film comedy, played, remarkably, direct to camera." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Gregg Araki, Pere Portabella, Agnès Devictor, Peter Scarlet, Andrei Gorzo.
Hoop Dreams

Hoop Dreams

1994 / USA / 170m / Col / Sports, Documentary
William Gates, Arthur Agee, Emma Gates, Curtis Gates, Sheila Agee, Arthur 'Bo' Agee, Earl Smith, Gene Pingatore, Dennis Doyle, Isiah Thomas
"The dream of inner-city black kids to make it in the NBA has become such a familiar motif in movies that it's almost a cliche. But Hoop Dreams is a documentary that breathes new life into the subject by showing the everyday reality of that dream. Hoop Dreams is a massive work that traces five years in the lives of two young men, William Gates and Arthur Agee, possible NBA prospects, who start off as 14-year-olds playing basketball in a school yard. Though the movie clocks in at just under three hours, it is -- aside from an occasional slow spot -- fascinating and exciting." - Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
Selected by Ally Derks, Tim Grierson, Calum Marsh, Gabriel Shanks, Spike Lee.
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2011 / Denmark-Sweden-France-Germany / 136m / Col / Science Fiction, Psychological Sci-Fi
Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Alexander Skarsgard, Brady Corbet, Cameron Spurr, Charlotte Rampling, Jesper Christensen, John Hurt, Stellan Skarsgard, Udo Kier
"A mysterious planet heads straight for earth, threatening to destroy all human life. The same premise has animated numerous sci-fi adventures, but this elegant drama by Danish writer-director Lars von Trier (Dogville, Antichrist) applies it to more philosophical ends. Von Trier came up with the idea after his shrink pointed out to him that depressed people often react more calmly to a crisis than happy ones, because they already understand that life is nasty, brutish, and short… Apocalyptic visions are nothing new in cinema, but they're almost always epic in scale; Von Trier's innovation is to peer down the large end of the telescope, observing the end of the world in painfully intimate terms. " - J.R. Jones, Chicago Reader
Selected by Nigel Andrews, Stig Bjorkman, Angelina Nikonova, Jytte Jensen, David Sorfa.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
Yellow Earth

Yellow Earth

Huang tu di (original title)

1984 / China / 89m / Col / Family Drama, Rural Drama
Bai Xue, Xueyin Wang, Tuo Tan, Quiang Liu
"The first 'modern' film to emerge from China, and one of the most thrilling debut features of the '80s. Its storyline couldn't be simpler. A Communist soldier visits a backward village in 1939, and is billeted with a taciturn widower and his teenage daughter and son… There are political undercurrents here that got the film into trouble in China… But what really stirred things up in old Beijing was the film's insistence on going its own way. Chen Kaige and his cinematographer Zhang Yimou have invented a new language of colours, shadows, glances, spaces, and unspoken thoughts and implications; and they've made their new language sing." - Tony Rayns, Time Out
Selected by Jia Zhangke, Sek Kei, Sean Cubitt, Anchalee Chaiworaporn, Li Cheuk-to.


1961 / France / 90m / BW / Drama, Romance
Anouk Aimee, Marc Michel, Jacques Harden, Elina Labourdette, Alan Scott, Margo Lion, Annie Duperoux, Catherine Lutz, Corinne Marchand, Yvette Anziani
"Soft and evanescent, lyrical but bittersweet, Jacques Demy's first film is like a dream that one enters -- and then recalls for years afterward with absolute pleasure. Filmed in 1961, Lola is an ode to yearning and enchantment -- a valentine to France, to beautiful women, to the foolish but delicious notions of romance that we receive from Hollywood. Anouk Aimee is heavenly as Lola, a dance-hall girl in the port city of Nantes (Demy's hometown). Part phantom and part voluptuary, Lola is the kind of woman who wants "always to be alluring," who wiggles when she walks, who's fond of a drink, who likes to primp and smoke and speak in a breathy voice." - Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle
Selected by Armond White, David Stratton, Jonathan Romney, Isabelle Stever, John Flaus.
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Flowers of Shanghai

Hai shang hua (original title)

1998 / Taiwan / 130m / Col / Romantic Drama, Period Film
Shuan Fang, Michiko Hada, Annie Shizuka Inoh, Jack Kao, Carina Lau, Tony Leung, Rebecca Pan, Michele Reis, Vicky Wei
"The world of Flowers of Shanghai, Hou Hsiao-hsien's rapturously claustrophobic, hypnotic, and soporific new movie, might be hell; there is no outside, no night or day, and the people are all witty, well-dressed, and awful. It's like 120 Days of Sodom without the sodomy, a Merchant Ivory film as conceived by Samuel Beckett… With Shanghai, his first genuine period picture, Hou has refined realism into the ultimate artifice, has demonstrated that the elusive bloom of love that persists in all his bleak melodramas is inevitably crushed by our elaborate means of possessing it." - Peter Keough, Boston Phoenix
Selected by John Powers, Manohla Dargis, Florence Almozini, Justin Chang, Nathan Lee.
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Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump

1994 / USA / 142m / Col / Comedy Drama, Americana
Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Sally Field, Mykelti Williamson, Rebecca Williams, Michael Humphreys, Harold Herthum, George Kelly, Bob Penny
"Forrest Gump is a movie heart-breaker of oddball wit and startling grace… Taking a cue from Zelig, director Robert Zemeckis places Forrest (Hanks) in a vivid historical context — he talks with JFK, LBJ and Nixon, among other luminaries. The effects dazzle, though never at the expense of the story… Zemeckis doesn't fall into the trap of using Forrest as an ad for arrested development. He knows the limits of a holy fool who can't understand the hypocrisy of postwar America that this picaresque epic so powerfully reveals. The peace-love pretensions of the '60s are skewered as neatly as the greed decades that follow." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Selected by Frank Marshall, Jan Svěrák, José Padilha, Jurgis Krasons, Hubert Cornfield.
The Flowers of St. Francis

The Flowers of St. Francis

Francesco, giullare di Dio (original title); Francis, God's Jester (alternative title)

1950 / Italy / 83m / BW / Religious Drama, Biography
Aldo Fabrizi, Brother Nazario Gerardi, Arabella Lemaitre, Gianfranco Bellini, Pino Locchi, Peparuolo, Fra' Severino Pisacane, Roberto Sorrentino
"In a series of simple and joyous vignettes, director Roberto Rossellini and co-writer Federico Fellini lovingly convey the universal teachings of the People’s Saint: humility, compassion, faith, and sacrifice. Gorgeously photographed to evoke the medieval paintings of Saint Francis’s time, and cast with monks from the Nocera Inferiore Monastery, The Flowers of St. Francis is a timeless and moving portrait of the search for spiritual enlightenment." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Ramin Bahrani, Manohla Dargis, Dan Callahan, Andrew Tracy, Matías Piñeiro.
Grey Gardens

Grey Gardens

1975 / USA / 95m / Col / Culture & Society, Documentary
Edith Bouvier Beale, Edith 'Little Edie' Bouvier Beale, Jerry Torre, Jack Helmuth, Brooks Hyers, Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Norman Vincent Peale, Lois Wright
"Arguably the most complex and controversial work in the storied career of cinema verite pioneers Albert and David Maysles is this intimate study of Edith Bouvier and “Little” Edie Beale, two relatives of Jackie Kennedy Onassis secluded in a dilapidated estate in the Hamptons… The film is a masterpiece of editing, weaving over a hundred hours of footage to create a world that is hermetically sealed... The surreal outcome – perhaps inevitable given the subjects’ remove from reality – further conflates the film’s status as both documentary and fiction." - Kevin B. Lee, Shooting Down Pictures
Selected by Carol Morley, Petra Seliskar, Sandra Hebron, Havana Marking, Amy Nicholson.
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Point Blank

Point Blank

1967 / USA / 92m / Col / Crime, Thriller
Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, Keenan Wynn, Carroll O'Connor, Lloyd Bochner, Michael Strong, John Vernon, Sharon Acker, James B. Sikking, Sandra Warner
"Point Blank has gradually become regarded as one of the seminal films of late 1960s American cinema. It was made at the peak of Lee Marvin’s booming stardom, and is the first of British director John Boorman’s films to survey his common preoccupation with a character (or often set of characters) let loose in an environment – modern or primeval – they can barely comprehend and plainly don’t belong to. It is, in the best sense of the term, a haunted, dream-like film that draws upon the spatial and temporal experiments of modernist European art cinema, most particularly the work of Alain Resnais." - Adrian Danks, Senses of Cinema
Selected by Park Chan-wook, Andrew Haigh, Geoff Dyer, Robert Haller, Neil Young.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Wo hu cang long (original title)

2000 / Taiwan-Hong Kong-USA-China / 120m / Col / Martial Arts, Romantic Adventure
Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi, Chen Chang, Sihung Lung, Pei-pei Cheng, Fazeng Li, Xian Gao, Yan Hai, Deming Wang
"During the final scene in the work of daredevil cinematic artistry that is Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, a major character makes a leap of faith by diving off a mountain into thin air. My advice is that you approach this heartfelt fable with the same outlook and let director Ang Lee be your wings. Here is the kind of filmmaking magic that we've been missing for ages. Lee, the Taiwanese master who made his reputation in America with Sense and Sensibility and The Ice Storm, uses breathless storytelling, ravishing romance and martial-arts miracles to sweep us into adventures beyond our imagining. It's great, gorgeous fun." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Selected by Carrie Rickey, Jeon Chanil, Nandini Ramnath, Tobias Kniebe, Brian Hu.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
Land Without Bread

Land Without Bread

Las Hurdes (original title)

1932 / Spain / 28m / BW / Culture & Society, Documentary
Abel Jacquin
"Buñuel had long displayed a love/hate relationship with his native Spain, and his bitterness rarely flowed with greater force than in Las Hurdes. While the Spanish valley of Las Hurdes Bajas is green and beautiful, the mountainous region of Las Hurdes Altas is mired in economic and cultural poverty. As captured on film by Buñuel, Las Hurdes Altas is a land of flinty soil where few if any crops will grow… While it was Buñuel's sole documentary, Las Hurdes is thematically consistent with his other films; its fascination with insects, unblinking look at human cruelty, subtle but clear disgust with the Catholic Church, and moments of jet-black humor mark it as the work of Spain's greatest surrealist filmmaker." - Mark Deming, Allmovie
Selected by Álvaro Arroba, Antonio Delgado, Bill Nichols, Lola Hinojosa, Nico Baumbach.
The Silence

The Silence

Tystnaden (original title)

1963 / Sweden / 96m / BW / Psychological Drama, Family Drama
Ingrid Thulin, Gunnel Lindblom, Jorgen Lindstrom, Birger Malmsten, Hakan Jahnberg
"Two sisters—the sickly, intellectual Ester (Thulin) and the sensual, pragmatic Anna (Lindblom)—travel by train with Anna’s young son Johan (Lindstrom) to a foreign country seemingly on the brink of war. Attempting to cope with their alien surroundings, the sisters resort to their personal vices while vying for Johan’s affection, and in so doing sabotage any hope for a future together. Regarded as one of the most sexually provocative films of its day, Ingmar Bergman’s The Silence offers a brilliant, disturbing vision of emotional isolation in a suffocating spiritual void." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Ulrich Seidl, Götz Spielmann, Jean-Stephane Sauvaire, José Luis Rebordinos, Lenny Abrahamson.
The Sound of Music

The Sound of Music

1965 / USA / 174m / Col / Musical, Drama
Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker, Richard Haydn, Peggy Wood, Charmian Carr, Heather Menzies, Nicholas Hammond, Duane Chase, Angela Cartwright
"It's hard to tune into The Sound of Music these days without being deafened by the noises off; that caterwauling chorus of adoration, ridicule, reverence and contempt that has dogged the film since its release back in 1965. But check your cynicism at the door: Robert Wise's adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical still has a little soul in its bones, with its reactionary nature tempered by Ernest Lehman's supple screenplay, and its elephantine running-time eased by a set of songs that lodge in your system like hookworms." - Xan Brooks, The Guardian
Selected by Adam McKay, Peter Whitehead, Jane Giles, Ole Bornedal, Slavoj Zizek.
Two-Lane Blacktop

Two-Lane Blacktop

1971 / USA / 101m / Col / Drama, Road Movie
James Taylor, Warren Oates, Laurie Bird, Dennis Wilson, David Drake, Richard Ruth, Rudy Wurlitzer, Jaclyn Hellman, Bill Keller, Harry Dean Stanton
"Drag racing east from Los Angeles in a souped-up ’55 Chevy are the wayward Driver and Mechanic (singer-songwriter James Taylor and the Beach Boys’ Dennis Wilson)… Along the way, they meet Warren Oates’s Pontiac GTO–driving wanderer and challenge him to a cross-country race… But no summary can do justice to the existential punch of Two-Lane Blacktop. With its gorgeous widescreen compositions and sophisticated look at American male obsession, this stripped-down narrative from maverick director Monte Hellman is one of the artistic high points of 1970s cinema, and possibly the greatest road movie ever made." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Nicole Brenez, Vic Pratt, Marcelo Alderete, Rolando Caputo, Regina Schlagnitweit.
The Lady from Shanghai

The Lady from Shanghai

1948 / USA / 87m / BW / Film Noir, Romantic Mystery
Orson Welles, Rita Hayworth, Everett Sloane, Glenn Anders, Ted De Corsia, Erskine Sanford, Gus Schilling, Carl Frank, Lou Merrill, Evelyn Ellis
"Don't attempt to follow the plot because Welles simply doesn't care enough to make the narrative seamless. Indeed, the principal pleasure of The Lady from Shanghai is its tongue-in-cheek approach to story-telling… One intriguing reading of the movie is that it's a commentary on Welles' marriage to Hayworth - the impossibility of the 'boy genius' maintaining a relationship with a mature woman - and the scene in the hall of mirrors, where the temptress' face is endlessly reflected back at him, stands as a brilliant expressionist metaphor for sexual unease and its accompanying loss of identity. Complex, courageous, and utterly compelling." - Martyn Auty, Time Out
Selected by Greg Mottola, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, Akira Tochigi, Mark Sinker, Martha P. Nochimson.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
Top Hat

Top Hat

1935 / USA / 99m / BW / Musical Romance, Romantic Comedy
Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edward Everett Horton, Helen Broderick, Erik Rhodes, Eric Blore, Lucille Ball, Leonard Mudie, Donald Meek, Florence Roberts
"The third Astaire-Rogers movie and one of the best, with a superlative Irving Berlin score, and equally superlative Hermes Pan routines which spark a distinct sexual electricity between the pair. Oddly enough, the film is almost slavishly patterned on The Gay Divorcee, with the scene again shifting from London to a resort (Venice in this case), the plot again turning on mistaken identity, and the comedy again reliant on Horton, Blore and Rhodes. The reason you don't really notice this - with Top Hat readily springing to mind as the archetypal Fred'n'Ginger movie - is the booster given by Van Nest Polglase's stunning white Art Deco designs, which were to set the tone for the series." - Tom Milne, Time Out
Selected by Margarethe von Trotta, Andrzej Zulawski, Joshua Clover, Martha P. Nochimson, Catherine A. Surowiec.
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1993 / UK / 126m / Col / Urban Drama, Social Problem Film
David Thewlis, Lesley Sharp, Katrin Cartlidge, Greg Cruttwell, Claire Skinner, Peter Wight, Elizabeth Berrington, Ewen Bremner, Deborah MacLaren, Carolina Giametto
"The brilliant and controversial Naked, from director Mike Leigh, stars David Thewlis as Johnny, a charming and eloquent but relentlessly vicious drifter. Rejecting anyone who might care for him, the volcanic Johnny hurls himself around London on a nocturnal odyssey, colliding with a succession of other desperate and dispossessed people and scorching everyone in his path. With a virtuoso script and raw performances from Thewlis and costars Katrin Cartlidge and Lesley Sharp, Leigh’s depiction of England’s underbelly is an amalgam of black comedy and doomsday prophecy that took the best director and best actor prizes at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Sean Baker, Pavel Bednarik, Leonard Quart, Marian Crisan, Wesley Morris.
Toy Story

Toy Story

1995 / USA / 80m / Col / Fantasy Comedy, Animation
Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Jim Varney, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Annie Potts, John Morris, Erik von Detten, R. Lee Ermey
"Seeing Toy Story, I felt some of the same exhilaration I felt during Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Both movies take apart the universe of cinematic visuals, and put it back together again, allowing us to see in a new way. Toy Story is not as inventive in its plotting or as clever in its wit as Rabbit or such Disney animated films as Beauty and the Beast… Its best pleasures are for the eyes. But what pleasures they are! Watching the film, I felt I was in at the dawn of a new era of movie animation, which draws on the best of cartoons and reality, creating a world somewhere in between, where space not only bends but snaps, crackles and pops." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Brad Bird, Tim J. Smith, Paul Wells, Lisa Mullen, Jane Lamacraft.


1940 / USA / 88m / Col / Children's Fantasy, Animated Musical
Dickie Jones, Christian Rub, Cliff Edwards, Mel Blanc, Don Brodie, Walter Catlett, Marion Darlington, Frankie Darro, Charles Judels, Evelyn Venable
"Pinocchio is a parable for children, and generations have grown up remembering the words "Let your conscience be your guide" and "A lie keeps growing and growing until it's as plain as the nose on your face." The power of the film is generated, I think, because it is really about something. It isn't just a concocted fable or a silly fairy tale, but a narrative with deep archetypal reverberations… Later Disney films would have comparable skill, but not the excitement of discovery. Is it possible to sense, through thousands of individual drawings by dozens of different artists, a collective creative epiphany? I think so." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Jaime Chávarri, Arturo Ripstein, Joe Dante, Gary Thomas, Peter Machen.
The Terminator

The Terminator

1984 / USA / 108m / Col / Science Fiction, Action
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, Linda Hamilton, Paul Winfield, Lance Henriksen, Rick Rossovich, Bess Motta, Earl Boen, Dick Miller, Shawn Schepps
"Is it only incidental that James Cameron's greatest film is also his only work to clock in at under two hours? His subsequent films have proven consistently entertaining and frequently excellent, but the lightning of his debut—a content-to-be-small B movie that nevertheless feels epic in scope and emotion—has yet to strike twice. The Terminator remains as intelligent and emotionally complex as any film of its kind (among sci-fi action noir, only Blade Runner is superior), and the reductive lens of pop culture—to say nothing of intellectual film snobs ignorant to genre pleasures—can't extinguish its mythic humanist power." - Rob Humanick, Slant Magazine
Selected by Kathryn Bigelow, Ben Wheatley, Ferenc Zalaba, Gareth Edwards, Mark Jancovich.
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Punch-Drunk Love

Punch-Drunk Love

2002 / USA / 95m / Col / Comedy Drama, Romantic Comedy
Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, Luis Guzman, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Lisa Spector, Julie Hermelin, Karen Hermelin, Hazel Mailloux, Nicole Gelbard
"What do you call Punch-Drunk Love? It's not a musical, because no one sings or dances. But it has the surreal delirium of the great movie musicals. The alternately percussive and swooning music by the brilliant Jon Brion underlines each of its moods in turn—anger, longing, and ecstasy. At its heart the story is boy-meets-girl simple, but the movie is so full of lurches and discordances and flabbergasting non sequiturs that at times it's like an avant-garde dance-theater piece with injections of Saturday Night Live. I imagine that many will find it arch, and, on a narrative level, as bumptiously withholding as its protagonist. I found it exquisite." - David Edelstein, Slate
Selected by Miranda July, Lee Unkrich, Constantin Popescu, Joko Anwar, Neil Young.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.


Muriel ou Le temps d'un retour (original title); Muriel, or The Time of Return (alternative title)

1963 / France-Italy / 115m / Col / Drama, Psychological Drama
Delphine Seyrig, Jean-Pierre Kerien, Nita Klein, Jean-Baptiste Thierree, Claude Sainval, Laurence Badie, Jean Champion, Jean Daste, Martine Vatel, Philippe Laudenbach
"Alain Resnais' 1963 film surpasses his better-known Last Year at Marienbad and Hiroshima, mon amour in terms of intricacy of construction and sensitivity to shades of memory and regret. Delphine Seyrig is a widow living in the provinces with her troubled stepson (Thierree), a veteran of the Algerian war who can't escape the memory of a young girl he tortured and killed. When Seyrig's former lover (Kerien) turns up with his new mistress, Seyrig, too, is plunged into an obsession with the past. A subtle, precise, and wrenching film, shot largely without recourse to the stylistic flourishes that made Resnais' reputation." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by James Quandt, Richard Combs, Anja Kirschner, David Panos, Fritz Göttler.
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Mad Max 2

Mad Max 2

The Road Warrior (alternative title)

1981 / Australia / 94m / Col / Action, Science Fiction
Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Vernon Wells, Emil Minty, Mike Preston, Kjell Nilsson, Virginia Hey, Syd Heylen, Moira Claux, David Slingsby
"George Miller's 1981 sequel to his 1980 sleeper, Mad Max. Set in a postapocalyptic Australia, where nomadic tribes battle each other for precious gasoline, it's a highly stylized, roaringly dynamic action film that shuns plot and characterization in favor of a crazy iconographical melange—it's like the work of a western punk trucker de Sade… For pure rhythm and visual panache, Miller has few real competitors; the climactic chase, with its deft variation of tempo and point of view, is a minor masterpiece." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Michael Koller, Sean Baker, Zack Snyder, Guillermo del Toro, Robert Rodriguez.
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The Elephant Man

The Elephant Man

1980 / USA / 125m / BW / Biography, Medical Drama
John Hurt, Anthony Hopkins, Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller, Freddie Jones, Michael Elphick, Hannah Gordon, Helen Ryan, John Standing
"More accessible than Lynch's enigmatically disturbing Eraserhead, The Elephant Man has much the same limpidly moving humanism as Truffaut's L'Enfant Sauvage in describing how the unfortunate John Merrick (Hurt), brutalised by a childhood in which he was hideously abused as an inhuman freak, was gradually coaxed into revealing a soul of such delicacy and refinement that he became a lion of Victorian society… A marvellous movie, shot in stunning black-and-white by Freddie Francis." - Tom Milne, Time Out
Selected by Danny Boyle, Isamu Hirabayashi, Maja Bogojevic, Goran Gocic, Neil Young.
Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors

Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors

Tini zabutykh predkiv (original title)

1964 / USSR / 97m / Col / Drama, Period Film
Ivan Mikolajchuk, Larisa Kadochnikova, Tatyana Bestayeva, Spartak Bagashvili, Nikolai Grinko, Leonid Yengibarov, Nina Alisova, Aleksandr Gaj, Neonila Gnepovskaya, A. Raydanov
"Sergei Paradjanov's masterpiece won a raft of awards at international film festivals. Yet it was scarcely seen in his homeland, as much through studio hostility as official disapproval… However, Paradjanov's sole purpose was to challenge conventional methods of screen storytelling and redefine the audience's relationship to the moving image. Thus, he deconstructed the very processes of narration and representation, so that every frame confounded the viewer's expectation and forced them to reappraise both the action itself and their approach to spectatorship… Pure genius." - David Parkinson, Empire
Selected by Peter Strickland, Amit Dutta, Andriy Khalpakhchi, Bauyrzhan Nogerbek, Masoud Amralla Al Ali.
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Early Summer

Early Summer

Bakushû (original title)

1951 / Japan / 135m / BW / Drama, Family Drama
Setsuko Hara, Chishu Ryu, Chikage Awashima, Kuniko Miyake, Ichiro Sugai, Chieko Higashiyama, Haruko Sugimura, Kuniko Ikawa, Kan Nihonyanagi, Shuji Sano
"Yasujiro Ozu's signature low angle camera strikes a delicate, harmonious balance in Early Summer, and echoes the dichotomy of contemporary Japan: tradition versus modernization, selfishness versus altruism, respect for elders versus independence. Compassionate and characteristically reserved, Ozu chronicles the disintegration of the traditional extended family as an accepted process of life, and the film evolves with a sense of appropriate inevitability. The contrast between the elders, usually contemplative and at leisure, and the younger generations - the overworked Koichi and the impatient children (with literal one track minds) - reflect the various stages of life." - Acquarello, Strictly Film School
Selected by Hong Sang-soo, Ira Sachs, Albert Serra, David Sterritt, Fábio Andrade.
Monty Python's Life of Brian

Monty Python's Life of Brian

Life of Brian (alternative title)

1979 / UK / 93m / Col / Parody/Spoof, Religious Comedy
Terry Jones, Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Carol Cleveland, Kenneth Colley, Gwen Taylor, Terence Bayler
"From the opening sequence, in which Brian is born in a manger next door to Joseph and Mary's, to the classic closing musical number of "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life," sung by a chorus of crucified criminals, Life of Brian leaves no piety unscathed. And it's the apotheosis of Pythonesque humor, an absurdist grab bag of the non sequiturs, puns and bawdy Britishisms that endeared the comedy troupe to the generation of Americans who came of age during the run of "Monty Python's Flying Circus" on TV in the 1970s… The movie still holds up beautifully, as both pointed satire and silly, stakes-free comedy." - Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
Selected by Andrew Kotting, Bence Fliegauf, Karen Oughton, Nancy Savoca, Michel Chion.
Triumph of the Will

Triumph of the Will

Triumph des Willens (original title)

1935 / Germany / 110m / BW / Propaganda Film, Documentary
Adolf Hitler, Max Amann, Martin Bormann, Walter Buch, Walter Darre, Otto Dietrich, Sepp Dietrich, Hans Frank, Josef Goebbels, Hermann Goring
"Triumph of the Will is one of the greatest examples of film propaganda ever made. Commissioned by Hitler, Leni Riefenstahl recorded the 1934 Nuremberg National Socialist Party rally, transforming it through innovative editing, montage, and lighting into a frighteningly impressive work of indoctrination… Its influence on post-war cinema has been long-lasting, and the contemporary advertising industry uses many of the techniques used to such great effect in the film to capture the minds and thoughts of the audience: the repetition of motifs, montage, and a use of emotive and stirring music to manipulate the audience." - A. Pillai, Film Reference
Selected by Amir Emary, Amos Poe, Richard Sowada, Dusan Makavejev, Denys Arcand.


1940 / USA / 120m / Col / Animated Musical, Children's Fantasy
Deems Taylor, Leopold Stokowski, The Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra, Walt Disney, Julietta Novis, James MacDonald, Paul J. Smith
"While it may not have been popular in its day, Fantasia has endured, transporting generations of pen and ink patrons into an unheard of realm of imagination and invention. From the abstractions of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor to the ostrich/hippo/alligator ballet dancers of Ponchielli’s Dance of the Hours, Disney’s flare for illustrative finery mixed with conductor Leopold Stokowski’s sumptuous soundscapes is a true masterpiece… It’s a work that actually stretches beyond the limits of description to become something unique and timeless.” - Bill Gibron, PopMatters
Selected by Ken Russell, Marco Dutra, Nicolas Barbano, Nicoletta Romeo, Fritz Göttler.
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1953 / USA / 118m / Col / Western, Psychological Western
Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin, Brandon de Wilde, Jack Palance, Ben Johnson, Edgar Buchanan, Elisha Cook Jr., Emile Meyer, John Dierkes
"The plot of Shane is a masterpiece of simplicity… Shane tries to encapsulate the cultural ethos of the Western. Rather than avoiding the clichés, platitudes and stereotypes of the genre, Shane pursues and embraces them. With the exception of a saloon girl and an Indian attack, all of the ingredients of the typical Western are present: the wide open spaces, the ranchers feuding with the farmers, the homesteading family trying to build a life, the rival gunman, the absence of law… Embodying as it does the look and feel of the Western, Shane becomes an essential rarity; it not only preserves but honors our belief in our heritage." - Stephen E. Bowles, Film Reference
Selected by José Mojica Marins, John Ewing, Patrick Russell, Tony Macklin, Charles Burnett.
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The Wind

The Wind

1928 / USA / 88m / BW / Drama, Psychological Drama
Lillian Gish, Lars Hanson, Montagu Love, Dorothy Cumming, Edward Earle, William Orlamond, Leon Janney, Carmencita Johnson, Billy Kent Schaefer
"One of cinema's great masterpieces… Swedish emigré Sjöström directs with immaculate attention to psychological detail, while making perfectly credible the film's transition from low-key, naturalistic comedy of manners to full-blown hysterical melodrama. Filmed under extremely difficult conditions on location in the Mojave desert, its climactic sandstorm sequence has to be seen to be believed, although the entire film - erotic, beautiful, astonishing - demonstrates such imagination and assurance that it remains completely modern." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Paolo Mereghetti, Tata Amaral, Núria Bou, Jesús Piquero, Frank Kessler.
Strangers on a Train

Strangers on a Train

1951 / USA / 101m / BW / Psychological Thriller, Crime Thriller
Farley Granger, Robert Walker, Ruth Roman, Leo G. Carroll, Patricia Hitchcock, Laura Elliott, Marion Lorne, Howard St. John, Jonathan Hale, John Brown
"Strangers on a Train is subversively ghoulish even by director Alfred Hitchcock's standards. The film, taken from an early novel by Patricia Highsmith, has an irresistibly pragmatic hook: Two men, both of whom are tormented by respective intimate persons they wish to off, will trade murders so as to properly prepare much-needed alibis… Strangers on a Train is also simply a great thriller, yet another illustration of Hitchcock's awe-inspiring ability to convey more with a single image than most directors can with minutes upon minutes of belabored set pieces." - Chuck Bowen, Slant Magazine
Selected by Whit Stillman, Mike Newell, Pen-Ek Ratanaruang, Albert Maysles, Jonathan Lynn.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
Short Cuts

Short Cuts

1993 / USA / 189m / Col / Ensemble Film, Urban Drama
Tim Robbins, Lily Tomlin, Tom Waits, Matthew Modine, Frances McDormand, Andie MacDowell, Annie Ross, Jack Lemmon, Madeleine Stowe, Peter Gallagher
"The visions of two great American artists merge in Short Cuts, maverick director Robert Altman’s kaleidoscopic adaptation of Raymond Carver short stories. Epic in scale yet meticulously observed, the film interweaves the lives of twenty-two characters struggling to find solace and meaning in contemporary Los Angeles. The extraordinary ensemble cast includes Tim Robbins, Julianne Moore, Robert Downey, Jr., Jack Lemmon, and Jennifer Jason Leigh; all giving fearless performances in one of Altman’s most compassionate creations." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Destin Daniel Cretton, Beat Glur, Klaus Kreimeier, Mani Haghighi, Matthew Leyland.
Dersu Uzala

Dersu Uzala

1975 / USSR-Japan / 144m / Col / Drama, Adventure Drama
Maksim Munzuk, Yuri Solomin, Mikhail Bychkov, Suimenkul Chokmorov, Svetlana Danilchenko, Dmitri Korshikov, Vladimir Kremena, Aleksandr Pyatkov, B. Khorulev, Sovetbek Dzhumadylov
"Given the expanse of the Siberian wilderness as his cinematic canvas, Akira Kurosawa responds with the visually hypnotic, deeply affecting portrait of nature, friendship, and survival in Dersu Uzala… Kurosawa transcends the confines of traditional cinema with the startling imagery and camerawork of Dersu Uzala… To define Dersu Uzala as a story about an aboriginal tribesman is to describe humanity through a two-dimensional photograph. Dersu Uzala is an allegory for the environmental toll of civilization, a testament to a profound, enduring friendship, and a heartbreaking portrait of aging and obsolescence." - Acquarello, Strictly Film School
Selected by Rolf De Heer, Karl Markovics, Masoud Amralla Al Ali, Mingchuam Huang, Robert Gardner.
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Some Came Running

Some Came Running

1958 / USA / 136m / Col / Drama, Americana
Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Shirley MacLaine, Martha Hyer, Arthur Kennedy, Nancy Gates, Leora Dana, Betty Lou Keim, Larry Gates, Steven Peck
"Vincente Minnelli turns the James Jones novel into one of his finest and most garish melodramas, with Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Shirley MacLaine struggling to stay alive in the hopelessly small town of Madison, Indiana. Minnelli has said that he based his visual style on the inside of a jukebox, and the film is a sort of neon epiphany. The final sequence, set at a carnival, remains an object lesson in the expressive use of CinemaScope." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Chris Fujiwara, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, Roberto Manassero, Richard Linklater, Carlo Chatrian.
A Nos Amours

À nos amours

To Our Loves (English title)

1983 / France / 102m / Col / Drama, Coming-of-Age
Sandrine Bonnaire, Dominique Besnehard, Maurice Pialat, Evelyne Ker, Anne-Sophie Maille, Maite Maille, Christophe Odent, Pierre-Loup Rajot, Cyr Boitard, Cyril Collard
"With his raw style of filmmaking, Maurice Pialat has been called the John Cassavetes of French cinema, and the scorching À nos amours is one of his greatest achievements. In a revelatory film debut, the dynamic, fresh-faced Sandrine Bonnaire plays Suzanne, a fifteen-year-old Parisian who embarks on a sexual rampage in an effort to separate herself from her overbearing, beloved father (played with astonishing magnetism by Pialat himself), ineffectual mother, and brutish brother. A tender character study that can erupt in startling violence, À nos amours is one of the high-water marks of eighties French cinema." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Molly Haskell, Ira Sachs, Nick Pinkerton, Michel Lipkes, Matthew Flanagan.
Chronicle of a Summer

Chronicle of a Summer

Chronique d'un été (original title)

1961 / France / 85m / BW / Culture & Society, Documentary
Marceline Loridan Ivens, Marilu Parolini, Jean Rouch, Angelo, Régis Debray, Jacques, Jean-Pierre, Landry, Edgar Morin, Sophie
"A joint effort by French ethnographer-filmmaker Jean Rouch and French sociologist Edgar Morin (The Stars) yielded this remarkable 1961 documentary investigation into what Parisians — regarded as a “strange tribe” — were thinking and feeling during the summer of 1960. This was when the war in Algeria was still a hot issue, although many other topics are discussed as well, private as well as public. At first, everyone is asked, simply, “Are you happy?” More generally, the film catches the shifting emotional tenor of a few lives over a certain period." - Jonathan Rosenbaum
Selected by Charles Musser, Eric Kohn, Martin Brady, Raqs Media Collective, Xie Meng.
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2003 / USA / 81m / Col / Drama, Ensemble Film
Alex Frost, Eric Deulen, John Robinson, Elias McConnell, Jordan Taylor, Carrie Finklea, Nicole George, Timothy Bottoms, Matt Malloy, Larry Laverty
"Elephant is a poetic disaster film that audaciously addresses the subject of American high school shootings. It was inspired by the 1999 Columbine massacre but incorporates details from other incidents, treating the material with a combination of bold aestheticism and documentary whimsy. Expertly shot by Harris Savides in the boxy 1.33:1 standard TV aspect ratio, the spectacle is designed for maximum glide—a film of long traveling shots over complex sound bridges. Less staged than unfurled, the narrative is essentially anecdotal. Characters are introduced as they hobnob in their school's cafeteria or pass through its sterile corridors." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Cui Zi'en, Emily Richardson, Janez Burger, Stig Bjorkman, Wang Xiaoshuai.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser

The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser

Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle (original title); Every Man for Himself and God Against All (alternative title)

1974 / West Germany / 110m / Col / Psychological Drama, Biography
Bruno S., Walter Ladengast, Brigitte Mira, Herbert Achternbusch, Wolfgang Bauer, Wilhelm Bayer, Gloria Doer, Willy Semmelrogge, Volker Prechtel, Enno Patalas
"The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser is a poignant, visually exquisite allegory of how civilization breeds despair. Based on a true story similar to the case in François Truffaut's The Wild Child (1970), Herzog's rendering of isolated, preverbal foundling Kaspar Hauser's release into the world as an adult reveals the perverse effects of "rational" thought and culture on natural, soulful innocence… Along with Herzog's odd angles and compositions, former mental patient Bruno S.'s ethereal, evocatively affectless performance as Kaspar makes him both endearing and strange, emphasizing his impossible place in 19th century society." - Lucia Bozzola, All Movie
Selected by Dieter Kosslick, Goran Gocic, Julian Jarrold, Lenny Abrahamson, Michael Dudok de Wit.
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Zhantai (original title)

2000 / China-Hong Kong-Japan-France / 154m / Col / Comedy Drama, Ensemble Film
Hong Wei Wang, Tao Zhao, Jing Dong Liang, Tian Yi Yang, Bo Wang, Sanming Han
"Fenyang in Shanxi Province, Jia's hometown and already the setting for Xiao Wu, provides the anchor for an epic account of the changes in China's pop culture in the 1980s, as seen across the lives of four friends. In 1979 all four are members of a state-run variety troupe, presenting Maoist propaganda shows to passive audiences in the sticks. By the mid-1980s, when state support is withdrawn and the troupe tries to reform as a private enterprise, everything is different... Jia uses large-scale vignettes, filmed in sequence shots, to chart ten years of far-reaching social changes and their psychological repercussions. A masterly achievement." - Tony Rayns, Time Out
Selected by Dennis Lim, Gavin Smith, Andréa Picard, Kaushik Bhaumik, Kim Dong-Ho.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
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A Night at the Opera

A Night at the Opera

1935 / USA / 92m / BW / Anarchic Comedy, Farce
Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Kitty Carlisle, Allan Jones, Margaret Dumont, Sig Ruman, Walter Woolf King, Edward Keane, Robert Emmett O'Connor
"The Marx Brothers at the turning point, just before their gradual descent into mediocrity at the hands of MGM, who wanted their comedy to be rationed and rationalised. It's a top budget job, opulent and meticulous, with its fair share of vices: this is the first Marx Brothers film where you really feel like strangling the romantic leads. But it has even more virtues: there's no Zeppo, the script's generally great (Kaufman and Ryskind), Dumont's completely great, and the Brothers get to perform some of their most irresistible routines - the stateroom scene and all." - Geoff Brown, Time Out
Selected by Ken Russell, Aaron Katz, Isabelle Stever, Jack Lechner, Daniel Sánchez Arévalo.
The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption

1994 / USA / 142m / Col / Drama, Prison Film
Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler, Clancy Brown, Gil Bellows, Mark Rolston, James Whitmore, Jeffrey DeMunn, Larry Brandenburg
"Darabont's adaptation of a Stephen King novella is a throwback to the kind of serious, literate drama Hollywood used to make (Birdman of Alcatraz, say), though the big spiritual resolution takes some swallowing… Against this weighs the pleasure of discovering a first-time director with evident respect for the intelligence of his audience, brave enough to let character details accumulate without recourse to the fast-forward button. Darabont plays the long game and wins: this is an engrossing, superbly acted yarn, while the Shawshank itself is a truly formidable mausoleum." - Tom Charity, Time Out
Selected by Li Shaohong, Christopher Nolan, Cameron Crowe, Karen Oughton, Zach Braff.
Easy Rider

Easy Rider

1969 / USA / 94m / Col / Road Movie, Biker Film
Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Antonio Mendoza, Phil Spector, Jack Nicholson, Warren Finnerty, Mac Mashourian, Tita Colorado, Luke Askew, Luana Anders
"As Billy and “Captain America,” Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda motored down the highway on their Harley Davidsons to the roaring strains of Steppenwolf’s “Born to Be Wild,” the definitive counterculture blockbuster was born. Former clean-cut teen star Hopper’s down-and-dirty directorial debut, Easy Rider heralded the arrival of a new voice in film, one pitched angrily against the mainstream. After Easy Rider’s cross-country journey—with its radical, New Wave–style editing, outsider-rock soundtrack, revelatory performance by a young Jack Nicholson, and explosive ending—the American road trip would never be the same." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Jan Sverák, Mario Van Peebles, Roger Donaldson, Kaushik Bhaumik, Luciano Barisone.
Day for Night

Day for Night

La Nuit américaine (original title)

1973 / France / 120m / Col / Comedy Drama, Showbiz Drama
Jacqueline Bisset, Valentina Cortese, Jean-Pierre Aumont, Francois Truffaut, Jean-Pierre Leaud, Dani, Alexandra Stewart, Jean Champion, Nathalie Baye, Bernard Menez
"Set in Nice's Victorine Studios, where it was filmed, Day for Night is a touching, funny and accurate account of the travails (accidents, disputes, affairs, imbroglios, death) involved in the making of an all-star international picture called Je vous présente Paméla. It is a Pirandellian affair, an elegiac celebration of a dying kind of cinema, a meditation on the connection between film and life by Truffaut, who plays Ferrand, the film's constantly troubled yet dedicated director, a man much like himself." - Philip French, The Observer
Selected by Dávid Klág, Mohamed Khan, Roger Michell, Alan Rudolph, Michael Dwyer.
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The Wanton Countess (USA title)

1954 / Italy / 115m / Col / Melodrama, Romantic Drama
Alida Valli, Farley Granger, Massimo Girotti, Heinz Moog, Rina Morelli, Marcella Mariani, Christian Marquand, Tonio Selwart, Sergio Fantoni, Cristoforo De Hartungen
"This lush, Technicolor tragic romance from Luchino Visconti stars Alida Valli as a nineteenth-century Italian countess who, during the Austrian occupation of her country, puts her marriage and political principles on the line by engaging in a torrid affair with a dashing Austrian lieutenant, played by Farley Granger. Gilded with ornate costumes and sets and a rich classical soundtrack, and featuring fearless performances, this operatic melodrama is an extraordinary evocation of reckless emotions and deranged lust, from one of the cinema’s great sensualists." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Nenad Polimac, Richard Dyer, Pedro Almodóvar, Mario Vargas Llosa, Peter Cowie.
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1977 / Italy / 92m / Col / Horror, Gothic Film
Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Flavio Bucci, Miguel Bose, Barbara Magnolfi, Susanna Javicoli, Rudolf Schundler, Udo Kier, Alida Valli, Joan Bennett
"As distinctive in its painterly colors as Val Lewton's horror films were in their expressive swaths of black and white, Suspiria serves up a gorehound's feast of explicit mayhem. But never has gratuitous bloodletting seemed so ornately beautiful… Argento's vibrant color scheme leaps off the screen like a '50s Technicolor musical, with sets and lighting design that fill the Cinemascope frame with bold reds, greens, yellows, and blues… Long admired in cult circles, Suspiria stands as one of the most visually striking horror films ever made, and the high watermark of a first-rate splatter stylist." - Scott Tobias, A.V. Club
Selected by Neil Young, Jasper Sharp, Virginie Sélavy, Simon Ward, Yudai Yamaguchi.
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1952 / USA / 145m / BW / Comedy Drama, Melodrama
Charles Chaplin, Claire Bloom, Sydney Chaplin, Andre Eglevsky, Melissa Hayden, Nigel Bruce, Buster Keaton, Norman Lloyd, Charles Chaplin Jr., Wheeler Dryden
"Chaplin's final film before his exile in Europe is far and away his most personal: he recreates the London of his boyhood (a world of abject poverty, alcoholism, seedy tenement dwellings, pubs and music halls), and contemplates with supreme narcissism the onset of old age and the decline of his comic instinct. It's also Chaplin's least funny film: tears outweigh titters by several kilos… It's over-long, shapeless, overblown, and... a masterpiece. Few cinema artists have delved into their own lives and emotions with such ruthlessness and with such moving results." - Geoff Brown, Time Out
Selected by José Luis Guerín, Báron György, Jos Oliver, Gilbert Adair, Shu Kei.
La Region centrale

La Région centrale

1971 / Canada / 180m / Col / Avant-garde-Experimental, Drama
"One of the classics of conceptual filmmaking, Michael Snow's three-hour film is a landscape study with a vengeance: a camera, equipped with a remote-controlled zooming and panning device, was set up in a remote area in northern Canada, and made to go through every possible permutation of camera angle and focal length as it probed the surrounding wilderness. The resulting footage finds a strange beauty in the constant tension between the mechanical, mathematically determined operations of the camera and the chance transformations of the landscape as it's raked by the light of the passing day." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Tom Gunning, Michelangelo Frammartino, Peter Rist, Andréa Picard, José Luis Torres Leiva.
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The Wind Will Carry Us

The Wind Will Carry Us

Bad ma ra khahad bord (original title)

1999 / France-Iran / 118m / Col / Drama, Rural Drama
Behzad Dourani, Farzad Sohrabi, Shahpour Ghobadi, Noghre Asadi, Roushan Karam Elmi, Bahman Ghobadi, Reihan Heidari, Masood Mansouri, Ali Reza Naderi, Masoameh Salimi
"The Wind Will Carry Us... is oblique, evocative and visually stunning. Abbas Kiarostami's views of hillsides, valleys and gnarled, solitary trees seem almost otherworldly in their clarity and depth, and his story, about a morose engineer who has come to a remote Kurdish village on an enigmatic mission, is as simple and mysterious as a folk tale. This is one of those rare movies that completely absorb your attention and demand your concentration while you're watching, and that stay in your thoughts, growing richer and more powerful, for a long time afterward." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Scott Foundas, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Geoff Andrew, Rima Mismar, Richard Peña.
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The Scarlet Empress

The Scarlet Empress

1934 / USA / 110m / BW / Historical Film, Period Film
Marlene Dietrich, John Lodge, Louise Dresser, Sam Jaffe, C. Aubrey Smith, Gavin Gordon, Maria Sieber, Ruthelma Stevens, Olive Tell, Jameson Thomas
"Filmmaker-svengali Josef von Sternberg escalates his obsession with screen legend Marlene Dietrich in this lavish depiction of sex and deceit in the eighteenth-century Russian court. A self-proclaimed “relentless excursion into style,” the pair’s sixth collaboration follows the exploits of Princess Sophia (Dietrich) as she evolves from trembling innocent to cunning sexual libertine Catherine the Great. With operatic melodrama, flamboyant visuals, and a cast of thousands, this ornate spectacle represents the apex of cinematic pageantry by Hollywood’s master of artifice" - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Tony Rayns, Barry Salt, Sara Driver, Jean-Louis Leutrat, Todd McCarthy.
Gimme Shelter

Gimme Shelter

1970 / USA / 91m / Col / Music, Documentary
Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts, Keith Richards, Mick Taylor, Bill Wyman, Marty Balin, Sonny Barger, Melvin Belli, Dick Carter, Jack Casady
"Called the greatest rock film ever made, this landmark documentary follows the Rolling Stones on their notorious 1969 U.S. tour. When three hundred thousand members of the Love Generation collided with a few dozen Hells Angels at San Francisco’s Altamont Speedway, Direct Cinema pioneers David and Albert Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin were there to immortalize on film the bloody slash that transformed a decade’s dreams into disillusionment." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Derek Cianfrance, José Padilha, John Cameron Mitchell, Todd Phillips, Ally Derks.
Alexander Nevsky

Alexander Nevsky

Aleksandr Nevskiy (original title)

1938 / USSR / 107m / BW / Historical Epic, Biography
Nikolai Cherkasov, Nikolai Okhlopkov, Andrei Abrikosov, Dmitri Orlov, Vasili Novikov, Nicolai Arsky, Varvara Massalitinova, Vera Ivashova, Aleksandra Danilova, Vladimir Yershov
"Eisenstein drew on history, Russian folk narratives, and the techniques of Walt Disney to create this broadly painted epic of Russian resilience. This story of Teutonic knights vanquished by Prince Alexander Nevsky’s tactical brilliance resonated deeply with a Soviet Union concerned with the rise of Nazi Germany. Widely imitated—most notably by Laurence Olivier’s Battle of Agincourt re-creation for Henry V—the Battle on the Ice scene remains one of the most famous audio-visual experiments in film history, perfectly blending action with the rousing score of Sergei Prokofiev."- The Criterion Collection
Selected by Béla Tarr, Mariano Llinás, Gary Indiana, Martin Tudor Caranfil, Charles Burnett.
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The White Ribbon

The White Ribbon

Das Weisse Band - Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte (original title)

2009 / Germany-Austria-France-Italy / 144m / BW / Drama, Period Film
Christian Friedel, Ernst Jacobi, Leonie Benesch, Ulrich Tukur, Ursina Lardi, Fion Mutert, Michael Kranz, Burghart Klaubner, Steffi Kuhnert, Maria-Victoria Dragus
"Michael Haneke’s period political epic tells the lacerating saga of collective brutality and guilt in a northern-German village two decades before Hitler came to power… The film is both draining and enthralling, sternly minimalist and beautifully filmed (in black and white). Working with the skill of an autopsy surgeon, Haneke depicts a town where the adults’ passions have soured into prejudices, yet children are so desperate to please their parents, they often burst into tears. The White Ribbon is as epic as any Tolkien or Rowling movie adaptation, but it’s also an epic tragedy: of the monstrous evil that corrupts and destroys ordinary folks." - Richard Corliss, TIME
Selected by Mike Newell, Lone Scherfig, Sabine Niewalda, Paul Whitington, Nachman Ingber.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
The Innocents

The Innocents

1961 / UK / 100m / BW / Horror, Supernatural Thriller
Deborah Kerr, Martin Stephens, Pamela Franklin, Michael Redgrave, Peter Wyngarde, Megs Jenkins, Clytie Jessop, Isla Cameron, Eric Woodburn
"is it the finest, smartest, most visually savvy horror film ever made by a big studio? Deborah Kerr is the sexually straitjacketed governess subject to either the ghastly duplicity of her dead-eyed charges (Martin Stephens and Pamela Franklin) or the threatening ghosts of the estate's previous servants—or both—and it might be the most unforgettable performance by a British actress in its decade. Clayton's filmmaking, mustering frisson by both candle and blazing daylight, could serve as an object lesson in its genre. Only Robert Wise's The Haunting, out two years later, came close to its edge-of-sight menace, repressed gothic angst, and all-suggestion creep-outs." - Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice
Selected by Clio Barnard, Juan Antonio Bayona, Ben Hopkins, Christopher Fowler, Mark Pilkington.
Hour of the Wolf

Hour of the Wolf

Vargtimmen (original title)

1968 / Sweden / 88m / BW / Gothic Film, Psychological Drama
Max von Sydow, Liv Ullmann, Erland Josephson, Gertrud Fridh, Georg Rydeberg, Naima Wifstrand, Ulf Johansson, Gudrun Brost, Bertil Anderberg, Ingrid Thulin
"A brilliant Gothic fantasy about an artist who has disappeared, leaving only a diary; and through that diary we move into flashback to observe a classic case history of the Bergman hero haunted by darkness, demons and the creatures of his imagination until he is destroyed by them. The tentacular growth of this obsession is handled with typical virtuosity in a dazzling flow of surrealism, expressionism and full-blooded Gothic horror… In its exploration of the nature of creativity, haunted by the problem of whether the artist possesses or is possessed by his demons, Hour of the Wolf serves as a remarkable companion-piece to Persona." - Tom Milne, Time Out
Selected by Abel Ferrara, Joseph Cedar, Nigel Andrews, Anocha Suwichakornpong, Evans Chan.
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Pasted Graphic

Quince Tree of the Sun

El Sol del membrillo (original title); Dream of Light (alternative title)

1992 / Spain / 133m / Col / Drama, Documentary
Antonio Lopez Garcia, Marina Moreno, Enrique Gran, Maria Lopez, Carmen Lopez, Elisa Ruiz, Jose Carretero, Amalia Aria, Lucia Munoz, Esperanza Parada
"Erice follows Antonio López García, considered by many to be Spain's greatest living painter, in his daily attempts to render the quince tree in his backyard as it appears in autumn's midday sun. By dwelling on the details, Erice makes Garcia's painstaking preparations surprisingly compelling, observing the artist as he surrounds the small tree with an elaborate web of strings and weights to keep his perspective fixed… What begins as a detailed, dramatic look at the artistic process slowly broadens its scope, as Garcia discards one attempt after another, chats with old friends and admiring visitors, and copes with inclement weather." - Keith Phipps, A.V. Club
Selected by Jaime Pena, Jorge García, José Luis Torres Leiva, Koen van Daele, Manuel Asín.
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The Awful Truth

The Awful Truth

1937 / USA / 92m / BW / Romantic Comedy, Screwball Comedy
Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Ralph Bellamy, Alex D'Arcy, Cecil Cunningham, Molly Lamont, Esther Dale, Joyce Compton, Robert Allen, Robert Warwick
"Leo McCarey's largely improvised 1937 film is one of the funniest of the screwball comedies, and also one of the most serious at heart. Cary Grant and Irene Dunne are a pair of world-weary socialites who decide to drop the pretense of their wide-open marriage, but fate and Ralph Bellamy draw them together again. The awful truth is that they need each other, and McCarey, with his profound faith in monogamy, leads them gradually and hilariously to that crucial discovery. The issues deepen in a subtle, natural way: the film begins as a trifle and ends as something beautiful and affirmative. A classic." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Peter Bogdanovich, Molly Haskell, Whit Stillman, Jean-Philippe Tessé, Philippa Hawker.
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Fight Club

Fight Club

1999 / USA-Germany / 139m / Col / Satire, Psychological Drama
Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter, Meat Loaf, Jared Leto, Zach Grenier, Eion Bailey, Ezra Buzzington, Richmond Arquette, Joel Bissonnette
"The sardonic, testosterone-fueled science fiction of Fight Club touches a raw nerve. In a film as strange and single-mindedly conceived as Eyes Wide Shut, Fincher's angry, diffidently witty ideas about contemporary manhood unfold. As based on a novel by Chuck Palahniuk (and deftly written by Jim Uhls), it builds a huge, phantasmagorical structure around the search for lost masculine authority, and attempts to psychoanalyze an entire society in the process… This film twists and turns in ways that only add up fully on the way out of the theater and might just require another viewing." - Janet Maslin, The New York Times
Selected by Alejandro Amenábar, Dana Linssen, Pawel Pawlikowski, José Padilha, Duncan Jones.


Shadow Warrior (alternative title)

1980 / Japan / 159m / Col / Historical Epic, Samurai Film
Tatsuya Nakadai, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Kenichi Hagiwara, Jinpachi Nezu, Shuji Otaki, Daisuke Ryu, Masayuki Yui, Kaori Momoi, Mitsuko Baisho, Hideo Murota
"When a warlord dies, a peasant thief is called upon to impersonate him, and then finds himself haunted by the warlord’s spirit as well as his own ambitions. In his late, color masterpiece Kagemusha, Akira Kurosawa returns to the samurai film and to a primary theme of his career—the play between illusion and reality. Sumptuously reconstructing the splendor of feudal Japan and the pageantry of war, Kurosawa creates a historical epic that is also a meditation on the nature of power." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Carlos Saura, David Robinson, Evans Chan, Josué Méndez, Oliver Schmitz.
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The Death of Mr. Lazarescu

The Death of Mr. Lazarescu

Moartea domnului Lazarescu (original title)

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

The Turin Horse

A Torinói ló (original title)

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

The Cameraman

1928 / USA / 69m / BW / Slapstick, Romantic Comedy
Buster Keaton, Marceline Day, Harry Gribbon, Harold Goodwin, Sidney Bracey, Edward Brophy, Richard Alexander, Ray Cooke, Vernon Dent, William Irving
"Buster Keaton's 1928 film on the problems and principles of making movies. Directed by Edward Sedgwick, the film follows the adventures of Keaton as he tries to become a cameraman for the Hearst newsreel company, and it includes some of the best asides on the techniques and psychology of shooting films ever captured in a movie. In many ways it summarizes Keaton's career and makes a marvelous companion piece to his other film-about-film, Sherlock Jr." - Don Druker, Chicago Reader
Selected by Paolo Mereghetti, Fernando Trueba, Mariano Llinás, Clare Stewart, Isaki Lacuesta.
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Terra em Transe

Terra em Transe

Land in Anguish (English title); Entranced Earth (alternative title)

1967 / Brazil / 106m / BW / Drama, Political Drama
Jardel Filho, Paulo Autran, Jose Lewgoy, Glauce Rocha, Paulo Gracindo, Hugo Carvana, Danuza Leao, Jofre Soares, Modesto De Souza, Mario Lago
"Terra em Transe, an explosive study of art and politics in the third world, is Glauber Rocha’s most personal film as well as his most brilliant contribution to political cinema… Terra em Transe is a provocative, aggressive, intentionally difficult film, an advanced lesson in reading political and cinematographic significations. It consistently violates our expectations; it withholds spectacle when the story demands it, and denies romance where plot conventions would require it. Even its orgies are anti-erotic. Where we expect sharp political definition, the film gives us poetic, imagistic freedom." - Robert Stamm, Jump Cut
Selected by Bruno Barreto, Violet Lucca, Richard Porton, José Carlos Avellar, Tiago Mata Machado.
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The Long Goodbye

The Long Goodbye

1973 / USA / 112m / Col / Mystery, Post-Noir (Modern Noir)
Elliott Gould, Nina Van Pallandt, Sterling Hayden, Mark Rydell, Henry Gibson, David Arkin, Jim Bouton, Warren Berlinger, Jo Ann Brody, Arnold Schwarzenegger
"Robert Altman's 1973 neo-noir was a minor hit upon its initial release, but it's never made it into the pantheon with Nashville and McCabe & Mrs. Miller, despite being (at least) their equal. Elliot Gould is brilliantly cast against type as Philip Marlowe, a sleepy caricature of Chandler's hard-boiled private eye… Altman uses the detective genre as a tool to investigate itself, which in this case means peeling back the layers of artifice from a Los Angeles where even security guards do Barbara Stanwyck impressions… The result is a reinvention of the genre that has rarely been matched (Miller's Crossing is neck-and-neck) and never been surpassed." - Sam Adams, Philadelphia City Paper
Selected by Yorgos Lanthimos, Guy Maddin, Nick Roddick, Andrew Lampert, Andrew Pulver.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
Scenes from a Marriage

Scenes from a Marriage

Scener ur ett äktenskap (original title)

1973 / Sweden / 168m / Col / Drama, Marriage Drama
Liv Ullmann, Erland Josephson, Bibi Andersson, Jan Malmsjo, Gunnel Lindblom, Anita Wall, Barbro Hiort af Ornas, Lena Bergman, Wenche Foss, Rosanna Mariano
"Though edited down (under Bergman's supervision) from a six-part series originally made for TV, this remains an exhaustive study of the doubt, despair, confusion and loneliness experienced by a woman (Ullmann) when she learns that her fickle husband (Josephson) is having an affair. Bergman, as in Face to Face, is here at his most stylistically stark: very little actually happens (much of the film consists of conversations in rooms), so that it's left to the performers (all superb, and mostly framed by Sven Nykvist in revealing close-ups) to bring the litany of pain to life. And they do, with the result that the film is an uncompromisingly harrowing and honest account of male-female relationships." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Sarah Polley, Asghar Farhadi, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Neil LaBute, Dave Calhoun.
Marketa Lazarova

Marketa Lazarová

1967 / Czechoslovakia / 162m / BW / Epic, Historical Film
Josef Kemr, Magda Vasaryova, Nada Hejna, Jaroslav Moucka, Frantisek Velecky, Karel Vasicek, Ivan Paluch, Martin Mrazek, Vaclev Sloup, Pavla Polaskova
"An epic medieval meditation, filmed at some length from a purportedly unfilmable novel by Vladislav Vancura. Acting out the intrigue, suspicion and bloodlust of 13th century tribal rivalry, the plot, such as it is, is wilfully wayward and often close to impenetrable. As 'pure cinema', though, it's stark, daring and often astoundingly dynamic. Black and white 'Scope camerawork surveys a cruel, desolate landscape of plains, castles and forests populated by scavenging strays, strugglers, tyrants and wolf-men, while an eerily evocative sound design gives the picture a near hallucinatory quality." - Nick Bradshaw, Time Out
Selected by Agnieszka Holland, Garin Nugroho, Peter Hames, Hans-Michael Bock, Karel Och.


1982 / West Germany / 157m / Col / Adventure Drama, Jungle Film
Klaus Kinski, Claudia Cardinale, Jose Lewgoy, Miguel Angel Fuentes, Paul Hittscher, Huerequeque Bohorquez, Grande Otelo, Peter Berling, David Perez Espinosa, Milton Nascimento
"Werner Herzog's most ambitious film divides audiences between those who laud its astonishing portrait of obsession and its insightful commentary on the absurdity of ambition and those who complain that it is a sterile, loud, boring journey to nowhere. There is, however, no denying the visual and technical magnificence of Herzog's achievement, as the jungle scenes have a palpable sense of authenticity, and those poor natives really DID haul that boat over a mountain. - Dan Jardine, All Movie
Selected by Baz Luhrmann, Elizabeth Wood, Kleber Mendonça Filho, Mauro Andrizzi, Massimo Causo.
Barren Lives

Barren Lives

Vidas Secas (original title)

1963 / Brazil / 103m / BW / Drama, Rural Drama
Atila Iorio, Maria Ribeiro, Orlando Macedo, Jofre Soares, Gilvan Lima, Genivaldo Lima
"If the main aim of Brazil’s Cinema Nôvo movement was the decolonization of the medium, then its two main firebrands, Glauber Rocha and Nelson Pereira dos Santos, could be viewed respectively as its bedeviled bulldozer and its humanist architect… Widely considered a landmark of the nation's cinema, Santos's Vidas Secas is no less radical a cultural examination than Rocha's Black God, White Devil the following year, yet where Rocha gets Godard-medieval on the camera's ass, Santos keeps his lenses squarely focused on the barren lives of his characters, the gaze as concentrated as the sun blasting the arid expanses of Brazil's northeast." - Fernando F. Croce, Slant Magazine
Selected by Fernando Meirelles, Walter Salles, Carlos Reichenbach, Billy Woodberry, José Carlos Avellar.
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Masculin Feminin

Masculin Feminin

Masculin féminin: 15 faits précis (original title)

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

Army of Shadows

L'Armée des ombres (original title); Army in the Shadows (alternative title)

1969 / France-Italy / 140m / Col / Resistance Film, War Drama
Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse, Simone Signoret, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Claude Mann, Paul Crauchet, Christian Barbier, Serge Reggiani, Andre Dewavrin, Alain Dekok
"This masterpiece by Jean-Pierre Melville about the French Resistance went unreleased in the United States for thirty-seven years, until its triumphant theatrical debut in 2006. Atmospheric and gripping, Army of Shadows is Melville’s most personal film, featuring Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse, Jean-Pierre Cassel, and the incomparable Simone Signoret as intrepid underground fighters who must grapple with their conception of honor in their battle against Hitler’s regime." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Lawrence Kasdan, Adrian Danks, Andrew Pulver, Gary Indiana, Jamie Graham.


1957 / India / 146m / BW / Drama, Romance
Guru Dutt, Mala Sinha, Waheeda Rehman, Rehman, Johnny Walker, Kumkum, Leela Mishra, Shyam, Mehmood, Radheshyam
"Among the pantheon of great early Bollywood directors is the wonderful Guru Dutt, whose 1957 film Pyaasa marks a high point in pre-sixties era Hindi filmmaking… Pyaasa bridges the very best of the great classical era with the developing populism and themes which would define the more formulaic Bollywood films. In some ways, Dutt's film is as expressive and poetic as Ray's Aparajito (1957) or Parash Pathar (1958), and represents a sophisticated blend of music into the film's narrative (sung poems by the tortured protagonist) which today strike the viewer as inspired… This is a richly rewarding forgotten work from a director who died too young." - Richard Steiner, TCM
Selected by Nasreen Munni Kabir, Rachel Dwyer, Richard Corliss, Anurag Kashyap, Jos Oliver.


1986 / USA / 137m / Col / Horror, Sci-Fi Action
Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, William Hope, Jenette Goldstein, Al Matthews, Mark Rolston
"One sequel that surpasses the original. Director James Cameron dumps the decorative effects of Ridley Scott's 1979 Alien in favor of some daring narrative strategies and a tight thematic focus… At 137 minutes the film is a bit long, and Cameron does overplay his hand here and there, pushing things just a shade further than he should to maintain audience credibility. But unlike the original, the action is used to develop character, and the central image—the alien spores as a monstrous parody of human birth—finds an effective resonance in the plotline." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Joss Whedon, Jason Anderson, Ty Burr, Fung Ka Ming, Taika Waititi.
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A Taste of Cherry

Taste of Cherry

Ta'm e guilass (original title)

1997 / Iran / 99m / Col / Drama, Road Movie
Homayon Ershadi, Abdolrahman Bagheri, Afshin Khorshid Bakhtiari, Safar Ali Moradi, Mir Hossein Noori, Ahmad Ansari, Hamid Masoumi, Elham Emami, Ajmad Jahangiri, Nasrolah Amini
"There are plenty of miserablist films about suicide. Why does this one have such power? It is partly because Badii (Ershadi) never invites sympathy or compassion in any conventional way: watching Taste of Cherry I feel gripped; I feel scared, but I don't feel sad – or not exactly. And it is partly because of the implications of what he has in mind... The film has a remarkable austerity and starkness; watching it is like being waylaid by the Ancient Mariner, who grips you with a strange and terrible message in his tale. It is Kiarostami's greatest film." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Thomas Elsaesser, Darrell Roodt, Han Jie, Julie Rigg, Jytte Jensen.
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1970 / France-Spain / 98m / Col / Psychological Drama, Satire
Catherine Deneuve, Fernando Rey, Franco Nero, Lola Gaos, Antonio Casas, Jesus Fernandez, Vicente Solar, Jose Calvo, Fernando Cebrian, Candida Losada
"Luis Buñuel's 1970 masterwork, adapted from a novel by Benito Perez Galdos. Catherine Deneuve is a young woman unhappy with the constraints of turn-of-the-century Spanish society; her mild revolt is rewarded by an amputated leg. Buñuel conjures with Freudian imagery, outrageous humor, and a quiet, lyrical camera style to create one of his most complex and complete works, a film that continues to disturb and transfix." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Derek Malcolm, Albert Serra, June Givanni, Julio Pérez Perucha, Fernando Ganzo.
The House is Black

The House is Black

Khaneh siah ast (original title)

1963 / Iran / 20m / BW / Illnesses & Disabilities, Documentary
Forugh Farrokhzad, Ebrahim Golestan, Hossein Mansouri
"Forugh Farrokhzad's black-and-white documentary about a leper colony in northern Iran is the most powerful Iranian film I've seen. Farrokhzad (1935-67) is widely regarded as the greatest Persian poet of the 20th century; her only film seamlessly adapts the techniques of poetry to its framing, editing, sound, and narration. At once lyrical and extremely matter-of-fact, devoid of sentimentality or voyeurism yet profoundly humanist, the film offers a view of everyday life in the colony—people eating, various medical treatments, children at school and at play—that's spiritual, unflinching, and beautiful in ways that have no apparent Western counterparts." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Mark Cousins, John Gianvito, Dana Linssen, Kevin B. Lee, Laura Waddington.
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2003 / Denmark-Sweden-France-UK-Germany-Finland-Italy-Netherlands-Norway / 177m / Col / Drama, Avant-garde-Experimental
Nicole Kidman, Harriet Andersson, Lauren Bacall, Jean-Marc Barr, Paul Bettany, Blair Brown, James Caan, Ben Gazzara, Philip Baker Hall, Udo Kier
"Lars von Trier's Dogville gives us America on a soundstage and a Rocky Mountain township rendered in chalk marks on the floor. It is Von Trier's America and Von Trier's township, and this enraged some viewers who dismissed the film as a crude, blinkered diatribe from a man too timid (on account of his aversion to air travel) to actually visit the country for himself. And yes, Dogville is crude and arguably blinkered as well. But it is also electrifying, gripping and audacious: the work of a director at the peak of his powers." - Xan Brooks, The Guardian
Selected by Stephen Thrower, Goran Gocic, Audrius Stonys, Evgeny Gusyatinskiy, Isamu Hirabayashi.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
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Sedmikrasky (original title)

1966 / Czechoslovakia / 76m / Col-BW / Avant-garde-Experimental, Satire
Jitka Cerhova, Ivana Karbanova, Julius Albert, Marie Ceskova, Jan Klusak, Jirina Myskova, Marcela Brezinova, Dr. Oldrich Hora, Josef Konicek, Jaromir Vomacka
"The extraordinary 1966 film Daisies represents an exhilarating, lesser-known strain of the Czech New Wave. This radically mischievous work was the second feature of the wave’s sole female director, Vera Chytilova. In her visually arresting, capricious film — full of colorful experiments, dazzling collage effects and surrealist antics — two dangerously bored young women have anarchic fun in a series of loosely connected episodes." - Nicola Rapold, The New York Times
Selected by B. Ruby Rich, Agnieszka Holland, Claire Monk, Ariel Schweitzer, Hynek Pallas.
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Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Loong Boonmee raleuk chat (original title)

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

The Sorrow and the Pity

Le Chagrin et la pitié (original title)

1969 / France-Switzerland-Germany / 260m / BW / Military & War, Documentary
Georges Bidault, Matthaus Bleibinger, Charles Braun, Maurice Buckmaster, Emile Coulaudon, Emmanuel d'Astier de la Vigerie, Rene de Chambrun, Christian de la Maziere, Jacques Duclos, R. Du Jonchay
"The Nazi occupation of France lasted more than four years. Marcel Ophuls' landmark 1969 documentary boils it down to a more manageable 265 minutes - which still amounts to an awful lot of sorrow and a veritable ocean of pity. Strange to note, then, that the film is so boldly conceived, richly textured and beautifully paced that its marathon running time feels more like a sprint… Employing a seamless blend of contemporary interviews, newsreel footage and propaganda films, it paints an engrossing portrait of a cowed and compromised nation, presided over by the Blimpish Marshal Pétain and serenaded by the honeyed tones of Maurice Chevalier." - Xan Brooks, The Guardian
Selected by Jorge García, Laura Waddington, Karen Cooper, Kristy Matheson, Margaret Deriaz.
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Heaven's Gate

Heaven's Gate

1980 / USA / 219m / Col / Epic Western, Revisionist Western
Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken, John Hurt, Sam Waterston, Brad Dourif, Isabelle Huppert, Joseph Cotten, Jeff Bridges, Geoffrey Lewis, Ronnie Hawkins
"A breathtaking depiction of the promise and perils of America’s western expansion, Heaven’s Gate, directed by Michael Cimino, is among Hollywood’s most ambitious and unorthodox epics. Kris Kristofferson brings his weathered sensuality to the role of a Harvard graduate who relocates to Wyoming as a federal marshal; there, he learns of a government-sanctioned plot by cattle barons to kill the area’s European settlers for their land. The resulting battle is based on the bloody real-life Johnson County War of 1892… Heaven’s Gate is a savage and ravishingly shot take on western movie lore." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Tetsuya Nakashima, Mark Romanek, Roberto Manassero, Kim Young-Jin, Antonio Campos.
Five Easy Pieces

Five Easy Pieces

1970 / USA / 98m / Col / Drama, Road Movie
Jack Nicholson, Karen Black, Lois Smith, Billy Green Bush, Susan Anspach, Helena Kallianiotes, William Challee, Fannie Flagg, Sally Struthers, Marlena MacGuire
"Following Jack Nicholson’s breakout supporting turn in Easy Rider, director Bob Rafelson devised a powerful leading role for the new star in the searing character study Five Easy Pieces. Nicholson plays the now iconic cad Bobby Dupea, a shiftless thirtysomething oil rigger and former piano prodigy immune to any sense of romantic or familial responsibility, who returns to his childhood home to see his ailing, estranged father, blue-collar girlfriend (Black) in tow. Moving in its simplicity and gritty in its textures, Five Easy Pieces is a lasting example of early 1970s American alienation." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Andrew Haigh, Angelina Nikonova, Bálint Szalóky, Ben Gibson, Mirsad Purivatra.
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Raise the Red Lantern

Raise the Red Lantern

Da hong deng long gao gao gua (original title)

1991 / Hong Kong / 125m / Col / Period Film, Marriage Drama
Gong Li, Ma Jingwu, He Caifei, Cao Cuifeng, Jin Shuyuan, Kong Lin, Ding Weimin, Cui Zhihgang, Chu Xiao, Cao Zhengyin
"Raise the Red Lantern, a magnificent film that confirms Zhang as a world-class director… The setting is northern China in the Twenties. The teenage Songlian (Gong Li) marries the fiftyish Chen (Ma Jingwu), a rich and ruthless man who already has three wives. Each night, servants raise a red lantern in front of the door of the wife whom the master decides to reward with his sexual favors. The struggle among the wives for power, or at least the appearance of it, allows Zhang to suggest disturbing links between past and present. Gong Li delivers a performance of exquisite expressiveness that, like the film itself, is unnerving in its emotional nakedness." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Selected by Girish Kasaravalli, Jerry Schatzberg, Keren Yedaya, Khalo Matabane, Richard Woolley.
Opening Night

Opening Night

1977 / USA / 144m / Col / Ensemble Film, Showbiz Drama
Gena Rowlands, Ben Gazzara, John Cassavetes, Joan Blondell, Paul Stewart, Zohra Lampert, Laura Johnson, John Tuell, Ray Powers, John Finnegan
"For all of John Cassavetes's concern with acting, this 1977 film is the only one of his features that takes it on as a subject; it also boasts his most impressive cast. During the New Haven tryouts for a new play, an aging star (Rowlands), already distressed that she's playing a woman older than herself, is traumatized further by the accidental death of an adoring teenage fan (Johnson)… Juggling onstage and offstage action, Cassavetes makes this a fascinating look at some of the internal mechanisms and conflicts that create theatrical fiction, and his wonderful cast never lets him down." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Mike Figgis, Shion Sono, Dāvis Sīmanis, Dmitry Martov, Ik-June Yang.
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To Have and Have Not

To Have and Have Not

1944 / USA / 100m / BW / Drama, Romance
Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Walter Brennan, Dolores Moran, Hoagy Carmichael, Dan Seymour, Marcel Dalio, Walter Molnar, Sheldon Leonard, Walter Sande
"An unassuming masterpiece, nominally based on Hemingway's novel and set in Martinique during World War II, this is Hawks' toughest statement of the necessity of accepting responsibility for others or forfeiting one's self-respect - the sum total of morality for Hawks - and the perfect bridge from the free and open world of Only Angels Have Wings to the claustrophobic one of Rio Bravo… Bogie and Bacall fell in love while making the film, and their scenes reflect this, giving To Have and Have Not a degree of emotional presence that is unusual in the 'bite on the bullet' world of Hawks." - Phil Hardy, Time Out
Selected by Kim Newman, Todd McCarthy, Peter Bogdanovich, Péter Muszatics, Tobias Kniebe.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.


1982 / USA / 87m / Col / Essay Film, Documentary
"An unconventional work in every way, Godfrey Reggio’s Koyaanisqatsi was nevertheless a sensation when it was released in 1983. This first work of The Qatsi Trilogy wordlessly surveys the rapidly changing environments of the Northern Hemisphere, in an astonishing collage created by the director, cinematographer Ron Fricke, and composer Philip Glass. It shuttles viewers from one jaw-dropping vision to the next, moving from images of untouched nature to others depicting human beings’ increasing dependence on technology Koyaanisqatsi’s heterodox methods (including hypnotic time-lapse photography) make it a look at our world from a truly unique angle." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Andrey Zvyagintsev, Gary Tarn, Michael Dudok de Wit, Anton Bitel, Geoff Dyer.
The Hour of the Furnaces

The Hour of the Furnaces

Hora de los hornos: Notas y testimonios sobre el neocolonialismo, la violencia y la liberación, La (original title)

1968 / Argentina / 260m / BW / Politics & Government, Documentary
Maria de la Paz, Fernando E. Solanas, Edgardo Suarez
"This brilliant documentary launched the Third Cinema movement and put Latin American cinema on the international map. It combines new and old film footage to explain the history of Argentina and the wave of revolutionary fervor that swept many countries in Latin America. From the Spanish invaders to modern military concerns financed by foreign powers, this feature examines racism, social upheaval, native massacres and the precarious political situations that could change in the wake of revolutionary rebellion." - Dav Pavlides, All Movie
Selected by Patricio Guzmán, Thom Andersen, Peter Rist, Elizabeth Wood, Helen Dewitt.
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1976 / USA / 97m / Col / Horror, Supernatural Thriller
Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, William Katt, John Travolta, Nancy Allen, Betty Buckley, P.J. Soles, Sydney Lassick, Stefan Gierasch
"Wickedly reckless and deliriously tasteless, Carrie is about the creation of a sorceress, a geek-girl fantasy—what nerdy high-school chick hasn’t longed to zap the popular bitches?—rife with hilarious sexual symbolism (my personal favorite is Carrie’s control of a wildly leaping fire hose). No movie ever needed to end with an orgasm as much as this one, and De Palma rises to the occasion with a scene many have imitated but none have duplicated. Even when his heroine is postmortem, it seems De Palma can’t stop watching." - Jeannette Catsoulis, Reverse Shot
Selected by Edgar Wright, Yojiro Takita, Quentin Tarantino, Nancy Savoca, Craig Johnson.