The 1,000 Greatest Films (800-701)

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El Sur

El Sur

The South (English title)

1983 / Spain-France / 95m / Col / Drama
Omero Antonutti, Sonsoles Aranguren, Iciar Bollain, Lola Cardona, Rafaela Aparicio, Aurore Clement, Francisco Merino, Maria Caro, Jose Vivo, Germaine Montero
"El sur is for me – and others – one of the greatest films ever made in Spain, and perhaps Erice’s most refined and mature work as a director… El sur does not tell a particularly extraordinary tale. But the tale it does tell is rendered in quite original and moving ways, and in tones much more subtle and deep than its literary source. This does not mean it is a contrived, sophisticated, obscure or intellectual movie, even if it avoids sentimental trappings or “easy-to-make” political readings. El sur, as it is, tells of a young woman who recalls her father’s mysterious figure and fate, trying to understand why he acted as he did." - Miguel Marías, Senses of Cinema
Selected by Carmelo Romero, Jaume Balagueró, Marcela Gamberini, Sergio F. Pinilla, Toni Ulled.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
Le Million

Le Million

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

The Sun Shines Bright

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

A History of Violence

2005 / USA-Germany / 96m / Col / Crime Thriller, Psychological Thriller
Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, William Hurt, Ashton Holmes, Stephen McHattie, Peter MacNeill, Ed Harris, Greg Bryk, Kyle Schmid, Heidi Hayes
"Why is A History of Violence so great? Freely adapted from John Wagner and Vince Locke's graphic novel (and apparently a work for hire), Cronenberg's movie manages to have its cake and eat it—impersonating an action flick in its staccato mayhem while questioning these violent attractions every step of the way… Tense and atmospheric, A History of Violence is a hyper-real version of an early-'50s B-movie nightmare—albeit one where the narrative delicately blurs dream and reality, the performances slyly merge acting with role-playing, the location feels like a set, and blood always splatters from lovingly contrived prosthetic injuries." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Cameron Bailey, Robert Polito, Raul Lizarzaburu, Neil Young, Shohini Chaudhuri.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride

1987 / USA / 98m / Col / Adventure Comedy, Fairy Tale
Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Christopher Guest, Wallace Shawn, Andre the Giant, Robin Wright, Peter Falk, Carol Kane, Peter Cook
"Writer William Goldman's love story of a farm boy-turned-swashbuckling hero, the princess he rescues from an arranged marriage, and the friendships and revenges the two encounter along the way recreates the high-flying milieu of a Fairbanks or Flynn adventure yarn… Reiner's contribution was to cast actors in the lead parts who captured the folkloric ambiance of the script in their performances with similar apparent ease… The result is a film of remarkable forwardness, honesty, and humor, built, like all fairy tales, around one message, summed up late in the script: "True love is the greatest thing in the world." - Arthur Ryel-Lindsey, Slant Magazine
Selected by Wanuri Kahiu, Benjamin Spacek, Sonke Wortmann, Vadim Jean, Nelson Lau.
Anatomy of a Murder

Anatomy of a Murder

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

La Chienne

The Bitch (English title)

1931 / France / 95m / BW / Drama, Psychological Drama
Michel Simon, Janie Marese, Georges Flamant, Roger Gaillard, Romain Bouquet, Pierre Desty, Mlle Doryans, Lucien Mancini, Magdeleine Berubet, Jean Gehret
"Jean Renoir creates an incisive, provocative, and excoriating commentary on human behavior, class structure, and social conduct in La Chienne. Using repeated imagery of mirrors and reflections, Renoir visually underscores the self-entrapping pattern of hypocrisy, treachery, and co-dependency inherent in exploitive human relationships… La Chienne captures the moral ambiguity and underlying inequity of culturally entrenched social customs and rationalized human cruelty." - Acquarello, Strictly Film School
Selected by Jesus Franco, Guillermo del Toro, Andy Rector, Tom Milne, Claire Denis.


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

Branded to Kill

Koroshi no rakuin (original title)

1967 / Japan / 91m / BW / Gangster Film, Crime Thriller
Jo Shishido, Nanbara Koji, Ogawa Mariko, Annu Mari, Isao Tamagawa, Hiroshi Minami
"Seijun Suzuki’s Branded to Kill is a cinematic masterpiece that transcends its genre. It is about as close to traditional Yakuza pictures as Godard’s Alphaville is to science fiction. Suzuki paid a price for his brilliance, however. Fired for “incomprehensibility” after making Branded to Kill, he was unable to work in film for ten years. This film is his seminal work; a genre film from a major Japanese studio by a team of creative geniuses who made no compromises." - John Zorn, The Criterion Collection
Selected by Dmitry Martov, Pimpaka Towira, Tara Brady, Lalitha Gopalan, Nacho Vigalondo.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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Wild at Heart

Wild at Heart

1990 / USA / 127m / Col / Road Movie, Black Comedy
Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern, Diane Ladd, Willem Dafoe, Isabella Rossellini, Harry Dean Stanton, Crispin Glover, Grace Zabriskie, J.E. Freeman, William Morgan Sheppard
"Imagine The Wizard Of Oz with an oversexed witch, gun-toting Munchkins and love ballads from Elvis Presley, and you'll get some idea of this erotic hellzapoppin from writer-director David Lynch. Lynch's kinky fairy tale is a triumph of startling images and comic invention. In adapting Barry Gifford's book Wild at Heart for the screen, Lynch does more than tinker. Starting with the outrageous and building from there, he ignites a slight love-on-the-run novel, creating a bonfire of a movie that confirms his reputation as the most exciting and innovative filmmaker of his generation." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Selected by Warwick Thornton, Keren Yedaya, Christoph Hochhäusler, Havana Marking, Takeshi Kitano.
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Ôdishon (original title)

1999 / Japan-South Korea / 115m / Col / Thriller, Sadistic Horror
Ryo Ishibashi, Eihi Shiina, Miyuki Matsuda, Tetsu Sawaki, Jun Kunimura, Renji Ishibashi, Toshie Negishi, Ren Osugi, Shigeru Saiki, Ken Teruishi
"Whatever else it may be—a cold-sweat nightmare of male sexual anxiety, a mocking explication of Eros and Thanatos, the best-disguised psychotronic splatter flick in recent memory—Takashi Miike's Audition is first and foremost a lethally poised Venus flytrap of a movie. (If you wish to preserve the purity of the trauma, read no further.) Audition opens as a placid, mournful romantic drama. Rivulets of dread seep in on cue, and the film seems to be heading for a boo-gotcha Grand Guignol pileup. But it doesn't merely morph; after simmering for an eternity, it derails, with spectacular, psychotic force, bulldozing its way toward an almost unwatchable theater of cruelty." - Dennis Lim, The Village Voice
Selected by Antony Burns, James Gunn, Joe Bob Briggs, Claudia Siefen, Danny Boyle.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
The End of Summer

The End of Summer

Kohayagawa-ke no aki (original title); Early Autumn (alternative title)

1961 / Japan / 103m / Col / Drama, Family Drama
Ganjiro Nakamura, Setsuko Hara, Yoko Tsukasa, Michiyo Aratama, Reiko Dan, Keiju Kobayashi, Masahiko Shimazu, Haruko Sugimura, Hisaya Morisighe, Chieko Naniwa
"Modernisation/westernisation shapes everything, from family ethics to fashions in food, drink, work, dance and clothes. As in Floating Weeds, much of the film is funny (notably a stalking sequence and a hide-and-seek scene that make virtuoso play with point of view, and a delightfully 'untimely' fart gag), but towards the end it takes on a dark solemnity unusual even in Ozu's most poignant work. Another gem - and only the atypically emphatic music disappoints." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Wong Kar-wai, Ashim Ahluwalia, Edward Lawrenson, Eugène Green, Grace Mak.
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The Last Temptation of Christ

The Last Temptation of Christ

1988 / USA / 164m / Col / Religious Drama, Hagiography
Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Paul Greco, Barbara Hershey, Harry Dean Stanton, David Bowie, Steven Shill, Verna Bloom, Roberts Blossom, Barry Miller
"The Last Temptation of Christ, by Martin Scorsese, is a towering achievement. Though it initially engendered enormous controversy, the film can now be viewed as the remarkable, profoundly personal work of faith that it is. This fifteen-year labor of love, an adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis’s landmark novel that imagines an alternate fate for Jesus Christ, features outstanding performances by Willem Dafoe, Barbara Hershey, Harvey Keitel, Harry Dean Stanton, and David Bowie; bold cinematography by the great Michael Ballhaus; and a transcendent score by Peter Gabriel." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Kevin Smith, Norm Wilner, Rob Humanick, Pam Cook, Jane Bartlett.
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Fires Were Started

Fires Were Started

I Was a Fireman (alternative title)

1943 / UK / 80m / BW / Military & War, Documentary
Philip Dickson, George Gravett, Fred Griffiths, Johnny Houghton, Loris Rey
"Jennings' one venture into feature-length drama-documentary narrowly escaped being brutally chopped down by the publicity men at the Ministry of Information. Certainly it lacks the tight narrative structure common in good commercial films, but Jennings is a strong enough film-maker to ignore formulae and conventions to build his own unique structures… It is the epic quality of the firemen's struggle that excites Jennings, and his celebration of the courage and dignity of ordinary people working together in the shadow of disaster makes the film extraordinarily impressive." - Robert Murphy, Time Out
Selected by Kevin Jackson, Tom Vincent, Karel Reisz, Philip Dodd, Enno Patalas.
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2004 / USA / 123m / Col / Comedy Drama, Buddy Film
Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen, Sandra Oh, Marylouise Burke, Jessica Hecht, Missy Doty, M.C. Gainey, Alysia Reiner, Shake Tukhmanyan
"New classics of American cinema don't come along that often, so grab this one with both hands. It's an occasion for the singing of hosannas from the roof of every cinema. Director Alexander Payne has already given us two gems with Election and About Schmidt. This glorious, bittersweet comedy of male friendship and midlife crisis is even better. It's something to be compared with John Cassavetes or Hal Ashby or Woody Allen's Annie Hall; a particular kind of freewheeling film-making that hasn't surfaced for decades. Sideways is beautifully written, terrifically acted; it is paced and constructed with such understated mastery that it is a sort of miracle." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Peter Farrelly, Bryan Singer, Jasper Sharp, Mike Birbiglia, Shyamaprasad.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
Le Jour se leve

Le Jour se lève

Daybreak (English title)

1939 / France / 93m / BW / Crime Drama, Romantic Drama
Jean Gabin, Arletty, Jules Berry, Mady Berry, Rene Genin, Arthur Devere, Rene Bergeron, Bernard Blier, Jacqueline Laurent, Gabrielle Fontan
"Possibly the best of the Carné-Prévert films, certainly their collaboration at its most classically pure, with Gabin a dead man from the outset as his honest foundry worker, hounded into jealousy and murder by a cynical seducer, holes up with a gun in an attic surrounded by police, remembering in flashback how it all started while he waits for the end. Fritz Lang might have given ineluctable fate a sharper edge (less poetry, more doom), but he couldn't have bettered the performances from Gabin, Berry, Arletty, and (as the subject of Gabin's romantic agony) Laurent." - Tom Milne, Time Out
Selected by Alejandro Agresti, Heinz Emigholz, Firat Yucel, Noel King, Jean-Charles Tacchella.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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The Ladykillers

The Ladykillers

1955 / UK / 90m / Col / Crime, Black Comedy
Alec Guinness, Cecil Parker, Herbert Lom, Peter Sellers, Danny Green, Katie Johnson, Jack Warner, Frankie Howerd, Philip Stainton, Fred Griffiths
"Subversive, hilarious and more English than Elgar, though written by the American expatriate William Rose, this is one of director Alexander Mackendrick's masterpieces and a major jewel in the Ealing Studios canon… Alec Guinness is the mad professor whose gang of crooks rent a rickety house owned by a sweet old lady, passing themselves off as a string quintet while planning a robbery in which their landlady will play a vital role… Mackendrick's handling of his material and performers is delectable, and he brilliantly uses the King's Cross locations, a perennially cinematic part of London… The Ladykillers continues triumphantly as a great screen comedy." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Mel Brooks, Jeremy Deller, Patrick Keiller, José Luis Cienfuegos, Terence Davies.
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Taipei Story

Taipei Story

Qing mei zhu ma (original title)

1985 / Taiwan / 110m / Col / Romantic Drama, Psychological Drama
Chin Tsai, Hsiao-hsein Hou, I-Chen Ko, Su-Yun Ko, Nien-Jen Wu, Hsiu-Ling Lin, Shufang Chen, Te-nan Lai, De-ming Lyu, Fang Mei
"The film that introduced Yang's prodigious talent to the West is a quietly stunning drama which sees the various problems facing a rapidly modernised city reflected in the lives of a dozen or so subtly observed characters. At the centre are a troubled upper middle-class couple: a failed businessman lost in dreams of the past (Hou), and a budding executive whose reaction to redundancy is more in tune with the future. Though there's little in the way of story, Yang's insights and honesty about emotions ensure interest throughout; and it looks absolutely superb." - Tom Charity, Time Out
Selected by Tony Rayns, Wang Xiaoshuai, Charles Whitehouse, Joanna Hogg, Stanley Kwan.
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Pink Flamingos

Pink Flamingos

1972 / USA / 92m / Col / Comedy, Trash Film
Divine, David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce, Mink Stole, Danny Mills, Edith Massey, Channing Wilroy, Cookie Mueller, Paul Swift, Susan Walsh
"Divine, a 300-pound transvestite, plays a woman who is forced to fend off challengers to her title as 'The Filthiest Person Alive,' in this case an exhibitionist couple that kidnaps hitchhikers, impregnates them, sells the babies to lesbian couples, and uses the money to fund schoolyard heroin rackets. Everything you've heard about Pink Flamingos is true, but what the reports of chicken-fucking and other abominations fail to convey is just how funny the movie is… In a nostalgic culture gone retro-chic mad, bad taste with an aggressively offensive edge never seemed so relevant." - Keith Phipps, A.V. Club
Selected by Ant Timpson, Vic Pratt, Rob St. Mary, Nathan Tyler, Monika Treut.
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

1947 / USA / 104m / BW / Romance, Fantasy
Gene Tierney, Rex Harrison, George Sanders, Edna Best, Vanessa Brown, Anna Lee, Robert Coote, Natalie Wood, Isobel Elsom, Victoria Horne
"A beautifully crafted piece of Hollywood fantasy, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is a far-fetched but moving fable about a sea captain who haunts a widow… Enormously winning performances from the underrated Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison drive the film, and the direction of veteran Joseph L. Mankiewicz is almost flawless… The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is a superb illustration of how post-World War II Hollywood could deftly handle a romantic fable during an era when the movies could deliver escapism without big-budget pyrotechnics." - Michael Betzold, All Movie
Selected by Anne Billson, Donald Clarke, Isild Le Besco, Manuel Mozos, Mark Jancovich.
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The River (1997)

The River

He liu (original title)

1997 / Taiwan / 115m / Col / Drama, Family Drama
Chao-Jung Chen, Shiang-chyi Chen, Ann Hui, Kang-Sheng Lee, Shiao-Lin Lu, Yi-Ching Lu, Tien Miao, Kuei-Mei Yang
"As a simple tale of family dysfunction, no one should be congratulated for knowing where it will wind up, even though that inevitability carries with it a distinctly unsettling sense of dread. But what makes the film so mesmerizing is Tsai's command over the vagaries of texture and tone: Through long takes, deliberately somnolent performances, and the careful placement of characters within the frame, he captures the intangible mood of modern alienation... The River is difficult and unpleasant at times, but as a somber metaphor for contaminated lives, it's masterful." - Scott Tobias, A.V. Club
Selected by Lisandro Alonso, David Pendleton, Nandini Ramnath, Sarah Turner, Lucas Stensland.
Seventh Heaven

Seventh Heaven

7th Heaven (alternative spelling)

1927 / USA / 119m / BW / Romance, Melodrama
Janet Gaynor, Charles Farrell, Ben Bard, Albert Gran, David Butler, Marie Mosquini, Gladys Brockwell, Emile Chautard, Jessie Haslett, George E. Stone
"Seventh Heaven is probably Frank Borzage's most famous film, the one where all his principles of mystical romance come together most distinctively. This exquisite tale of romance between street waif/prostitute Diane (Gaynor) and Montmartre sewage worker Chico (Farrell) stresses the redemptive side of couplehood so persuasively that otherworldly connotations, like the strong ray of light that literally shines down on them after their various trials, seem only fair and natural. Borzage ennobles their poverty-stricken lives to such an extent that even the cruelties of war don't stand a chance when they are working against it together." - Dan Callahan, Slant Magazine
Selected by David Robinson, Catherine Gautier, Isaki Lacuesta, Bill Mousoulis, Tim Wong.
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The Golden Coach

The Golden Coach

Le Carrosse d'or (original title)

1952 / Italy-France / 100m / Col / Costume Adventure, Romantic Adventure
Anna Magnani, Duncan Lamont, Odoardo Spadaro, Nada Fiorelli, Dante, George Higgins, Ralph Truman, Riccardo Rioli, Paul Campbell, Jean Debucourt
"Seen today by the international community of cinephiles as a truly “beauteous” and “ravishing” comic fantasy from Jean Renoir’s late period, The Golden Coach can best be appreciated as an illustrious filmmaker’s elegant tribute to the theater. The “comedy” does not consist of laugh-provoking gags or expertly timed slapstick, but is based instead on a clear-eyed vision of art’s denial of “normal” life… The brilliant, unforced ironies of The Golden Coach remind us that conventional cleverness and facility are no substitutes for genius. One must not merely look at The Golden Coach. One must look through it to discern the cinematic brush strokes of a great artist." - Andrew Sarris, The Criterion Collection
Selected by Dan Callahan, Matías Piñeiro, George Sluizer, Daniel Serceau, James Leahy.


1941 / USA / 64m / Col / Animated Musical, Children's Fantasy
Edward Brophy, Herman Bing, Sterling Holloway, Verna Felton, Cliff Edwards, Billy Bletcher, Jim Carmichael, Noreen Gamill, Malcolm Hutton, John McLeish
"With Fantasia, Disney explicitly set out to test the technical limits of animation, but with Dumbo, however inadvertently, the studio tested the emotional limits. Though it ultimately provides sweet redemption, Dumbo plunges its hero pretty close to the heart of darkness. Not that its technical achievements should be ignored: From the bizarre, justly famous "Pink Elephants On Parade" sequence to its less show-stopping moments, Dumbo captures Disney feature filmmaking, still near its infancy, at its best." - Keith Phipps, A.V. Club
Selected by John Lasseter, Matthew Modine, Gael Garcia Bernal, Carolee Schneemann, Rob Humanick.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
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The New World

The New World

2005 / USA / 135m / Col / Historical Film, Romantic Drama
Colin Farrell, Christopher Plummer, Christian Bale, Wes Studi, David Thewlis, Yorick van Wageningen, Q'Orianka Kilcher, Ben Mendelsohn, Raoul Trujillo, John Savage
"Malick's films have more voice-over commentary and narration, mostly of a formal, literary kind, than they have dialogue… The New World will not be to everyone's taste. You have to adjust to his thoughts and rhythms. But it is a masterpiece, alert and sensitive to the flowing of water, the rippling of forests and fields, the texture of newly cut and weathered timber… The New World is a profound, revealing, wonderful film about the meeting of two cultures and the shaping of a new one. And it has a feeling of rare authenticity in its mood, language and treatment of Native American life." - Philip French, The Observer
Selected by Chris Stults, Duane Hopkins, Keeto Lam, Paul Clark, Christophe Goffette.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
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O Lucky Man!

O Lucky Man!

1973 / UK / 173m / Col / Comedy, Satire
Malcolm McDowell, Ralph Richardson, Rachel Roberts, Arthur Lowe, Helen Mirren, Graham Crowden, Peter Jeffrey, Dandy Nichols, Mona Washbourne, Anthony Nicholls
"O Lucky Man! begins as an irreverent capitalist satire before springboarding into issues including class struggle, sexual mores, world politics, and meta-commentary on the medium itself… Though its particular brand of deadpan comedy is unmistakably British, O Lucky Man! has a plainspoken surrealism that owes much to Luis Buñuel; both knew that a sense of detachment was the best way to keep the outrageous goings-on in balance. Perhaps Anderson's most inspired touch was to commission Alan Price, late of The Animals, to perform original songs that tie the vignettes together and act as a sort of Greek chorus that comments on the action." - Scott Tobias, A.V. Club
Selected by Claire Monk, Richard Kuipers, Alex Cox, Richard Linklater, Chuck Rudolph.
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1930 / USA / 92m / BW / Romance, Melodrama
Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper, Adolphe Menjou, Ullrich Haupt, Juliette Compton, Francis McDonald, Albert Conti, Eve Southern, Michael Visaroff, Paul Porcasi
"It's been customary to dismiss Sternberg's 'absurd' plots as mere vehicles for his experiments with lighting and decor, and his loving explorations of Dietrich's visual and emotional possibilities. The truth is that films like Morocco are completely homogeneous: the plotting and acting are in exactly the same expressionist register as everything else. Here, the highly nuanced portraits of men and a woman caught between the codes they live by and their deepest, secret impulses, remain very moving and 100 per cent modern." - Tony Rayns, Time Out
Selected by Tag Gallagher, Dan Sallitt, Seijun Suzuki, Pere Gimferrer, Laura Mulvey.
An American in Paris

An American in Paris

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

1985 / France / 105m / Col / Drama, Road Movie
Sandrine Bonnaire, Setti Ramdane, Francis Balchere, Jean-Louis Perletti, Urbain Causee, Christophe Alcazar, Dominique Durand, Joel Fosse, Patrick Schmit, Daniel Bos
"Sandrine Bonnaire won the Best Actress César for her portrayal of the defiant young drifter Mona, found frozen to death in a ditch at the beginning of Vagabond. Agnès Varda pieces together Mona’s story through flashbacks told by those who encountered her (played by a largely nonprofessional cast), producing a splintered portrait of an enigmatic woman. With its sparse, poetic imagery, Vagabond is a stunner, and won Varda the top prize at the Venice Film Festival." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by David Sterritt, Carol Morley, Kim Young-Jin, Nina Menkes, Jill Godmilow.
Cool Hand Luke

Cool Hand Luke

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

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

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

The Piano Teacher

La Pianiste (original title)

2001 / Austria-France-Germany / 130m / Col / Psychological Drama, Erotic Drama
Isabelle Huppert, Benoit Magimel, Annie Girardot, Susanne Lothar, Udo Samel, Anna Sigalevitch, Cornelia Kongden, Thomas Weinhappel, Georg Friedrich, Philipp Heiss
"Michael Haneke's tale of a sado-masochistic music professor is far more disturbing than any horror film... Some might conclude that by juxtaposing high culture and S&M filth, while offering no obvious palliative psychological explanation, The Piano Teacher is Euro art-shock porn. But that is to overlook its cold and steely brilliance: an inspired nightmare - chamber music for a chamber of horrors. And in her severity, her mad anger and tragic fear of love, Isabelle Huppert gives one of the most compelling performances to be seen this year." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by David Sorfa, Mika Taanila, Sean Durkin, Xavier Dolan, Hannah Fidell.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
The Miracle of Morgan's Creek

The Miracle of Morgan's Creek

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

The Long Day Closes

1992 / UK / 83m / Col / Coming-of-Age, Family Drama
Marjorie Yates, Leigh McCormack, Anthony Watson, Nicholas Lamont, Aysee Owens, Tina Malone, Jimmy Wilde, Robin Polley, Peter Ivatts, Joy Blakeman
"Davies' final autobiographical film rings wholly true, due to the richness and the rightness of the allusions he makes through sets, costumes, dialogue, music, radio and cinema itself. Such is Davies' artistry that he shapes his material into a poignant vision of a paradise lost… The stately camera movements; the tableaux-like compositions; the evocative use of music and movie dialogue; the dreamy dissolves and lighting - all make this a movie which takes place in its young protagonist's mind. Beautifully poetic, never contrived or precious, the film dazzles with its stylistic confidence, emotional honesty, terrific wit and all-round audacity." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Bill Horrigan, Michal Oleszczyk, Robin Baker, Stephen Cone, Jaime N. Christley.
Forbidden Games

Forbidden Games

Jeux interdits (original title)

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

Twenty Years Later

Cabra Marcado Para Morrer (original title)

1985 / Brazil / 119m / Col-BW / Documentary
Eduardo Coutinho, Tite de Lemos, Ferreira Gullar
"Twenty Years Later is a film about a film. Sort of. It begins with the story of João Pedro Teixeira, a political activist in a small tropical town murdered by police in 1962… A film crew came to his town and began dramatizing his life, casting his wife Elizabeth and their children as themselves. But the police stopped the shooting, and the film wasn't finished… Twenty Years Later is a marvelously human affront to dictatorship, showing a person's spirit can't be censored. It's also a high point in the great Coutinho's career. His films focus on people bursting with talk, often performers of one kind or another, but so full of hopes and aspirations that the naked self keeps bleeding through." - Aaron Cutler, The House Next Door
Selected by José Carlos Avellar, Kleber Mendonça Filho, Vladimir Carvalho, Andrés Di Tella, Tetê Moraes.
Les Diaboliques

Les Diaboliques

Diabolique (English title)

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

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

1966 / USA / 129m / BW / Marriage Drama, Psychological Drama
Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal, Sandy Dennis
"Seething with acidic ill will and unmitigated vitriol, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? remains one of the cinema's most honest, affecting trips down the corpse-strewn path of marital dysfunction… Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? became known as one of the most successful examples of stage-to-screen adaptation. Much of this was due to Ernest Lehman's script, which remained scrupulously faithful to the original material, and the legendary Haskell Wexler's gorgeous black-and-white cinematography. Above all, Who's Afraid owed its success to Nichols' direction, here comprising one of the screen's most self-assured and controlled debuts." - Rebecca Flint Marx, All Movie
Selected by Wes Anderson, Jay Duplass, Pablo Fendrik, Edward Norton, Joyce Yang.
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La Commune (Paris, 1871)

La Commune (Paris, 1871)

2000 / France / 345m / BW / Military & War, Politics & Government
Elaine Annie Adalto, Pierre Barbieux, Bernard Bombeau, Maylis Bouffartigue, Genevieve Capy, Anne Carlier, Veronique Couzon, Piotr Daskiewicz, Nicole Defer, Caroline Esnard-Benoit
"Dynamic historical reconstruction in the form of an experimental documentary, Watkins's six-hour feature was made in DV for (and largely buried by) French TV; it's as much immersion as narrative—complicated yet lucid and contagiously exciting… This syncretic work of left-wing modernism—suggesting not only Brecht and Vertov but Soviet mass spectacle and didactic Godard—is at once immediate and self-reflexive. Watkins restages history in its own ruins, uses the media as a frame, and even so, manages to imbue his narrative with amazing presence. No less than the event it chronicles, La Commune is a triumph of spontaneous action." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Emilio Bustamante, John Gianvito, David Ehrenstein, Chow Sze-chung, David Collins.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
The Last Detail

The Last Detail

1973 / USA / 105m / Col / Comedy Drama, Road Movie
Jack Nicholson, Otis Young, Randy Quaid, Clifton James, Michael Moriarty, Carol Kane, Luana Anders, Nancy Allen, Kathleen Miller, Gerry Salsberg
"This Oscar-nominated drama has genuine combustible power as it follows the fortunes of two tough naval petty officers (Nicholson and Young) and the pathetic young criminal (Quaid) that they have to escort to jail. Towne's script consists almost entirely of profanities and justifiably so, considering the characters aren't exactly choirboys. Sometimes hilarious, sometimes poignant, this thoroughly engrossing movie contains one of Nicholson's most memorable roles, which is saying something considering the consistent brilliance of his performances in the early 1970s." - Tom Hutchinson, Radio Times
Selected by Judd Apatow, Wes Anderson, Ryan Fleck, Spike Lee, Max Winkler.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
The Trail

The Trial

Le Procès (original title)

1962 / France-West Germany-Italy / 118m / BW / Drama, Psychological Drama
Anthony Perkins, Orson Welles, Jeanne Moreau, Romy Schneider, Elsa Martinelli, Akim Tamiroff, Suzanne Flon, Madeleine Robinson, Arnoldo Foa, Fernand Ledoux
"Though debatable as an adaptation of the Franz Kafka novel, Orson Welles's nightmarish, labyrinthine comedy of 1962 remains his creepiest and most disturbing work; it's also a lot more influential than people usually admit. Anthony Perkins gives an adolescent temper to Joseph K, a bureaucrat mysteriously brought to court for an unspecified crime. Among the predatory females who pursue him are Jeanne Moreau, Romy Schneider, and Elsa Martinelli; Welles himself plays the hero's tyrannical lawyer, and Akim Tamiroff is one of his oldest clients. Welles adroitly captures the experience of an unsettling and slightly hysterical dream throughout." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Robert Haller, Mark Romanek, Mark Fisher, Fernando Martin Pena, Raquel Abad.
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Dog Star Man

Dog Star Man

1964 / USA / 75m / Col / Avant-garde-Experimental, Abstract Film
Stan Brakhage, Jane Brakhage
"Brakhage revitalises the Romantic concept of the artist as heroic protagonist, struggling with Nature, the seasons, life, death, and above all with his own developing consciousness. This work introduced to the '60s avant-garde a new use of visual analogy and metaphor, in a language based on wild camera movement, hand painting, superimposition, and the reconstruction and recapitulation of series of images and whole sequences." - David Curtis, Time Out
Selected by David Sterritt, Bryan Chang, David E. James, Jaime Pena, Carolee Schneemann.
Au revoir les enfants

Au revoir les enfants

1987 / France / 103m / Col / War Drama, Childhood Drama
Gaspard Manesse, Raphael Fejto, Francine Racette, Stanislas Carre de Malberg, Philippe Morier-Genoud, Francois Berleand, Francois Negret, Peter Fitz, Pascal Rivet, Benoit Henriet
"Traces of war inevitably linger in people's minds long after the gunfire and explosions subside… Louis Malle understood this pattern of degeneration well, having witnessed the unflinchingly heinous Nazi occupation of France as a child. The master director recollects the subtle nuances of everyday life in a landscape gripped by terror in his semi-autobiographical Au Revoir les Enfants, a carefully measured examination of wistful youth tainted by burgeoning human weaknesses found in regular people verging on moral collapse. Malle's young namesake is Julien (Manesse), a well-read and inquisitive lad obviously conflicted about the surrounding tenor of his environment." - Glenn Heath Jr., Slant Magazine
Selected by Kenneth Branagh, Philip French, Danny Boyle, Arild Andresen, Don Boyd.
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The Headless Woman

The Headless Woman

La Mujer sin cabeza (original title)

2008 / Argentina-Spain-France-Italy / 87m / Col / Thriller, Psychological Thriller
Maria Onetto, Claudia Cantero, Cesar Bordon, Daniel Genoud, Guillermo Arengo, Ines Efron, Alicia Muxo, Pia Uribelarrea, Maria Vaner, Andrea Verdon
"Disturbing and deeply mysterious, this tale of ghosts and guilt is nothing short of a masterpiece... This is not an easy film to watch, or to understand, but the potency with which it resonates in the imagination is remarkable. Lucrecia Martel's other films, The Swamp (2001) and The Holy Girl (2004) have both had something of this spacey, floating style, but never before has it been applied to something so painful, so relevant, and never before has she delivered such a psychologically real portrait: demonstrating in both style and content what happens when we go into denial." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Lizzie Francke, Violet Lucca, Marc Munden, Simon Ward, Maria Delgado.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
Il Grido

Il Grido

The Cry (English title); The Outcry (alternative English title)

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

Kaagaz Ke Phool

Paper Flowers (English title)

1959 / India / 148m / BW / Romance, Drama
Waheeda Rehman, Guru Dutt, Naaz, Johnny Walker, Mahesh Kaul, Veena, Minoo Mumtaz, Nilofar, Ruby Mayer, Sheelavaz
"The semi-autobiographical Kaagaz Ke Phool, India's first movie in CinemaScope, traces the dissolution of a film director—Dutt plays the doomed hero—whose public deserts him as commercialism replaces creativity, and ends with him drinking himself to death. Dutt's loving depiction of filmmaking takes us behind the scenes with visually stunning chiaroscuro imagery of the huge, dusty sound stages where the director lives and dies. In retrospect, it now seems as if in this movie, Dutt was rehearsing his own demise." - Elliott Stein, The Village Voice
Selected by Mark Cousins, Eric Le Roy, Noel Vera, Yomota Inuhiko, June Givanni.
Numero deux

Numéro deux

1975 / France / 88m / Col / Avant-garde-Experimental, Essay Film
Sandrine Battistella, Jean-Luc Godard, Pierre Oudrey, Alexandre Rignault, Rachel Stefanopoli
"Often juxtaposing or superimposing two or more video images within the same 'Scope frame, Jean-Luc Godard's remarkable 1975 feature—one of the most ambitious and innovative films in his career—literally deconstructs family, sexuality, work, and alienation before our very eyes. Our ears are given a workout as well; the punning commentary and dialogue, whose overlapping meanings can only be approximated in the subtitles, form part of one of his densest sound tracks… In many respects, this is a film about reverse angles and all that they imply; it forms one of Godard's richest and most disturbing meditations on social reality." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Álvaro Arroba, Daisuke Akasaka, Edgar Pêra, Federico Rossin, Santiago Gallego.
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2009 / USA-UK / 161m / Col / Science Fiction, Sci-Fi Action
Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez, Giovanni Ribisi, Laz Alonso, Wes Studi, Joel Moore, C.C.H. Pounder, Stephen Lang
"Avatar is not simply a sensational entertainment, although it is that. It's a technical breakthrough. It has a flat-out Green and anti-war message. It is predestined to launch a cult. It contains such visual detailing that it would reward repeating viewings. It invents a new language, Na'vi, as Lord of the Rings did, although mercifully I doubt this one can be spoken by humans, even teenage humans. It creates new movie stars. It is an Event, one of those films you feel you must see to keep up with the conversation." - Roger Ebert, Roger
Selected by Cyrus Frisch, Michael Mann, Roger Corman, Scott MacDonald, Venkateswaran Narayanan.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
The Right Stuff

The Right Stuff

1983 / USA / 193m / Col / Drama, Docudrama
Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid, Fred Ward, Barbara Hershey, Kim Stanley, Veronica Cartwright, Pamela Reed, Scott Paulin
"From the opening moments it is clear that we have the nearest modern equivalent to a Western: men of quiet virtue going skyward, leaving the tawdry world of log-rolling politicians behind. John Ford might have made it, and director Kaufman matches up to the master of this kind of poetic hero worship. Beginning with Chuck Yeager's breaking of the sound barrier in the late '40s, he uses the great test pilot as a counterpoint to the training and eventual missions of the seven astronauts chosen for America's first space programme." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Peter Segal, Tony Jones, Klaus Härö, Jordan Hoffman, Michel Boujut.
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1972 / Italy-France-West Germany / 235m / Col / Historical Film, Biography
Helmut Berger, Romy Schneider, Trevor Howard, Silvana Mangano, Gert Frobe, Helmut Griem, Umberto Orsini, Alexander Allerson, Manfred Furst, Mark Burns
"Visconti’s Ludwig is a challenging film not intended for impatient people with short attention spans. Even with all of its flaws, the film offers a fascinating study of an unusual historical figure who’s main strength was in his ability to avoid the world in grand fashion. Visconti’s obsessive attention to detail and melodramatic operatic flair works well for the story of Ludwig. This may not be Visconti’s best film but regardless, it is a serious and complex work that deserves to be appreciated, slow at times but fascinating nonetheless." - Pablo Vargas, The Spinning Image
Selected by Olivier Assayas, Brad Deane, Olivier Pere, Bruce Beresford, Wong Shuk-han.
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1969 / France / 127m / Col / Thriller, Political Thriller
Yves Montand, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Jacques Perrin, Irene Papas, Charles Denner, Francois Perier, Georges Geret, Pierre Dux, Julien Guiomar, Bernard Fresson
"A pulse-pounding political thriller, Greek expatriate director Costa-Gavras’s Z was one of the cinematic sensations of the late sixties, and remains among the most vital dispatches from that hallowed era of filmmaking. This Academy Award winner stars Yves Montand as a prominent politician and doctor whose public murder amid a violent demonstration is covered up by military and government officials… Featuring kinetic, rhythmic editing, Raoul Coutard’s expressive vérité photography, and Mikis Theodorakis’s unforgettable, propulsive score, Z is a technically audacious and emotionally gripping masterpiece." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Aki Kaurismäki, Paul Greengrass, Stephen Gaghan, Pia Marais, Karim Aïnouz.
The Lusty Men

The Lusty Men

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

Burnt by the Sun

Utomlyonnye solntsem (original title)

1994 / Russia-France / 152m / Col / Political Drama, Family Drama
Nikita Mikhalkov, Ingeborga Dapkounaite, Nadia Mikhalkov, Oleg Menchikov, Andre Oumansky, Vyacheslav Tikhonov, Svetlana Krioutchkova, Vladimir Ilyine, Alla Kazanskaia, Nina Arkhipova
"This is a careful, telling portrait of a community blinded by its illusions. For most of its running time, the film seems to follow suit: it's a placid, languorous country-house comedy far removed from the realities of the Stalinist terror… Mikhalkov is a quintessentially Russian director: awkwardly, theatrically expansive, somewhat lugubrious even in the midst of an idyll, but unafraid of ideas and complexity. His own performance is impeccable, and the scenes with his daughter Nadia achieve a rare poignancy." - Tom Charity, Time Out
Selected by Jiří Barta, Fernando León de Aranoa, Nadia Tass, Tian Zhuangzhuang, Kim Skotte.
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Moulin Rouge!

Moulin Rouge!

2001 / USA-Australia / 126m / Col / Musical, Romance
Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, John Leguizamo, Jim Broadbent, Richard Roxburgh, Garry McDonald, Jacek Koman, Matthew Whittet, Kerry Walker, Kylie Minogue
"Working with music director Marius DeVries and many of his regular collaborators, he [Luhrmann] has created a wonderful cutting-edge opera. He nods at cinema itself with glimpses of silent movie irising techniques, a beaming man-in-the-moon (straight out of the turn-of-the-century films of Georges Melies), and salutations to great screen divas from Dietrich to Minnelli… It's a wonderful postmodern hug of a movie, and never once do you not know you're watching a movie. But that's the point: Not to lose yourself in the movie, but to be brightly aware of your participation as a viewer. In Luhrmann's vision, that's what the movies are about." - Desson Howe, The Washington Post
Selected by Ahmed Atef, Marwan Hamed, Morgan Freeman, Rich Cline, Pam Cook.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
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Dodesukaden (original title)

1970 / Japan / 140m / Col / Ensemble Film, Urban Drama
Yoshitaka Zushi, Kin Sugai, Kazuo Kato, Junzaburo Ban, Kiyoko Tange, Michio Hino, Tatsuhei Shimokawa, Keiji Furuyama, Hisashi Igawa, Hideko Okiyama
"By turns tragic and transcendent, Akira Kurosawa’s film follows the daily lives of a group of people barely scraping by in a slum on the outskirts of Tokyo. Yet as desperate as their circumstances are, each of them—the homeless father and son envisioning their dream house; the young woman abused by her uncle; the boy who imagines himself a trolley conductor—finds reasons to carry on. The unforgettable Dodes’ka-den was made at a tumultuous moment in Kurosawa’s life. And all of his hopes, fears, and artistic passion are on fervent display in this, his gloriously shot first color film." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, Judith Williamson, Marina Warner, Shion Sono, Charles Burnett.
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Spies (English title); The Spy (alternative title)

1928 / Germany / 90m / BW / Thriller, Spy Film
Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Gerda Maurus, Willy Fritsch, Lien Deyers, Louis Ralph, Craighall Sherry, Lupu Pick, Hertha von Walther, Fritz Rasp, Paul Horbiger
"Disguises, transformations, multiples, a sketch of modern power networks whose ubiquitous reach borders on absurdity ... We are not far here from the highwire sensations and baroque convolutions offered today by the Mission: Impossible films. Rosenbaum is right to locate Spione within a tradition stretching from Louis Feuillade in the silent era through to ‘master plotters, from Hitchcock and Graham Greene to Rivette, Straub and Thomas Pynchon’. But it also has a crucial place within the history of the action film, the least critically attended to of all major genres. Like the first two Mabuse instalments, Spione is a great action film – and a masterpiece of popular art." - Adrian Martin, Rouge
Selected by Adriano Aprà, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Mariano Llinás, Keith Uhlich, Violeta Kovacsics.
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1943 / Italy / 140m / BW / Drama, Crime
Clara Calamai, Massimo Girotti, Juan deLanda, Elio Marcuzzo, Dhia Cristani, Vittorio Duse, Michele Riccardini, Michele Sakara
"Visconti's stunning feature debut transposes The Postman Always Rings Twice to the endless, empty lowlands of the Po Delta. There, an itinerant labourer (Girotti) stumbles into a tatty roadside trattoria and an emotional quagmire. Seduced by Calamai, he disposes of her fat, doltish husband (De Landa), and the familiar Cain litany - lust, greed, murder, recrimination - begins. Ossessione is often described as the harbinger of neo-realism, but the pictorial beauty (and astute use of music, often ironically) are pure Visconti, while the bleak view of sexual passion poaches on authentic noir territory." - Sheila Johnston, Time Out
Selected by Christoph Hochhäusler, Fred Kelemen, Leonardo Quaresima, Stephen Frears, Vecdi Sayar.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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Blow Out

Blow Out

1981 / USA / 107m / Col / Political Thriller, Paranoid Thriller
John Travolta, Nancy Allen, John Lithgow, Dennis Franz, Peter Boyden, John Aquino, Curt May, Ernest McClure, Dave Roberts, Maurice Copeland
"In the enthralling Blow Out, brilliantly crafted by Brian De Palma, John Travolta gives one of his greatest performances, as a movie sound-effects man who believes he has accidentally recorded a political assassination. He enlists the help of a possible eyewitness to the crime (Allen), who may be in danger herself, to uncover the truth. With its jolting stylistic flourishes, intricate plot, profoundly felt characterizations, and gritty evocation of early-1980s Philadelphia, Blow Out is an American paranoia thriller unlike any other, as well as a devilish reflection on moviemaking." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Quentin Tarantino, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, Harun Farocki, Utamaru, Peter Sobczynski.
They Were Expendable

They Were Expendable

1945 / USA / 135m / BW / War Drama, Combat Film
Robert Montgomery, John Wayne, Donna Reed, Jack Holt, Ward Bond, Marshall Thompson, Leon Ames, Louis Jean Heydt, Russell Simpson, Cameron Mitchell
"A major work in the career of John Ford, They Were Expendable reflects the great director's love of the U.S. Navy and admiration of the men and women who fought the Second World War. It's a product of wartime, meant to be stirringly patriotic and occasionally saccharine… They Were Expendable offers glimmers of the psychological complexity that marks later Ford films like The Searchers and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. It's a classic that hasn't received its proper recognition." - Nick Sambides Jr., Allmovie
Selected by Christian Keathley, Patrick Russell, Karel Reisz, Peter von Bagh, John Milius.
The Producers

The Producers

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

Van Gogh

1991 / France / 155m / Col / Drama, Biography
Jacques Dutronc, Alexandra London, Bernard Lecoq, Gerard Sety, Corinne Bourdon, Elsa Zylberstein, Jacques Vidal, Chantal Barbarit, Claudine Ducret, Frederic Bonpart
"This stunningly photographed and skilfully acted film uses an accretion of naturalistic detail to present an emotionally restrained but utterly compelling account of the last three months of Van Gogh's life… Since Pialat has no desire to canonise the artist, there is no attempt to trace the origins and development of his 'creative genius'; nor, avoiding the hazards of biopic cliché, does he seek to illuminate these dark corners of his subject's troubled soul. In the leading role, Dutronc has exactly the right quality of physical frailty and stooped sadness to complement Pialat's beautiful, poignant images." - Nigel Floyd, Time Out
Selected by Olivier Assayas, Jean-Michel Frodon, Satu Laaksonen, Erik Syngle, Gilles Jacob.
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Love (English title)

2012 / Austria-France-Germany / 127m / Col / Drama, Romantic Drama
Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, Isabelle Huppert, Alexandre Tharaud, William Shimell, Ramon Agirre, Rita Blanco, Carole Franck, Dinara Drukarova, Laurent Capelluto
"Cinema feeds on stories of love and death, but how often do filmmakers really offer new or challenging perspectives on either? Michael Haneke’s Amour is devastatingly original and unflinching in the way it examines the effect of love on death, and vice versa. It’s a staggering, intensely moving look at old age and life’s end, which at its heart offers two performances of incredible skill and wisdom from French veteran actors Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva." - Dave Calhoun, Time Out
Selected by Gaspar Noé, Ludmila Cvikova, Chadi Zeneddine, David Stratton, Kate Muir.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
Ace in the Hole

Ace in the Hole

The Big Carnival (alternative title)

1951 / USA / 112m / BW / Drama, Media Satire
Kirk Douglas, Jan Sterling, Robert Arthur, Porter Hall, Frank Cady, Richard Benedict, Ray Teal, Lewis Martin, John Berkes, Frances Dominguez
"One of the most scathing indictments of American culture ever produced by a Hollywood filmmaker, Billy Wilder’s Ace in the Hole is legendary for both its cutting social critique and its status as a hard-to-find cult classic. Kirk Douglas gives the fiercest performance of his career as Chuck Tatum, an amoral newspaper reporter caught in dead-end Albuquerque who happens upon the story of a lifetime—and will do anything to ensure he gets the scoop. Wilder’s follow-up to Sunset Boulevard is an even darker vision, a no-holds-barred exposé that anticipated the rise of the American media circus." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Mike Hodges, John Dahl, Errol Morris, Griffin Dunne, Elaine Paterson.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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Les Maitres fous

Les Maîtres fous

The Mad Masters (English title)

1955 / France / 36m / Col / Culture & Society, Documentary
Jean Rouch
"One of the guiding spirits of the French New Wave, ethnographic filmmaker Jean Rouch directed this 1955 documentary on the annual ceremony of Hauku priests and initiates in colonial Gold Coast (before it became Ghana). A masterpiece that exerted a strong influence on Jean Genet's play The Blacks, the film shows the Hauku performers impersonating their colonial rulers in the midst of their trances and animal sacrifices; Rouch's handling of this ceremony in relation to the performers' everyday lives as workers in nearby Accra is both authoritative and potent." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Nelson Pereira dos Santos, Cristina Nord, Henry Bean, Werner Herzog, Christoph Huber.
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Sauve qui peut (la vie)

Sauve qui peut (la vie)

Every Man for Himself (USA title); Slow Motion (UK title)

1980 / France-Switzerland / 87m / Col / Psychological Drama, Urban Drama
Isabelle Huppert, Jacques Dutronc, Nathalie Baye, Roland Amstutz, Cecile Tanner, Anna Baldaccini, Roger Jendly, Fred Personne, Nicole Jacquet, Dore De Rosa
"Jean-Luc Godard calls this 1980 production his “second first film”—which means both a return to narrative after his brilliant documentary-theoretical work in the 70s and a complete clearing of the decks. You feel him questioning his entire life here, his most basic impulses and ideals, and his honesty is devastating… Of course, the film's substantial artistry belies Godard's self-negation: with his formal, four-part ordering of the narration, the tension he establishes and exploits between sound track and image, and his use of slow motion to analyze and abstract the action, Godard pulls an aesthetic victory from the jaws of utter nihilism." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Evans Chan, Ewa Mazierska, Richard Kwietniowski, Jean-Michel Frodon, Frédéric Maire.
Gun Crazy

Gun Crazy

Deadly is the Female (original title)

1949 / USA / 86m / BW / Film Noir, Crime Thriller
Peggy Cummins, John Dall, Berry Kroeger, Morris Carnovsky, Anabel Shaw, Harry Lewis, Nedrick Young, Trevor Bardette, Mickey Little, Russ Tamblyn
"If you had to select a single film to justify the present enthusiasm for film noir and define its allure, few movies could compete with Gun Crazy. The same goes for celebrating the potential of B-movies to achieve grade-A flair, excitement, and artistic intelligence. The picture taps brazenly into a sexual, almost feral energy that makes it unique, even in a school of film known for perverse psychology and smoldering subtexts. And it achieves its ends on an observably limited budget, via two strategies that ought to clash but instead invigorate each other: the bold stylization of expressionistic, verging-on-minimalist settings, and the camera’s embrace of the real world." - Richard T. Jameson, Parallax View
Selected by Jesús Franco, Rafa Cortés, Thomas Caldwell, David Meeker, Enno Patalas.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
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1994 / USA / 119m / Col / Documentary, Biography
Robert Crumb, Aline Kominsky, Charles Crumb, Maxon Crumb, Robert Hughes, Martin Muller, Don Donaghue, Dana Crumb, Trina Robbins, Spain Rodriguez
"Crumb, which is one of the most remarkable and haunting documentaries ever made, tells the story of Robert Crumb, his brothers Max and Charles, and an American childhood that looks normal in old family photographs but conceals deep wounds and secrets. It is the kind of film that you watch in disbelief, as layer after layer is peeled away, and you begin to understand the strategies that have kept Crumb alive and made him successful while one of his brothers became a recluse in an upstairs bedroom and the other passes his time literally sitting on a bed of nails." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Joe Swanberg, Mike Maggiore, Nicholas Searle, Volker Hummel, Darron Davies.
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1993 / UK / 76m / Col / Avant-garde/Experimental, Gay & Lesbian Film
John Quentin, Nigel Terry, Derek Jarman, Tilda Swinton
"The screen is a perfect blue throughout as Derek Jarman faces up to AIDS, the loss of loved ones, the breakdown of the body, blindness, his own approaching fall into the void. The film embodies the spiritual transcendence which Cyril Collard sought to convey in the last reel of his anguished melodrama Savage Nights, crucially in the serene contemplation of the screen itself, but also in Jarman's beautiful poetry. Extracts from the film-maker's diary supply an ironic commentary on the 'progress' of his illness so that the movie becomes a juxtaposition between the finite and the infinite, the sublime and the ridiculous. Greatly helped by Simon Fisher Turner's soundtrack. Moving beyond words." - Tom Charity, Time Out
Selected by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Ron Peck, Sarah Turner, Sophie Mayer, Li Yang.
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Starship Troopers

Starship Troopers

1997 / USA / 129m / Col / Sci-Fi Action, Political Satire
Casper Van Dien, Dina Meyer, Denise Richards, Jake Busey, Neil Patrick Harris, Clancy Brown, Michael Ironside, Seth Gilliam, Patrick Muldoon, Rue McClanahan
"This highly ambitious adaptation of the sci-fi novel by Robert A. Heinlein exhibits director Paul Verhoeven's signature flashes of mordant wit, satire, and strong violence. The rare action picture that tries to operate on several levels at once, Troopers uses elements of fascism, Nazi imagery, and World War II propaganda to illustrate its central story: the takeover of futuristic civilization by deadly, ravaging insects. A singular piece of science fiction that achieves its goals, Verhoeven's film simultaneously parodies and satisfies the public's fascination with media and mass destruction… The film is widely recognized in cult circles as a telling critique of the absurdity of wartime values." - Jason Clark, All Movie
Selected by Ben Walters, Takashi Miike, Anja Kirschner, Otani Nobuhiko, Fenton Bailey.
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Seven Women

Seven Women

7 Women (alternative spelling)

1966 / USA / 87m / Col / Drama, Period Film
Anne Bancroft, Margaret Leighton, Sue Lyon, Flora Robson, Mildred Dunnock, Betty Field, Anna Lee, Eddie Albert, Mike Mazurki, Woody Strode
"A commercial disaster when it came out in 1966, generally relegated to the lower half of double bills and dismissed by most critics, John Ford's magnificent last feature is surely one of his greatest not merely for its unsentimental distillation of Fordian themes, but for the telegraphic urgency and passion of its style, which is aided rather than handicapped by the stripped-down studio sets. Set in 1935, the film effectively transposes the gender and settings of many of his classic westerns to the apocalyptic last days of a female missionary outpost in China, which is about to be invaded by Mongolian warriors (including Mike Mazurki and Woody Strode)." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Bernard Eisenschitz, Jean Narboni, Fred Camper, Marcos Uzal, Jacques Aumont.


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

The Virgin Spring

Jungfrukällan (original title)

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


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

Port of Shadows

Le Quai des brumes (original title)

1938 / France / 91m / BW / Romantic Drama, Crime Drama
Jean Gabin, Michele Morgan, Michel Simon, Pierre Brasseur, Robert Le Vigan, Raymond Aimos, Marcel Peres, Jenny Burnay, Edouard Delmont, Rene Genin
"Down a foggy, desolate road to the port city of Le Havre travels Jean (Gabin), an army deserter looking for another chance to make good on life. Fate, however, has a different plan for him, as acts of both revenge and kindness render him front-page news… Port of Shadows starkly portrays an underworld of lonely souls wrestling with their own destinies. Based on the novel by Pierre Mac Orlan, the inimitable team of director Marcel Carné and writer Jacques Prévert deliver a quintessential example of poetic realism and a classic film from the golden age of French cinema." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by John Sayles, David Panos, Igor Soukmanov, Michael Wedel, Nigel Algar.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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2008 / UK-Ireland / 96m / Col / Prison Film, Political Drama
Michael Fassbender, Stuart Graham, Helena Bereen, Larry Cowan, Liam Cunningham, Dennis McCambridge, Liam McMahon, Laine Megaw, Brian Milligan, Rory Mullen
"History has lent a new perspective to the story of IRA man Bobby Sands and his 1981 hunger strike in Northern Ireland's Maze prison for political status, recreated here in Hunger, Steve McQueen's explicit, but icily brilliant and superbly acted film. It is a lacerating portrait of an agonised period of British and Irish history… Hunger shows that McQueen is a real film-maker and his background in art has meant a fierce concentration on image, an unflinching attention to what things looked like, moment by moment. There is an avoidance of affect and a repudiation of the traditional liberal-lenient gestures of dialogue, dramatic consensus and narrative resolution. This is a powerful, provocative piece of work." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Clio Barnard, Akin Omotoso, Noam M. Elcott, Zachary Wigon, Steven Boone.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
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Hitler: A Film from Germany

Hitler: A Film from Germany

Hitler - ein Film aus Deutschland (original title); Our Hitler: A Film from Germany (alternative title)

1977 / West Germany-France-UK / 442m / Col / Avant-garde-Experimental, Essay Film
Andre Heller, Harry Baer, Heinz Schubert, Peter Kern, Hellmut Lange, Rainer von Artenfels, Martin Sperr, Peter Moland, Johannes Buzalski, Alfred Edel
"The third and longest part of Syberberg's extraordinary trilogy on German culture, history and nationalism (the two earlier films were Ludwig and Karl May), best described as a high camp, heavy-duty analysis of both history and historical analysis itself… Visually lyrical, the style is eclectic to the point of hysteria; and the tone oscillates between the operatic (Wagner figures large) and the colloquial (Hitler in conversation with his projectionist) without ever quite coming unstuck. Humour mixes with mythology and analysis in the attempt to reunite art, history and ideology. It's a quite remarkable film, with a sense of metaphor equal to its intellectual courage." - Chris Auty, Time Out
Selected by Alan Pauls, Ken Hollings, Quentin Turnour, Susan Sontag, Ian Christie.
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Rapture (English title)

1980 / Spain / 105m / Col / Drama, Horror
Eusebio Poncela, Cecilia Roth, Will More, Marta Fernandez Muro, Helena Fernan-Gomez, Carmen Giralt, Max Madera, Javier Ulacia, Rosa Crespo, Luis Ciges
"A genuine cult title, Zulueta's deeply eccentric, brooding and mysterious underground oddity was a significant early influence on Almodóvar while remaining barely known outside Spain. A hallucinatory, claustrophobic examination of the secret potency of film itself, it enters the disorienting world of a young film-maker who discovers his camera has a feature he'd never imagined. Taking one right back to those great '70s mood movies, it's a singular treat." - Gareth Evans, Time Out
Selected by Guillermo del Toro, Antonio Delgado, Gerardo Naranjo, José Luis Cienfuegos, Mar Diestro-Dópido.
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Syndromes and a Century

Syndromes and a Century

Sang sattawat (original title)

2006 / Thailand-France-Austria-Netherlands / 105m / Col / Drama, Ensemble Film
Nantarat Sawaddikul, Jaruchai Iamaram, Nu Nimsomboon, Arkanae Cherkam, Sakda Kaewbuadee, Jenjira Pongpas, Sophon Pukanok, Manasanant Porndispong, Wanna Wattanajinda, Apirak Mittrpracha
"Profoundly mysterious, erotic, funny, gentle, playful, utterly distinctive… Syndromes and a Century is a poem on screen: a film of ideas and visual tropes that upends conventional narrative expectations… It's a movie to be compared with the work of Antonioni - or Sergei Parajanov… If you want a film as challenging and exhilarating as the most weird and wonderful exhibition at Tate Modern, if you are bored with all the usual boilerplate material coming out of Hollywood, or even if you're not, then this is a film for you. Try it." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Jonathan Romney, May Adadol Ingawanij, Diego Lerer, Sarah Turner, Aditya Assarat.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
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Code Unknown

Code Unknown

Code inconnu: Récit incomplet de divers voyages (original title); Code inconnu (alternative title)

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

A Woman of Paris

A Woman of Paris: A Drama of Fate (original title)

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

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

1949 / USA / 103m / Col / Western, Cavalry Film
John Wayne, Joanne Dru, John Agar, Ben Johnson, Harry Carey Jr., Victor McLaglen, Mildred Natwick, George O'Brien, Arthur Shields, Michael Dugan
"Of all John Ford's lyrical films, this 1949 feature is the one that most nearly leaves narrative behind; it is pure theme and variation, centered on the figure of a retiring cavalry officer (John Wayne, playing with strength and conviction a man well beyond his actual age). The screenplay (by Frank Nugent and Laurence Stallings) is entirely episodic, and it ends in a magnificently sustained series of anticlimaxes, suggesting it could spin out forever. In Ford's superbly creative hands, it becomes perhaps the only avant-garde film ever made about the importance of tradition." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Adriano Aprà, Gavin Smith, Jean-Louis Leutrat, Jim McBride, Bertrand Tavernier.


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

The Misfits

1961 / USA / 124m / BW / Drama, Modern Western
Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift, Thelma Ritter, Eli Wallach, Estelle Winwood, James Barton, Kevin McCarthy, Denis Shaw, Philip Mitchell
"Huston's direction is taut and Russell Metty's elegantly sombre and sparse black and white images provide the feel of a spontaneous and almost documentary-like approach to the material. The Misfits lends itself to readings from numerous critical perspectives but it is perhaps most meaningfully a film concerned with stardom and in particular its complex relation to both the star and her or his audience. As the film illustrates, Monroe hadn't really resolved the split between her being perceived as a sex symbol and as a serious performer. And, the fact that The Misfits is Monroe's and Gable's final film and one of Clift's last efforts, makes it an inescapably sad film." - Richard Lippe, Film Reference
Selected by Amos Gitai, Jan Troell, Mohamed Khan, Mika Kaurismäki, Steven Gaydos.
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L.A. Confidential

L.A. Confidential

1997 / USA / 137m / Col / Crime, Mystery
Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, James Cromwell, Kim Basinger, Danny De Vito, David Strathairn, Ron Rifkin, Matt McCoy, Paul Guilfoyle
"Against all odds, L.A. Confidential succeeds brilliantly, right down to Jerry Goldsmith's score, which evokes his haunting theme from Chinatown without being haunted by it… Blazing with action, humor and eroticism, the film is long at 2:16, but it's consistently riveting. The screenplay distills James Ellroy's 1990 novel without losing its crackle and density. Though the film is rich in atmosphere — cinematographer Dante Spinotti lights Ruth Myers' costumes and Jeannine Oppewall's production design to optimum effect — the emphasis is on character and on quality acting." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Selected by Peter Howell, Julian Fellowes, Karlheinz Oplustil, Kristian Lin, Matt Singer.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon


Olympiad (alternative title)

1938 / Germany / 220m / BW / Sports, Documentary
David Albritton, Jack Beresford, Henri de Baillet-Latour, Philip Edwards, Donald Finlay, Wilhelm Frick, Josef Goebbels, Hermann Goring, Ernest Harper, Rudolf Hess
"Riefenstahl, as she demonstrated in the technically brilliant propaganda film Triumph of the Will, had a poet's eye for capturing spectacles on both a grand and intimate scale. Olympia might have been a paean to the Third Reich and the superiority of the German athlete (its prologue, featuring only Aryans in various poses and action sequences, suggests that), but Riefenstahl nimbly sidestepped her Nazi masters to offer if not a completely objective view of the games, at least one which did not stint on the accomplishments of runners, jumpers, and swimmers from many nations and of many ethnic backgrounds." - Tom Wiener, All Movie
Selected by Carrie Rickey, Vigen Galstyan, Joel David, Richard Kostelanetz, John Gillett.
The Circus

The Circus

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

Vengeance is Mine

Fukushû suru wa ware ni ari (original title)

1979 / Japan / 129m / Col / Crime, Psychological Drama
Ken Ogata, Mayumi Ogawa, Rentaro Mikuni, Mitsuko Baisho, Nijiko Kiyokawa, Chocho Miyako, Moeko Ezawa, Toshie Negishi, Kazuko Shirakawa, Taiji Tonoyama
"Imamura’s 1979 case history of a murderous con-man on the loose in 1960s Japan is, like Roberto Succo, free of facile psychology and moral judgement; and like M or 10 Rillington Place, it’s concerned less with the individual than with how his acts illuminate the society that spawned him… We’re finally left wondering: is anyone here not in pain, not living a lie? Are compromise, oppression, madness, violence and a death wish par for the Japanese course? At once darkly comic and quasi-tragic, Imamura’s often brilliant tale of Eros and Thanatos is perverse, powerful and subversive." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Bong Joon-ho, Park Chan-wook, Nicoletta Romeo, Kim Young-Jin, Park Kiyong.
Le Sang des betes

Le Sang des bêtes

Blood of the Beasts (English title)

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

The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach

Chronik der Anna Magdalena Bach (original title)

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

The Bad and the Beautiful

1952 / USA / 118m / BW / Drama, Showbiz Drama
Kirk Douglas, Lana Turner, Barry Sullivan, Walter Pidgeon, Dick Powell, Gloria Grahame, Gilbert Roland, Leo G. Carroll, Vanessa Brown, Paul Stewart
"Rivalling Sunset Boulevard for its caustic take on Hollywood, Vincente Minnelli’s rip-roaring 1952 melodrama charts the fall of a ruthless, all-powerful producer (Douglas on top form) via flashbacks recalled by a writer (Powell), an actress (Turner) and a director (Sullivan) – all of whom he made, and who now disown him when he’s down. It’s packed with in-jokes and lightly disguised portraits of real-life Tinseltown figures; Douglas’ character is reckoned to be across between David O.Selznick and Val Lewton. But even without a knowledge of the background, this is sharp, cynical fun." - Philip Kemp, Total Film
Selected by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Martin Koerber, Joss Whedon, Harun Farocki, Adolfo Aristarain.
Shock Corridor

Shock Corridor

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

The Thief of Bagdad

The Thief of Bagdad: An Arabian Fantasy in Technicolor (alternative title)

1940 / UK / 106m / Col / Fantasy, Costume Adventure
Conrad Veidt, Sabu, June Duprez, John Justin, Rex Ingram, Miles Malleson, Mary Morris, Morton Selten, Bruce Winston, Hay Petrie
"Legendary producer Alexander Korda’s marvel The Thief of Bagdad, inspired by The Arabian Nights, is one of the most spectacular fantasy films ever made, an eye-popping effects pioneer brimming with imagination and technical wizardry. When Prince Ahmad (Justin) is blinded and cast out of Bagdad by the nefarious Jaffar (Veidt), he joins forces with the scrappy thief Abu (the incomparable Sabu, in his definitive role) to win back his royal place, as well as the heart of a beautiful princess (Duprez). With its luscious Technicolor, vivid sets, and unprecedented visual wonders, The Thief of Bagdad has charmed viewers of all ages for decades." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Arturo Ripstein, Peter Hames, Diego Galán, Fredric R. Jameson, Ivan Passer.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
La Haine

La Haine

Hate (English title)

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

The Holy Mountain

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

Smiles of a Summer Night

Sommarnattens leende (original title)

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


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

The Testament of Dr. Mabuse

Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse (original title)

1933 / Germany / 120m / BW / Master Criminal Film, Police Detective Film
Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Otto Wernicke, Oscar Beregi Sr., Paul Bernd, Henry Bless, Gustav Diessl, Paul Henckels, Oskar Hocker, Georg John, Karl Meixner
"A sequel to his enormously successful silent film Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler, Fritz Lang’s The Testament of Dr. Mabuse reunites the director with the character that had effectively launched his career. Lang put slogans and ideas expounded by the Nazis into the mouth of a madman, warning his audience of an imminent menace, which was soon to become a reality. Nazi Minister of Information Joseph Goebbels saw the film as an instruction manual for terrorist action against the government and banned it for “endangering public order and security.” A landmark of mystery and suspense for countless espionage and noir thrillers to come." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Inácio Araujo, Un-Seong Yoo, Thierry Méranger, Luís Oliveira, B. Kite.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

1986 / USA / 103m / Col / Comedy, Teen Movie
Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, Jeffrey Jones, Jennifer Grey, Cindy Pickett, Lyman Ward, Edie McClurg, Charlie Sheen, Ben Stein
"In The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink, Hughes portrayed adolescent angst in a fairly realistic light. But from the moment Ferris turns to the camera to address the audience, we know that realism is out. Ferris and his adventures represent a teen's dream of glory: to have, at one's fingertips, the technical skills to sabotage the adult world's machinery of oppression and, at the tip of one's tongue, the perfect squelch for grownups' moralistic blather. Here is a dream as old as adolescence, and it is fun to be reminded of its ageless potency, especially in a movie as good-hearted as this one." - Richard Schickel, TIME Magazine
Selected by Jason Reitman, Henry K. Miller, Marcelo Panozzo, Danny Cannon, David Ondaatje.
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After Life

After Life

Wandâfuru raifu (original title); Wonderful Life (alternative title)

1998 / Japan / 118m / Col / Fantasy, Psychological Drama
Arata, Erika Oda, Susumu Terajima, Takashi Naito, Kyoko Kagawa, Kei Tani, Taketoshi Naito, Toro Yuri, Yusuke Iseya, Sayaka Yoshino
"After Life is as much a movie about filmmaking as it is about memory. For what are movies, after all, but larger-than-life dream images projected on celluloid? In its modest attitude about the ability of movies to replicate dreams, After Life is the opposite of bombastic Hollywood kitsch like What Dreams May Come. In capturing the essence of experience, it suggests, film is as imperfect and quixotic as memory… A striking aspect of After Life is its utter lack of grandiosity." - Stephen Holden, The New York Times
Selected by Guy Maddin, Miranda July, Anne Billson, Vlastimir Sudar, John Cameron Mitchell.
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1991 / USA / 188m / Col-BW / Political Thriller, Ensemble Film
Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Sissy Spacek, Tommy Lee Jones, Laurie Metcalf, Michael Rooker, Jay O. Sanders, Sally Kirkland, Edward Asner, Jack Lemmon
"The first order of business concerning JFK, Oliver Stone's movie about the Kennedy assassination, is entertainment. As such, Stone creates a riveting marriage of fact and fiction, hypothesis and empirical proof in the edge-of-the-seat spirit of a conspiracy thriller… Despite its three hours, JFK is almost always absorbing to watch. It's not journalism. It's not history. It is not legal evidence. Much of it is ludicrous. It's a piece of art or entertainment. Stone, who has acknowledged his fusing of the known and the invented, has exercised his full prerogative to use poetic license. He should feel more than mere craftsman's satisfaction at the result." - Desson Howe, The Washington Post
Selected by Alejandro Amenábar, Kevin Smith, Gary Crowdus, Sean Stone, Klaus Lemke.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon