The 1,000 Greatest Films (M-N)

M

M

Top 100 Film / Ranking 49 (46)
M - Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder (alternative title)
1931 / Germany / 99m / BW / Psychological Thriller, Police Detective Film
Peter Lorre, Otto Wernicke, Ellen Widmann, Gustaf Grundgens, Theodor Loos, Inge Landgut, Theo Lingen, Georg John, Ernst Stahl-Nachbaur, Paul Kemp
"A simple, haunting musical phrase whistled offscreen tells us that a young girl will be killed. “Who Is the Murderer?” pleads a nearby placard as serial killer Hans Beckert (Lorre) closes in on little Elsie Beckmann… In his harrowing masterwork M, Fritz Lang merges trenchant social commentary with chilling suspense, creating a panorama of private madness and public hysteria that to this day remains the blueprint for the psychological thriller." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Béla Tarr, Bernard Eisenschitz, Jean-Michel Frodon, Jesus Franco, Michael Moore.
M*A*S*H

M*A*S*H

MASH (alternative spelling)
1970 / USA / 116m / Col / Military Comedy, Satire
Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Tom Skerritt, Sally Kellerman, Robert Duvall, Jo Ann Pflug, Rene Auberjonois, Gary Burghoff, Fred Williamson, John Schuck
"Robert Altman's commercial breakthrough after more than 20 years of industrial films and TV work felt like a joyous shout of liberation, not just for its director but for the film industry in general. M*A*S*H was proudly, gleefully, gloriously rude as few previous Hollywood films had dared to be, not just in using four-letter words but also in a hilariously casual disrespect for religion, the military, American foreign policy, and authority as a whole… If you know M*A*S*H as a TV series and not as a film, prepare yourself for a shock; there is nothing warm and fuzzy about this movie, which makes its bitter humor all the more effective." - Mark Deming, All Movie
Selected by Duncan Jones, Rokuro Mochizuki, Helmut Fiebig, Akira Kurosawa, Spike Lee.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
Mad Max 2

Mad Max 2

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

Madame de...

The Earrings of Madame de... (USA title)
1953 / France-Italy / 105m / BW / Period Film, Romantic Drama
Danielle Darrieux, Charles Boyer, Vittorio De Sica, Mireille Perrey, Jean Debucourt, Lia de Lea, Jean Galland, Serge Lecointe, Hubert Noel, Leon Walther
"French master Max Ophuls’s most cherished work, The Earrings of Madame de… is an emotionally profound, cinematographically adventurous tale of false opulence and tragic romance. When the aristocratic woman known only as Madame de (the extraordinary Danielle Darrieux) sells her earrings, unbeknownst to her husband (Boyer), in order to pay personal debts, she sets off a chain reaction, the financial and carnal consequences of which can only end in despair. Ophuls adapts Louise de Vilmorin’s incisive fin de siècle novel with virtuosic camera work so elegant and precise it’s been called the equal to that of Orson Welles." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Kenneth Turan, Michel Ciment, Molly Haskell, Andrew Sarris, Gavin Lambert.
Madchen in Uniform

Mädchen in Uniform

Girls in Uniform (English title)
1931 / Germany / 98m / BW / Psychological Drama, Coming-of-Age
Dorothea Wieck, Hertha Thiele, Ellen Schwanneke, Emilia Unda, Hedwig Schlichter, Gertrud de Lalsky, Erika Mann
"Leontine Sagan's remarkable film sees a lesbian relationship as the only available alternative to the authoritarian order as a boarding school for daughters of the Prussian military aristocracy becomes a microcosm of Germany, circa 1931. Based on a play by Christa Winsloe, performed by an all-woman cast, independently made, and cooperatively financed, this was one of the few genuine women's films of the 30s." - Don Druker, Chicago Reader
Selected by Ali Smith, Yvonne Rainer, Andrea Weiss, Daniel Mangin, Patricia White.
The Magnificent Ambersons

The Magnificent Ambersons

Top 100 Film / Ranking 84 (81)
1942 / USA / 88m / BW / Family Drama, Period Film
Joseph Cotten, Dolores Costello, Agnes Moorehead, Anne Baxter, Tim Holt, Ray Collins, Richard Bennett, Erskine Sanford, J. Louis Johnson, Donald Dillaway
"It was a much better picture than Kane—if they'd just left it as it was," Welles famously told Peter Bogdanovich decades later. But even still, The Magnificent Ambersons is a pretty sensational movie. The film language is more fluid and adept than Kane's, the expressionist lighting is more rigorously modulated. The astonishingly choreographed Christmas ball that serves to introduce the major characters is arguably the greatest set piece of Welles's career. The highly rehearsed ensemble, which complemented a contingent of Mercury Theater regulars with RKO cowhand Tim Holt, retired silent star Dolores Costello, and then-unknown Anne Baxter, is sensational." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Armond White, Carlos F. Heredero, John McNaughton, Neil LaBute, Jaime Chávarri.
Magnolia

Magnolia

1999 / USA / 188m / Col-BW / Drama, Ensemble Film
Tom Cruise, Julianne Moore, Jason Robards, Melinda Dillon, Philip Baker Hall, Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy, Luis Guzman, Alfred Molina, Michael Murphy
"Magnolia is operatic in its ambition, a great, joyous leap into melodrama and coincidence, with ragged emotions, crimes and punishments, deathbed scenes, romantic dreams, generational turmoil and celestial intervention, all scored to insistent music. It is not a timid film. Paul Thomas Anderson here joins Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich), David O. Russell (Three Kings) and their master, Martin Scorsese (Bringing Out the Dead), in championing an extroverted self-confidence that rejects the timid post-modernism of the 1990s. These are not movies that apologize for their exuberance, or shield themselves with irony against suspicions of sincerity." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by David Michôd, Chris Shepherd, Beat Glur, Daniel Cretton, Josh Whedon.
Make Way for Tomorrow

Make Way for Tomorrow

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

Malcolm X

1992 / USA / 201m / Col / Biography, Political Drama
Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Albert Hall, Al Freeman Jr., Delroy Lindo, Spike Lee, Theresa Randle, Kate Vernon, Lonette McKee, Tommy Hollis
"There are few character portraits in the history of cinema in the same league as Denzel Washington's Malcolm X... While the sprawling and passionate picture is stuffed with Lee’s bravura filmmaking, not least the vivid cinematography of Ernest Dickerson, its most inexorable virtue remains star Denzel Washington, who established himself as the great American film actor of his generation with not only the performance of the decade but one of cinema’s supreme biographical portraits; only Lawrence of Arabia’s Peter O’Toole and Lincoln’s Daniel Day-Lewis are in the same league." - Steve Erickson, Los Angeles Magazine
Selected by Carrie Rickey, Ernest R. Dickerson, Omer M. Mozaffar, Justine Nagan, Martin Scorsese.
The Maltese Falcon

The Maltese Falcon

1941 / USA / 100m / BW / Mystery, Film Noir
Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Sydney Greenstreet, Gladys George, Peter Lorre, Barton MacLane, Elisha Cook Jr., Lee Patrick, Ward Bond, Jerome Cowan
"Huston's first film displays the hallmarks that were to distinguish his later work: the mocking attitude toward human greed; the cavalier insolence with which plot details are treated almost as asides; the delight in bizarre characterisations,… What makes it a prototype film noir is the vein of unease missing from the two earlier versions of Hammett's novel. Filmed almost entirely in interiors, it presents a claustrophobic world animated by betrayal, perversion and pain." - Tom Milne, Time Out
Selected by Geoff Dyer, Jørgen Leth, Klaus Kreimeier, George Armitage, Richard Schickel.
See also 250 Quintessential Noir Films.
A Man Escaped

A Man Escaped

Top 100 Film / Ranking 85 (86) Orange Up-Arrow
Un Condamné à mort s'est échappé ou Le vent souffle où il veut (original title)
1956 / France / 102m / BW / Drama, Prison Film
Francois Leterrrier, Charles LeClainche, Maurice Beerblock, Roland Monod, Jacques Ertaud, Roger Treherne, Jean-Paul Delhumeau, Jean-Philippe Delamarre, Cesar Gattegno, Jacques Oerlemans
"This stately yet uncommonly gripping 1956 feature is my choice as the greatest achievement of Robert Bresson, one of the cinema's foremost artists. The best of all prison-escape movies, it reconstructs the very notion of freedom through offscreen sounds and defines salvation in terms of painstakingly patient and meticulous effort. Bresson himself spent part of the war in an internment camp and subsequently lived through the German occupation of France, experiences that inform his magisterial grasp of what the concentrated use of sound and image can reveal about souls in hiding. Essential viewing." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Hong Sang-soo, Carlos Reygadas, Kevin Jackson, David Ehrenstein, Jan Nemec.
The Man in the White Suit

The Man in the White Suit

1951 / UK / 84m / BW / Comedy, Satire
Alec Guinness, Joan Greenwood, Cecil Parker, Michael Gough, Ernest Thesiger, Vida Hope, Howard Marion Crawford, Patric Doonan, Duncan Lamont, Henry Mollison
"The Ealing comedies didn't come much better than this 1951 feature, which stars Alec Guinness as an amateur inventor who creates a fabric that will never wear out. The director, American-born Alexander Mackendrick, was one of the few who worked for Ealing who put his personal stamp on every project: his characters are warmly drawn without condescension, and his social commentary has real bite." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Lisa Mullen, Joseph Strick, Paul McGuigan, Verina Glaessner, Andres Amoros.
Man of Aran

Man of Aran

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

Man of the West

1958 / USA / 100m / Col / Western, Psychological Western
Gary Cooper, Julie London, Lee J. Cobb, Arthur O'Connell, Jack Lord, John Dehner, Royal Dano, Robert J. Wilke, Jack Williams, Guy Wilkerson
"A superb Western, exemplifying Mann's capacity for integrating his interest in spectacle with a resonant narrative fully deserving the adjective 'classic', in which Gary Cooper's ex-outlaw is under constant, ranting pressure from Cobb's gang-leader father-figure to return to the fold… Mann's synthesis of archetypal characters and generic iconography is seamless; and he manages to inscribe landscape, anxious voyeurism and fratricide within his narrative resolution. Textbook cinema, maybe, but Mann's work will remain rich for discovery and celebration." - Paul Taylor, Time Out
Selected by Glenn Heath Jr., Richard Armstrong, Simon Mizrahi, Steven Gaydos, Peter von Bagh.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Top 100 Film / Ranking 100 (99)
1962 / USA / 119m / BW / Western, Outlaw (Gunfighter) Film
James Stewart, John Wayne, Vera Miles, Lee Marvin, Edmond O'Brien, Andy Devine, Woody Strode, Jeanette Nolan, John Carradine, Ken Murray
"A great film, rich in thought and feeling, composed in rhythms that vary from the elegiac to the spontaneous. This 1962 western flaunts its artificiality, both in its use of studio interiors and in the casting of an aging James Stewart as a young, idealistic lawyer who comes to the frontier. For some, the stylization is a crippling flaw, but I find it sublime: the film takes place, through elegant flashbacks, in a past that is remembered more than lived; essences are projected over particulars." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by John McNaughton, Richard Combs, José Luis Garci, Jesus Franco, Ramin Bahrani.
The Man Who Would Be King

The Man Who Would Be King

1975 / USA / 129m / Col / Adventure, British Empire Film
Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Saeed Jaffrey, Christopher Plummer, Karroum Ben Bouih, Jack May, Shakira Caine, Doghmi Larbi, Mohammad Shamsi, Paul Antrim
"It's pure Huston: an impossible quest, an out-of-reach grail and an ironic twist leading to a supremely glorious failure. More than any other of his seventies films, Huston is able to turn their story into a strange sort of triumph by remaining true to his characters, right down to the riveting conclusion and the haunting coda narrated by Caine. He offers wonderfully old-fashioned storytelling—muscula‚Äčr, dramatic, grounded in character and driven by magnificent twists of luck and fate that arise like poetic justice dished out by a wry god—for the modern age." - Sean Axmaker, MSN Entertainment
Selected by Lan Zuwei, David S. Goyer, Daniel Monzón, Andres Amoros, Dominik Graf.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
The Man with a Movie Camera

The Man with a Movie Camera

Top 100 Film / Ranking 27 (25)
Chelovek s kino-apparatom (original title)
1929 / USSR / 80m / BW / Avant-garde-Experimental, Documentary
Mikhail Kaufman
"An analytical account of the State of the (Soviet) Union at a crucial transitional stage, this is one of the most seminal and therefore controversial films in the history of cinema. Vertov's exhilarating and often hilarious exploration of the relations between cinema, actuality and history opened up all the issues Godard, the avant-gardes, and political film-makers have been wrestling with ever since. The film cannot easily be slotted into any single tradition, because it poses all the questions about the status of representation which dominant cinema represses. A truly radical and liberating work." - Peter Watts, Time Out
Selected by Amy Taubin, Adriano Aprà, Alexander Horwath, Robert Sklar, Barbara Hammer.
The Manchurian Candidate

The Manchurian Candidate

1962 / USA / 126m / BW / Political Thriller, Paranoid Thriller
Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, Angela Lansbury, Henry Silva, James Gregory, Leslie Parrish, John McGiver, Khigh Dhiegh, James Edwards
"Seen today, The Manchurian Candidate feels astonishingly contemporary; its astringent political satire still bites, and its story has uncanny contemporary echoes… The Manchurian Candidate is inventive and frisky, takes enormous chances with the audience, and plays not like a "classic" but as a work as alive and smart as when it was first released. "It may be," Pauline Kael wrote at the time, "the most sophisticated satire ever made in Hollywood." Yes, because it satirizes no particular target -- left, right, foreign, domestic -- but the very notion that politics can be taken at face value." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Mike Newell, Martin Campbell, Dávid Klág, Stan Russo, Frank Arnold.
Manhattan

Manhattan

1979 / USA / 96m / BW / Urban Comedy, Romantic Comedy
Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Michael Murphy, Mariel Hemingway, Meryl Streep, Anne Byrne, Karen Ludwig, Michael O'Donoghue, Victor Truro, Tisa Farrow
"Filmed by Gordon Willis in Panavision on Technicolor stock that was printed in monochrome, this is not just Allen's most beautiful film. It's also the most personal… Typically, the critics chose to castigate Allen for choosing a 17 year-old blonde (Hemingway) as his soulmate. But she symbolises the energy and excitement that Isaac had forgotten existed within Manhattan and her parting exhortion to have faith in people is the solution to his emotional and artistic crises. One of Woody's most aesthetically gorgeous films as well as his classic love-hate letter to the city of his soul." - David Parkinson, Empire
Selected by Kenneth Branagh, Greg Mottola, Pen-Ek Ratanaruang, Mark Borchardt, Matt Boyd.
Man's Castle

Man's Castle

1933 / USA / 66m / BW / Romance, Drama
Spencer Tracy, Loretta Young, Marjorie Rambeau, Glenda Farrell, Walter Connolly, Arthur Hohl, Dickie Moore, Harvey Clark, Henry Roquemore, Hector V. Sarno
"Frank Borzage's 1933 masterpiece stars Spencer Tracy and Loretta Young as two lovers who transcend the Depression in a New York shantytown. Few love stories have achieved the emotional intensity of Man's Castle, and most of the others belonged to Borzage as well. He possessed the most delicate romantic sensibility in the movies, and his films are pervaded by a sublime spiritual quality that no one else has been able to capture. Leave your prejudices at home—this should be appreciated on its own terms." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Guy Maddin, Michael Henry Wilson, Alain Ferrari, Jean-Charles Tacchella, David Thomson.
Marketa Lazarova

Marketa Lazarová

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

Marnie

1964 / USA / 129m / Col / Romantic Mystery, Psychological Thriller
Sean Connery, Tippi Hedren, Diane Baker, Martin Gabel, Louise Latham, Alan Napier, Mariette Hartley, Bruce Dern, Bob Sweeney, Milton Selzer
"Universally despised on its first release, Marnie remains one of Alfred Hitchcock's greatest and darkest achievements… The examination of sexual power plays surpasses Fassbinder's films, which Marnie thematically resembles, going beyond a simple dichotomy of strength and weakness into a dense, shifting field of masochism, class antagonism, religious transgression, and the collective unconscious. The mise-en-scene tends toward a painterly abstraction, as Hitchcock employs powerful masses, blank colors, and studiously unreal, spatially distorted settings. Theme and technique meet on the highest level of film art." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Andrew Dominik, Richard Brody, David Meeker, Bernardo Bertolucci, Ken Mogg.
The Marriage of Maria Braun

The Marriage of Maria Braun

Die Ehe der Maria Braun (original title)
1978 / West Germany / 120m / Col / War Drama, Melodrama
Hanna Schygulla, Klaus Lowitsch, Ivan Desny, Gisela Uhlen, Elisabeth Trissenaar, Gottfried John, Hark Bohm, George Byrd, Claus Holm, Gunter Lamprecht
"Maria (Schygulla) marries Hermann Braun in the last days of World War II, only to have him disappear in the war. Alone, Maria uses her beauty and ambition to prosper in Germany’s “economic miracle” of the 1950’s. Fassbinder’s biggest international box-office success and the first part of his “postwar trilogy,” The Marriage of Maria Braun is a heartbreaking study of a woman picking herself up from the ruins of her own life, as well as a pointed metaphorical attack on a society determined to forget its past." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Thomas Elsaesser, Brad Deane, Maria Ulfsak, Hanif Kureishi, Shi Chuan.
Masculin Feminin

Masculin Feminin

Masculin féminin: 15 faits précis (original title)
1966 / France-Sweden / 103m / BW / Urban Drama, Ensemble Film
Jean-Pierre Leaud, Chantal Goya, Catherine-Isabelle Duport, Marlene Jobert, Michel Debord, Eva-Britt Strandberg, Birger Malmsten, Francoise Hardy, Elas Leroy, Brigitte Bardot
"With Masculin féminin, ruthless stylist and iconoclast Jean-Luc Godard introduces the world to “the children of Marx and Coca-Cola,” through a gang of restless youths engaged in hopeless love affairs with music, revolution, and each other. French new wave icon Jean-Pierre Leaud stars as Paul, an idealistic would-be intellectual struggling to forge a relationship with the adorable pop star Madeleine (real-life yé-yé girl Chantal Goya). Through their tempestuous affair, Godard fashions a candid and wildly funny free-form examination of youth culture in throbbing 1960s Paris, mixing satire and tragedy as only Godard can." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Gregg Araki, John Powers, Manohla Dargis, Blake Lucas, Robert Horton.
The Match Factory Girl

The Match Factory Girl

Tulitikkutehtaan tyttö (original title)
1990 / Finland-Sweden / 68m / Col / Drama, Psychological Drama
Kati Outinen, Elina Salo, Esko Nikkari, Vesa Vierikko, Reijo Taipale, Silu Seppala, Outi Maenpaa, Marja Packalen, Richard Reitinger, Helka Viljanen
"Kaurismäki took his penchant for despairing character studies to unspeakably grim depths in the shockingly entertaining The Match Factory Girl. Kati Outinen is memorably impenetrable as Iris, whose grinding days as a cog in a factory wheel, and nights as a neglected daughter living with her parents, ultimately send her over the edge. Yet despite her transgressions, Kaurismäki makes Iris a compelling, even sympathetic figure." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Andreas Dresen, Eulàlia Iglesias Huix, Lenny Abrahamson, Ulrich Gregor, Eric Derobert.
The Matrix

The Matrix

1999 / USA-Australia / 136m / Col / Science Fiction, Sci-Fi Action
Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Joe Pantoliano, Gloria Foster, Marcus Chong, Julian Arahanga, Matt Doran, Belinda McClory
"The Matrix is just one big, fat, honking comic book of a sci-fi-martial-arts adventure flick. It goes over the top, comes back around the bottom and then back over the top again. It has stu-freakin'-pendous special effects, hipster sang-froid out the wazoo and a story line that makes only as much sense as it has to… Kudos to production designer Owen Paterson and comic-book artist Geof Darrow for their angular techno-grunge world of black leather, sunglasses after dark and tentacled machines. Mucho kudos to Hong Kong fight coordinator Yuen Wo Ping for his wire-stunt expertise that makes the actors fly through the air like a bunch of angry, buff marionettes." - Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post
Selected by Anjelika Artyukh, Fernando Solorzano, Gulnara Abikeyeva, Joss Whedon, Huang Jianhong.
A Matter of Life and Death

A Matter of Life and Death

Stairway to Heaven (alternative title)
1946 / UK / 104m / Col / Romantic Fantasy, Heaven-Can-Wait Fantasy
David Niven, Kim Hunter, Roger Livesey, Robert Coote, Marius Goring, Raymond Massey, Abraham Sofaer, Kathleen Byron, Richard Attenborough, Bonar Colleano
"Of all the films Powell and Pressburger made together, A Matter of Life and Death was Powell's favorite. Playful and profound, witty and carefully crafted, it distills the greatest of Powell's artistic gifts and celebrates, with an occasional self-conscious wink, the possibilities of film… Powell never allows A Matter of Life and Death to get wordy or ponderous, and never succumbs to the kind of sentimentality that Frank Capra evoked in It's a Wonderful Life. It's his vivid pleasure in his work -- his infatuation with film, his impeccable sense of color, and the warmth and cleverness of his and Pressburger's script -- that come through strongest." - Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle
Selected by Ian Christie, Anne Billson, Graham Fuller, David Siegel, Scott McGehee .
McCabe & Mrs. Miller

McCabe & Mrs. Miller

1971 / USA / 121m / Col / Drama, Revisionist Western
Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, Rene Auberjonois, John Schuck, Keith Carradine, Hugh Millais, Shelley Duvall, Michael Murphy, William Devane, Bert Remsen
"Robert Altman has made a dozen films that can be called great in one way or another, but one of them is perfect, and that one is McCabe & Mrs. Miller. This is one of the saddest films I have ever seen, filled with a yearning for love and home that will not ever come -- not for McCabe, not with Mrs. Miller, not in the town of Presbyterian Church, which cowers under a gray sky always heavy with rain or snow. The film is a poem--an elegy for the dead." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Ryan Gilbey, A.O. Scott, Athina Rachel Tsangari, Bill Gosden, Alan Rudolph.
Mean Streets

Mean Streets

1973 / USA / 110m / Col / Crime, Urban Drama
Harvey Keitel, Robert De Niro, David Proval, Amy Robinson, Richard Romanus, Cesare Danova, Robert Carradine, David Carradine, Victor Argo, George Memmoli
"The definitive New York movie, and one of the few to successfully integrate rock music into the structure of film… Mean Streets is also pure Italian-American. Charlie (Keitel), a punk on the fringes of 'respectable' organised crime, ponders his adolescent confusions and loyalties. Beneath the swagger, he's embarrassed by his work, his religion, and by women and his friends, particularly Johnny Boy (De Niro), who owes everyone money. Scorsese directs with a breathless, head-on energy which infuses the performances, the sharp fast talk, the noise, neon and violence with a charge of adrenalin. One of the best American films of the decade." - Chris Petit, Time Out
Selected by Antoine Fuqua, Kathryn Bigelow, Nicoletta Romeo, Rahul Hamid, Regina Schlagnitweit.
Meet Me in St. Louis

Meet Me in St. Louis

1944 / USA / 113m / Col / Musical, Family Drama
Judy Garland, Margaret O'Brien, Leon Ames, Mary Astor, Lucille Bremer, June Lockhart, Tom Drake, Marjorie Main, Harry Davenport, Hank Daniels
"Vincente Minnelli created one of his masterpieces with this loosely plotted but tightly structured 1944 story of a middle-class family waiting through spring, summer, and fall for the opening of the Saint Louis World's Fair of 1904. One of the first films to integrate musical numbers into the plot, it explores, without condescension or simplemindedness, the feelings that drive the family members apart and then bring them back together again. And there's the sublime Minnellian spectacle of Judy Garland singing "The Trolley Song," "The Boy Next Door," and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." A great film." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Paul Julian Smith, Philip French, Richard Dyer, David Bordwell, Andy Medhurst.
Melancholia

Melancholia

2011 / Denmark-Sweden-France-Germany / 136m / Col / Science Fiction, Psychological Sci-Fi
Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Alexander Skarsgard, Brady Corbet, Cameron Spurr, Charlotte Rampling, Jesper Christensen, John Hurt, Stellan Skarsgard, Udo Kier
"Besides being an end of the world film, this is an Altmanesque comedy of a social event falling apart and a country-house drama that trumps family spats with the end of the world. Von Trier is a burr under the hide for many viewers, and the unconverted won't be convinced. But it's audacious, beautiful, tactful filmmaking and perhaps the perfect match for The Tree of Life on a bipolar double bill." - Kim Newman, Empire
Selected by Nigel Andrews, Stig Bjorkman, Angelina Nikonova, Monika Bartyzel, David Sorfa.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
Memento

Memento

2000 / USA / 113m / Col / Mystery, Crime Thriller
Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, Mark Boone Jr., Stephen Tobolowsky, Harriet Sansom Harris, Callum Keith Rennie, Larry Holden, Russ Fega, Jorja Fox
"From the start — and cheers here to Wally Pfister's camerawork and Dody Dorn's editing — this jolting jigsaw puzzle of a movie grabs you and won't let go… Memento is a movie that demands we trust no one. In only his second film, after 1999's Following, Nolan stages scenes of dizzying suspense that resonate with raw emotion. His reverse action isn't a trick — it's a way to put us inside Leonard's head… Nolan leaps into the wild blue and dares us to leap with him. Go for it." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Selected by Lisa Mullen, Frank Schnelle, Mike D'Angelo, Cyrus Frisch, Maitland McDonagh.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
Memories of Underdevelopment

Memories of Underdevelopment

Memorias del subdesarrollo (original title)
1968 / Cuba / 97m / BW / Psychological Drama, Political Drama
Sergio Corrieri, Daisy Granados, Eslinda Nunez, Omar Valdes, Rene de la Cruz, Yolanda Farr, Ofelia Gonzalez, Jose Gil Abad, Daniel Jordan, Beatriz Ponchora
"Memories of Underdevelopment is a dazzling piece of work, not just for its political bravery and relentlessly challenging outlook. It’s also a sly and witty but still heartfelt character study, with moments of real warmth glittering amid the revolutionary rubble. With the phrase ‘developing country’ now arbitrarily applied to approximately two thirds of the globe, Alea’s clear-sighted examination of what it means to be ‘developed’, both personally and politically, feels more apposite than ever… One of the true greats of radical cinema." - Tom Huddleston, Time Out
Selected by B. Ruby Rich, Walter Salles, Abé Mark Nornes, Claudio Espana, Gael Garcia Bernal.
Mephisto

Mephisto

1981 / Hungary / 135m / Col / Political Drama, Showbiz Drama
Klaus Maria Brandauer, Krystyna Janda, Ildiko Bansagi, Rolf Hoppe, Gyorgy Cserhalmi, Peter Andorai, Karin Boyd, Christine Harbort, Tamas Major, Ildiko Kishonti
"For all the retro art movie gloss recently applied to the cautionary spectacle of the pre-war rise of Nazism, there has been precious little incisive appraisal of the precise seductive allure of fascism, and certainly none to match that offered by Szabó's remarkable film… A superbly modulated, fruitfully ambivalent central performance by Brandauer carries the emotional and intellectual weight of the political dilemma, while Szabó happily refuses to overstress the Faustian parallels of the perverse power-pact between the cultural icon and his Goebbels-like puppeteer." - Paul Taylor, Time Out
Selected by Dorian Branea, Péter Muszatics, Davina Belling, Govind Nihalani, Ivan Stoyanovich.
Meshes of the Afternoon

Meshes of the Afternoon

1943 / USA / 15m / BW / Avant-garde-Experimental, Surrealist Film
Maya Deren, Alexander Hammid
"Meshes of the Afternoon launched the American avant-garde film movement after World War II. Made in collaboration by Maya Deren and her husband Alexander Hammid, the film depicts a woman's imaginative dream and the way it eventually destroys the woman herself… Meshes is a landmark film that has provided an important model, setting the tone and style for other individual efforts over the next decade… The film consequently inspired poetic self-exploratory films by such other filmmakers as Kenneth Anger, Stan Brakhage, and Willard Maas." - Lauren Rabinovitz, Film Reference
Selected by Tom Gunning, Adam Hyman, Carolina López Caballero, Barbara Hammer, Chris Hegedus.
Metropolis

Metropolis

Top 100 Film / Ranking 41 (49) Orange Up-Arrow
1927 / Germany / 153m / BW / Science Fiction, Psychological Sci-Fi
Alfred Abel, Gustav Frohlich, Brigitte Helm, Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Fritz Rasp, Theodor Loos, Erwin Biswanger, Heinrich George, Olaf Storm, Hans Leo Reich
"The movie has a plot that defies common sense, but its very discontinuity is a strength. It makes Metropolis hallucinatory--a nightmare without the reassurance of a steadying story line. Few films have ever been more visually exhilarating… Metropolis does what many great films do, creating a time, place and characters so striking that they become part of our arsenal of images for imagining the world… Lang filmed for nearly a year, driven by obsession, often cruel to his colleagues, a perfectionist madman, and the result is one of those seminal films without which the others cannot be fully appreciated." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Atom Egoyan, Carrie Rickey, Graham Fuller, Ken Russell, Paul Verhoeven.
Midnight

Midnight

1939 / USA / 94m / BW / Romance, Screwball Comedy
Claudette Colbert, Don Ameche, John Barrymore, Francis Lederer, Mary Astor, Elaine Barrie, Hedda Hopper, Rex O'Malley, Monty Woolley, Armand Kaliz
"An enchanting comedy which starts with Colbert, as an American chorine on the make, stranded in Paris in a gold lamé evening gown (what else?). She is befriended on the one hand by a poor taxi-driver who is really a Russian count (Ameche), and on the other by a wealthy socialite (Barrymore) who 'introduces' her to society so that she can oblige by luring a gigolo away from his wife. Uncanny coincidental parallels with La Règle du Jeu abound, and although the film echoes Renoir's bark more than his bite, it has a superbly malicious script by Brackett and Wilder, gorgeous sets and camerawork, and a matchless cast. All in all, probably Leisen's best film." - Tom Milne, Time Out
Selected by Joanna Hogg, Jose Luis Guarner, Peter Cagin, Alberto Tabbia, Cesar Santos Fontenla.
Midnight Cowboy

Midnight Cowboy

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

Midnight Run

1988 / USA / 122m / Col / Odd Couple Film, Action Comedy
Robert De Niro, Charles Grodin, Yaphet Kotto, John Ashton, Dennis Farina, Joe Pantoliano, Richard Foronjy, Robert Miranda, Jack Kehoe, Wendy Phillips
"That old formula, handcuffed captor and captive who become buddies on the run, gets an injection of new life from the playing of the cast. Bounty hunter Jack Walsh (De Niro) captures bail-jumping accountant Jon Mardukas (Grodin) in New York, but his problems really start when he tries to deliver him to the bail bondsman in LA… Both actors get off on each other, improvising routines and inhabiting the standard Odd Couple teaming so interestingly that at times the film touches a profundity. Here and there, director Brest succumbs to the car chase, but overall the movie is way above average for the genre." - Brian Case, Time Out
Selected by Doug Liman, Jay DiPietro, Ruben Fleischer, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Hans-Dieter Delkus.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
Mildred Pierce

Mildred Pierce

1945 / USA / 109m / BW / Melodrama, Film Noir
Joan Crawford, Jack Carson, Zachary Scott, Eve Arden, Ann Blyth, Bruce Bennett, George Tobias, Lee Patrick, Moroni Olsen, Jo Ann Marlowe
"James Cain's novel of the treacherous life in Southern California that sets house-wife-turned waitress-turned-successful restauranteur (Crawford) against her own daughter (Blyth) in competition for the love of playboy Zachary Scott, is brought fastidiously and bleakly to life by Curtiz' direction, Ernest Haller's camerawork, and Anton Grot's magnificent sets. Told in flashback from the moment of Scott's murder, the film is a chilling demonstration of the fact that, in a patriarchal society, when a woman steps outside the home the end result may be disastrous." - Phil Hardy, Time Out
Selected by Tim Highsted, Anita Chaudhuri, Ngozi Onwurah, Robert Muller, Andy Medhurst.
See also 250 Quintessential Noir Films.
Miller's Crossing

Miller's Crossing

1990 / USA / 115m / Col / Crime, Gangster Film
Gabriel Byrne, Albert Finney, Marcia Gay Harden, John Turturro, Jon Polito, J.E. Freeman, Mike Starr, Al Mancini, Richard Woods, Steve Buscemi
"Like Blood Simple and Raising Arizona, this works both as a crime thriller and as an ironic commentary on that genre. With fast, sharp, witty dialogue and Byzantine plotting, it charts the gang war between Leo (Finney) and Caspar (Polito) in an American city during Prohibition… It is also a tribute to the crime literature (notably Hammett) and movies of the '30s, artfully poised between 'realism' and a subtle acknowledgment of its own artifice… At times the criss-crossing of abstract motifs recalls the formal complexity of a Greenaway film. It's arguably the US mainstream's first art movie since Days of Heaven; and quite wonderful." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Ferenc Zalaba, Maura McHugh, Jon Favreau, Jenny McCartney, Santiago Garcia.
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, Leslie Halliwell, Dilys Powell, Richard Barkley.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
Miracle in Milan

Miracle in Milan

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

Mirror

Top 100 Film / Ranking 26 (27) Orange Up-Arrow
Zerkalo (original title); The Mirror (alternative title)
1974 / USSR / 108m / Col-BW / Avant-garde-Experimental, Essay Film
Margarita Terekhova, Filipp Yankovsky, Ignat Daniltsev, Anatoli Solonitsyn, Nikolai Grinko, L. Correcer, Alla Demidova, Oleg Yankovsky, Innokenti Smoktunovsky, L. Tarkovskaya
"Tarkovsky goes for the great white whale of politicised art - no less than a history of his country in this century seen in terms of the personal - and succeeds. Intercutting a fragmented series of autobiographical episodes, which have only the internal logic of dream and memory, with startling documentary footage, he lovingly builds a world where the domestic expands into the political and crisscrosses back again. Unique its form, unique its vision." - Chris Peachment, Time Out
Selected by Agnieszka Holland, Andrei Plakhov, Ann Hui, Michael Haneke, Clara Law.
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, Susannah Frankel, Wieland Speck.
Moana

Moana

Moana: A Story of the South Seas (alternative title)
1926 / USA / 77m / BW / Culture & Society, Documentary
Fa'amgase, Pe'a, Ta'avale, T'ugaita
"The achievement of Moana — to depict a reality that is partially discovered and partially composed -– is similarly informed by a fascination with ceremony and ritual, a poetic use of archetypal figures as sculptural emblems (enhanced by the stunning photography and Flaherty’s first use of close-ups), and a utopian vision which seems to be largely made up of historical nostalgia. If the world of Moana remains partially false, the Flahertys none the less exhibit a fidelity to that falseness –- and a belief in its truth — that can be found only in the greatest of filmmakers." - Jonathan Rosenbaum
Selected by Richard Leacock, Paul Rotha, Alberto Cavalcanti, Julien Duvivier, Richard Griffith.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
Pasted Graphic

Modern Times

Top 100 Film / Ranking 42 (43) Orange Up-Arrow
1936 / USA / 89m / BW / Comedy, Satire
Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Henry Bergman, Stanley "Tiny" Sandford, Chester Conklin, Allan Garcia, Hank Mann, Louis Natheaux, Stanley Blystone, Sammy Stein
"Modern Times, Charlie Chaplin’s last outing as the Little Tramp, puts the iconic character to work as a giddily inept factory employee who becomes smitten with a gorgeous gamine (Goddard). With its barrage of unforgettable gags and sly commentary on class struggle during the Great Depression, Modern Times—though made almost a decade into the talkie era and containing moments of sound (even song!)—is a timeless showcase of Chaplin’s untouchable genius as a director of silent comedy." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Asghar Farhadi, Guillermo Del Toro, Greg Mottola, Andrew Sarris, Jonathan Kaplan.
A Moment of Innocence

A Moment of Innocence

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

Mon oncle

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

Mon oncle d'Amérique

My American Uncle (English title)
1980 / France / 123m / Col / Comedy Drama, Satire
Gerard Depardieu, Nicole Garcia, Roger Pierre, Nelly Borgeaud, Pierre Arditi, Gerard Darrieu, Philippe Laudenbach, Marie Dubois, Henri Laborit, Bernard Malaterre
"The first genuine hit in Alain Resnais' career takes off from the behaviorist theories of French scientist Henri Laborit, which are illustrated by the stories of three separate characters (Depardieu, Pierre, and Garcia), each of whom identifies with a different French movie star and whose lives occasionally cross. While the quasi-determinist theories of Laborit are never very interesting or persuasive, the film can never really be reduced to them. What matters here is the fluidity of Resnais and screenwriter Jean Gruault's masterful storytelling; they manage to convey a dense, multilayered narrative with remarkable ease and simplicity." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Amit Dutta, Florence Almozini, Edward Yang, Robert Benayoun, Thomas Hesterberg.
Monsieur Verdoux

Monsieur Verdoux

1947 / USA / 123m / BW / Black Comedy, Crime Comedy
Charles Chaplin, Martha Raye, Isobel Elsom, Mady Correll, Marilyn Nash, Irving Bacon, William Frawley, Charles Evans, Allison Roddan, Robert Lewis
"While the descriptive phrase "ahead of its time" is all too often dragged out and tacked on to one marginalized film work after another, in the case of Monsieur Verdoux it is perhaps quite appropriate, given not only the film's lackluster reception in its day, but its surprising formal subtleties. The film's quite hilarious sense of humor, one part slapstick, one part steely wit, works in fluid conjunction with Chaplin's bleaker ruminations, and both are still quite contemporary and relevant even while being bound within very specific contexts. Monsieur Verdoux still matters, and it's still an urgent work of necessary art." - Josh Vasquez, Slant Magazine
Selected by Bernard Eisenschitz, Dan Fainaru, Andy Rector, Gavin Lambert, Mrinal Sen.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

1975 / UK / 90m / Col / Anarchic Comedy, Parody/Spoof
Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Neil Innes, Connie Booth, Carol Cleveland, Bee Duffell
"Famous for its coconuts-in-lieu-of-horse-hooves-clippity-clop scene, for its testy name-calling between the snooty French and the stoic Brits, and for its trenchant sociopolitical commentary (in response to hearing the legend of Excalibur, a serf wags: "You can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you!"), Monty Python and the Holy Grail is nothing short of brilliant." - Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer
Selected by Wu Jueren, Ted Pigeon, Jeffrey Overstreet, David Fincher, Elise Nakhnikian.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
Monty Python's Life of Brian

Monty Python's Life of Brian

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

Moonfleet

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, Pascal Bonitzer, Isabelle Ruchti.
Morocco

Morocco

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, Pere Gimferrer, John Kobal, Norbert Grob.
Mother

Mother

Mat (original title)
1926 / USSR / 70m / BW / Political Drama, Family Drama
Vera Baranovskaya, Nikolai Batalov, Ivan Koval-Samborsky, Anna Zemtsova, Aleksandr Chistyakov, Vsevolod Pudovkin, Aleksandr Savitsky, N. Vidonov
"A major work from the heroic age of radical experiment in Russian cinema, this is a much altered reworking of Gorki's novel, about a peasant woman becoming a political militant after betraying her son's cache of arms to the police. Pudovkin tightened the overall structure, introduced the character of the drunken reactionary husband, and drew masterly performances from members of the Moscow Art Theatre." - Tony Rayns, Time Out
Selected by Iradj Azimi, Georges Sadoul, Julien Duvivier, Onat Kutlar, Marc Ferro.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
Mother and Son

Mother and Son

Mat i syn (original title)
1997 / Russia-Germany / 73m / Col / Family Drama, Psychological Drama
Aleksei Ananishnov, Gudrun Geyer
"In a mountain cabin, a mother lies dying. Her devoted adult son tries to bring comfort to her final moments. In his arms, he carries his mother into nature for their last walks together. Despairing, he takes a walk alone onto mountain paths. That's all. Expect a flushed-out story and you'll be frustrated. Agree to be transported into a cloistered netherworld of mountains-and-valleys greenery and Sokurov's film is something else! It's an extraordinary trip to a terrain of hushed mystery bobbing below your consciousness. Using anamorphic camera lenses in groundbreaking ways, Sokurov creates one of the most painterly features of all times." - Gerald Peary, Boston Phoenix
Selected by Carlos Reygadas, Fran Gayo, Henk Camping, Alistair Banks Griffin, Blue Un Sok Kim.
The Mother and the Whore

The Mother and the Whore

Top 100 Film / Ranking 97 (93)
La Maman et la putain (original title)
1973 / France / 210m / BW / Psychological Drama, Urban Drama
Jean-Pierre Leaud, Francoise Lebrun, Bernadette Lafont, Isabelle Weingarten, Jacques Renard, Jean-Noel Picq, Pierre Cottrell, Bernard Eisenschitz, Jean Douchet, Jean Eustache
"Three-and-a-half hours of people talking about sex sounds like a recipe for boredom; in Eustache's hands, it is anything but. There is no 'explicitness': the film is about attitudes to, and defences against, sex and the body. Using dialogue garnered entirely from real-life conversations and sticking entirely to a prepared script, Eustache has provided us with a ruthlessly sharp-eyed view of chic, supposedly liberated sexual relationships, revealing them to be no less a disaster area of tragic dimensions than their 'straighter' counterparts… The Mother and the Whore is an icy comment on the New Wave, informed throughout by Eustache's striking visual intelligence." - Verina Glaessner, Time Out
Selected by Mark Cousins, Jose Luis Guerin, Corneliu Porumboiu, John Waters, Richard Linklater.
Mother India

Mother India

Bharat Mata (alternative Indian title)
1957 / India / 172m / Col / Epic, Melodrama
Nargis, Sunil Dutt, Rajendra Kumar, Raaj Kumar, Kainhaiyalal, Jilloo Maa, Kumkum, Chanchal, Sheela Naik, Mukri
"Inspired by a Pearl S. Buck paean to the heroic Chinese peasantry, writer-director-producer Mehboob Khan transposed Buck's tale of suffering motherhood to a rural India enlivened by indigenous versions of Soviet-style tractor-opera, Italian neo-realism, Hollywood kiddie-cuteness, a dozen Technicolor musical numbers, and, most significantly, a metaphoric overlay of pop Hinduism… Mother India is played at a high emotional pitch that is rendered all the more forceful by Mehboob's taste for iconic, unmatched inserts, and builds to a climax of maternal sacrifice that trumps all surviving examples of Greek tragedy." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Kevin B. Lee, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Subhash Ghai, Constantine Giannaris, Vidhu Vinod Chopra.
Mothlight

Mothlight

1963 / USA / 4m / Col / Avant-garde-Experimental
"Mothlight visualises a “day in the life” of an insect from birth to death… You could say Brakhage puts the “anima” back into animation, reanimating the dead, painstakingly affixing the remains of dead insects, leaves and the like onto the film strip, and feeding it through the projector back to life. Of course, the principle of film projection is the illusion of life through light, with the audience gathering to watch like moths attracted to a lamp: the beauty of Mothlight is the way Brakhage evokes the moth not through cartoon mimicry, but by the fragile sensation of its movement, batting against the screen, hurtling in descent. The effect is exhilarating and terrifying." - Darragh O'Donoghue, Senses of Cinema
Selected by David Curtis, Michael Glawogger, Robert Haller, Eric Thouvenel, Mika Taanila.
Mouchette

Mouchette

1966 / France / 80m / BW / Drama, Childhood Drama
Nadine Nortier, Marie Cardinal, Paul Hebert, Jean Vimenet, J-C Guilbert, Suzanne Huguenin, Raymonde Chabrun, Marie Susini, Marine Triche
"Adapted from a Georges Bernanos story, Mouchette describes the life and tribulations of a poor, barely mature peasant girl, and remains a magnificent and deeply rewarding example of Bresson's stripped-down methods of cutting and framing, sound and dialogue, performance and movement… Whatever Bresson's spiritual intentions the film provides boundless examples of cinema at its most sublime. In his angry yet compassionate denunciation of a rural society corrupting and undoing an unorthodox angel by self-interest, immorality, alcoholism and spiritual bankruptcy, the director conducts you to the heart of life's paradox." - Wally Hammond, Time Out
Selected by Manoel de Oliveira, Mika Kaurismäki, Richard Corliss, Jon Jost, Jim Jarmusch.
Mr. Hulot's Holiday

Mr. Hulot's Holiday

Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot (original title); Monsieur Hulot's Holiday (alternative title)
1953 / France / 86m / BW / Comedy, Slapstick
Jacques Tati, Nathalie Pascaud, Michelle Rolla, Louis Perrault, Andre Dubois, Valentine Camax, Suzy Willy, Lucien Fregis, Marguerite Gerard, Rene Lacourt
"Pipe-smoking Monsieur Hulot, Jacques Tati’s endearing clown, takes a holiday at a seaside resort where his presence provokes one catastrophe after another. Tati’s wildly funny satire of vacationers determined to enjoy themselves includes a series of precisely choreographed sight gags involving dogs, boats, and firecrackers. The first entry in the Hulot series is a masterpiece of gentle slapstick." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Peter Hames, Richard Lester, Benjamin Safdie, David Parkinson, Paul Cox.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

1939 / USA / 129m / BW / Comedy Drama, Message Movie
James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains, Edward Arnold, Guy Kibbee, Thomas Mitchell, Eugene Pallette, Beulah Bondi, Harry Carey, H.B. Warner
"Stewart's young Wisconsin senator exposing corruption and upholding true American values in a Senate House riddled with graft is quintessential Capra - popular wish-fulfilment served up with such fast-talking comic panache that you don't have time to question its cornball idealism. Scriptwriter Sidney Buchman's crackling dialogue is also lent sharp-tongued conviction by Rains, as the slimy senior senator, Jean Arthur as the hard-boiled dame finally won over by Stewart's honesty, and Harry Carey as the Vice President." - Nigel Floyd, Time Out
Selected by Zhong Dafeng, Ivan Passer, Charles Champlin, Frederic Vitoux, Louis Marcorelles.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
Mulholland Dr.

Mulholland Dr.

Top 100 Film / Ranking 73 (69)
Mulholland Drive (alternative spelling)
2001 / France-US / 147m / Col / Mystery, Psychological Thriller
Justin Theroux, Naomi Watts, Laura Elena Harring, Ann Miller, Dan Hedaya, Mark Pellegrino, Brent Briscoe, Robert Forster, Katharine Towne, Lee Grant
"Fashioned from the ruins of a two-hour TV pilot rejected by ABC in 1999, Lynch's erotic thriller careens from one violent non sequitur to another. The movie boldly teeters on the brink of self-parody, reveling in its own excess and resisting narrative logic. This voluptuous phantasmagoria is certainly Lynch's strongest movie since Blue Velvet and maybe Eraserhead. The very things that failed him in the bad-boy rockabilly debacle of Lost Highway—the atmosphere of free-floating menace, pointless transmigration of souls, provocatively dropped plot stitches, gimcrack alternate universes—are here brilliantly rehabilitated." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Andrew Dominik, Guy Maddin, Kim Newman, Huang Yixi, R. Kurt Osenlund.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
Muriel

Muriel

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

The Music Room

Jalsaghar (original title)
1958 / India / 95m / BW / Drama, Psychological Drama
Chhabi Biswas, Gangapada Basu, Pinaki Sengupta, Padma Devi, Tulsi Lahiri, Kali Sarkar, Waheed Khan, Roshan Kumari, Sardar Akhtar, Tulshi Chakraborty
"With The Music Room, Satyajit Ray brilliantly evokes the crumbling opulence of the world of a fallen aristocrat (the beloved actor Chhabi Biswas) desperately clinging to a fading way of life. His greatest joy is the music room in which he has hosted lavish concerts over the years—now a shadow of its former vivid self. An incandescent depiction of the clash between tradition and modernity, and a showcase for some of India’s most popular musicians of the day, The Music Room is a defining work by the great Bengali filmmaker." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Amos Gitai, Derek Malcolm, Nasreen Munni Kabir, Charles Tesson, Gilles Jacob.
My Darling Clementine

My Darling Clementine

1946 / USA / 97m / BW / Western, Traditional Western
Henry Fonda, Victor Mature, Linda Darnell, Walter Brennan, Tim Holt, Cathy Downs, Ward Bond, Alan Mowbray, John Ireland, Roy Roberts
"My Darling Clementine is a great western, just as are Budd Boetticher's and Sam Peckinpah's, because of exactly what it delivers that westerns normally didn't: a measure of emotional maturity, a sense of dread and cost in regards to violence, a notion of frontier life being difficult and soul-hardening, not breezy and schoolyard fun. Ford didn't believe in this general perspective all the time, apparently (see Fort Apache [1948] or The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance [1962] for the flip-side), but when he did it made westerns in which a grown man could get lost." - Michael Atkinson, TCM
Selected by Jose Luis Guerin, Michael Caton-Jones, Michael Mann, Bruce Beresford, Peter Cowie.
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My Friend Ivan Lapshin

Moy drug Ivan Lapshin (original title)
1986 / USSR / 100m / Col-BW / Police Drama, Period Film
Andrei Boltnev, Nina Ruslanova, Andrei Mironov, Aleksei Zharkov, Zinaida Adamovich, Aleksandr Filippenko, Yuri Kuznetsov, Valeri Filonov, Anatoli Slivnikov, Andrei Dudarenko
"Gherman's masterly film (his third) is framed as an autobiographical reminiscence of the 1930s, just before the Stalinist terror began to bite. Through the eyes of a nine-year-old we watch episodes from the life of a small town police chief… Gherman's methods are resolutely observational and low key, and his subject is the lull before the storm; the drama emerges as if by accident from a collage of resonant and deeply felt scenes from day-to-day life. Wonderfully vivid performances and amazingly original camerawork (mostly in elegantly faded monochrome) bring a vanished world to life with complete conviction." - Tony Rayns, Time Out
Selected by John Powers, Julian Graffy, Alexei Popogrebsky, Verina Glaessner, Sergei Bodrov.
My Life as a Dog

My Life as a Dog

Mitt liv som hund (original title)
1985 / Sweden / 101m / Col / Coming-of-Age, Childhood Drama
Anton Glanzelius, Manfred Serner, Anki Liden, Tomas von Bromssen, Melinda Kinnaman, Ing-mari Carlsson, Kicki Rundgren, Lennart Hjulstrom, Leif Erickson, Christina Carlwind
"My Life as a Dog tells the story of Ingemar, a twelve-year-old from a working-class family sent to live with his uncle in a country village when his mother falls ill. There, with the help of the warmhearted eccentrics who populate the town, the boy finds both refuge from his misfortunes and unexpected adventure. Featuring an incredibly mature and unaffected performance by the young Anton Glanzelius, this film is a beloved and bittersweet evocation of the struggles and joys of childhood from Oscar-nominated director Lasse Hallström." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Roger Donaldson, Robert Gardner, Nick Broomfield, Claire Binns, Stefan Schwartz.
My Man Godfrey

My Man Godfrey

1936 / USA / 95m / BW / Screwball Comedy, Sophisticated Comedy
William Powell, Carole Lombard, Gail Patrick, Alice Brady, Eugene Pallette, Alan Mowbray, Mischa Auer, Franklin Pangborn, Grady Sutton, Jane Wyman
"My Man Godfrey, one of the treasures of 1930s screwball comedy, doesn't merely use Lombard and Powell, it loves them… These two actors, who were briefly married (1931-33) before the film was made in 1936, embody personal style in a way that is (to use a cliche that I mean sincerely) effortlessly magical… This movie, and the actors in it, and its style of production, and the system that produced it, and the audiences that loved it, have all been replaced by pop culture of brainless vulgarity. But the movie survives, and to watch it is to be rescued from some people who don't care that it makes a difference ... to some people." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Gráinne Humphreys, Shane Danielsen, Tim Robbins, Frederic Vitoux, Elise Nakhnikian.
My Neighbour Totoro

My Neighbour Totoro

Tonari no Totoro (original title)
1988 / Japan / 86m / Col / Children's Fantasy, Animation
Hitoshi Takagi, Noriko Hidaka, Chika Sakamoto, Shigesatu Itoi, Sumi Shimamoto, Toshiyuki Amagasa, Tanie Kitabayashi, Yuko Maruyama, Masashi Hirose, Reiko Suzuki
"Here is a children's film made for the world we should live in, rather than the one we occupy. A film with no villains. No fight scenes. No evil adults. No fighting between the two kids. No scary monsters. No darkness before the dawn. A world that is benign. A world where if you meet a strange towering creature in the forest, you curl up on its tummy and have a nap… My Neighbor Totoro has become one of the most beloved of all family films without ever having been much promoted or advertised… The new Anime Encyclopedia calls it the best Japanese animated film ever made. Whenever I watch it, I smile, and smile, and smile." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Andrew Osmond, Athina Rachel Tsangari, Bill Gosden, Jonathan Ross, Jonathan Lack.
My Night at Maud's

My Night at Maud's

Ma nuit chez Maud (original title); My Night with Maud (alternative title)
1969 / France / 105m / BW / Comedy of Manners, Romantic Drama
Jean-Louis Trintignant, Francoise Fabian, Marie-Christine Barrault, Antoine Vitez, Leonide Kogan, Anne Dubot, Guy Leger, Marie Becker, Marie-Claude Rauzier
"In the brilliantly accomplished centerpiece of Rohmer’s Moral Tales series, Jean-Louis Trintignant plays Jean-Louis, one of the great conflicted figures of sixties cinema. A pious Catholic engineer in his early thirties, he lives by a strict moral code in order to rationalize his world… After spotting the delicate, blonde Françoise at Mass, he vows to make her his wife, although when he unwittingly spends the night at the apartment of the bold, brunette divorcée Maud, his rigid ethical standards are challenged... A breakout hit in the United States, My Night at Maud’s was one of the most influential and talked-about films of the decade." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Chris Fujiwara, Corneliu Porumboiu, Geoff Andrew, Susan Sontag, Robert Benton.
My Own Private Idaho

My Own Private Idaho

1991 / USA / 102m / Col / Drama, Buddy Film
River Phoenix, Keanu Reeves, James Russo, William Richert, Rodney Harvey, Chiara Caselli, Udo Kier, Grace Zabriskie, Tom Troupe, Michael Parker
"River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves star in Gus Van Sant’s haunting tale of two young street hustlers: Mike Waters, a sensitive narcoleptic who dreams of the mother who abandoned him, and Scott Favor, the wayward son of the mayor of Portland and object of Mike’s desire. Navigating a volatile world of junkies, thieves, and johns, Mike takes Scott on a quest from the grungy streets to the open highways of the Pacific Northwest, in search of an elusive place called home. Visually dazzling and groundbreaking, My Own Private Idaho is a deeply moving look at unrequited love and life at society’s margins." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Cate Shortland, Gunnar Almer, Sophie Mayer, James Franco, Xavier Dolan.
Naked

Naked

1993 / UK / 126m / Col / Urban Drama, Social Problem Film
David Thewlis, Lesley Sharp, Katrin Cartlidge, Greg Cruttwell, Claire Skinner, Peter Wight, Elizabeth Berrington, Ewen Bremner, Deborah MacLaren, Carolina Giametto
"The brilliant and controversial Naked, from director Mike Leigh, stars David Thewlis as Johnny, a charming and eloquent but relentlessly vicious drifter. Rejecting anyone who might care for him, the volcanic Johnny hurls himself around London on a nocturnal odyssey, colliding with a succession of other desperate and dispossessed people and scorching everyone in his path. With a virtuoso script and raw performances from Thewlis and costars Katrin Cartlidge and Lesley Sharp, Leigh’s depiction of England’s underbelly is an amalgam of black comedy and doomsday prophecy that took the best director and best actor prizes at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Pavel Bednarik, Leonard Quart, Marian Crisan, Glenn Myrent, Sean Baker.
The Naked Spur

The Naked Spur

1953 / USA / 91m / Col / Western, Psychological Western
James Stewart, Robert Ryan, Janet Leigh, Ralph Meeker, Millard Mitchell
"An uncharacteristically nasty James Stewart plays an obsessive bounty hunter with Robert Ryan in tow in one of the very best Anthony Mann westerns—which means one of the very best westerns, period. This 1953 film has Janet Leigh in jeans, beautiful location shooting (and Technicolor cinematography) in the Rockies, and some of the most intense psychological warfare to be found in Mann's angular and anguished oeuvre." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Blake Lucas, Harald Pauli, Jeffrey M. Anderson, Miguel Marias, Paul Schrader.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
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Nanook of the North

1922 / USA / 79m / BW / Anthropology, Documentary
Nanook, Nyla, Cunayou, Allee, Allegoo
"Nanook of the North stands as a record of the intrepid kind of late 19th century explorer who somewhat romantically but never sentimentally came to love the place he explored. Its people, too. We can forgive him his choice of the harpoon as arising from an impulse to preserve a record of a culture fast vanishing even as he was photographing it. Flaherty had an eye, and often said, as only a man who has traversed it can say, that the Canadian landscape is itself a powerful character. Trail-blazing and, if not ethnographically pure, profoundly human in its ability to empathetically bring us into Inuit life, Nanook of the North remains an amazing film." - Jay Carr, TCM
Selected by Aki Kaurismäki, Hong Sang-soo, Antonio Mariotti, D.A. Pennebaker, Gilles Jacob.
Napoleon

Napoléon

1927 / France / 235m / BW / Historical Epic, Biography
Albert Dieudonne, Gina Manes, Annabella, Vladimir Roudenko, Edmond Van Daele, Alexander Koubitzky, Antonin Artaud, Abel Gance, Nicolas Koline, Pierre Batcheff
"Despite its simplistic view of Napoleon himself - seen from childhood to the fascistic start of his empire-building as a 'man of destiny', guided through hardships and loneliness by his 'inner eagle' - the film is completely vindicated by Gance's raving enthusiasm for his medium. All of the brilliant experiments with film language remain potent, from the montages of flash-frames to the bombastic poetry of the triptych finale; even the gags are still funny. The many highpoints include the hour-long siege of Toulon in torrential rain, won by strategies prefigured in the opening snowball fight, and Gance's own patrician performance as the cold-blooded Saint-Just." - Tony Rayns, Time Out
Selected by Kenneth Branagh, Olivier Assayas, Mia Hansen-Love, Lewis Gilbert, Ronald Neame.
Nashville

Nashville

Top 100 Film / Ranking 81 (83) Orange Up-Arrow
1975 / USA/ 159m / Col / Ensemble Film, Media Satire
Ned Beatty, Karen Black, Ronee Blakley, Keith Carradine, Geraldine Chaplin, Shelley Duvall, Allen Garfield, Henry Gibson, Scott Glenn, Jeff Goldblum
"Spacious, shrewdly detailed and conceived with compassion and wit, it unfurls at an unhurried walking pace, spreading itself across a very American urban landscape. Nashville is the home of the Grand Old Opry, the epicentre of American country music where musicians, producers, promoters and good ol' boys are getting pressured by a political wheeler-dealer into supporting an independent new presidential candidate. Dozens of stories and lives criss-cross each other… Their intersections are brilliantly constructed by Altman, yet everything appears utterly natural and unforced - could a modern screenplay seminar teach anything like this?" - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Armond White, Patrick McGilligan, Peter Tscherkassky, John Cameron Mitchell, David Gordon Green.
National Lampoon's Animal House

National Lampoon's Animal House

Animal House (alternative title)
1978 / USA / 109m / Col / Gross-Out Comedy, Anarchic Comedy
John Belushi, Tim Matheson, John Vernon, Verna Bloom, Tom Hulce, Cesare Danova, Peter Riegert, Donald Sutherland, Mary Louise Weller, Stephen Furst
"Animal House marked a new era in American comedy, bringing together the anarchic Ivy League sensibilities of the Harvard Lampoon and the freewheeling, sketch-driven style of Chicago's legendary Second City improv troupe. It was a match that would come to define and dominate the approach to modern comedy… As a cultural phenomenon, Animal House was one of the first big studio comedies aimed at the teen/college demographic and has the dubious distinction of spawning the toga party and making food fights seem like a venerable American institution… This is likely the only film in the National Film Registry to feature a character imitating a zit with a mouthful of mashed potatoes." - Rob Nixon, TCM
Selected by Bobby Farrelly, Richard Curtis, David Fincher, Michael Tolkin, Helmut Fiebig.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
The Navigator

The Navigator

1924 / USA / 59m / BW / Comedy, Slapstick
Buster Keaton, Kathryn McGuire, Frederick Vroom, Clarence Burton, H.N. Clugston, Noble Johnson
"Buster Keaton's 1924 film is about a rich young couple, who have never needed to look out for themselves, cast adrift on a deserted ocean liner. The ordinary difficulties of existence are magnified by the fact that all the facilities are intended not for individual needs but to cater to a thousand people. The situation is perfectly suited to Keaton's natural sense of surrealism—everything is too big, too full, and too much. Keaton and his girlfriend (McGuire) become two innocents lost in a threatening, mechanistic Eden, alone in their oversized world. A masterpiece, and very, very funny." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Götz Spielmann, Patrice Rollet, Vincent Ward, Peter Keough, Pascal Merigeau.
Nazarin

Nazarín

1958 / Mexico / 94m / BW / Religious Drama, Satire
Francisco Rabal, Marga Lopez, Rita Macedo, Jesus Fernandez, Ignacio Lopez Tarso, Luis Aceves Castaneda, Ofelia Guilmain, Noe Murayama, Rosenda Monteros, Victorio Blanco
"This deceptively simple masterwork was one of Buñuel's favorite films and one of his most curiously received, and with good reason. "Jacques Prévert, an adamant anticleric, regretted that I'd given a priest the leading role. 'It's ridiculous to worry about their problems,' he told me, believing as he did that all priests were thoroughly reprehensible," notes Buñuel in his autobiography. Others referred to the film as the director's "attempt at personal rehabilitation" and while Nazarín may find him uniquely sympathetic to the Catholic cause, Buñuel is still very much critical of the folly of a certain pure form of Christianity." - Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine
Selected by Arturo Ripstein, Hong Sang-soo, José María de Orbe, Andrei Tarkovsky, Peter Harcourt.
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Network

1976 / USA / 121m / Col / Comedy Drama, Media Satire
Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch, Robert Duvall, Wesley Addy, Ned Beatty, Arthur Burghardt, Bill Burrows, John Carpenter, Jordan Charney
"Two decades later, this iconic American New Wave renegade text is even more startling than it once was—was Hollywood ever this cerebral, this caustic, this ethically apocalyptic? That 90 percent of Network's satire has become fulfilled prophecy by now doesn't take the shine off of its broadsword. Reality-show whoredom, death TV, New Globalistic anti-humanism, audience as robotic consumer—it's all here and all still hamburger in the teeth of this movie, written with hissing rage and in huge, thoughtful paragraphs by Paddy Chayefsky and directed with a vivid sense of '70s genuineness by Sidney Lumet." - Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice
Selected by Cyrus Frisch, George Clooney, Bennett Miller, David Michôd, P.J. Hogan.
New York, New York

New York, New York

1977 / USA / 164m / Col / Period Film, Musical Drama
Liza Minnelli, Robert De Niro, Lionel Stander, Barry Primus, Mary Kay Place, George Auld, George Memmoli, Dick Miller, Diahnne Abbott, Selma Archerd
"Martin Scorsese’s criminally neglected tribute to the heyday of the MGM musical has aged astonishingly well. Following his ’70s hat-trick of Mean Streets, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore and Taxi Driver, it was the director’s first critical and commercial flop. But as per usual, Scorsese was ahead of his time, incorporating freeform East Coast film acting with the opulent fakery of the classic studio production, complete with giant sets, musical numbers and a cast of thousands. It’s also the movie that gave Sinatra and the big apple its signature tune, the title song astonishingly overlooked in the Best Song Oscar category." - Damon Wise, Empire
Selected by Judith Williamson, Joanna Hogg, Milan Pavlovic, Edwin Bernard, Shu Kei.
News from Home

News from Home

1976 / France-Belgium-West Germany / 85m / Col / Avant-garde/Experimental, Urban Drama
Chantal Akerman
"Akerman explores the disjunction between European myths about New York - with its monumental cityscapes and cinematic glamour - and the reality, a place of hopeless ghettos and monotonous suburbs. In counterpoint to cinema-photographer Babette Mangolte's powerful images of the city, the soundtrack consists of banal letters from a petit bourgeois Belgian mother to her daughter in New York. A considerable contribution to the hinterland area between narrative cinema and the avant-garde." - Lynda Myles, Time Out
Selected by Ira Sachs, Richard Kwietniowski, Frieda Grafe, Catherine Jessica Beed, José Sarmiento Hinojosa.
Night and Fog

Night and Fog

Nuit et brouillard (original title)
1955 / France / 32m / Col-BW / Military & War, Documentary
Michel Bouquet
"Ten years after the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps, filmmaker Alain Resnais documented the abandoned grounds of Auschwitz. One of the first cinematic reflections on the horrors of the Holocaust, Night and Fog contrasts the stillness of the abandoned camps’ quiet, empty buildings with haunting wartime footage. With Night and Fog, Resnais investigates the cyclical nature of man’s violence toward man and presents the unsettling suggestion that such horrors could come again." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Michael Apted, Alex Gibney, Ann Turner, Elizabeth Wood, Veronique Godard.
A Night at the Opera

A Night at the Opera

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

Night of the Demon

Curse of the Demon (alternative title)
1957 / UK / 82m / BW / Occult Horror, Gothic Film
Dana Andrews, Peggy Cummins, Niall MacGinnis, Maurice Denham, Athene Seyler, Reginald Beckwith, Liam Redmond, Ewan Roberts, Peter Elliott, Rosamund Greenwood
"A major work in that minor genre, horror movies. Intelligent, delicate, and actually frightening (no kidding), this was directed by Jacques Tourneur, author of many of the best of Val Lewton's famous series of B-budget shockers. A shot or two of a cheesy monster (insisted upon by the producer) are the only violations of the film's sublime allusiveness, through which the unseen acquires a palpitating presence. Tourneur is attempting a rational apprehension of the irrational, examining not so much the supernatural itself but the insecurities it springs from and the uses it may be put to." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Billy Chainsaw, Mark Pilkington, Pascal Bonitzer, Simon Mizrahi, Jordi Costa.
The Night of the Hunter

The Night of the Hunter

Top 100 Film / Ranking 44 (40)
1955 / USA / 93m / BW / Crime Thriller, Psychological Thriller
Robert Mitchum, Lillian Gish, Shelley Winters, Peter Graves, Billy Chapin, James Gleason, Sally Ann Bruce, Evelyn Varden, Don Beddoe, Gloria Castillo
"The Night of the Hunter—incredibly, the only film the great actor Charles Laughton ever directed—is truly a stand-alone masterwork. A horror movie with qualities of a Grimm fairy tale, it stars a sublimely sinister Robert Mitchum as a traveling preacher named Harry Powell, whose nefarious motives for marrying a fragile widow, played by Shelley Winters, are uncovered by her terrified young children. Graced by images of eerie beauty and a sneaky sense of humor, this ethereal, expressionistic American classic—also featuring the contributions of actress Lillian Gish and writer James Agee—is cinema’s most eccentric rendering of the battle between good and evil." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Andrew Dominik, Jan Troell, Nicolas Philibert, David Ehrenstein, Gore Verbinski.
See also 250 Quintessential Noir Films.
Night of the Living Dead

Night of the Living Dead

1968 / USA / 96m / BW / Horror, Creature Film
Judith O'Dea, Duane Jones, Karl Hardman, Russell Streiner, Keith Wayne, Judith Ridley, Marilyn Eastman, Kyra Schon, Bill Heinzman, Charles Craig
"Night of the Living Dead came out of nowhere, or to be more precise, Pittsburgh, and turned into the most influential horror film since Psycho. George Romero's remarkably assured debut, made on a shoestring, about a group of people barricaded inside a farmhouse while an army of flesh-eating zombies roams the countryside, deflates all genre clichés. It traded the expressionistic sets of the traditional fright flick for a neorealistic style—Romero's use of natural locations and grainy black and white gave his gorefest the look and feel of a doc… This was Middle America at war, and the zombie carnage seemed a grotesque echo of the conflict then raging in Vietnam." - Elliott Stein, The Village Voice
Selected by Scott Foundas, Mario Van Peebles, Wes Craven, Pablo Stoll, Philip Ilson.
Nights of Cabiria

Nights of Cabiria

Le Notti di Cabiria (original title)
1957 / Italy-France / 110m / BW / Melodrama, Tragi-comedy
Giulietta Masina, Francois Perier, Amedeo Nazzari, Aldo Silvani, Franca Marzi, Dorian Gray, Mario Passante, Pina Gualandri, Polidor, Enio Girolami
"The story basically consists of five lengthy episodes in the life and career of a prostitute who repeatedly becomes disillusioned but keeps finding the resources to believe in romantic love just the same. Masina's exaggerated grimaces and clownlike features, which hark back to the tradition of silent comics, are undoubtedly mannerist, but part of Fellini's mastery is to make them necessary correlatives to his own vision of innocence. Too melodramatic and fanciful in turn to qualify as “neorealism” in the usual sense, despite the gritty Roman street slang contributed by Pasolini, this gains immeasurably, like many other Fellini films, from Nino Rota's wistful music." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Hirokazu Koreeda, Jirí Menzel, James Gray, John Cameron Mitchell, Ali Smith.
1900

1900

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

Ninotchka

1939 / USA / 110m / BW / Romantic Comedy, Sophisticated Comedy
Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas, Ina Claire, Sig Ruman, Felix Bressart, Bela Lugosi, Alexander Granach, Gregory Gaye, Richard Carle, Edwin Maxwell
"Directed by Ernst Lubitsch and co-scripted by Billy Wilder, this enduring delight stands at the crossroads of American screen comedy. Studded with instances of the 'Lubitsch Touch' and imbued with the screwball spirit, it contains significant traces of the acerbic satire that would become Wilder's trademark in the less innocent postwar world… Lubitsch managed to relax Garbo to the extent that she was not only very funny, but also more feminine than in any role bar Camille and it's the fact that she comes across as a woman and not an icon that makes this performance so memorable… Iridescent and teaming with vitality, Garbo glows in her penultimate film " - David Parkinson, Empire
Selected by Fernando Trueba, Marc Cerisuelo, Jean Dutourd, Simon Relph, Marta Balletbo Coll.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
No Country for Old Men

No Country for Old Men

2007 / USA / 122m / Col / Thriller, Crime Thriller
Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson, Kelly Macdonald, Garret Dillahunt, Tess Harper, Barry Corbin, Stephen Root, Rodger Boyce
"No Country for Old Men is purgatory for the squeamish and the easily spooked. For formalists — those moviegoers sent into raptures by tight editing, nimble camera work and faultless sound design — it’s pure heaven... Joel and Ethan Coen, who share writing and directing credit here, combine virtuosic dexterity with mischievous high spirits, as if they were playing Franz Liszt’s most treacherous compositions on dueling banjos… In the Coen canon it belongs with Blood Simple, Miller’s Crossing and Fargo as a densely woven crime story made more effective by a certain controlled stylistic perversity." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Farai Sevenzo, Milan Pavlovic, Mohamed Al-Daradji, Tan Chui Mui, Hannah Fidell.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
North by Northwest

North by Northwest

Top 100 Film / Ranking 62 (60)
1959 / USA / 136m / Col / Thriller, Chase Movie
Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Jessie Royce Landis, Leo G. Carroll, Martin Landau, Philip Ober, Josephine Hutchinson, Adam Williams, Edward Platt
"The romcom suspense caper is a cinematic recipe that Alfred Hitchcock took with him to his grave; certainly I can't imagine anyone now succeeding in blending thrills, spills, caresses and laughs the way he did in this sublime classic from 1959… Cary Grant plays Roger Thornhill, a debonair Madison Avenue ad executive mistaken for a US agent by sinister foreign forces led by James Mason, fitted up for a murder he didn't commit and then pursued across America for some sensational setpieces, including the stunningly nightmarish crop-duster plane sequence. Naturally, he has a classic Hitchcock blonde for company: Eva Marie Saint." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Chris Fujiwara, Michel Hazanavicius, Jeff Nichols, José Luis Garci, Pedro Almodóvar.
Nosferatu

Nosferatu

Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (original title)
1922 / Germany / 84m / BW / Horror, Gothic Film
Max Schreck, Alexander Granach, Gustav von Wangenheim, Greta Schroeder, G.H. Schnell, Ruth Landshoff, John Gottowt, Gustav Botz, Max Nemetz, Wolfgang Heinz
"A masterpiece of the German silent cinema and easily the most effective version of Dracula on record. F.W. Murnau's 1922 film follows the Bram Stoker novel fairly closely, although he neglected to purchase the screen rights—hence, the title change. But the key elements are all Murnau's own: the eerie intrusions of expressionist style on natural settings, the strong sexual subtext, and the daring use of fast-motion and negative photography." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Christopher Frayling, Guillermo Del Toro, Ann Hui, Werner Herzog, Jacques Lourcelles.
Nostalghia

Nostalghia

Nostalgia (English title)
1983 / Italy / 120m / Col / Drama, Psychological Drama
Oleg Yankovsky, Erland Josephson, Domiziana Giordano, Patrizia Terreno, Laura De Marchi, Delia Boccardo, Milena Vukotic, Raffaele Di Mario, Rate Furlan, Livio Galassi
"Another of Tarkovsky's strange, hauntingly beautiful meditations on man's search for self. The film may forsake the run-down space station of Solaris or the miraculous Zone of Stalker for the hilltop villages of Tuscany, but its framework is familiar (flashbacks in spectral black-and-white, the use of rich sepia alongside pastel colour to blur distinctions between dream and reality), and so are its themes (memory, melancholia, disenchantment with the material world, dogged stumbling after salvation)… Tarkovsky remains as much a metaphysician as anything else, and Nostalgia isn't an entertainment but an article of faith." - Angus MacKinnon, Time Out
Selected by Krzysztof Zanussi, Guy Désiré Yameogo, Bryan Chang, Veronique Godard, Matt Boyd.
Not Reconciled

Not Reconciled

Nicht versöhnt oder Es hilft nur Gewalt wo Gewalt herrscht (original title)
1965 / West Germany / 53m / BW / Drama, Family Drama
Heinrich Hargesheimer, Carlheinz Hargesheimer, Martha Staendner, Daniele Huillet, Henning Harmssen, Ulrich Hopmann, Joachim Weiler, Eva-Maria Bold, Hiltraud Wegener, Ulrich von Thuna
"Fifty years of German social and political history, from the anti-Communism of 1910 through the anti-semitism of the '30s to a political reprisal in 1960. Explored a-chronologically, in vignettes from the lives of three generations of a middle class family. Taken from Heinrich Böll's novel Billiards at Half Past Nine, but with all the mechanics of storytelling and the frosting of 'style' removed. Read the novel for the narrative; see Straub's movie for the steely precision of its ideas and images, enhanced by Brechtian acting and the absence of all redundancies. Difficult in ways that few films are, but necessarily difficult." - Tony Rayns, Time Out
Selected by Thom Andersen, Chris Petit, Daisuke Akasaka, Harun Farocki, Jacques Aumont.
Notorious

Notorious

1946 / USA / 101m / BW / Thriller, Romantic Mystery
Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Louis Calhern, Leopoldine Konstantin, Reinhold Schunzel, Moroni Olsen, Ivan Triesault, Alexis Minotis, Wally Brown
"In Notorious, a brilliant allegory of love and betrayal, Hitchcock fuses two of his favorite elements: suspense and romance. A beautiful woman with a tainted past (Bergman) is enlisted by American agent Devlin (Grant) to spy on a ring of Nazis in post-war Rio. Her espionage work becomes life-threatening after she marries the most debonair of the Nazi ring, Alex (Rains). Only Devlin can rescue her, but to do so he must face his role in her desperate situation and acknowledge that he’s loved her all along. Stunning performances, Ben Hecht’s excellent script, and Hitchcock’s direction at its best make Notorious a perfect film." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by John Powers, Kent Jones, Kim Newman, Robert Rodriguez, Gavin Lambert.
See also 250 Quintessential Noir Films.
La Notte

La Notte

1961 / Italy-France / 120m / BW / Psychological Drama, Marriage Drama
Jeanne Moreau, Marcello Mastroianni, Monica Vitti, Bernhard Wicki, Rosy Mazzacurati, Maria Puzi Luzi, Guido A. Marsan, Vittorio Bertolini, Vincenzo Corbella, Ugo Fortunati
"An equally stunning follow-up to Michelangelo Antonioni's landmark 1960 film, L'avventura, La Notte explores similar themes of dysfunctional relationships and a seemingly unattainable search for sincere passion. Again, these underlying themes center on a loosely strung, somewhat inconsequential plot, elevated to fascinating heights by the film's meticulous pace and emphasis on visual nuance... Best appreciated when benchmarked against L'avventura's epic qualities and L'eclisse's almost painful austerity, La Notte serves as a perfect medium in terms of both narrative and technique -- engaging and poetic yet simple and direct." - Jason Birchmeier, All Movie
Selected by Eloísa Solaas, Aaron Katz, Bryan Chang, Alexander Payne, Eva Zaoralova.
Nouvelle Vague

Nouvelle vague

New Wave (English title)
1990 / France-Switzerland / 88m / Col / Avant-garde-Experimental, Fantasy
Alain Delon, Domiziana Giordano, Jacques Dacqmine, Christophe Odent, Roland Amstutz, Cecile Reigher, Laurence Cote, Joseph Lisbona, Veronique Muller, Joe Sheridan
"Godard's opening salvo of the '90s sustains an elegiac note to unexpectedly potent effect. While the connecting narrative's a characteristically wilful and oblique affair, in which fabulously wealthy Giordano adopts drifter Delon as a house guest, their tentative emotional rapprochement set against the scheming of sundry business types, it's the larger view of a society obsessed by consumption and commodities at the expense of culture, moral integrity and human feelings that leaves the stronger impression… Godard conjures a fragmentary celluloid music expressing a deep sense of loss." - Trevor Johnston, Time Out
Selected by Armond White, Gavin Smith, Jean Narboni, Jacques Aumont, Claire Denis.
Now, Voyager

Now, Voyager

1942 / USA / 117m / BW / Romantic Drama, Melodrama
Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Gladys Cooper, Bonita Granville, John Loder, Ilka Chase, Lee Patrick, Janis Wilson, Franklin Pangborn
"Davis, impeccable as usual, turns the sow's ear of Hollywood's notion of a repressed spinster (remove the glasses and lo! a beauty) into something like a silk purse. Great stuff as a worldly-wise psychiatrist (Rains at his smoothest) recommends a cruise, and bitter-sweet shipboard romance soars with an unhappily married architect (Henreid, suavely performing the archetypal two-cigarette trick). The women's weepie angle gets to be a bit of a slog later on, but it is all wrapped up as a mesmerically glittering package by Rapper's direction, Sol Polito's camerawork, and Max Steiner's lushly romantic score." - Tom Milne, Time Out
Selected by Chris Chang, Richard Kwietniowski, Mark Jancovich, Donna Bowman, Anita Chaudhuri.
La Nuit du carrefour

La Nuit du carrefour

Night at the Crossroads (English title)
1932 / France / 73m / BW / Police Detective Film, Crime Drama
Michael Duran, Georges Koudria, Jane Pierson, Pierre Renoir, Winna Winifried
"The screen's first Simenon adaptation, a wonderfully impenetrable mystery in which a series of murders and murder attempts gradually unravel a tale of star-crossed love and stolen diamonds, centring on a lonely crossroads, a sleazy garage, and a semi-derelict house harbouring an enigmatic, drug-stupefied femme fatale. Shot almost entirely on location and in direct sound, with most of the action taking place at night or in permanently shrouding mists, the whole film is seen and heard as through a glass, darkly… Weird, hallucinating and oddly poetic, it prefigures the treacherous perspectives of the later film noir." - Tom Milne, Time Out
Selected by James Naremore, Cristina Fernandes, Martial Pisani, Gilbert Adair, Edoardo Bruno.
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, Harun Farocki, Jill Godmilow.
The Nutty Professor

The Nutty Professor

1963 / USA / 107m / Col / Comedy, Satire
Jerry Lewis, Stella Stevens, Del Moore, Kathleen Freeman, Med Flory, Norman Alden, Howard Morris, Henry Gibson, Skip Ward, Elvia Allman
"Surreal off-the-wall masterpiece, with Lewis again playing 7-stone cretin, this time a campus chemistry professor who woos his dream girl by inventing a magic potion that turns him (on and off) into a he-man of the Dean Martin school (hip, brylcreemed, offensive). The Technicolor blazes and swirls with manic energy, while the Jekyll-and-Hyde plot hustles its way through a minefield of gags, and sneers eloquently at the joys of the New America (a popular off-limits bar called The Purple Pit). Parody and nostalgia: pure alchemy." - Chris Auty, Time Out
Selected by Steven Shaviro, Enno Patalas, Jean-Christophe Berjon, Wolfram Schutte, Gustavo Castagna.