The 1,000 Greatest Films (S)

The Sacrifice

The Sacrifice

Offret (original title)
1986 / France-Sweden / 145m / Col / Psychological Drama, Religious Drama
Erland Josephson, Susan Fleetwood, Valerie Mairesse, Allan Edwall, Guorun Gisladottir, Sven Wollter, Filippa Franzen, Tommy Kjellqvist, Per Kallman, Tommy Nordahl
"Andrei Tarkovsky's final film from 1986 looks to me quite different twenty years on. It is brilliant and audacious, with one of the most extraordinary final sequences in modern cinema, and all in a manner which Hollywood in the succeeding decade would learn to call "high concept". But it is more complex and ambiguous than it appeared at the time: its tragic meaning has darkened and clotted with time." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Pere Portabella, Julio Medem, Alan Pauls, Antonio Delgado, Clara Law.
Safe

Safe

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

Salesman

1968 / USA / 85m / BW / Culture & Society, Documentary
Paul Brennan, Charles McDevitt, James Baker, Raymond Martos, Melbourne I. Feltman, Margaret McCarron, Kennie Turner
"A landmark American documentary, Salesman captures in vivid detail the bygone era of the door-to-door salesman. While laboring to sell a gold-embossed version of the Good Book, Paul Brennan and his colleagues target the beleaguered masses—then face the demands of quotas and the frustrations of life on the road. Following Brennan on his daily rounds, the Maysles discover a real-life Willy Loman, walking the line from hype to despair." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Heather Hendershot, J.M. Tyree, Mike Maggiore, Bart Weiss, Ethan Coen.
Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom

Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom

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

Salvatore Giuliano

1961 / Italy / 125m / BW / Crime, Political Drama
Frank Wolff, Salvo Randone, Frederico Zardi, Sennuccio Benelli, Giuseppe Calandra, Pietro Cammarata, Max Cartier, Nando Cicero, Giuseppe Teti, Cosimo Torino
"Filming in the exact locations and enlisting a cast of native Sicilians once impacted by the real Salvatore Giuliano, director Francesco Rosi harnessed the facts and myths surrounding the true story of the bandit’s death to create a startling exposé of Sicily and the tangled relations between its citizens, the Mafia, and government officials. A groundbreaking work of political filmmaking, Salvatore Giuliano established Rosi’s reputation and assured his place in cinema history." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Michel Ciment, Martin Scorsese, Dan Georgakas, Jon Jost, Les Blair.
Le Samourai

Le Samouraï

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

Le Sang des bêtes

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

Sans soleil

Sunless (English title)
1983 / France / 100m / Col / Avant-garde-Experimental, Documentary
Florence Delay, Arielle Dombasle
"Chris Marker's masterpiece is one of the key nonfiction films of our time—a personal philosophical essay that concentrates mainly on contemporary Tokyo but also includes footage shot in Iceland, Guinea-Bissau, and San Francisco. Difficult to describe and almost impossible to summarize, this poetic journal of a major French filmmaker radiates in all directions, exploring and reflecting upon many decades of experience… A film about subjectivity, death, photography, social custom, and consciousness itself, Sans Soleil registers like a poem one might find in a time capsule." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Adam Nayman, Adrian Danks, Andrew Kotting, Veronique Godard, James Crawford.
Sansho the Bailiff

Sansho the Bailiff

Top 100 Film / Ranking 86 (82)
Sanshô dayû (original title)
1954 / Japan / 125m / BW / Drama, Period Film
Kinuyo Tanaka, Yoshiaki Hanayagi, Kyoko Kagawa, Eitaro Shindo, Akitake Kono, Masao Shimizu, Ken Mitsuda, Kazukimi Okuni, Yoko Kosono, Noriko Tachibana
"Mizoguchi develops his medieval fable about moral freedom and slavery with intuition, cunning, and an overarching sense of tragedy; as it uncoils, this masterwork spirals and expands to encompass all the tricks of history and fate, all the failures of ethics and character that can defeat the best intentions of idealists... Mizoguchi’s packed compositions express the harrowing pull of the narrative line—and the residual humanity that tugs against it. Every positive action in this movie has an opposite reaction, leaving an increment of glory in defeat… Terrifying and cathartic, Sansho the Bailiff is a morality play without easy moralism." - Michael Sragow, The Criterion Collection
Selected by Armond White, Carlos Reygadas, Dave Kehr, Robin Wood, David Bordwell.
Satantango

Sátántangó

Top 100 Film / Ranking 90 (90)
1994 / Hungary-Germany-Switzerland / 450m / BW / Drama, Ensemble Film
Mihaly Vig, Putyi Horvath, Laszlo feLugossy, Eva Almassy Albert, Janos Derzsi, Iren Szajki, Alfred Jarai, Miklos Szekely B., Erzsebet Gaal, Erika Bok
"Most simply described, Tarr's masterpiece—adapted from a much esteemed, if still untranslated, novel by László Krasznahorkai—is a bleakly comic allegory of social disintegration on the muddy puszta. Set on an entropic collective farm during the last years of Hungarian Communism, it's a mordant, characteristically Eastern European tale of hapless peasants and charismatic swindlers. With fewer shots than the average 90-minute feature, Sátántangó is a double tour de force—for the actors, as the camera circles them in lengthy continuous takes, and for Tarr, who constructs his narrative out of these morose blocks of real time." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Jonathan Romney, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Gus Van Sant, Eric Henderson.
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

1960 / UK / 89m / BW / Drama, Urban Drama
Albert Finney, Shirley Anne Field, Rachel Roberts, Hylda Baker, Norman Rossington, Bryan Pringle, Robert Cawdron, Edna Morris, Elsie Wagstaff, Frank Pettitt
"While it was hardly the first of the British "Angry Young Man" dramas of the late 1950s/early 1960s (Look Back In Anger beat it to the screen by nearly two years), Saturday Night and Sunday Morning was one of the best, thanks largely to a superb performance by Albert Finney in his first leading film role. Finney's turn as Arthur Seaton practically defined the archetypal working-class yob who is just smart enough to know that his life is going nowhere, but not sharp enough to do anything about it… Saturday Night and Sunday Morning can't escape being a product of its time, but its intelligence and rich store of talent make it powerful and relevant for any generation." - Mark Deming, All Movie
Selected by Jean-Pierre Garcia, Samantha Morton, Les Blair, David Roland, Nik Powell.
Sauve qui peut (la vie)

Sauve qui peut (la vie)

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

Sawdust and Tinsel

Gycklarnas afton (original title)
1953 / Sweden / 92m / BW / Drama, Psychological Drama
Harriet Andersson, Ake Gronberg, Hasse Ekman, Anders Ek, Gudrun Brost, Annika Tretow, Erik Strandmark, Gunnar Bjornstrand, Curt Lowgren, Kiki
"Ingmar Bergman presents the battle of the sexes as a ramshackle, grotesque carnival in Sawdust and Tinsel, one of the late master’s most vivid early works. The story of the charged relationship between a turn-of-the-century traveling circus owner (Grönberg) and his performer girlfriend (Andersson), the film features dreamlike detours and twisted psychosexual power plays that presage the director’s Smiles of a Summer Night and The Seventh Seal, works that would soon change the landscape of art cinema forever." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by John Sayles, Alejandro G. Calvo, Catherine Breillat, Eva Zaoralova, Rogerio Sganzerla.
Scarface (1932)

Scarface

Scarface, the Shame of the Nation (alternative title)
1932 / USA / 90m / BW / Gangster Film, Crime Drama
Paul Muni, Ann Dvorak, Karen Morley, Osgood Perkins, Boris Karloff, C. Henry Gordon, George Raft, Vince Barnett, Inez Palange, Edwin Maxwell
"With the gangster film ground rules freshly established by Little Caesar and The Public Enemy, producer Howard Hughes, director Howard Hawks and writer Ben Hecht were able to play an operatic variation in this masterpiece. The plot uses the familiar rise-and-fall-of-a-hood scenario, mixing incidental detail from the career of real-life scarface Al Capone with the history of the Borgia Family. It has the tabloid feel of earlier gangster films, but also a streak of extraordinarily black horror comedy… Atmospheric, mesmerising and darkly humourous with a sizzling script and cast. This is a true classic of its genre." - Kim Newman, Empire
Selected by Eloísa Solaas, Marc Cerisuelo, Luis Alberto de Cuenca, Rogerio Sganzerla, Olivier De Bruyn.
Scarface (1983)

Scarface

1983 / USA / 170m / Col / Crime Thriller, Gangster Film
Al Pacino, Steven Bauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Robert Loggia, Miriam Colon, F. Murray Abraham, Paul Shenar, Harris Yulin, Angel Salazar
"Brian De Palma's Scarface moves the iconic rise and fall crime opera from the tommy-gun gangster wars of the prohibition era to the cocaine wars of Florida in the eighties. In the process, De Palma, screenwriter Oliver Stone and star Al Pacino carved out a film that redefined a generation of gangster cinema… It's a whole new spin on the immigrant story and the American Dream as an underworld nightmare and a fitting bookend to the two Godfather films… De Palma directs it as a blood-drenched thug opera, a mix of the graceful and the garish with Pacino's guttural thug-in-a-suit spitting out dialogue like broken glass in a harsh Cuban accent." - Sean Axmaker, MSN Movies
Selected by Dimitri Eipides, Matthew Vaughn, Niki Caro, Sean Baker, Tom Mes.
The Scarlet Empress

The Scarlet Empress

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

Scenes from a Marriage

Scener ur ett äktenskap (original title)
1973 / Sweden / 168m / Col / Drama, Marriage Drama
Liv Ullmann, Erland Josephson, Bibi Andersson, Jan Malmsjo, Gunnel Lindblom, Anita Wall, Barbro Hiort af Ornas, Lena Bergman, Wenche Foss, Rosanna Mariano
"Scenes from a Marriage chronicles the many years of love and turmoil that bind Marianne (Ullmann) and Johan (Josephson) through matrimony, infidelity, divorce, and subsequent partners. Shot in intense, intimate close-ups by master cinematographer Sven Nykvist and featuring flawless performances, Ingmar Bergman’s emotional x-ray reveals the intense joys and pains of a complex relationship." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Asghar Farhadi, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Neil LaBute, Dave Calhoun, Diego Costa.
Schindler's List

Schindler's List

1993 / USA / 195m / Col-BW / War Drama, Biography
Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, Caroline Goodall, Jonathan Sagalle, Embeth Davidtz, Andrzej Seweryn, Norbert Weisser, Elina Lowensohn, Malgoscha Gebel
"What is most amazing about this film is how completely Spielberg serves his story. The movie is brilliantly acted, written, directed and seen. Individual scenes are masterpieces of art direction, cinematography, special effects, crowd control. Yet Spielberg, the stylist whose films often have gloried in shots we are intended to notice and remember, disappears into his work. Neeson, Kingsley and the other actors are devoid of acting flourishes. There is a single-mindedness to the enterprise that is awesome." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Peter Farrelly, Julian Fellowes, James Berardinelli, John Dahl, Matthias Greuling.
Scorpio Rising

Scorpio Rising

1964 / USA / 29m / Col / Avant-garde-Experimental, Surrealist Film
Bruce Byron, Ernie Allo, Frank Carifi, Steve Crandell, Johnny Dodds, Johnny Sapienza, Bill Dorfman, John Palone, Barry Lubin
"Scorpio Rising is a pop-art collage of found artifacts which submerges itself in the chrome-and-leather, skull-and-swastika iconography of the motorcycle cult that provides its subject… Anger's manipulations of the culturally overloaded imagery of Nazism, sado-masochism, and the occult finally result in a film which refuses to conform to any dominant, edifying reading whatsoever—an almost unparalleled achievement which should earn Scorpio Rising an enduring place in the artistic annals of the 1960s, a decade remembered for the challenges it posed to ruling ideology. - Ed Lowry, Film Reference
Selected by Gaspar Noé, Ben Walters, Fernando F. Croce, Owen Gleiberman, Carolee Schneemann.
The Searchers

The Searchers

Top 10 Film / Ranking 9 (9)
1956 / USA / 119m / Col / Western, Revisionist Western
John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles, Ward Bond, Natalie Wood, Hank Worden, Henry Brandon, Harry Carey Jr., Olive Carey, John Qualen
"We may still be waiting for the Great American Novel, but John Ford gave us the Great American Film in 1956. The Searchers gathers the deepest concerns of American literature, distilling 200 years of tradition in a way available only to popular art, and with a beauty available only to a supreme visual poet like Ford. Through the central image of the frontier, the meeting point of wilderness and civilization, Ford explores the divisions of our national character, with its search for order and its need for violence, its spirit of community and its quest for independence." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Christopher Frayling, Dave Kehr, Gerald Peary, Andrew Sarris, Barry Norman.
The Seasons

The Seasons

Vremena goda (original title); The Four Seasons (alternative title)
1975 / USSR / 29m / BW / Documentary
"Vremena goda, Peleshian's first to eschew archival footage in favor of footage shot by his cinematographer Mikhail Vartanov, opens with a shepherd in a raging river, struggling to keep hold of his sheep; the rest of the film continues its downward plunge with more shepherds sliding down cliff faces with more sheep, farmers dragging huge haystacks down alarming inclines, and so on. The sense of hurtling motion, of life unstoppable, of energy and will pulling and shoving forward and down is overwhelming. Peleshian scores the whole thing to Vivaldi's Four Seasons, of course (with additional use of Armenian folk music); I can't imagine anything else will do." - Noel Vera, Critic After Dark
Selected by Edwin Mak, Elena Oroz, Michael Baute, Rhidian Davis, Anne Keijser.
Second Breath

Second Breath

Le Deuxième souffle (original title)
1966 / France / 144m / BW / Crime Thriller, Caper
Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse, Raymond Pellegrin, Christine Fabrega, Marcel Bozzuffi, Paul Frankeur, Denis Manuel, Jean Negroni, Michel Constantin, Pierre Zimmer
"Despite its troubled production history—it was shot in two stages in Melville’s studio and various Marseille and Paris locations—it is a masterful work that ultimately brought to a close what Melville himself described as a period of several years “in the wilderness.” Despite the importance of Le deuxième souffle to understanding Melville’s career, it has remained one of his most underrated, and least examined, films... Ultimately, Le deuxième souffle offers one of the richest and starkest portraits of the Melvillean universe." - Adrian Danks, The Criterion Collection
Selected by Mika Kaurismäki, Iain Sinclair, Paul Mayersberg, Jacques Zimmer, Wilfried Reichart.
Secrets & Lies

Secrets & Lies

1996 / UK / 142m / Col / Drama, Family Drama
Timothy Spall, Brenda Blethyn, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Claire Rushbrook, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth Berrington, Michele Austin, Lee Ross, Lesley Manville, Ron Cook
"Even as Leigh derives gentle comedy from the plight, aspirations and often pathetic attempts at communication of Cynthia (Blethyn) and her tribe, an immense, unforced sympathy is extended to all involved, a generosity of spirit thoroughly in keeping with the performances. Everyone's superb, Blethyn and Spall in particular. Yes, it's long, visually a little static, and rather narrowly concerned with the everyday experiences of one family, but that depth, focus and intensity of concentration result in a film of extraordinary emotional riches. Spellbinding." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Ahmed Atef, Anna Smith, Patricia Rozema, Isabel Coixet, Lukas Moodysson.
Senso

Senso

The Wanton Countess (USA title)
1954 / Italy / 115m / Col / Melodrama, Romantic Drama
Alida Valli, Farley Granger, Massimo Girotti, Heinz Moog, Rina Morelli, Marcella Mariani, Christian Marquand, Tonio Selwart, Sergio Fantoni, Cristoforo De Hartungen
"This lush, Technicolor tragic romance from Luchino Visconti stars Alida Valli as a nineteenth-century Italian countess who, during the Austrian occupation of her country, puts her marriage and political principles on the line by engaging in a torrid affair with a dashing Austrian lieutenant, played by Farley Granger. Gilded with ornate costumes and sets and a rich classical soundtrack, and featuring fearless performances, this operatic melodrama is an extraordinary evocation of reckless emotions and deranged lust, from one of the cinema’s great sensualists." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Nenad Polimac, Pedro Almodóvar, Mario Vargas Llosa, Freddy Buache, Roberto Nepoti.
A Separation

A Separation

Jodaeiye Nader az Simin (original title)
2011 / Iran / 123m / Col / Drama, Ensemble Film
Peyman Moadi, Leila Hatami, Sareh Bayat, Shahab Hosseini, Sarina Farhadi, Merila Zare'i, Ali-Asghar Shahbazi, Babak Karimi, Kimia Hosseini, Shirin Yazdanbaksh
"With rare subtlety and transforming art, the remarkable writer-director Asghar Farhadi takes us into the emotional heart of modern Iran. Nader (Moaadi) and Simin (Hatami) are a middle-class couple seeking a divorce. She wants to move abroad with their 11-year-old daughter, Termeh (Sarina Farhadi, the director's child). He wants Termeh to stay… As the tension builds in court, Farhadi reveals his country in microcosm, divided by gender, class, religion and invisible borders of destruction. The actors do wonders, uncovering rich depths in their characters. A Separation is a landmark film. No way will you be able to get it out of your head." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Selected by Clare Stewart, Pen-Ek Ratanaruang, Alby James, Keith Shiri, Matthias Lerf.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
The Servant

The Servant

1963 / UK / 115m / BW / Drama, Psychological Drama
Dirk Bogarde, James Fox, Wendy Craig, Sarah Miles, Catherine Lacey, Richard Vernon, Ann Firbank, Patrick Magee, Harold Pinter, Doris Knox
"Given Losey's abiding interest in relations of class and power it is hardly surprising that he should have been drawn to this story of a servant, Barrett, who is taken on by an effete young Englishman, Tony, and gradually takes over his master's life… Pinter's spare, elliptical dialogue, with its pauses and silences, is the perfect vehicle for expressing the unspoken dynamics of human relationships and for establishing a pervasive sense of menace and unease. More important still, however, is Losey's masterly direction, elaborate yet tightly controlled and never merely decorative." - Julian Petley, Film Reference
Selected by Claire Monk, Andris Feldmanis, Guy Désiré Yameogo, Gore Verbinski, Paolo D'Agostini.
Se7en

Se7en

Seven (alternative spelling)
1995 / USA / 127m / Col / Police Detective Film, Crime Thriller
Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Richard Roundtree, R. Lee Ermey, Kevin Spacey, John C. McGinley, Julie Araskog, Mark Boone Jr., John Cassini
"Serial killers and mismatched cops overcoming antagonism are seldom fresh, fruitful subjects for movies, but this exceptionally (and impressively) nasty thriller blends genres to grim and gripping effect… The film's world is so shadowy, decaying and intentionally dated that one often wonders whether anyone involved has heard of electricity; at the same time, however, Somerset and Mills' slow voyage from claustrophobic murk into blinding light makes for a vivid dramatic metaphor. Moreover, Fincher handles the violence with sensitivity, announcing its obscenity in spoken analyses and briefly glimpsed post mortem shots, but never showing the murderous acts themselves." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Sean Byrne, Anke Sterneborg, Frank Darabont, Dane Benko, Alan Bacchus.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
Seven Chances

Seven Chances

1925 / USA / 56m / BW / Comedy of Errors, Romantic Comedy
Buster Keaton, Ruth Dwyer, T. Roy Barnes, Snitz Edwards, Frances Raymond, Erwin Connelly, Jules Cowles, Jean Arthur, Lori Bara, Bartine Burkett
"Less ambitious and less concerned with plastic values than the best of Keaton, this is nevertheless a dazzlingly balletic comedy in which Buster has a matter of hours to acquire the wife on which a seven million dollar inheritance depends. Having insulted his sweetheart by explaining the necessity of marriage, been turned down by seven possible candidates… he advertises - only to find a horde of applicants besieging the church. From this leisurely start, the film takes off into a fantastically elaborate, gloriously inventive chase sequence, in which Buster escapes the mob of pursuing harridans only to find an escalating avalanche of rocks taking over at his heels as he hurtles downhill. - Tom Milne, Time Out
Selected by Richard Dyer, Manuel J. Lombardo, Yvette Biro, Tom Stempel, Paul Vecchiali.
The Seven Samurai

Seven Samurai

Top 10 Film / Ranking 10 (10)
Shichinin no samurai (original title)
1954 / Japan / 200m / BW / Drama, Samurai Film
Takashi Shimura, Toshiro Mifune, Yoshio Inaba, Seiji Miyaguchi, Minoru Chiaki, Daisuke Kato, Ko Kimura, Kokuten Kodo, Kamatari Fujiwara, Yoshio Tsuchiya
"One of the most thrilling movie epics of all time, The Seven Samurai tells the story of a sixteenth-century village whose desperate inhabitants hire the eponymous warriors to protect them from invading bandits. This three-hour ride from Akira Kurosawa—featuring legendary actors Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura—seamlessly weaves philosophy and entertainment, delicate human emotions and relentless action, into a rich, evocative, and unforgettable tale of courage and hope." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Andrei Konchalovsky, Charles Burnett, David Denby, Julio Medem, Ramin Bahrani.
Seven Women

Seven Women

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

Seventh Heaven

7th Heaven (alternative spelling)
1927 / USA / 119m / BW / Romance, Melodrama
Janet Gaynor, Charles Farrell, Ben Bard, Albert Gran, David Butler, Marie Mosquini, Gladys Brockwell, Emile Chautard, Jessie Haslett, George E. Stone
"Seventh Heaven is probably Frank Borzage's most famous film, the one where all his principles of mystical romance come together most distinctively. This exquisite tale of romance between street waif/prostitute Diane (Gaynor) and Montmartre sewage worker Chico (Farrell) stresses the redemptive side of couplehood so persuasively that otherworldly connotations, like the strong ray of light that literally shines down on them after their various trials, seem only fair and natural. Borzage ennobles their poverty-stricken lives to such an extent that even the cruelties of war don't stand a chance when they are working against it together." - Dan Callahan, Slant Magazine
Selected by David Robinson, Catherine Gautier, Isaki Lacuesta, Henry Hathaway, Jean-Paul Torok.
The Seventh Seal

The Seventh Seal

Top 100 Film / Ranking 70 (74) Orange Up-Arrow
Det Sjunde inseglet (original title)
1957 / Sweden / 96m / BW / Fantasy, Psychological Drama
Max von Sydow, Gunnar Bjornstrand, Bengt Ekerot, Nils Poppe, Bibi Andersson, Ake Fridell, Maud Hansson, Gunnel Lindblom, Inga Gill, Inga Landgre
"Disillusioned and exhausted after a decade of battling in the Crusades, a knight (von Sydow) encounters Death on a desolate beach and challenges him to a fateful game of chess. Much studied, imitated, even parodied, but never outdone, Bergman’s stunning allegory of man’s search for meaning, The Seventh Seal, was one of the benchmark foreign imports of America’s 1950s art-house heyday, pushing cinema’s boundaries and ushering in a new era of moviegoing." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Mark Kermode, Michael Apted, Patrick McGilligan, Robin Buss, Dennis Hopper.
Shadow of a Doubt

Shadow of a Doubt

1943 / USA / 108m / BW / Thriller, Psychological Thriller
Joseph Cotten, Teresa Wright, Macdonald Carey, Henry Travers, Patricia Collinge, Hume Cronyn, Wallace Ford, Edna May Wonacott, Irving Bacon, Charles Bates
"One of Hitchcock's finest films of the '40s, with Cotten as the infamous 'Merry Widow' murderer, who takes refuge with the small-town family of his sister (Collinge). Focusing on adoring niece Wright's dawning realisation that her kind, generous and handsome uncle is in fact a cold and cynical killer, the film is not only psychologically intriguing (both niece and uncle are called Charlie, and he arrives in town as if in answer to her prayers for excitement), but a sharp dissection of middle American life, in its own quiet way an ancestor of Blue Velvet... Funny, gripping, and expertly shot by Joe Valentine, it's a small but memorable gem." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Guillermo Del Toro, Diane Negra, Noël Burch, James Mangold, Justine Elias.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
Shadows

Shadows

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

Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors

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

Shane

1953 / USA / 118m / Col / Western, Psychological Western
Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin, Brandon de Wilde, Jack Palance, Ben Johnson, Edgar Buchanan, Elisha Cook Jr., Emile Meyer, John Dierkes
"The plot of Shane is a masterpiece of simplicity… Shane tries to encapsulate the cultural ethos of the Western. Rather than avoiding the clichés, platitudes and stereotypes of the genre, Shane pursues and embraces them. With the exception of a saloon girl and an Indian attack, all of the ingredients of the typical Western are present: the wide open spaces, the ranchers feuding with the farmers, the homesteading family trying to build a life, the rival gunman, the absence of law… Embodying as it does the look and feel of the Western, Shane becomes an essential rarity; it not only preserves but honors our belief in our heritage." - Stephen E. Bowles, Film Reference
Selected by John Ewing, Patrick Russell, Tony Macklin, Paul Morrissey, Antonio Gimenez-Rico.
Shanghai Express

Shanghai Express

1932 / USA / 80m / BW / Drama, Melodrama
Marlene Dietrich, Clive Brook, Warner Oland, Anna May Wong, Eugene Pallette, Lawrence Grant, Gustav von Seyffertitz, Louise Closser Hale, Emile Chautard, Claude King
"More action oriented than the other Dietrich-Sternberg films, this 1932 production is nevertheless one of the most elegantly styled. The setting, a broken-down train commandeered by revolutionaries on its way to Shanghai, becomes a maze of soft shadows and shifting textures, through which the characters wander in a philosophical quest for something—anything—solid. The screenplay, by Jules Furthman and an uncredited Howard Hawks, has a quality of wisecracking wit unusual in Sternberg's films: when someone asks Dietrich why she's going to Shanghai, she retorts, “To buy a new hat.” - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Arturo Ripstein, Chuck Stephens, David Thompson, Christa Blumlinger, Cesar Santos Fontenla.
The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption

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

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

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

Sherlock Jr.

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

The Shining

1980 / USA / 142m / Col / Horror, Haunted House Film
Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers, Barry Nelson, Philip Stone, Joseph Turkel, Anne Jackson, David Baxt, Lia Beldam
"The Shining, Stanley Kubrick's indelible take on both the horror genre and the popular fiction of Stephen King, is both a radical distillation of its source novel's densely stuffed ghosts-and-gore imagery as well as a conflation of its hidden central theme of the true-life horrors of domestic abuse. The result is a film that, though it ignores almost every major spook-show episode in the novel (nope, no teeming wasp's nest here), enhances everything that's legitimately unnerving about King's book... Kubrick's The Shining dwells at the outer limits of what can be thought of as a genre film, stretching the definition, filling it out, leaving it richer in its wake." - Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine
Selected by Gregg Araki, Jonathan Romney, Michel Hazanavicius, Lee Unkrich, Budd Wilkins.
Shoah

Shoah

Top 100 Film / Ranking 64 (61)
1985 / France / 566m / Col / Military & War, Documentary
Simon Srebnik, Michael Podchlebnik, Motke Zaidl, Hanna Zaidl, Jan Piwonski, Itzhak Dugin, Richard Glazer, Paula Biren, Pana Pietyra, Pan Filipowicz
"Lanzmann's great nine-hour documentary on the Holocaust… Despite its length, it is one of the most consistently engrossing and powerful movies ever made. Lanzmann doesn't utilize old newsreel footage or archival material. His emphasis, in interviews and footage he shot over five years, is entirely on the words and faces of the eyewitnesses to the "Final Solution" – Jewish survivors of the camps, Germans and Poles who worked in the camps, old Nazi officials… With patient, horrible deliberateness, he repeatedly circles back to images of train tracks to the death camps, to pastoral countrysides camouflaging mass graves." - Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor
Selected by Amy Taubin, Berenice Reynaud, J. Hoberman, Heddy Honigmann, Daniel Talbot.
Shock Corridor

Shock Corridor

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

Shoeshine

Sciuscià (original title); Shoe Shine (alternative title)
1946 / Italy / 93m / BW / Drama, Coming-of-Age
Rinaldo Smordoni, Franco Interlenghi, Annielo Mele, Bruno Ortenzi, Emilio Cigoli, Pacifico Astrologo, Maria Campi, Antonio Carlino, Angelo D'Amico, Francesco De Nicola
"Vittorio De Sica's Shoeshine is a must-see example of Italian neorealist cinema, ranking with such other neorealist classics as De Sica's Bicycle Thieves and Umberto D. and Roberto Rossellini's Rome, Open City . Using nonprofessional actors, De Sica and co-screenwriter Cesare Zavattini, also one of neorealism's leading figures, paint an uncompromising picture of the lives of Italian street children abandoned by their parents at the end of World War II… Like Bicycle Thieves, it combines De Sica's frequent focus on children with his emphasis on post-war social problems." - Hal Erickson, All Movie
Selected by Eugene Green, Pauline Kael, Basil Wright, Orson Welles, Daryl Chin.
Shoot the Piano Player

Shoot the Piano Player

Tirez sur le pianiste (original title); Shoot the Pianist (alternative title)
1960 / France / 92m / BW / Crime Drama, Post-Noir (Modern Noir)
Charles Aznavour, Marie Dubois, Nicole Berger, Michele Mercier, Albert Remy, Claude Mansard, Daniel Boulanger, Richard Kanayan, Jacques-Jean Aslanian, Serge Davri
"François Truffaut is drunk on the possibilities of cinema in this, his most playful film. Part thriller, part comedy, part tragedy, Shoot the Piano Player relates the adventures of mild-mannered piano player Charlie (Charles Aznavour, in a triumph of hangdog deadpan) as he stumbles into the criminal underworld and a whirlwind love affair. Loaded with gags, guns, clowns, and thugs, this razor-sharp homage to the American gangster film is pure nouvelle vague." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Todd McCarthy, Andrew Pulver, Gary Crowdus, Jonathan Demme, Floyd Mutrux.
The Shop Around the Corner

The Shop Around the Corner

1940 / USA / 97m / BW / Comedy, Romance
James Stewart, Margaret Sullavan, Frank Morgan, Joseph Schildkraut, Sara Haden, Felix Bressart, William Tracy, Inez Courtney, Charles Halton, Charles Smith
"This 1940 film is one of Ernst Lubitsch's finest and most enduring works, a romantic comedy of dazzling range that takes place almost entirely within the four walls of a leather-goods store in prewar Budapest. James Stewart is the earnest, slightly awkward young manager; Margaret Sullavan is the new sales clerk who gets on his nerves… The romance proceeds through Lubitsch's brilliant deployment of point of view, allowing the audience to enter the perceptions of each individual character at exactly the right moment to develop maximum sympathy and suspense." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by David Thomson, Molly Haskell, Scott Foundas, Peter Bogdanovich, Billy Wilder.
Short Cuts

Short Cuts

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

A Short Film About Killing

Krótki film o zabijaniu (original title)
1987 / Poland / 85m / Col / Drama, Crime
Miroslaw Baka, Krzysztof Globisz, Jan Tesarz, Zbigniew Zapasiewicz, Barbara Dziekan, Aleksander Bednarz, Jerzy Zass, Zdzislaw Tobiasz, Artur Barcis, Krystyna Janda
"A remarkable Polish feature, expanded by Krzysztof Kieslowski from an episode in his Decalogue, in which each segment illustrates one of the Ten Commandments; the complete series is one of the key works in contemporary world cinema. A Short Film About Killing might be called terminally Polish in its bleak handling of a brutal murder and the public execution of the murderer; winner of the jury prize at Cannes, it’s possibly the most powerful movie ever made about the death penalty." - Jonathan Rosenbaum
Selected by Richard Eyre, Cyrus Frisch, Khalo Matabane, Paul Webster, Prauke Hanck.
Sicilia!

Sicilia!

Sicily! (English title)
1999 / Italy-France-Switzerland / 76m / BW / Family Drama, Political Drama
Gianni Buscarino, Vittorio Vigneri, Angela Nugara, Carmelo Maddio, Ignazio Trombello, Simone Nucatola, Giovanni Interlandi, Giuseppe Bonta, Mario Baschieri
"Veteran experimentalists Straub and Huillet offer a compact adaptation of Conversation in Sicily, Elio Vittorini's anti-fascist novel of 1939 which was banned outright by the Italian authorities in 1942… Shot in high contrast b/w, which somehow only emphasises the luminescence of the Sicilian sunshine, it takes the form of static images and exchanges of dialogue… The starkness of the project may alienate many viewers, but there's no doubting the film-makers' committed investment in their subject matter." - Trevor Johnston, Time Out
Selected by Ian Penman, Kieron Corless, Suzy Gillett, Eloísa Solaas, José Luis Torres Leiva.
Silence of the Lambs

The Silence of the Lambs

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

The Silence

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

Silent Light

Stellet licht (original title)
2007 / Mexico-France-Netherlands / 136m / Col / Psychological Drama, Rural Drama
Cornelio Wall, Miriam Toews, Maria Pankratz, Peter Wall, Elisabeth Wall, Jacobo Klassen, Irma Thiessen, Alfredo Thiessen, Daniel Thiessen, Autghe Loewen
"A fictional story about everyday rapture in an isolated Mennonite community in northern Mexico — and performed by a cast of mostly Mennonite nonprofessionals — the film was written, directed and somehow willed into unlikely existence by the extravagantly talented Carlos Reygadas, whose immersion in this exotic world feels so deep and true that it seems like an act of faith. Mr. Reygadas’s faith may be more rooted in his own gifts than in God, but it’s the sheer intensity of this belief — which he confirms with every camera movement — that invests his film with such feeling." - Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
Selected by Lisandro Alonso, Andrzej Kolodynski, Daniel Frampton, Jean-Pierre Garcia, Ludmila Cvikova.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
Simon of the Desert

Simon of the Desert

Simón del desierto (original title)
1965 / Mexico / 43m / BW / Satire, Religious Comedy
Claudio Brook, Silvia Pinal, Hortensia Santovena, Luis Aceves Castaneda, Enrique Alvarez Felix, Antonio Bravo, Enrique del Castillo, Jesus Fernandez, Enrique Garcia Alvarez, Eduardo MacGregor
"Simon of the Desert is Luis Buñuel’s wicked and wild take on the life of devoted ascetic Saint Simeon Stylites, who waited atop a pillar surrounded by a barren landscape for six years, six months, and six days, in order to prove his devotion to God. Yet the devil, in the figure of the beautiful Silvia Pinal, huddles below, trying to tempt him down. A skeptic’s vision of human conviction, Buñuel’s short and sweet satire is one of the master filmmaker’s most renowned works of surrealism." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Daniel V. Villamediana, Frances Morgan, Haden Guest, Eric Henderson, Horacio Valcarcel.
Singin' in the Rain

Singin' in the Rain

Top 100 Film / Ranking 16 (16)
1952 / USA / 102m / Col / Musical, Showbiz Comedy
Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen, Millard Mitchell, Cyd Charisse, Douglas Fowley, Rita Moreno, Madge Blake, King Donovan
"There is no movie musical more fun than Singin' in the Rain, and few that remain as fresh over the years. Its originality is all the more startling if you reflect that only one of its songs was written new for the film, that the producers plundered MGM's storage vaults for sets and props, and that the movie was originally ranked below An American in Paris, which won a best picture Oscar. The verdict of the years knows better than Oscar: Singin' in the Rain is a transcendent experience, and no one who loves movies can afford to miss it." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Carrie Rickey, Francis Ford Coppola, Jean-Michel Frodon, Barry Norman, Bryan Forbes.
Smiles of a Summer Night

Smiles of a Summer Night

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

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

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

Solaris

Solyaris (original title)
1972 / USSR / 165m / Col-BW / Science Fiction, Psychological Sci-Fi
Donatas Banionis, Natalya Bondarchuk, Juri Jarvet, Vladislav Dvorzhetsky, Nikolai Grinko, Anatoli Solonitsyn, Olga Barnet, Vitalik Kerdimun, Olga Kizilova, Tatyana Malykh
"Ground control has been receiving mysterious transmissions from the three remaining residents of the Solaris space station. When cosmonaut and psychologist Kris Kelvin is dispatched to investigate, he experiences the same strange phenomena that afflict the Solaris crew, sending him on a voyage into the darkest recesses of his consciousness. With Solaris, the legendary Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky created a brilliantly original science-fiction epic that challenges our conceptions about love, truth, and humanity itself." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Bauyrzhan Nogerbek, Cristina Álvarez López, Dominique Martinez, John Boorman, Philip Strick
Some Came Running

Some Came Running

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

Some Like it Hot

Top 100 Film / Ranking 32 (35) Orange Up-Arrow
1959 / USA / 119m / BW / Comedy, Farce
Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Marilyn Monroe, George Raft, Pat O'Brien, Joe E. Brown, Nehemiah Persoff, Joan Shawlee, Billy Gray, George E. Stone
"Wilder's 1959 comedy is one of the enduring treasures of the movies, a film of inspiration and meticulous craft, a movie that's about nothing but sex and yet pretends it's about crime and greed. It is underwired with Wilder's cheerful cynicism, so that no time is lost to soppiness and everyone behaves according to basic Darwinian drives. When sincere emotion strikes these characters, it blindsides them: Curtis thinks he wants only sex, Monroe thinks she wants only money, and they are as astonished as delighted to find they want only each other." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Christopher Frayling, Joseph McBride, Michael Apted, Cameron Crowe, John Walker.
The Son

The Son

Le Fils (original title)
2002 / Belgium-France / 103m / Col / Drama, Social Problem Film
Olivier Gourmet, Morgan Marinne, Isabella Soupart, Nassim Hassaini, Kevin Leroy, Felicien Pitsaer, Remy Renaud, Annette Closset, Fabian Marnette, Pierre Nisse
"This potent Belgian feature by brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne is every bit as good as their La promesse and Rosetta. Unlike them it can't be described in detail without telegraphing the plot's carefully structured exposition, but it involves a carpenter and teacher at a vocational workshop (Gourmet) who takes on a 16-year-old boy as an apprentice, with cataclysmic consequences… The Dardennes' extremely physical and visceral camera style plunges the viewer into an emotional maelstrom, and their subtle, unpredictable sense of character is predicated not on coercion of the audience but on an extraordinary respect for the viewer as well as the characters." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Celina Murga, Daniel Frampton, Eva af Geijerstam, Marc Munden, Kent Jones.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
Songs from the Second Floor

Songs from the Second Floor

Sånger från andra våningen (original title)
2000 / Sweden-France-Denmark-Norway-Germany / 98m / Col / Surrealist Film, Black Comedy
Lars Nordh, Stefan Larsson, Hanna Eriksson, Bengt C.W. Carlsson, Torbjorn Fahlstrom, Sten Andersson, Rolando Nunez, Lucio Vucina, Peter Roth, Klas-Gosta Olsson
"Swedish director Roy Andersson presents us with loosely connected scenes from the end of the world, in a series of bizarre tableaux unfolding in weirdly lucid dream-landscapes of vast plains, endless corridors and vertiginous perspective lines - each scene filmed in one long take from a static camera... Andersson has something of Woody Allen and Terry Gilliam, but with strains of anarchy and melancholy that are unique. Here is a film to try the patience of the non-believer, but astonish everyone else. Some might find it a curate's egg of strangeness. But it's one of the Fabergé variety." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Mike Leigh, Andrew Kotting, Lone Scherfig, Gillies MacKinnon, Babak Jalali.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
The Sorrow and the Pity

The Sorrow and the Pity

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

The Sound of Music

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

Spartacus

1960 / USA / 184m / Col / Sword-and-Sandal, Historical Epic
Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, Tony Curtis, Charles Laughton, Peter Ustinov, John Gavin, Nina Foch, Woody Strode, John Ireland
"Stanley Kubrick directed a cast of screen legends—including Kirk Douglas as the indomitable gladiator that led a Roman slave revolt—in the sweeping epic that defined a genre and ushered in a new Hollywood era. The assured acting, lush Technicolor cinematography, bold costumes, and visceral fight sequences won Spartacus four Oscars; the blend of politics and sexual suggestion scandalized audiences. Today Kubrick’s controversial classic, the first film to openly defy Hollywood’s blacklist, remains a landmark of cinematic artistry and history." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Mark Jancovich, Philip Saville, Tanvir Mokammel, Sally Hibbin, Gerard Langlois.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
Spione

Spione

Spies (English title); The Spy (alternative title)
1928 / Germany / 90m / BW / Thriller, Spy Film
Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Gerda Maurus, Willy Fritsch, Lien Deyers, Louis Ralph, Craighall Sherry, Lupu Pick, Hertha von Walther, Fritz Rasp, Paul Horbiger
"Disguises, transformations, multiples, a sketch of modern power networks whose ubiquitous reach borders on absurdity ... We are not far here from the highwire sensations and baroque convolutions offered today by the Mission: Impossible films. Rosenbaum is right to locate Spione within a tradition stretching from Louis Feuillade in the silent era through to ‘master plotters, from Hitchcock and Graham Greene to Rivette, Straub and Thomas Pynchon’. But it also has a crucial place within the history of the action film, the least critically attended to of all major genres. Like the first two Mabuse instalments, Spione is a great action film – and a masterpiece of popular art." - Adrian Martin, Rouge
Selected by Adriano Aprà, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Keith Uhlich, Noel Purdon, Michel Marmin.
The Spirit of the Beehive

The Spirit of the Beehive

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

Spirited Away

Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (original title)
2001 / Japan / 124m / Col / Fantasy Adventure, Anime
Rumi Hiragi, Miyu Irino, Mari Natsuki, Takashi Naito, Yasuko Sawaguchi, Tatsuya Gashuin, Ryunosuke Kamiki, Yumi Tamai, Yo Oizumi, Bunta Sugawara
"Magical is a word used casually about films like this, films about fantasy and childhood. Yet this one really does deserve it: an enchanted and enchanting feature from the Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki which left me feeling lighter than air. It is a beautifully drawn and wonderfully composed work of art - really, no other description will do - which takes us on a rocket-fuelled flight of fancy, with tenderly and shrewdly conceived characters on board... Spirited Away is fast and funny; it's weird and wonderful. Mostly wonderful." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Nigel Andrews, Sheila Johnston, Alexei Popogrebsky, Michel Chion, Tian Zhuangzhuang.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
Splendor in the Grass

Splendor in the Grass

1961 / USA / 124m / Col / Coming-of-Age, Romantic Drama
Natalie Wood, Warren Beatty, Pat Hingle, Audrey Christie, Barbara Loden, Sandy Dennis, Gary Lockwood, Zohra Lampert, Phyllis Diller, Fred Stewart
"Splendor in the Grass was the first work ever written directly for the screen by famed playwright William Inge, whose plays include Bus Stop, Come Back, Little Sheba and the Pulitzer Prize-winning PicnicSplendor in the Grass is a beautiful and tragic love story that has genuine resonance with its themes of passion, love, heartbreak, hypocrisy and madness. Director Elia Kazan called the last reel of Splendor his personal favorite last reel of all of his films." - Andrea Passafiume, TCM
Selected by Stephane Delorme, Laura Kern, Luke Gibbons, David Pirie, Jean A. Gili.
Spring in a Small Town

Spring in a Small Town

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

Stagecoach

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

Top 100 Film / Ranking 55 (54)
1979 / USSR / 160m / Col-BW / Science Fiction, Psychological Sci-Fi
Aleksandr Kajdanovsky, Anatoli Solonitsyn, Nikolai Grinko, Alisa Frejndlikh, Natasha Abramova, Ye. Kostin, R. Rendi, F. Yurma
"The Stalker leads two men, the Writer and the Professor, across the Zone - a forbidden territory deep inside a police state - towards the Room, which can lay bare the devices and desires of your heart… The wettest, grimmest trek ever seen on film leads to nihilistic impasse - huddled in dirt, the discovery of faith seems impossible; and without faith, life outside the Zone, impossible. But hang on in to the ending, where a plain declaration of love and a vision of pure magic at least point the way to redemption. As always, Tarkovsky conjures images like you've never seen before; and as a journey to the heart of darkness, it's a good deal more persuasive than Coppola's." - Chris Peachment, Time Out
Selected by Lisandro Alonso, Gillies MacKinnon, Alex Proyas, Michael Haneke, Anton Corbijn.
A Star is Born

A Star is Born

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

Star Wars

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

Stardust Memories

1980 / USA / 91m / BW / Showbiz Comedy, Satire
Woody Allen, Charlotte Rampling, Jessica Harper, Marie-Christine Barrault, Tony Roberts, Helen Hanft, John Rothman, Daniel Stern, Amy Wright, Cynthia Gibb
"The true acid test for any fan or critic who loves Woody Allen movies is Stardust Memories, his misunderstood and generally maligned ninth feature. Obviously influenced by Fellini's 8 1/2 (1963), Stardust Memories follows a prominent filmmaker named Sandy Bates to a weekend movie seminar at the Stardust Hotel in New Jersey where he is besieged by adoring fans and sycophants. Sandy no longer finds any personal satisfaction in his achievements or in his current relationships… Stardust Memories remains one of Allen's most complex and fascinating works." - Jeff Stafford, TCM
Selected by Andrew Pulver, Andrew Collins, Jeremy Deller, Max Winkler, Neil Young.
Starship Troopers

Starship Troopers

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

Steamboat Bill, Jr.

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

Sanxia haoren (original title)
2006 / China-Hong Kong / 113m / Col / Drama, Social Problem Film
Tao Zhao, Sanming Han, Hong Wei Wang, Zhou Lan, Yong Huang, Jianlin Peng, Zhubin Li
"There’s politics in every one of cinematographer Yu Likwai’s superbly composed HD frames, but it’s feel that the former is after. And in the half-drowned town of Fengjie – the victim of the Yangtze river Three Gorges Project and capitalism as well as being the new home of rural Shanxi construction worker Han (Han Sanming) – the feeling isn’t good… In Still Life the director’s assurance is such that the barriers between documentary and fictional film are made to seem an irrelevance; you may find his film’s intimations of commonality – what we share as human beings – will surprise and move you in unexpected ways." - Wally Hammond, Time Out
Selected by Jean-Michel Frodon, Margaret Deriaz, Babak Jalali, Kenji Fujishima, Elise Nakhnikian.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
Stolen Kisses

Stolen Kisses

Baisers volés (original title)
1968 / France / 90m / Col / Comedy Drama, Romance
Jean-Pierre Leaud, Delphine Seyrig, Claude Jade, Michel Lonsdale, Harry Max, Daniel Ceccaldi, Claire Duhamel, Catherine Lutz, Andre Falcon, Paul Pavel
"Jean-Pierre Léaud returns in the delightful Stolen Kisses, the third installment in the Antoine Doinel series. It is now 1968, and the mischievous and perpetually love-struck Doinel has been dishonorably discharged from the army and released onto the streets of Paris, where he stumbles into the unlikely profession of private detective and embarks on a series of misadventures. Whimsical, nostalgic, and irrepressibly romantic, Stolen Kisses is Truffaut’s timeless ode to the passion and impetuosity of youth." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Whit Stillman, Juan Villegas, Gustavo Noriega, David Trueba, Santiago Garcia.
Storm Over Asia

Storm Over Asia

Potomok Chingis-Khana (original title)
1928 / USSR / 93m / BW / Drama, Political Drama
Valery Inkijinoff, I. Inkishanov, Aleksandr Chistyakov, I. Dedintsev, Viktor Tsoppi, F. Ivanov, V. Pro, Boris Barnet, K. Gurnyak, Anna Sudakevich
"Pudovkin's last great silent film… Potomok Chingis-Khan was savaged by Soviet and American critics alike on its opening in 1927 for lacking realism and over-reliance on symbolic devices. Yet today it is recognized as a dynamic narrative, an epic visual poem that effectively demonstrates the power of linked montage to create allegory. Although he made a number of films after Potomok Chingis-Khan, Pudovkin was not able to make the transition to talking pictures. He was at his best as an epic poet employing a purely visual means of expression, and remains of utmost importance to the history of cinema more as a theoretician than as a filmmaker." - Stephen L. Hanson, Film Reference
Selected by Monte Hellman, Freddy Buache, Heinz Niemann, Vittorio De Sica, William Dieterle.
The Story of a Cheat

The Story of a Cheat

Roman d'un tricheur, Le (original title); Confessions of a Cheat (alternative title)
1936 / France / 85m / BW / Comedy Drama, Satire
Sacha Guitry, Jacqueline Delubac, Rosine Derean, Marguerite Moreno, Roger Duchesne, Elmire Vautier, Serge Grave, Pauline Carton, Frehel, Pierre Assy
"Considered Sacha Guitry’s masterpiece, this fleet, witty picaresque about a gambler and petty thief is a whimsical delight. Guitry himself stars as the tricheur looking back fondly on a life of crime, which he narrates with an effervescence matched by that of the film’s skillful editing and cinematography. With its rapid storytelling and novel use of voice-over, The Story of a Cheat has influenced filmmakers from Orson Welles to François Truffaut." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by David Parkinson, Marc Cerisuelo, Jean Roy, Gerard Langlois, Jean Olle-Laprune.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums

The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums

Zangiku monogatari (original title); The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum (alternative title)
1939 / Japan / 143m / BW / Period Film, Romantic Drama
Shotaro Hanayagi, Kokichi Takada, Gonjuro Kawarazaki, Kakuko Mori, Tokusaburo Arashi, Yoko Umemura, Nobuko Fushimi, Kikuko Hanaoka, Kisho Hanayagi, Ryotaro Kawanami
"Not the best known of Kenji Mizoguchi's period masterpieces, but conceivably the greatest. The plot, which oddly resembles that of There's No Business Like Show Business, concerns the rebellious son of a theatrical family devoted to Kabuki who leaves home for many years, perfects his art, aided by a working-class woman who loves him, and eventually returns… Never before nor after (with the possible exception of The 47 Ronin) would Mizoguchi's refusal to use close-ups have more telling effect, and the theme of female sacrifice that informs most of his major works is given a singular resonance and complexity here." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Julian Graffy, Adriano Aprà, Shinji Aoyama, Gilbert Adair, Yomota Inuhiko.
La Strada

La Strada

Top 100 Film / Ranking 66 (68) Orange Up-Arrow
1954 / Italy / 115m / BW / Melodrama, Romantic Drama
Giulietta Masina, Anthony Quinn, Richard Basehart, Aldo Silvani, Marcella Rovere, Livia Venturini, Gustavo Giorgi, Kamadeva Yami, Mario Passante, Anna Primula
"There has never been a face quite like that of Giulietta Masina. Her husband, the legendary Federico Fellini, directs her as Gelsomina in La strada, the film that launched them both to international stardom. Gelsomina is sold by her mother into the employ of Zampanò (Quinn), a brutal strongman in a traveling circus. When Zampanò encounters an old rival in highwire artist the Fool (Basehart), his fury is provoked to its breaking point. With La strada, Fellini left behind the familiar signposts of Italian neorealism for a poetic fable of love and cruelty, evoking brilliant performances and winning the hearts of audiences and critics worldwide." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Stanley Kwan, Asghar Farhadi, Andrei Konchalovsky, Ken Russell, Robin Buss.
Stranger Than Paradise

Stranger Than Paradise

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

Strangers on a Train

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

A Streetcar Named Desire

1951 / USA / 122m / BW / Marriage Drama, Psychological Drama
Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter, Karl Malden, Rudy Bond, Nick Dennis, Peg Hillias, Wright King, Richard Garrick, Ann Dere
"There have been fine adaptations of Tennessee Williams' ode to psychological abuse in New Orleans' French Quarter since Elia Kazan's original screen version… It's hard to imagine, however, another film more successfully capturing the lurid, violent tone of Blanche DuBois' destruction at the hands of brother-in-law Stanley Kowalski. Attribute much of this to Marlon Brando's brutal, career-making turn as Stanley. Credit also director Kazan, who had a gift for maneuvering past the censors, using dark moods and innuendo to more devastating effect than most current films use sex and violence." - Eric Allen Hatch, Baltimore City Paper
Selected by Paul Burston, Susannah Frankel, Andrew Chan, Yoko Narahashi, Pedro Olea.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
Strike

Strike

Stachka (original title)
1924 / USSR / 73m / BW / Political Drama, Historical Epic
Maksim Shtraukh, Grigori Aleksandrov, Mikhail Gomorov, Alexander Antonov, Yudif Glizer, I. Ivanov, Ivan Klyukvin, Anatoli Kuznetsov, M. Mamin, Vladimir Uralsky
"Eisenstein's first feature also remains his most watchable… The story itself is simple: workers clash violently with employers and police during a drawn-out factory strike provoked by the sacking and subsequent suicide of one of their number. But Eisenstein's methods are both complex and extraordinary: his decision to make the masses rather than any single individual his hero lends the film a truly epic sweep… The harshly beautiful imagery roots the movie effortlessly in down-to-earth reality, but its relentless energy and invention transform the whole thing into a raucous, rousing hymn to human dignity and courage." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Paul Bush, David Forgacs, David Hanan, Alexei Balabanov, Rob Humanick.
Stromboli

Stromboli

Stromboli, terra di Dio (Italian title)
1949 / Italy / 107m / BW / Melodrama, Marriage Drama
Ingrid Bergman, Mario Vitale, Renzo Cesana, Mario Sponzo, Gaetano Famularo
"Roberto Rossellini's 1949 masterwork. Ingrid Bergman plays a young woman displaced by the war, who marries a young fisherman in order to free herself from an internment camp. But she doesn't fit into his island society, and the more she tries to escape, the more spiritually isolated she feels. Rossellini's technique is thoroughly modern: it could have been made last week, or next year, by Jean-Luc Godard. The island setting is made solid and real, but the landscape still carries a powerful metaphorical force. The ending seems all the more beautiful for being dramatically arbitrary: grace enters Bergman's life at the brink of a volcano." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Adriano Aprà, Mikhail Iampolski, Jon Wengström, Rashid Irani, Jose Maria Carreno.
Subarnarekha

Subarnarekha

The Golden Thread (English title); Golden River (alternative title)
1965 / India / 143m / BW / Drama
Abhi Bhattacharya, Madhabi Mukherjee, Satindra Bhattacharya, Bijon Bhattacharya, Indrani Chakrabarty, Sriman Tarun, Jahar Ray, Pitambar, Sriman Ashok Bhattacharya, Sita Mukherjee
"Subarnarekha, made in 1962 but released in 1965 is the last in a trilogy examining the socio-economic implications of partition, the other two being Meghe Dhaka Tara (1960) and Komal Ghandhar (1961). It is also perhaps Ritwik Ghatak's most complex film… The film is aided with fine performances from Madhabi Mukherjee and Abhi Bhattacharya and special mention must be made of Bahadur Khan's evocatively haunting musical score. Sadly, like most of Ghatak's films, Subarnarekha was totally rejected by the public. Ironically, today the film is hailed as a classic and as an important landmark in the history of Indian Cinema." - Upperstall
Selected by Tom Charity, Girish Shambu, Ashim Ahluwalia, Srinivas Krishna, Rudiger Tomczak.
Sullivan's Travels

Sullivan's Travels

1941 / USA / 91m / BW / Comedy, Satire
Joel McCrea, Veronica Lake, Robert Warwick, William Demarest, Franklin Pangborn, Porter Hall, Robert Greig, Eric Blore, Byron Foulger, Maggie Hayes
"The sweetest, most generous-hearted satire of the Hollywood film industry the town has ever produced, Sullivan’s Travels was the fourth of the eight films Preston Sturges made during his astonishingly prolific streak between 1940 and 1944... It has survived its initial mixed critical reception and non-hit status to rank as one of Sturges’ most beloved films. Conceived as a self-justification for the creative path he had chosen, this film evolved into one from the heart, the single picture that moves through all the pratfalls and pranks and witticisms and barbs and in-jokes to achieve a synthesis that is both terribly funny and deeply moving." - Todd McCarthy, The Criterion Collection
Selected by Kevin Jackson, A.O. Scott, John Lasseter, Todd Phillips, Mark Duguid.
The Sun Shines Bright

The Sun Shines Bright

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

Sunrise

Top 10 Film / Ranking 8 (7)
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (original title)
1927 / USA / 110m / BW / Melodrama, Romantic Drama
George O'Brien, Janet Gaynor, Margaret Livingston, Bodil Rosing, J. Farrell MacDonald, Ralph Sipperly, Jane Winton, Arthur Housman, Eddie Boland, Barry Norton
"The best foreign film ever made in the United States. German director F.W. Murnau was given a free hand by William Fox for his first Hollywood production; it's breathtaking to see the full range of American technology and American budgets in the service of a great artist's personal vision… The miracle of Murnau's mise-en-scene is to fill the simple plot and characters with complex, piercing emotions, all evoked visually through a dense style that embraces not only spectacular expressionism but a subtle and delicate naturalism. Released in 1927, the last year of silent film, it's a pinnacle of that lost art." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by James Naremore, Gerald Peary, Andrzej Zulawski, Gus Van Sant, Andrew Sarris.
Sunset Blvd.

Sunset Blvd.

Top 100 Film / Ranking 40 (44) Orange Up-Arrow
Sunset Boulevard (alternative spelling)
1950 / USA / 110m / BW / Showbiz Drama, Satire
Gloria Swanson, William Holden, Erich von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark, Jack Webb, Cecil B. DeMille, Buster Keaton, Hedda Hopper, Lloyd Gough
"Gloria Swanson deserves to be called iconic in Billy Wilder's priceless 1950 classic. She is Norma Desmond, the forgotten silent movie queen living in shabby, mouldering opulence. It is a delicious comedy with a psycho edge, as hard-up screenwriter Joe Gillis (Holden) has car trouble and pulls off Sunset Boulevard into a strange driveway, at the top of which lies a veritable Bates motel of sociopathy and rage: Norma's creepy mansion. He is sucked into the world of a kept man, with horrifying results. This is an unmissable commentary on Hollywood's rejection of its silent past: a kind of Sobbin' in the Rain." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Andrew Dominik, Michael Caton-Jones, Nasreen Munni Kabir, Kevin Thomas, Harold Becker.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
El Sur

El Sur

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

Suspiria

1977 / Italy / 92m / Col / Horror, Gothic Film
Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Flavio Bucci, Miguel Bose, Barbara Magnolfi, Susanna Javicoli, Rudolf Schundler, Udo Kier, Alida Valli, Joan Bennett
"As distinctive in its painterly colors as Val Lewton's horror films were in their expressive swaths of black and white, Suspiria serves up a gorehound's feast of explicit mayhem. But never has gratuitous bloodletting seemed so ornately beautiful… Argento's vibrant color scheme leaps off the screen like a '50s Technicolor musical, with sets and lighting design that fill the Cinemascope frame with bold reds, greens, yellows, and blues… Long admired in cult circles, Suspiria stands as one of the most visually striking horror films ever made, and the high watermark of a first-rate splatter stylist." - Scott Tobias, A.V. Club
Selected by Neil Young, Jasper Sharp, Virginie Sélavy, Dennis Dermody, Joshua Rothkopf.
The Sweet Hereafter

The Sweet Hereafter

1997 / Canada / 112m / Col / Drama, Ensemble Film
Ian Holm, Sarah Polley, Bruce Greenwood, Tom McCamus, Arsinee Khanjian, Alberta Watson, Maury Chaykin, Gabrielle Rose, Peter Donaldson, David Hemblen
"A school bus skids off an icy road and sinks into a frozen lake, taking with it the children of a tiny, once neighborly Adirondack town. Presented midway through this latest, biggest and most wrenching film by the brilliantly analytical Atom Egoyan, this image becomes the basis for a many-faceted moral inquiry… Making this material very much his own, the filmmaker creates schematic, intuitive images that hauntingly crystallize the characters' situations… For all the suffering it describes, this eloquent film also carries the exhilaration of crystal-clear artistic vision." - Janet Maslin, The New York Times
Selected by Bálint Szalóky, M.K. Raghavendra, Stephen Holden, David Sterritt, Owen Gleiberman.
Sweet Smell of Success

Sweet Smell of Success

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

Swing Time

1936 / USA / 103m / BW / Musical, Romance
Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Victor Moore, Helen Broderick, Eric Blore, Betty Furness, Georges Metaxa, Harry Bernard, Harry Bowen, Bill Brande
The best of the Astaire-Rogers films is their fifth, Swing Time (1936), directed by George Stevens at a time when he was a king at RKO Radio Pictures (his other credits in that period included Alice Adams and Gunga Din). The plot, with its sly drolleries, is based like Top Hat on mistaken identities, but it's wittier and more cleverly written; it could have been devised by P.G. Wodehouse. It serves to link the great dance sequences, built around Jerome Kern songs, including the climactic “Never Gonna Dance” number that may be the high point of the Astaire-Rogers partnership." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by B. Kite, Linda Williams, Steven Bach, Robert Muller, Leonard Maltin.
Syndromes and a Century

Syndromes and a Century

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

Synecdoche, New York

2008 / USA / 124m / Col / Psychological Drama, Showbiz Drama
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Sadie Goldstein, Tom Noonan, Peter Friedman, Charles Techman, Josh Pais, Daniel London, Robert Seay, Michelle Williams
"Ambition is what most indie films lack, and what the directorial debut of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) has, ad infinitum, ad gloriam. In this epic tragicomedy, Caden Cotard (Hoffman), a Schenectady, N.Y., theater director, moves to Manhattan with the gigantic notion of putting on a realistic drama as big as all of New York City… A movie so human, you may want to argue with it, spank it, take it home or give it some Xanax, Synecdoche is richly devious and daring: a truly, gargantuanly independent vision." - Richard Corliss, TIME
Selected by Anne Billson, Gus Van Sant, Ed Park, Anton Bitel, Tim Peters.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.