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This bittersweet film from Jean Renoir, based on a story by Guy de Maupassant, is a tenderly comic idyll about a city family’s picnic in the French countryside and the romancing of the mother and grown daughter by two local men.
10 Feb 2015
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The last film by Yasujiro Ozu was also his final masterpiece, a gently heartbreaking story about a man’s dignifed resignation to life’s shifting currents and society’s modernization.
17 Feb 2015
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The setup is pure pulp: A former prostitute (a crackerjack Constance Towers) relocates to a buttoned-down suburb, determined to fit in with mainstream society.
An American housewife (Jennifer Jones) vacationing in Italy reluctantly decides to put an end to her brief affair with an Italian academic (Montgomery Clift) in this troubled collaboration between director Vittorio De Sica and producer David O. Selznick.
In Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s stunningly photographed comedy, Wendy Hiller stars as a headstrong young woman who travels to the remote Scottish Hebrides to marry a rich lord.
Masaki Kobayashi’s mammoth humanist drama is one of the most staggering achievements of Japanese cinema. A raw indictment of its nation’s wartime mentality as well as a personal existential tragedy, Kobayashi’s riveting, gorgeously filmed epic is novelistic cinema at its best.
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Tormented by twisted desires, a young man takes drastic measures to rid his grotesquely dysfunctional family of its various afflictions in this astonishing 1965 debut from Marco Bellocchio.
In this magnificently inscrutable late-sixties masterpiece, Marco Ferreri, one of European cinema’s most idiosyncratic auteurs, takes us through the looking glass to one seemingly routine night in the life of an Italian gas mask designer, played by Michel Piccoli.
In Pietro Germi’s hilarious and cutting satire of Sicilian male-chauvinist culture, Baron Ferdinando Cefalù (Marcello Mastroianni) longs to marry his nubile young cousin Angela (Stefania Sandrelli), but one obstacle stands in his way: his fatuous and fawning wife, Rosalia (Daniela Rocca).
Set amid the tumult of World War II, yet with a rhythm as delicate as a lullaby, Powell and Pressburger’s classic follows three modern-day incarnations of Chaucer’s pilgrims waylaid in the English countryside en route to the mythical town of Canterbury and forced to solve a bizarre village crime.
A Nazi U-boat crew, headed by the ruthless Eric Portman, is stranded in Canada during the thick of World War II in Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s quick-witted wartime thriller, 49th Parallel.
Agnès Varda used the skills she honed early in her career as a photographer to create some of the most nuanced, thought-provoking films of the past fifty years.
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This multiple-Oscar-winning film by Roman Polanski is an exquisite, richly layered adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles.
The films directed by the great Satyajit Ray in the last ten years of his life have a unique dignity and drama. They are complex, political, and humane depictions of worlds both corrupt and indescribably beautiful, constructed with Ray’s characteristic elegance and imbued with autumnal profundity.
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Max Ophuls’s final film, Lola Montès is at once a magnificent romantic melodrama, a meditation on the lurid fascination with celebrity, and a one-of-a-kind movie spectacle.
A pair of siblings from London (Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey) purchase a surprisingly affordable, lonely cliff-top house in Cornwall, only to discover that it actually carries a ghostly price—and soon they’re caught up in a bizarre romantic triangle from beyond the grave.
These elegant, bawdy films, made before strict enforcement of the Hays morality code, feature some of the greatest stars of early Hollywood, as well as that elusive style of comedy that would thereafter be known as “the Lubitsch touch.”
The comic genius of silent star Harold Lloyd is eternal. Chaplin is the sweet innocent, Keaton the stoic outsider, but Lloyd—the modern guy striving for success—is us. And with its torrent of perfectly executed gags and astonishing stunts, Safety Last! is the perfect introduction to him.
A producer, writer, and director who navigated toward subjects of major historical significance and mythical distinction, Alexander Korda specialized in stately period drama with surprising satire. These films are exemplars of grand 1930s moviemaking.
Barbara Stanwyck and Walter Huston are at their fierce finest in master Hollywood craftsman Anthony Mann’s crackling western melodrama The Furies, sophisticated in its view of frontier settlement and ablaze with searing domestic drama.
A French comedy master whose films went unseen for decades as a result of legal tangles, director-actor Pierre Etaix is a treasure the cinematic world has rediscovered and embraced with relish.
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With the simplest of concepts and sparest of techniques, Robert Bresson made one of the most suspenseful jailbreak films of all time in A Man Escaped.
Badlands announced the arrival of a major talent: Terrence Malick. His impressionistic take on the notorious Charles Starkweather killing spree of the late 1950s uses a serial-killer narrative as a springboard for an oblique teenage romance.
The debut feature by the great Andrei Tarkovsky, Ivan’s Childhood is a poetic journey through the shards and shadows of one boy’s war-ravaged youth.
The Tin Drum, is Volker Schlöndorff’s visionary adaptation of Nobel laureate Günter Grass’s acclaimed novel, characterized by surreal imagery, arresting eroticism, and clear-eyed satire.
A breathtaking depiction of the promise and perils of America’s western expansion, Heaven’s Gate, directed by Michael Cimino, is among Hollywood’s most ambitious and unorthodox epics.
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With its aching musical soundtrack and exquisitely abstract cinematography by Christopher Doyle and Mark Lee Ping-bin, this film has been a major stylistic influence on the past decade of cinema, and is a milestone in Wong’s redoubtable career.
The Who’s classic rock opera Quadrophenia was the basis for this invigorating coming-of-age movie and depiction of the defiant, drug-fueled mod subculture of early 1960s London.
The Samurai Trilogy, directed by Hiroshi Inagaki and starring the inimitable Toshiro Mifune, was one of Japan’s most successful exports of the 1950s, a rousing, emotionally gripping tale of combat and self-discovery.
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New German Cinema pioneer Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire) brings his keen eye for landscape to the American Southwest in Paris, Texas, a profoundly moving character study written by Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Sam Shepard.
This historical drama by Mario Monicelli, brimming with humor and honesty, is a beautiful and moving ode to the power of the people.
Terrence Malick’s visionary adaptation of James Jones’s 1962 novel about the World War II battle for Guadalcanal is one of the most deeply philosophical films ever released by a major Hollywood studio, a thought-provoking meditation on man, nature, and violence.
Four desperate men sign on for a suicide mission to drive trucks loaded with nitroglycerin over a treacherous mountain route—a white-knuckle ride from France’s legendary master of suspense, Henri-Georges Clouzot.
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.
A testament to the goodness of humankind, Akira Kurosawa’s Red Beard chronicles the tumultuous relationship between an arrogant young doctor and a compassionate clinic director (Toshiro Mifune, in his last role for Kurosawa).
In Pier Paolo Pasolini’s neorealist take on society’s marginalized and dispossessed, Anna Magnani delivers a powerhouse performance as a middle-aged prostitute who attempts to extricate herself from her sordid past for the sake of her son.
Two unique versions of Maxim Gorky’s classic proletariat play, adapted by two of cinema’s greatest directors: Jean Renoir and Akira Kurosawa.
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In Fellini’s semiautobiographical masterpiece, five young men linger in a postadolescent limbo, dreaming of adventure and escape from their small seacoast town. They while away their time spending the lira doled out by their indulgent families on drink, women, and nights at the pool hall.
Ermanno Olmi’s masterful feature is the tender story of two Milanese fiancés whose strained relationship is tested when the man accepts a new job in Sicily. With the separation come loneliness, nostalgia, and, perhaps, some new perspectives that might rejuvenate their love.
Benjamin Christensen’s legendary silent film uses a series of dramatic vignettes to explore the scientific hypothesis that the witches of the Middle Ages suffered the same hysteria as turn-of-the-century psychiatric patients. Häxan is a witches’ brew of the scary, gross, and darkly humorous.
One of the great translations of literature into film, David Lean’s Great Expectations brings Charles Dickens’s masterpiece to robust on-screen life.
In this powerful early noir from the great Akira Kurosawa, Toshiro Mifune bursts onto the screen as a volatile, tubercular criminal who strikes up an unlikely relationship with Takashi Shimura’s jaded physician.
Krzysztof Kieślowski’s international breakthrough remains one of his most beloved films, a ravishing, mysterious rumination on identity, love, and human intuition. The Double Life of Véronique is an unforgettable symphony of feeling.
Veronica and Boris are blissfully in love, until the eruption of World War II tears them apart. The Soviet cinema classic The Cranes Are Flying won the Palme d’Or at the 1958 Cannes Film Festival.
Based on the classic Emile Zola novel, Jean Renoir’s La bête humaine, a suspenseful journey into the tormented psyche of a workingman, was one of the director’s greatest popular successes—and earned star Jean Gabin a permanent place in the hearts of his countrymen.