60. Amour (2012) Dir. Michael Haneke, 127 mins.
The narrative focuses on an elderly couple, Anne and Georges, who are retired music teachers with a daughter who lives abroad. Anne suffers a stroke which paralyses her on the right side of her body.
59. Leviathan (2014) Dir. Andrey Zvyagintsev, 140 mins.
Kolya (Alexeï Serebriakov) lives in a small fishing town near the stunning Barents Sea in Northern Russia. He owns an auto-repair shop that stands right next to the house where he lives with his young wife Lilya (Elena Liadova) and his son Roma (Sergueï Pokhodaev) from a previous marriage. However, this existence is threatened by the town’s crooked Mayor Vadim (Roman Madyanov) who has undertaken a legal plot to expropriate the land on which Kolya’s house is built.
58. Her (2013) Dir. Spike Jonze, 126 mins.
The film follows Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), a man who develops a relationship with Samantha (Scarlett Johansson), an intelligent computer operating system personified through a female voice.
57. Dunkirk (2017) Dir. Christopher Nolan, 107 mins.
Dunkirk portrays the evacuation from three perspectives: land, sea, and air. Although a visually powerful film, the narrative structure will annoy some and as often goes with Nolan films it’s a little weak on the human drama.
56. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) Dir. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, 119 mins.
The story follows Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton), a faded Hollywood actor best known for playing the superhero “Birdman”, as he struggles to mount a Broadway adaptation of a short story by Raymond Carver.
55. Interstellar (2014) Dir. Christopher Nolan, 169 mins.
Set in a dystopian future where humanity is struggling to survive, the film follows a group of astronauts who travel through a wormhole in search of a new home.
54. Blade Runner 2049 (2017) Dir. Denis Villeneuve, 163 mins.
Set thirty years after the first film, K (Ryan Gosling), a blade runner, uncovers a secret that threatens to instigate a war between humans and replicants. While it lacks the strong dialogue and iconic supporting characters of the original, the film works thanks to an excellent lead performance from Gosling and stunning visual work from British cinematographer Roger Deakins who finally won an Oscar after thirteen previous nominations.
53. Django Unchained (2012) Dir. Quentin Tarantino, 165 mins.
Set in the South two years before the Civil War, Django Unchained stars Jamie Foxx as Django, a slave whose brutal history with his former owners lands him face-to-face with German-born bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz). Schultz is on the trail of the murderous Brittle brothers, and only Django can lead him to his bounty. Honing vital hunting skills, Django remains focused on one goal, finding and rescuing Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), the wife he lost to the slave trade long ago.
52. Toy Story 3 (2010) Dir. Lee Unkrich, 102 mins.
The plot focuses on the toys Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and their friends dealing with an uncertain future as their owner, Andy, prepares to leave for college.
51. Whiplash (2014) Dir. Damien Chazelle, 106 mins.
It depicts the relationship between an ambitious jazz student (Miles Teller) and an abusive instructor (J. K. Simmons).
50. Shame (2011) Dir. Steve McQueen, 99 mins.
An intelligent examination of sex addiction with an outstanding lead performance from Michael Fassbender.
49. 12 Years a Slave (2013) Dir. Steve McQueen, 133 mins.
An adaptation of the 1853 slave memoir Twelve Years a Slave, the film follows the book’s author Solomon Northup, a New York State-born free African-American man, who was kidnapped in Washington, D.C. by two conmen in 1841 and sold into slavery where he is put to work on plantations in the state of Louisiana for 12 years before being released.
48. Horse Money (2014) Dir. Pedro Costa, 103 mins.
A mesmerising odyssey into the real, imagined and nightmarish memories of the an elderly Cape Verdean immigrant living in Lisbon.
47. Behemoth (2015) Dir. Zhao Liang, 91 mins.
Loosely based on Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, Liang’s documentary is about the environmental, sociological, and public health effects of coal-mining in China and Inner Mongolia.
46. Kaili Blues (2015) Dir. Bi Gan, 113 mins.
In the mystical province of Guizhou, there is a small county clinic surrounded by fog. At the Kaili clinic, there are two doctors who live quiet, lonely lives. One of the doctors, Chen Sheng, embarks on a journey by train to find his nephew, who had been abandoned by his brother.
45. Oslo, August 31st (2011) Dir. Joachim Trier, 95 mins.
Thirty-four-year-old Anders (Anders Danielsen Lie) is a fortunate, but deeply troubled man battling drug addiction. As part of his rehabilitation program, he is allowed to go into the city for a job interview, but instead uses the opportunity as a way to drift around and revisit old friends. The day grows increasingly difficult as he struggles to overcome personal demons and past ghosts for the chance at love and a new life.
44. Call Me by Your Name (2017) Dir. Luca Guadagnino, 132 mins.
Set in northern Italy in 1983, Call Me by Your Name chronicles a romantic relationship between 17-year-old Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet) and his professor father’s 24-year-old graduate-student assistant Oliver (Armie Hammer).
43. Vitalina Varela (2019) Dir. Pedro Costa, 124 mins.
Winner of the Golden Leopard at the 2019 Locarno Film Festival, the film follows Vitalina Varela, a 55-year-old woman from Cape Verde, who arrives in Lisbon three days after her husband’s funeral. She’s been waiting for her plane ticket for more than 25 years.
42. The Missing Picture (2013) Dir. Rithy Panh, 92 mins.
Approximately half the film uses clay figurines to dramatise what happened in Cambodia when Pol Pot came to power, while the other half is made up of news and documentary footage.
41. Poetry (2010) Dir. Lee Chang-dong, 139 mins.
It tells the story of a suburban woman in her 60s who begins to develop an interest in poetry while struggling with Alzheimer’s disease and her irresponsible grandson.