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Best 100 Films of the 1990s Part 2

100-81   80-61   60-41   40-21   20-1

80. Fallen Angels (1995) Dir. Wong Kar-Wai, 90 mins.

Sometimes frustrating but often visually exhilarating Wong Kar-Wai’s film expands on the themes and mood of Chungking Express while focusing more on style than the two loosely linked and minimal plot lines. Buy

79. The Remains of the Day (1993) Dir. James Ivory, 134 mins.

Anthony Hopkins plays Stevens, the “perfect” butler to a prosperous British household of the 1930s. He is so unswervingly devoted to serving his master, a well-meaning but callow British lord (James Fox), that he shuts himself off from all emotions and familial relationships. New housekeeper Miss Kenton (Emma Thompson) tries to warm him up and awaken his humanity. Watch

78. Mother and Son (1997) Dir. Aleksandr Sokurov, 73 mins.

It depicts the relationship between an old, dying mother and her young son.

77. The Crying Game (1992) Dir. Neil Jordan, 112 mins.

The film is about the experiences of the main character, Fergus (Stephen Rea), a member of the IRA, his brief but meaningful encounter with a soldier, Jody (Forest Whitaker), who is held prisoner by the group, and his unexpected romantic relationship with Jody’s girlfriend, Dil (Jaye Davidson), whom Fergus promised Jody he would protect. However, unexpected events force Fergus to decide what he wants for the future, and ultimately what his nature dictates he must do. Putting to one side whether Whittaker works as a British soldier and the famous plot twist that almost overwhelms the rest of the film, The Crying Game is a gripping mystery that becomes an emotionally complex and haunting drama.

76. To Live (1994) Dir. Zhang Yimou, 132 mins.

In the 1940s, Xu Fugui (Ge You), a rich man’s son and compulsive gambler, and his wife Jiazhen (Gong Li), endure tumultuous events in China as their personal fortunes move from wealthy landownership to peasantry.

75. Magnolia (1999) Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson, 188 mins.

The film stars Jeremy Blackman, Tom Cruise, Melinda Dillon, Philip Baker Hall, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ricky Jay, William H. Macy, Alfred Molina, Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly, Jason Robards and Melora Walters, and is a mosaic of interrelated characters in search of happiness, forgiveness and meaning in the San Fernando Valley.

74. Short Cuts (1993) Dir. Robert Altman, 188 mins.

Perhaps Altman’s last masterpiece, Short Cuts traces the actions of 22 principal characters, both in parallel and at occasional loose points of connection.

73. Casino (1995) Dir. Martin Scorsese, 178 mins.

Based on a true story, Casino follows Sam “Ace” Rothstein (Robert De Niro), a Jewish American gambling handicapper who is called by the Italian Mob to oversee the day-to-day operations at the Tangiers Casino in Las Vegas.

72. Rosetta (1999) Dir. Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, 93 mins.

The film follows a seventeen-year-old girl (Émilie Dequenne) who lives in a caravan park with her alcoholic mother. Trying to survive and to escape the caravan and her dysfunctional mother, she makes numerous attempts at securing a job.

71. Farewell, My Concubine (1993) Dir. Kaige Chen, 156 mins.

Farewell My Concubine explores the effect of China’s political turmoil during the mid-20th century on the lives of two male stars in a Peking opera troupe and the woman who comes between them. Financed with Taiwanese money, the film was the first from China to win the Palm d’Or at Cannes.

70. Before Sunrise (1995) Dir. Richard Linklater, 105 mins.

The film follows Jesse (Ethan Hawke), a young American man, and Céline (Julie Delpy), a young French woman, who meet on a train and disembark in Vienna, where they spend the night walking around the city and getting to know each other. Watch

69. Heat (1995) Dir. Michael Mann, 188 mins.

A surprisingly literate action film from the master of stylised drama, where Robert De Niro plays Neil McCauley, a professional thief, while Al Pacino plays Lt. Vincent Hanna, a LAPD robbery-homicide detective tracking down McCauley’s crew. It’s an influential and engrossing crime thriller that also provides insight into the psychology behind the actions of those on both sides of the law.

68. Eternity and a Day (1998) Dir. Theo Angelopoulos, 132 mins.

The film follows a celebrated writer, Alexandre, who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Just before going to hospital to receive treatment, and knowing he is unlikely to recover, he spends one last day wandering about town and reminiscing about his past, trying to capture one perfect moment of happiness from his memories.

67. La Belle Noiseuse (1991) Dir. Jacques Rivette, 237 mins.

A reclusive famous painter, Frenhofer (Michel Piccoli), lives quietly with his wife and former model (Jane Birkin) in a rambling château in rural Languedoc-Roussillon. When a young artist visits him with his girlfriend, Marianne (Emmanuelle Béart), Frenhofer is inspired to commence work once more on a painting he long ago abandoned, La Belle Noiseuse, using Marianne as his model.

66. Forrest Gump (1994) Dir. Robert Zemeckis, 142 mins.

The story depicts several decades in the life of its titular character (Tom Hanks), a slow-witted but kind-hearted, good-natured and athletically prodigious man from Alabama.

65. Paris Is Burning (1990) Dir. Jennie Livingston, 78 mins.

Filmed in the mid-to-late 1980s, it chronicles the ball culture of New York City and the African-American, Latino, gay, and transgender communities involved in it.

64. Dead Man (1995) Dir. Jim Jarmusch, 121 mins.

A western black comedy, shot in black and white, about a city slicker clerk (Johnny Depp) who goes to a wild west town to take an accountancy job and, after accidentally killing a man, ends up a gunfighter on the run with an enigmatic Indian buddy in the Northwest wilderness. It’s as odd as one would expect from Jarmush, but there are some memorable sequences and an interesting and well used supporting cast that includes Robert Mitchum, John Hurt, Gabriel Byrne and Iggy Pop.

63. Baraka (1992) Dir. Ron Fricke, 97 mins.

Featuring no conventional narrative, the film presents footage of people, places and things from around the world.

62. Crumb (1994) Dir. Terry Zwigoff, 119 mins.

A documentary about the noted underground cartoonist Robert Crumb and his family, particularly his brothers, Maxon and Charles, as well as Robert’s wife Aline Kominsky-Crumb and his children. Making the connection between Crumb’s creativity and his eccentricity or perhaps craziness, the film is troubling and disarming with some haunting images. Watch

61. After Life (1998) Dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda, 118 mins.

In this acclaimed Japanese film, a group of people who have recently died find themselves in a limbo realm resembling a relatively mundane building. Counselors, including Takashi (Arata) and Shiori (Erika Oda), are on hand to help new arrivals pick one memory from their lives to bring with them into eternity.


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