120. The Gold Rush (1925) Dir. Charles Chaplin, 96 mins.
The Tramp (Charlie Chaplin) travels to Alaska to take part in the Gold Rush, but bad weather strands him in a remote cabin with a prospector who has found a large gold deposit.
119. Throne of Blood (1957) Dir. Akira Kurosawa, 109 mins.
The film transposes the plot of William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth from Medieval Scotland to feudal Japan, with stylistic elements drawn from Noh drama. As with the play, the film tells the story of a warrior who assassinates his sovereign at the urging of his ambitious wife.
118. Fight Club (1999) Dir. David Fincher, 139 mins.
Edward Norton plays the unnamed protagonist, referred to as the narrator, who is discontented with his white-collar job. He forms a “fight club” with soap maker Tyler Durden, (Brad Pitt), and they are joined by men who also want to fight. The narrator becomes embroiled in a relationship with Durden and a dissolute woman, Marla Singer, (Helena Bonham Carter).
117. The Apartment (1960) Dir. Billy Wilder, 125 mins.
The film follows C. C. “Bud” Baxter (Jack Lemmon), an insurance company clerk who permits his bosses to use his Upper West Side apartment to conduct extramarital affairs in hope of gaining a promotion. Simultaneously Bud pursues a relationship with elevator operator Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), unaware she is having an affair with one of the apartment’s users (Fred MacMurray).
116. Aparajito (1956) Dir. Satyajit Ray, 110 mins.
It starts off where the previous film Pather Panchali ended, with Apu’s family moving to Varanasi, and chronicles Apu’s life from childhood to adolescence in college, right up to his mother’s death, when he is left all alone.
115. Au Hasard Balthazar (1966) Dir. Robert Bresson, 95 mins.
Believed to be inspired by a passage from Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel The Idiot, the film follows a donkey as he is given to various owners, most of whom treat him callously.
114. The General (1926) Dir. Clyde Bruckman, Buster Keaton, 103 mins.
Buster Keaton plays Johnnie Gray, a locomotive engineer. He returns to his hometown in Confederate Georgia to visit his fiance Annabelle Lee when the American Civil War breaks out.
113. The Battle of Algiers (1966) Dir. Gillo Pontecorvo, 121 mins.
The bulk of the film is shot in flashback, presented as the memories of Ali (Brahim Haggiag), a leading member of the Algerian Front de Liberation Nationale (FLN), when finally captured by the French in 1957.
112. The World of Apu (1959) Dir. Satyajit Ray, 105 mins.
It is the third part of The Apu Trilogy, about the childhood and early adulthood of a young Bengali named Apu in the early twentieth century Indian subcontinent.
111. Ordet (1955) Dir. Carl Theodor Dreyer, 126 mins.
Danish filmmaker Carl Theodor Dreyer examines the conflict between internalised personal faith and organised religion. Dreyer sets the drama in a conservative, super-pious Danish town, where widower Morten Borgen (Henrik Malberg), the father of three boys, cuts against the grain of the community with his constant heretical doubt.
110. Chungking Express (1994) Dir. Wong Kar-Wai, 98 mins.
The film consists of two stories told in sequence, each about a lovesick Hong Kong policeman mulling over his relationship with a woman. The first story stars Takeshi Kaneshiro as a cop obsessed with his breakup with a woman named May, and his encounter with a mysterious drug smuggler (Brigitte Lin). The second stars Tony Leung as a police officer roused from his gloom over the loss of his flight attendant girlfriend (Valerie Chow) by the attentions of a quirky snack bar worker (Faye Wong). It’s the relationship between Leung and Wong that really makes the film.
109. Grave of the Fireflies (1988) Dir. Isao Takahata, 89 mins.
Set in the city of Kobe, Japan, the film tells the story of two siblings, Seita and Setsuko, and their desperate struggle to survive during the final months of the Second World War. Harrowing animated drama from Studio Ghibli. Buy
108. The Red Shoes (1948) Dir. Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, 133 mins.
The film is about a ballerina who joins an established ballet company and becomes the lead dancer in a new ballet called The Red Shoes, itself based on the fairy tale “The Red Shoes” by Hans Christian Andersen.
107. Grand Illusion (1937) Dir. Jean Renoir, 114 mins.
The story concerns class relationships among a small group of French officers who are prisoners of war during World War I and are plotting an escape.
106. Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975) Dir. Chantal Akerman, 201 mins.
In this experimental film about a middle-aged widow driven to desperation by the crushing boredom of making beds, cleaning bathtubs, cooking, dusting, and even just eating, the real-life time needed to make that bed or to cook is exactly the time used in the film, an effect which makes some viewers just as bored and restless as the widow, and which brings home the point of the film quite well.
105. A Woman Under the Influence (1974) Dir. John Cassavetes, 155 mins.
After an uncomfortable and generally unsuccessful period of directing Hollywood films in the early 70s, Cassavattes returned to his unorthodox mode of independent production and self distribution with the challenging, A Woman Under the Influence. It focuses on a housewife (Cassavetes’s wife Gena Rowlands) who is misunderstood, finds life difficult and is heading for a nervous breakdown. Her seemingly unusual and unpredictable behaviour leads her husband (Peter Falk) to commit her for psychiatric treatment putting much strain on him and their three children. Cassavetes’s keeps things ambiguous and it’s often oddly moving but it’s still Rowland who makes the biggest impression, improvising much of her characters descent into madness and earning herself an Oscar nomination.
104. Man With a Movie Camera (1929) Dir. Dziga Vertov, 68 mins.
Vertov’s filmic manifesto, produced by the studio VUFKU, presents a utopian image of urban life in the Soviet cities of Kiev, Kharkov, Moscow and Odessa. Vertov proclaimed the film an experiment, and it is made without actors, intertitles, a script or sets, showing from dawn to dusk, Soviet citizens at work and at play, and interacting with the machinery of modern life. A tour de force in theoretical cinema, the film is only a documentary by material and more a summary of the themes of the ‘kinoki’ movement, the image of the worker perfect as the machine and that of the filmmaker as socially as useful as the factory worker. The culmination of a decade of audacious and controversial work in non fiction filmmaking for Vertov, The Man With the Movie Camera is one of the of the most unusual works in cinema history and was seen as hopelessly out of date on release thanks to its utopian ideals around city living, but for those with an open mind to different filmmaking techniques it can be a memorable viewing experience. For all the criticism and its avant-garde ambitions, it is one of the few silent films that strongly conveys a sense of everyday life in Soviet Russia. More…
103. The Mother and the Whore (1973) Dir. Jean Eustache, 217 mins.
In this intense character study, irresponsible Parisian Jean-Pierre Leaud decides that he desperately needs a wife and so leaves his lover to propose to his ex-girlfriend. His self-absorbed pseudo-intellectual ramblings turn her off, and she turns him down. He meets a nurse who later involves herself with Leaud and his lover. One of just two feature film’s made by Eustache before his untimely death, The Mother and the Whore has real bite.
102. Sansho the Bailiff (1954) Dir. Kenji Mizoguchi, 124 mins.
Based on a short story of the same name by Mori Ōgai, it follows two aristocratic children who are sold into slavery. Watch
101. Shoah (1985) Dir. Claude Lanzmann, 503 mins.
Shoah is a French documentary about the Holocaust, directed by Claude Lanzmann. Over nine hours long and 11 years in the making, the film presents Lanzmann’s interviews with survivors, witnesses and perpetrators during visits to German Holocaust sites across Poland, including extermination camps.