760. The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933) Dir. Fritz Lang, 122 mins.
Rudolf Klein-Rogge returns as Dr. Mabuse who, while imprisoned in an insane asylum, continues on with his plots to destroy the world. Beautiful, powerful and with a great deal of suspense the film is Lang at his most inventive. Watch
759. Bambi (1942) Dir. David Hand, 70 mins.
With splendid animation the film tells the touching story of male deer Bambi from his birth, through to his early childhood experiences and particularly his memorable friendship with Thumper the rabbit. The tale takes a tragic turn with the traumatic loss of his mother at the hands of hunters and moves on to him falling in love and battling to save his friends from a forest fire. Was placed 3rd in the animation category of the AFI’s 10 Top 10 in 2008. Watch
758. We All Loved Each Other So Much (1974) Dir. Ettore Scola, 124 mins.
Stefania Sandrelli plays the longtime object of three friends’ affections. The film traces the interrelationships of those friends, Vittorio Gassman, Nino Manfredi and Satta Flores, over a period of thirty years, beginning with their involvement in the wartime Resistance. Buy
757. The Birds (1963) Dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 119 mins.
Loosely based on the 1952 story of the same name by Daphne du Maurier, the film focuses on a series of sudden, unexplained violent bird attacks on the people of Bodega Bay, California over the course of a few days. Perhaps dented by comparisons to the brilliance of Hitchcock’s previous three films (Vertigo, North by Northwest and Psycho), The Birds was uneasily received at the time of release, but is now lauded for its masterful suspense.
756. Porco Rosso (1992) Dir. Hayao Miyazaki, 94 mins.
The plot revolves around an Italian World War I ex-fighter ace, who thanks to an unusual curse, has been transformed into a pig, and is now living as a freelance bounty hunter chasing “air pirates” in the Adriatic Sea. More beautiful animation and irresistible, vibrant story telling from the masterful Miyazaki.
755. Branded to Kill (1967) Dir. Seijun Suzuki, 98 mins.
Having been promoted from making low budget action B films, Suzuki was gradually decreasing the importance of rational and logical story when he made the gangster film, Branded to Kill. The plot, which generic conventions dictate should be clear, was transformed into a labyrinth. The story follows Goro Hanada in his life as a contract killer. He falls in love with a woman named Misako, who recruits him for a seemingly impossible mission. When the mission fails, he becomes hunted by the phantom Number One Killer, whose methods threaten his sanity as much as his life.
754. The Rise of Louis XIV (1966) Dir. Roberto Rossellini, 100 mins.
Made for French television, the film revolves around the French king Louis XIV’s rise to power after the death of his powerful adviser, Cardinal Mazarin. To achieve this political autonomy, Louis must deal with his mother and the court nobles, all of whom make the assumption that Mazarin’s death will give them more power. The film shows off Rossellini’s remarkable eye for historical detail and Jean-Marie Patte’s performance, as the larger than life Louis, may change the way you think about acting.
753. The Thin Blue Line (1988) Dir. Errol Morris, 103 mins.
An investigation of the 1976 murder of a Dallas cop.
752. Barton Fink (1991) Dir. Joel & Ethan Coen, 116 mins.
The Coen brothers happily deliver a scathing attack on their own industry with this Kafkaesque drama, set in 1941, that follows a young New York realist playwright (John Turturro) who is hired by a Hollywood film studio to script a Wallace Beery wrestling picture. He’s quickly struggling and isn’t helped by having to deal with a hellishly nasty movie mogul (an Oscar nominated turn by Michael Lerner) and his next door neighbour, insurance salesman (John Goodman), who has murder on his mind. Despite all this our hero refuses to throw away his artistic ideals in the face of the industry’s commercialism. There’s plenty to enjoy here, from the beautifully designed sets, to the dark humour and superbly crafted narrative.
751. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) Dir. Steven Spielberg, 127 mins.
In the film, set largely in 1938, Indiana searches for his father, a Holy Grail scholar, who has been kidnapped by Nazis. Works best during the riotous moments when Jones (Harrison Ford) and his father (Sean Connery) are escaping the enemy.
750. Delicatessen (1991) Dir. Marc Caro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 99 mins.
Set in a post apocalyptic country, the action takes place within a single apartment complex, which is owned by the same man, Clapet, who operates the downstairs butcher shop. A former circus clown is attracted to the complex which is a particularly popular place to live, thanks to the butcher’s uncanny ability to find excellent cuts of meat despite the horrible living conditions outside.
749. Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989) Dir. Hayao Miyazaki, 103 mins.
The film tells the story of a young witch, Kiki, who moves to a new town and uses her flying ability to earn a living delivering for a bakery. A charming, warm coming of age tale that’s beautifully animated.
748. The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) Dir. Martin Scorsese, 164 mins.
Having tried for many years to make an adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis’s book of the same name, funding finally arrived for Scorsese off the back of the commercial success of The Color of Money. Like the novel, the film depicts the conflict between the human and divine sides of Jesus Christ, showing his struggles with various forms of temptation including fear, doubt, depression, reluctance and lust. The film suffered from protests by religious groups which prevented many exhibitors from showing it and whilst the American accents will put some off, it has some arresting imagery.
747. Ghostbusters (1984) Dir. Ivan Reitman, 105 mins.
The film stars Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson as eccentric paranormal investigators who start a ghost-catching business in New York City. Successfully showcasing Murray’s hilarious brand of deadpan humour Ghostbusters is a hugely likeable supernatural comedy enhanced by great special effects.
746. Juliet of the Spirits (1965) Dir. Federico Fellini, 137 mins.
The film is about the visions, memories, and mysticism of a middle-aged woman that help her find the strength to leave her philandering husband.
745. Stolen Kisses (1968) Dir. Francois Truffaut, 90 mins.
It continues the story of the character Antoine Doinel, whom Truffaut had previously depicted in The 400 Blows and the short film Antoine and Colette. In this film, Antoine begins his relationship with Christine Darbon.
744. I Am Cuba (1964) Dir. Mikhail Kalatozov, 141 mins.
Hidden away in the Soviet archives for three decades, “I Am Cuba” is a wildly schizophrenic celebration of Communist kitsch, mixing Slavic solemnity with Latin sensuality to create a whirling, feverish dance through both the sensuous decadence of Batista’s Havana and the grinding poverty and oppression of the Cuban people. In four stories of the revolution, Mikhail Kalatov’s astonishingly acrobatic camera takes the viewer on a rapturous roller-coaster ride of bathing beauties, landless peasants, fascist police, and student revolutionaries.
743. Limelight (1952) Dir. Charles Chaplin, 141 mins.
Something of personal indulgence from Chaplin, the film is set in the theatrical London of his childhood and deals with the difficulties of making comedy and the fickle nature of the audience. Chaplin plays a washed-up drunken comedian who saves a suicidal dancer (Claire Bloom) from killing herself and nurses her to success. The film appears to be both a reflection on Chaplin’s damaged reputation (thanks to an FBI smear campaign) and a retreat into the past. Its nostalgia is never more evident than when Buster Keaton appears in a brilliant cameo. (He’d been largely forgotten by the public at that time).
742. Faces (1968) Dir. John Cassavetes, 130 mins.
Having vowed never to direct another studio film Cassavetes returned to independent cinema to tell the story of a dissolving marriage and the lovers to whom the couple turn to for solace. With the director at his most ambitious, Faces was shot on a small budget in black and white on 16 mm and, due to his painstaking methods, took a staggering 4 years to edit. Despite being entirely scripted, unlike his earlier improvised Shadows, the film is known for its powerful expressive acting and realistic dialogue.
741. American Graffiti (1973) Dir. George Lucas, 110 mins.
Making Universal a ton of money, Lucas’s American Graffiti spawned an ever growing number of Hollywood movies portraying teens trying to convince a sceptical adult world to take them seriously. Set in Modesto, California in 1962, the film is a study of the cruising and rock and roll cultures popular among the post–World War II baby boom generation. The narrative is a series of vignettes, telling the story of a group of teenagers and their adventures over a single night. Produced by Coppola the film was an early boost to the careers of Harrison Ford, Ron Howard and Richard Dreyfuss.
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