600. A Fistful of Dollars (1964) Dir. Sergio Leone, 99 mins.
Clint Eastwood plays a cynical gunfighter who comes to a small border town and offers his services to two rival gangs. Neither gang is aware of his double play, and each thinks it is using him. A recycled plot from Kuroswa’s Yojimbo.
599. Floating Clouds (1955) Dir. Mikio Naruse, 123 mins.
Based on a novel of the same name by Japanese author and poet Fumiko Hayashi, the film is set after World War II and contains the common post-war theme of wandering. It follows Yukiko Koda, a woman who, having just returned to post-war Japan from French Indochina, struggles to find where she belongs and ends up floating endlessly about.
598. The Wind (1928) Dir. Victor Sjöström, 95 mins.
A psychologically charged character study that follows a gentle southern country girl, who goes to live with her very unpleasant Texas family, where she’s forced to deal with constantly blowing wind, a bad marriage and a villainous ex-lover.
597. Chariots of Fire (1981) Dir. Hugh Hudson, 123 mins.
At a time when things looked bleak for British cinema, an unexpected resurgence was sparked by the Oscar success of this modest production. It tells the fact-based story of two athletes in the 1924 Olympics: Eric Liddell, a devout Scottish Christian who runs for the glory of God, and Harold Abrahams, an English Jew who runs to overcome prejudice. Directed by Hudson and produced by David Puttnam, Chariots of Fire won Best Picture at the Academy Awards and prompted writer Colin Welland to famously announce ‘the British are coming’ during his acceptance speech for Best Original Screenplay.
596. Where is the Friend’s Home? (1987) Dir. Abbas Kiarostami, 87 mins.
The first part of Kiarostami’s friendship trilogy, the film was made under the auspices of Iran’s Institute for the intellectual development of children and young adults and tells a deceptively simple account of a conscientious 8 year old schoolboy’s quest to the neighbouring village to return his friend’s notebook, that he took in error, as should his friend fail to hand it in the next day, it is likely he will get expelled. An often realistic and touching tale of loyalty and compassion that helped launch Kiarostami onto the world stage.
595. Our Hospitality (1923) Dir. John G. Blystone, Buster Keaton, 73 mins.
Released by Metro Pictures Corporation, the film uses slapstick and situational comedy to tell the story of Willie McKay (Buster Keaton), who gets caught in the middle of the infamous “Canfield”–”McKay” feud, an obvious satire of the real-life Hatfield–McCoy feud.
594. Freaks (1932) Dir. Tod Browning, 64 mins.
Real sideshow performers star in Tod Browning’s infamous cult classic, a grotesque revenge drama set against a circus backdrop. Trapeze artist Cleopatra plans to wed and then murder midget Hans for his fortune, but when his fellow ‘freaks’ discover her scheme, she becomes the target of their horrifying vengeance.
593. Room (2015) Dir. Lenny Abrahamson, 118 mins.
It stars Brie Larson as a woman who has been held captive for seven years, and whose 5-year-old son (Jacob Tremblay) was born in captivity. Their escape allows the boy to experience the outside world for the first time.
592. A Night at the Opera (1935) Dir. Sam Wood, 91 mins.
Enticed to MGM by Irving Thalberg, the Marx Brothers had their last great success with A Night at the Opera. We are introduced to Groucho Marx as penny-ante promoter Otis B. Driftwood. After a sumptuous dinner with a beautiful blonde at a fancy Milan restaurant, Driftwood tries to cadge another free meal from his wealthy patroness, Mrs. Claypool (Margaret Dumont). The dignified dowager complains that Driftwood had promised to get her into high society, but has done nothing so far.
591. Carol (2015) Dir. Todd Haynes, 118 mins.
Set in New York City during the early 1950s, Carol tells the story of a forbidden affair between an aspiring female photographer (Rooney Mara) and a glamorous older woman (Cate Blanchett) going through a difficult divorce. An elegantly restrained melodrama with lush visuals that features superb performances from Blanchett and Mara.
590. The Celebration (1998) Dir. Thomas Vinterberg, 105 mins.
The film tells the story of a family gathering to celebrate their father’s 60th birthday. At the dinner, the eldest son publicly accuses his father of sexually abusing both him and his twin sister (who has recently killed herself).
589. Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987) Dir. Louis Malle, 104 mins.
During the Nazi occupation of France, a young Catholic boarding-school student witnesses the courage of his teachers as they defy the anti-Semitic policies of the German forces, and quietly enroll Jewish children in their school using assumed names.
588. Rebel Without a Cause (1955) Dir. Nicholas Ray, 111 mins.
The film follows a rebellious teenager (James Dean), who arrives at a new high school, meets a girl, disobeys his parents and defies the local school bullies.
587. The Devils (1971) Dir. Ken Russell, 111 mins.
Perhaps Russell’s most extreme work, The Devils deals with possession in a seventeenth century convent. The film had several sequences cut by the censor and is a dramatised historical account of the rise and fall of Urbain Grandier, a Roman Catholic priest executed for witchcraft following the supposed possessions in Loudun, France. Oliver Reed excels as Grandier, while Vanessa Redgrave plays a hunchbacked sexually repressed nun who finds herself inadvertently responsible for the accusations.
586. Fellini Satyricon (1969) Dir. Federico Fellini, 128 mins.
The film is divided into nine episodes, following the scholar Encolpius and his friend Ascyltus as they try to win the heart of the young boy Gitón, whom they both love, within the film’s depiction of a surreal and dreamlike Roman landscape and culture.
585. Moonrise Kingdom (2012) Dir. Wes Anderson, 94 mins.
Set on an island off the coast of New England in the summer of 1965, Moonrise Kingdom tells the story of two twelve-year-olds who fall in love, make a secret pact, and run away together into the wilderness. Features strong performances from the two young leads and a tremendous ensemble supporting cast.
584. 2046 (2004) Dir. Wong Kar-Wai, 129 mins.
The film follows the aftermath of Chow Mo-wan’s unconsummated affair with Su Li-Zhen in 1960s Hong Kong.
583. The Hurt Locker (2008) Dir. Kathryn Bigelow, 127 mins.
The Film follows members of the EOD unit on a tour of duty as they contend with defusing bombs, the threat of insurgency, and the tension that develops among them.
582. Sideways (2004) Dir. Alexander Payne, 126 mins.
An adaptation of Rex Pickett’s novel of the same name, Sideways follows two men in their forties, Miles Raymond (Paul Giamatti), a depressed teacher and unsuccessful writer, and Jack Cole (Thomas Haden Church), a past-his-prime actor, who take a week-long road trip to Santa Barbara County wine country to celebrate Jack’s upcoming wedding.
581. Frankenstein (1931) Dir. James Whale, 71 mins.
Based on the nineteenth century novel, the film follows a scientist, Dr. Frankenstein (Colin Clive) and his assistant who dig up corpses to build a man animated by electricity (Boris Karloff), but his assistant accidentally gives the creature an abnormal, murderer’s brain.
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