500. 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.
499. Hero (2002) Dir. Yimou Zhang, 99 mins.
Set in ancient China during the Warring States period, the film stars Jet Li as the nameless protagonist, and is based on the story of Jing Ke’s assassination attempt on the King of Qin in 227 BC. With a notable use of colour.
498. Beau Travail (1999) Dir. Claire Denis, 93 mins.
The movie is set in Djibouti, where the protagonists are soldiers in the French Foreign Legion. Poetic.
497. It Happened One Night (1934) Dir. Frank Capra, 105 mins.
A pampered socialite (Claudette Colbert) tries to get out from under her father’s thumb and falls in love with a roguish reporter (Clark Gable).
496. In a Lonely Place (1950) Dir. Nicholas Ray, 94 mins.
Humphrey Bogart stars as Dixon Steele, a troubled screenwriter suspected of murder, and Grahame co-stars as Laurel Gray, a neighbour who falls under his spell.
495. Shock Corridor (1963) Dir. Samuel Fuller, 101 mins.
The film tells the story of a journalist who gets himself committed to a mental hospital in order to track an unsolved murder.
494. Pepe le Moko (1937) Dir. Julian Duvivier, 94 mins.
In this film, Pepe le Moko is a well-known criminal mastermind who eludes the French police by hiding in the Kasbah section of Algiers. He knows that he is safe in this labyrinthine netherworld, where he is surrounded by fellow thieves and cutthroats.
493. Heat (1995) Dir. Michael Mann, 188 mins.
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. An influential crime thriller.
492. Nostalghia (1983) Dir. Andrei Tarkovsky, 125 mins.
Nostalghia is Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky’s enigmatic work about a writer (Oleg Yankovsky) who, trapped by his fame and an unhappy marriage, seeks out his cultural past in Italy. Here he meets Erland Josephson, a local pariah who declares that the world is coming to an end. The writer finds this prophecy curiously more alluring than the possibility of a dead-end future.
491. Braveheart (1995) Dir. Mel Gibson, 177 mins.
Directed and starring Mel Gibson, the film follows William Wallace, a late 13th-century Scottish warrior who led the Scots in the First War of Scottish Independence against King Edward I of England (Patrick McGoohan). It’s stirring stuff but lacking in any attempt at factual historicity.
490. Intolerance: Love’s Struggle Through the Ages (1916) Dir. D.W. Griffiths, 197 mins.
After the controversy of The Birth of a Nation, Griffiths came up with a direct response, a three and a half hour epic that, some thought rather unsuccessfully, intercuts four parallel storylines, each separated by several centuries, linked by shots of a cradle rocking mother (the iconic Lillian Gish) and all purporting to deal with intolerance. The four stories were a contemporary melodrama of crime and redemption, a Judean story following Christ’s mission and death, a French story following the events surrounding the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre of 1572, and a Babylonian story following the fall of the Babylonian Empire to Persia in 539 BC (which features elaborate sets and battle scenes with hundreds of extras). Widely regarded as one of the great masterpieces of the silent era it was also a huge influence on the European film movements that followed.
489. Young Frankenstein (1974) Dir. Mel Brooks, 106 mins.
Young Frankenstein is an American horror comedy directed by Mel Brooks and starring Gene Wilder as the title character, a descendant of the infamous Dr. Victor Frankenstein, and Peter Boyle as the monster.
488. The Twilight Samurai (2002) Dir. Yoji Yamada, 129 mins.
Set in mid-19th century Japan, a few years before the Meiji Restoration, it follows the life of Seibei Iguchi, a low-ranking samurai employed as a bureaucrat. Poor, but not destitute, he still manages to lead a content and happy life with his daughters and his mother who has dementia. Through an unfortunate turn of events, the turbulent times conspire against him.
487. Johnny Guitar (1954) Dir. Nicholas Ray, 110 mins.
Strong-willed saloon-casino owner Vienna squares off against her nemesis, the shrieking Emma Small, who wrongly blames Vienna for her brother’s death.
486. Autumn Sonata (1978) Dir. Ingmar Bergman, 99 mins.
The movie tells the story of a celebrated classical pianist who is confronted by her neglected daughter.
485. The Cranes Are Flying (1957) Dir. Mikhail Kalatozov, 94 mins.
It depicts the cruelty of war and the damage suffered to the Soviet psyche as a result of World War II.
484. The Player (1992) Dir. Robert Altman, 124 mins.
The film stars Tim Robbins as a Hollywood film studio executive who murders an aspiring screenwriter he believes is sending him death threats.
483. Closely Watched Trains (1966) Dir. Jiri Menzel, 93 mins.
It is a coming-of-age story about a young man working at a train station in German-occupied Czechoslovakia during World War II.
482. The Hustler (1961) Dir. Robert Rossen, 134 mins.
It tells the story of small-time pool hustler “Fast Eddie” Felson (Paul Newman) and his desire to break into the “major league” of professional hustling and high-stakes wagering by high-rollers that follows it. He throws his raw talent and ambition up against the best player in the country, seeking to best the legendary pool player “Minnesota Fats”. After initially losing to Fats and getting involved with unscrupulous manager Bert Gordon, Eddie returns to try again, but only after paying a terrible personal price.
481. 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.