520. I Was Born, But… (1932) Dir. Yasujiro Ozu, 100 mins.
Confessing himself bored by most Japanese films, the young Ozu looked towards Hollywood for inspiration and having absorbed the likes of Chaplin, Lloyd and Lubitsch, made a comedy that centred on two young brothers whose faith in their father, an office worker, is shaken by what they perceive as his kowtowing to the boss. Combining physical humour with social observation.
519. The Sweet Hereafter (1997) Dir. Atom Egoyan, 112 mins.
The film tells the story of a school bus accident in a small town that results in the deaths of numerous children. A class-action lawsuit ensues, proving divisive in the community and becoming tied in with personal and family issues.
518. Imitation of Life (1959) Dir. Douglas Sirk, 125 mins.
Lana Turner stars as a would-be actress who is raising her daughter on her own. She chances to meet another single mother at the beach, African-American Juanita Moore. Moore goes to work as Turner’s housekeeper, bringing her light-skinned daughter along. As Turner’s stage career goes into high gear, Moore is saddled with the responsibility of raising both Turner’s daughter and her own. Exposed to the advantages of the white world, Moore’s grown-up daughter (Susan Kohner) passes for white, causing her mother a great deal of heartache.
517. Alice in the Cities (1974) Dir. Wim Wenders, 110 mins.
Phillip (Rudiger Vogler) is a roving German reporter who is unable to write about America because he finds the photographs he has taken to be more powerful and truthful than what he can express with words. After a chance encounter with an elusive American woman, he reluctantly accepts temporary custody of 9 year old Alice (Yella Rottlander). Phillip’s passive involvement is broken down when he takes Alice on a trek across Germany to locate the house of the girl’s grandmother, although all they have to go by is a photograph. A highly watchable road movie exploring identity by considering the complex gaps between perception, experience and estrangement.
516. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) Dir. Mike Nichols, 131 mins.
In this film, married couple George (Richard Burton) and Martha (Elizabeth Taylor) know just how to push each other’s buttons. Tiring of attacking each other, George and Martha invite newcomers to join in the invective. After an evening of sadistic “fun and games,” the truth about George and Martha’s son comes to light.
515. Ace in the Hole (1951) Dir. Billy Wilder, 111 mins.
Ace in the Hole is a film noir starring Kirk Douglas as a cynical, disgraced reporter who stops at nothing to try to regain a job on a major newspaper.
514. Steamboat Bill, Jr (1928) Dir. Charles Reisner, 71 mins.
Willie Canfield (Buster Keaton) is the namby-pamby son of rough-and-tumble steamboat captain “Steamboat Bill” Canfield (Ernest Torrence). When he’s not trying to make a man out of his boy, the captain is carrying on a feud with Tom Carter (Tom McGuire), the wealthy owner of a fancy new ferryboat. Carter has a pretty daughter, Mary King (Marion Byron), with whom Willie falls in love. The two younger folks try to patch up the feud, but this seems impossible once the captain is jailed for punching out Carter.
513. Trouble in Paradise (1932) Dir. Ernst Lubitsch, 83 mins.
Based on the 1931 play The Honest Finder by Hungarian playwright László Aladár, the film is about a gentleman thief and a lady pickpocket who join forces to con a beautiful perfume company owner.
512. Senso (1954) Dir. Luchino Visconti, 118 mins.
Classic romantic drama following a 19th-century Italian aristocrat during the last years of her country’s struggle for independence and unification, who betrays the cause for the love of an Austrian soldier.
511. Jesus of Nazareth (1977) Dir. Franco Zeffirelli, 371 mins.
Jesus of Nazareth is a British-Italian television miniseries directed by Franco Zeffirelli and co-written by Zeffirelli, Anthony Burgess, and Suso Cecchi d’Amico which dramatises the birth, life, ministry, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus (Robert Powell).
510. A Short Film About Killing (1988) Dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski, 84 mins.
Set in Warsaw, Poland, the film compares the senseless, violent murder of an individual to the cold, calculated execution by the state.
509. The Killers (1946) Dir. Robert Siodmak, 103 mins.
A character study of one man, Swede (Burt Lancaster), who because of betrayal and the love for a woman, Kitty Collins (Ava Gardner) has lost the will to live and waits, alone in one room as his fate unfolds.
508. Yi Yi: A One and a Two (2000) Dir. Edward Yang, 173 mins.
The film’s theme centres around the emotional struggles of an engineer named NJ (Wu Nien-jen) and three generations of his middle-class Taiwanese family who reside in Taipei.
507. 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.
506. Kiss Me Deadly (1955) Dir. Robert Aldrich, 104 mins.
This film noir stars Ralph Meeker as Mickey Spillane’s anti-social private eye Mike Hammer. After he and a hitchhiker are kidnapped by thugs, the semiconscious Hammer helplessly watches as the girl is tortured to death. Seeking vengeance, Hammer searches for the secret behind the girl’s murder.
505. Late Autumn (1960) Dir. Yasujiro Ozu, 128 mins.
Late Autumn follows the attempts of three older men to help the widow of a late friend to marry off her daughter. The daughter is less than happy at the proposals, mainly because of her reluctance to leave her mother alone.
504. Repulsion (1965) Dir. Roman Polanski, 105 mins.
The plot focuses on a young woman who is left alone by her vacationing sister at their apartment, and begins reliving traumas of her past in horrific ways.
503. Monsieur Verdoux (1947) Dir. Charles Chaplin, 124 mins.
Monsieur Verdoux is a black comedy directed by and starring Charlie Chaplin, who plays a bigamist wife killer inspired by serial killer Henri Désiré Landru.
502. Rocco and His Brothers (1960) Dir. Luchino Visconti, 177 mins.
Set in Milan, it tells the story of an immigrant family from the South and its disintegration in the society of the industrial North.
501. Stagecoach (1939) Dir. John Ford, 96 mins.
The film follows a group of strangers riding on a stagecoach through dangerous Apache territory. The film debut of John Wayne.