The Pendragon Society’s 1000 Greatest Films (2020) 220-201


220. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeosie (1972) Dir. Luis Bunuel, 102 mins.

The narrative concerns a group of upper middle class people attempting, despite continual interruptions, to dine together. Buy

219. King Kong (1933) Dir. Merian C. Cooper, 100 mins.

The film tells of a gigantic island-dwelling gorilla-like creature called Kong who is taken to New York and dies in an attempt to possess a beautiful young woman. The original and still the best.

218. All About Eve (1950) Dir. Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 138 mins.

The film stars Bette Davis as Margo Channing, a highly regarded but ageing Broadway star. Anne Baxter plays Eve Harrington, an ambitious young fan who insinuates herself into Channing’s life, ultimately threatening Channing’s career and her personal relationships.

217. The Act of Killing (2012) Dir. Joshua Oppenheimer, Christine Cynn, 115 mins.

The Act of Killing is a documentary about individuals who participated in the Indonesian mass killings of 1965–66. Watch

216. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) Dir. Steven Spielberg, 115 mins.

It tells the story of Elliott (Henry Thomas), a lonely boy who befriends an extraterrestrial, dubbed “E.T.”, who is stranded on Earth. Elliott and his siblings help E.T. return to his home planet, while attempting to keep him hidden from their mother and the government.

215. The Wild Bunch (1969) Dir. Sam Peckinpah, 145 mins.

The Wild Bunch is an epic Western about an ageing outlaw gang on the Texas–Mexico border, trying to exist in the changing modern world of 1913. The once controversial violence now seems tame by modern standards. Watch

214. The Wages of Fear (1953) Dir. Henri-Georges Clouzot, 131 mins.

When an oil well owned by an American company catches fire, the company hires four European men, down on their luck, to drive two trucks over mountain dirt roads that are loaded with nitroglycerine needed to extinguish the flames.

213. Amarcord (1973) Dir. Federico Fellini, 123 mins.

Amarcord is a comedy-drama film directed by Federico Fellini, a semi-autobiographical tale about Titta, an adolescent boy growing up among an eccentric cast of characters in the village of Borgo San Giuliano (situated near the ancient walls of Rimini) in 1930s Fascist Italy.

212. A City of Sadness (1989) Dir. Hsiao-hsien Hou, 157 mins.

The most overtly historical of Hou’s films, It tells the story of an extended family embroiled in the tragic “White Terror” that was wrought on the Taiwanese people by the Kuomintang government (KMT) after their arrival from mainland China in the late 1940s, during which thousands of Taiwanese were rounded up, shot, and/or sent to prison. An ambitious film that won the Golden Lion at Venice, it cemented Hou’s reputation as a world class filmmaker.

211. The Life of Oharu (1952) Dir. Kenji Mizoguchi, 148 mins.

The Life of Oharu is a fictional black and white historical film starring Kinuyo Tanaka as Oharu, a one-time concubine of a daimyō (and mother of a later daimyō) who struggles to escape the stigma of having been forced into prostitution by her father. Watch

210. A Matter of Life and Death (1946) Dir. Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, 104 mins.

Known as Stairway To Heaven in the US, the film follows Squadron Leader Peter Carter (David Niven) a British Second World War Royal Air Force pilot trying to nurse a badly damaged and burning Lancaster bomber home after a mission in May 1945.

209. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) Dir. Steven Spielberg, 135 mins.

Made during Spielberg’s most fertile period, the film tells the story of Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss), an everyday blue-collar worker in Indiana, whose life changes after an encounter with an unidentified flying object (UFO).


208. Landscape in the Mist (1988) Dir. Theodoros Angelopoulos, 127 mins.

Produced, directed and written in his traditionally episodic fashion by Greek filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos, the internationally produced Landscape in the Mist concentrates on a pair of runaway children, (Tania Palaiogou and Michalis Zeke) who are attempting to travel to Germany, where they believe their father is dwelling.

207. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) Dir. Michel Gondry, 108 mins.

The film uses nonlinear narration and neosurrealism to explore the nature of memory and romantic love.

206. My Night at Maud’s (1969) Dir. Eric Rohmer, 110 mins.

Over the Christmas break in a French city, the film shows chance meetings and conversations between four single people, each knowing one of the other three.

205. Three Colors: Red (1994) Dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski, 99 mins.

A beautiful model named Valentine crosses paths with a retired judge, whose dog she runs over with her car. The lonely judge, she discovers, amuses himself by eavesdropping on all of his neighbours’ phone conversations. Near Valentine’s apartment lives a young man who aspires to be a judge and loves a woman who will betray him.

204. The Kid (1921) Dir. Charles Chaplin, 68 mins.

The story begins with unwed mother Edna Purviance leaving the Charity Hospital, babe in arms. The father of the child is a poor artist who cares little for his former lover and the mother sorrowfully leaves her baby in the back seat of a millionaire’s limousine, with a note imploring whoever finds it to care for and love the child. But thieves steal the limo, and, upon discovering the baby, ditch the tot in an alleyway trash can. Enter Charlie Chaplin who, while out for his morning stroll, stumbles upon the crying infant and, after trying to palm it off on a lady with another baby in a carriage, decides to adopt the kid himself. Watch

203. Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) Dir. Maya Deren, Alexander Hammid, 14 mins.

A short experimental film directed by wife-and-husband team Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid. The film’s narrative is circular and repeats several motifs, including a flower on a long driveway, a key falling, a door unlocked, a knife in a loaf of bread, a mysterious Grim Reaper–like cloaked figure with a mirror for a face, a phone off the hook and an ocean. Through creative editing, distinct camera angles, and slow motion, the surrealist film depicts a world in which it is more and more difficult to catch reality. Watch

202. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) Dir. Frank Capra, 130 mins.

The film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man who has given up his dreams in order to help others, and whose imminent suicide on Christmas Eve brings about the intervention of his guardian angel, Clarence Odbody (Henry Travers). Clarence shows George all the lives he has touched and how different life in his community of Bedford Falls would be like if he had never been born.

201. As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (2000) Dir. Jonas Mekas, 288 mins.

Avant-garde filmmaker Jonas Mekas reveals home movies of family and friends.


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