The Pendragon Society’s 1000 Greatest Films (2020) 260-241


260. 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.

259. The Tree of Life (2011) Dir. Terrence Malick, 138 mins.

The first American film to win the Palme d’Or since 2004, Malick’s ambitious experimental epic chronicles the origins and meaning of life by way of a middle-aged man (Sean Penn) and his childhood memories of his family living in 1950s Texas, particularly his often difficult relationship with his father (Brad Pitt). The family drama is interspersed with imagery of the origins of the known universe and the inception of life on Earth. The film polarised critics with some considering such a philosophical work to be incomprehensible and pretentious, particularly the depiction of evolution, but when the film focuses on the drama of small town domestic life, Malick finds an emotional core, which is helped along by some fine performances and beautiful cinematography. More…

258. Memento (2000) Dir. Christopher Nolan, 113 mins.

The film stars Guy Pearce as Leonard Shelby, a man with anterograde amnesia which renders his brain unable to store new memories.

257. Oldboy (2003) Dir. Chan-Wook Park, 120 mins.

The film follows the story of one Oh Dae-Su, who is locked in a hotel room for 15 years without knowing his captor’s motives. When he is finally released, he is trapped in a web of conspiracy and violence.

256. Manila in the Claws of Light (1975) Dir. Lino Brocka, 125 mins.

Julio, a fisherman from a poor area, descends into social alienation, as he arrives in Manila to search for his loved one.

255. Memories of Murder (2003) Dir. Joon-ho Bong, 130 mins.

It is based on the true story of Korea’s first serial murders in history, which took place between 1986 and 1991 in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province. Watch

254. Unforgiven (1992) Dir. Clint Eastwood, 131 mins.

Eastwood’s revisionist western portrays William Munny (Eastwood himself), an ageing outlaw and killer who takes on one more job years after he had turned to farming.

253. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) Dir. Peter Jackson, 2001.

One of the most critically and commercially successful films of all time, the conclusion of Peter Jackson’s Tolkien trilogy sees the Dark Lord Sauron launching the final stages of his conquest of Middle-earth. While it’s epic fantasy with huge battles some of the action is undermined by the supernatural elements and many of the characters lost amongst the massive effects. Jackson also struggles to come up with one fitting ending and yet the film with its colossal scale, surprising detail and emotive soundtrack, remains a visually stunning and powerfully compelling triumph of large scale entertainment and a satisfying ending to a landmark achievement in studio film making. More…

252. Black Narcissus (1947) Dir. Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, 100 mins.

It is a psychological drama about the emotional tensions of jealousy and lust within a convent of nuns in an isolated valley in the Himalayas.

251. In a Lonely Place (1950) Dir. Nicholas Ray, 94 mins.

Humphrey Bogart stars as Dixon Steele, a troubled screenwriter suspected of murder, and Gloria Grahame co-stars as Laurel Gray, a neighbour who falls under his spell.

250. Marketa Lazarova (1967) Dir. Frantisek Vlacil, 162 mins.

Voted the greatest Czech film of all time, Marketa Lazarova takes place in an indeterminate time during the Middle Ages, and tells the story of a daughter of a feudal lord who is kidnapped by neighbouring robber knights and becomes a mistress of one of them.

249. A Face in the Crowd (1957) Dir. Elia Kazan, 125 mins.

The story centres on a drifter named Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes who is discovered by the producer (Patricia Neal) of a small-market radio program in rural northeast Arkansas. Rhodes ultimately rises to great fame and influence on national television. Watch

248. Kings of the Road (1976) Dir. Wim Wenders, 175 mins.

While travelling his route along the border between East and West Germany, projector repairman Bruno (Rüdiger Vogler) meets paediatrician Robert (Hanns Zischler) when the latter attempts suicide by driving his car into a shallow lake. From such off beginnings, the two form a genuine friendship as Robert accompanies Bruno on the road.

247. Les Vampires (1915) Dir. Louis Feuillade, 399 mins.

Feuillade’s celebrated underworld crime series was made up of ten feature length episodes released monthly. It follows a journalist and his friend who become involved in trying to uncover and stop a bizarre underground Apache gang, known as The Vampires. Elegantly beautiful and exhilarating, the film was despised by many critics when first released but is now revered, particularly the performance of Musidora as Irma Vep. Buy

246. The Thin Blue Line (1988) Dir. Errol Morris, 103 mins.

An investigation of the 1976 murder of a Dallas cop.

245. The Easy Life (1962) Dir. Dino Risi, 115 mins.

The Easy Life (Il Sorpasso) casts Vittorio Gassman as Bruno, a jaded, ageing rogue, who introduces a young withdrawn scholar, Roberto Mariani (Jean-Louis Trintignant) to his hedonistic lifestyle. Previously a man with a purpose in life, Roberto soon becomes as wanton and wastrel as Bruno. The older man is proud of his handiwork, until tragedy strikes. Watch

244. The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964) Dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini, 137 mins.

It is a cinematic rendition of the story of Jesus Christ according to the Gospel of Saint Matthew, from the Nativity through the Resurrection.

243. Diary of a Country Priest (1951) Dir. Robert Bresson, 115 mins.

It tells the story of a young, sickly priest, who has been assigned to his first parish, a village in northern France.

242. Blow-Up (1966) Dir. Michelangelo Antonioni, 111 mins.

Blowup is a British-Italian mystery thriller about a fashion photographer, played by David Hemmings, who believes he has unwittingly captured a murder on film. Watch

241. Eureka (2000) Dir. Shinji Aoyama, 218 mins.

On what seemed to be a normal morning in southwest Japan, a crazed killer, apparently without motive, hijacks a city bus. The killings seem to haunt the only three survivors until each finds some way to come to terms with the horror they once shared.


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