The Pendragon Society’s 1000 Greatest Films (2020) 280-261


280. Edvard Munch (1974) Dir. Peter Watkins, 174 mins.

The film covers about thirty years of Munch’s life, focusing on the influences that shaped his art, particularly the prevalence of disease and death in his family and his youthful affair with a married woman.

279. Midnight Cowboy (1969) Dir. John Schlesinger, 113 mins.

A con man and a Texas hustler try to survive on the tough streets of New York.

278. Koyaanisqatsi (1982) Dir. Godfrey Reggio, 86 mins.

The first of Reggio’s trilogy of non-narrative examinations of landscapes and people-escapes with non-stop musical backing from Philip Glass.

277. A Prophet (2009) Dir. Jacques Audiard, 155 mins.

The film stars Tahar Rahim in the title role as an imprisoned petty criminal of Algerian origins who rises in the inmate hierarchy, becoming an assassin and drug trafficker as he initiates himself into the Corsican and then Muslim subcultures.

276. Beau Travail (1999) Dir. Claire Denis, 93 mins.

The film follows a former French Foreign Legion officer, Galoup as he recalls his once happy existence with the Legion serving in Dijibouti. However, things sour with the arrival of a promising young recruit who induces feelings of Jealousy in Galoup. Poetic, exhilarating and totally unforgettable.

275. Brief Encounter (1945) Dir. David Lean, 86 mins.

Laura Jesson, a suburban housewife in a dull but affectionate marriage, tells her story in the first person while at home with her husband, imagining that she is confessing her affair to him. Returning home from a weekly excursion, she meets a doctor called Alec Harvey.

274. Un Chien Andalou (1929) Dir. Luis Bunuel, 16 mins.

Un Chien Andalou has no plot in the conventional sense of the word. The chronology of the film is disjointed, jumping from the initial “once upon a time” to “eight years later” without the events or characters changing very much.  Bunuel and Salvador Dali combine to use dream logic in narrative flow that can be described in terms of then-popular Freudian free association, presenting a series of tenuously related scenes.

273. Don’t Look Now (1973) Dir. Nicolas Roeg, 110 mins.

The film follows a husband and wife whose lives grow complicated after meeting two elderly sisters in Venice, one of whom is clairvoyant and claims to be in contact with their recently deceased daughter who is trying to warn them of impending danger.

272. 12 Angry Men (1957) Dir. Sidney Lumet, 96 mins.

Directed by Sidney Lumet, this trial film tells the story of a jury made up of 12 men, as they deliberate the guilt or acquittal of a defendant on the basis of reasonable doubt, forcing the jurors to question their morals and values.

271. The Double Life of Veronique (1991) Dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski, 98 mins.

Written by Kieślowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz, the film explores the themes of identity, love, and human intuition through the characters of Weronika, a Polish choir soprano, and her double, Véronique, a French music teacher. The two women do not know each other, and yet they share a mysterious and emotional bond that transcends language and geography.

270. Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (1970) Dir. Elio Petri, 110 mins.

It’s a dramatic, psychological, black-humoured satire on corruption in high office, telling the story of a top police officer (the magnificent Gian Maria Volonte) who kills his mistress, and then tests whether the police would charge him for the crime. He begins manipulating the investigation by planting obvious clues while the other police officers ignore them, either intentionally or not.

269. Intolerance: Love’s Struggle Through the Ages (1916) Dir. D.W. Griffith, 197 mins.

After the controversy of The Birth of a Nation, Griffith 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.

268. Moonlight (2016) Dir. Barry Jenkins, 110 mins.

The film presents three stages in the life of the main character, his youth, adolescence and early adult life. It explores the difficulties he faces with his sexuality and identity, including the physical and emotional abuse he endures growing up.

267. WALL-E (2008) Dir. Andrew Stanton, 98 mins.

The story follows a robot named WALL-E, who is designed to clean up a waste-covered Earth far in the future. Watch

266. L’Argent (1983) Dir. Robert Bresson, 85 mins.

Looking for some quick cash, young Norbert (Marc Ernest Fourneau) gets a phony 500 franc note from his friend Matrial (Bruno Lapeyre). After he spends it at a photography shop, the unscrupulous shop owner (Didier Baussy) decides to pass it on to someone else. The unfortunate victim is honest delivery man Yvon Targe (Christian Patey), who doesn’t realise the bill is a fake. Watch

265. Dog Day Afternoon (1975) Dir. Sidney Lumet, 125 mins.

Based on a true 1972 story, Sidney Lumet’s drama chronicles a unique bank robbery on a hot summer afternoon in New York City. Shortly before closing time, scheming loser Sonny (Al Pacino) and his slow-witted buddy, Sal (John Cazale), burst into a Brooklyn bank for what should be a run-of-the-mill robbery, but everything goes wrong, beginning with the fact that there is almost no money in the bank. Watch

264. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) Dir. John Huston, 126 mins.

An adaptation of B. Traven’s 1927 novel of the same name, the film follows two financially desperate Americans, Fred C. Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart) and Bob Curtin (Tim Holt), who in the 1920s join old-timer Howard (Walter Huston, the director’s father) in Mexico to prospect for gold.

263. The Passenger (1975) Dir. Michelangelo Antonioni, 126 mins.

Written by Mark Peploe, Peter Wollen and Antonioni, the film is about an Anglo-American journalist, David Locke (Jack Nicholson) who assumes the identity of a dead businessman while working on a documentary in Chad, unaware that he is impersonating an arms dealer with connections to the rebels in the current civil war. Buy

262. The Elephant Man (1980) Dir. David Lynch, 124 mins.

The Elephant Man is a historical drama about Joseph Merrick (whom the script calls John Merrick), a severely deformed man in late 19th century London. Watch

261. Notorious (1946) Dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 101 mins.

A film noir directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock, Notorious stars Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman and Claude Rains as three people whose lives become intimately entangled during an espionage operation.


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