The Pendragon Society’s 1000 Greatest Films (2020) 300-281


300. Paths of the Soul (2015) Dir. Zhang Yang, 115 mins.

It tells of a journey taken by Tibetan villagers on a 1,200 kilometer pilgrimage to Lhasa.

299. To Be or Not to Be (1942) Dir. Ernst Lubitsch, 99 mins.

Directed by Ernst Lubitsch, the audacious film is about a troupe of actors in Nazi-occupied Warsaw who use their abilities at disguise and acting to fool the tyrannical occupying troops.

298. Kwaidan (1964) Dir. Masaki Kobayashi, 125 mins.

The film consists of four separate and unrelated stories and is based on Lafcadio Hearn’s collections of Japanese folk tales, mainly ‘Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things’, for which the film is named. Watch

297. The Piano (1993) Dir. Jane Campion, 121 mins.

The film follows a mute piano player (Holly Hunter) and her daughter and is set during the mid-19th century in a rainy, muddy frontier backwater town on the west coast of New Zealand. It revolves around the musician’s passion for playing the piano and her efforts to regain her piano after it is sold.

296. Scarface (1983) Dir. Brian De Palma, 170 mins.

The film tells the story of ambitious Cuban refugee Tony Montana (Al Pacino) who arrives in 1980s Miami with nothing and rises to become a powerful drug kingpin.

295. Mary and Max (2009) Dir. Adam Elliot, 90 mins.

The film follows the relationship between a lonely Australian girl, Mary, and her American pen-pal, Max, a morbidly obese man with Asperger’s syndrome.

294. A Touch of Zen (1971) Dir. King Hu, 200 mins.

According to this drama, set in 14th-century China, a state-run secret police organisation made life a living hell for anyone with the temerity to cross it. In the story, a noblewoman is in hiding. When a police spy tries to take her to his masters, she beats him in single combat.

293. Possession (1981) Dir. Andrzej Żuławski, 124 mins.

The plot obliquely follows the relationship between an international spy and his wife, who begins exhibiting increasingly disturbing behaviour after asking him for a divorce.

292. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) Dir. Robert Wiene, 72 mins.

Considered the quintessential work of German Expressionist cinema, it tells the story of an insane hypnotist (Werner Krauss) who uses a somnambulist (Conrad Veidt) to commit murders.

291. Nostalgia for the Light (2010) Dir. Patricio Guzmán, 90 mins.

Guzmán’s documentary addresses the lasting impacts of Augusto Pinochet’s time in power by focusing on the similarities between astronomers researching humanity’s past, in an astronomical sense, and the struggle of many Chilean women who still search, after decades, for the remains of their relatives executed during the dictatorship.

290. Tokyo Twilight (1957) Dir. Yasujiro Ozu, 140 mins.

One of Ozu’s lesser known and darker films, Tokyo Twilight tells the story of two sisters who are reunited with the mother who left them as children. Understated and melancholic, the story still finds emotional depth and even retains some hope.

289. Rome, Open City (1945) Dir. Roberto Rossellini, 100 mins.

A harrowing drama about the Nazi occupation of Rome and the brave few who struggled against it. Watch

288. The Thing (1982) Dir. John Carpenter, 109 mins.

It tells the story of a group of American researchers in Antarctica who encounter the eponymous “Thing”, a parasitic extraterrestrial life form that assimilates other organisms and in turn imitates them. The group is quickly overcome by paranoia and conflict as they learn that they can no longer trust each other and that any one of them can be the Thing.

287. Naked (1993) Dir. Mike Leigh, 131 mins.

A British black comedy-drama written and directed by Mike Leigh and starring David Thewlis as Johnny, a motor-mouthed intellectual and conspiracy theorist.

286. Out of the Past (1947) Dir. Jacques Tourneur, 97 mins.

Private eye Jeff Bailey (Robert Mitchum) is hired by notorious gangster Whit Sterling (Kirk Douglas) to find his mistress, Kathie Moffett (Jane Greer), who shot him and ran off with $40,000. Jeff traces Kathie to Mexico, but when he meets her he falls in love and willingly becomes involved in an increasingly complicated web of double-crosses, blackmail, and murder.

285. Faces (1968) Dir. John Cassavetes, 130 mins.

Having vowed never to direct another studio film Cassavetes returned  to independent cinema to tell the story of a dissolving marriage and the lovers to whom the couple turn to for solace. With the director at his most ambitious, Faces was shot on a small budget in black and white on 16 mm and, due to his painstaking methods, took a staggering 4 years to edit. Despite being entirely scripted, unlike his earlier improvised Shadows, the film is known for its powerful expressive acting and realistic dialogue.

284. The Man Who Sleeps (1974) Dir. Georges Perec, Bernard Queysanne, 77 mins.

An alienated young student (Jacques Spiesser) wanders the streets of Paris.

283. Red Beard (1965) Dir. Akira Kurosawa, 185 mins.

Red Beard is about the relationship between a town doctor and his new trainee.

282. Forbidden Games (1952) Dir. Rene Clement, 86 mins.

Adapted by Francois Boyer, director Rene Clement, and two others from Boyer’s novel, the story focuses on Paulette (Brigitte Fossey), a five-year-old refugee from Paris taken in by a peasant family after her parents are killed during a bombardment of a civilian convoy.

281. 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. A well executed early Ozu gem that successfully combines physical humour with social observation. Buy


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