The Pendragon Society’s 1000 Greatest Films (2020) 320-301


320. The Ascent (1977) Dir. Larisa Shepitko, 111 mins.

Two Soviet partisans depart their starving band on a short march to a nearby farm to get supplies. The Germans have reached the farm first, so the pair must go on a journey deep into occupied territory, a voyage that will also take them deep into their souls. Buy

319. Diabolique (1955) Dir. Henri-Georges Clouzot, 116 mins.

The story blends elements of thriller and horror, with the plot focusing on a woman and her husband’s mistress who conspire to murder the man. After the crime is committed, however, his body disappears, and a number of strange occurrences ensue. Watch

318. Saving Private Ryan (1998) Dir. Steven Spielberg, 170 mins.

It follows United States Army Rangers Captain John H. Miller (Tom Hanks) and his squad as they search for a paratrooper, Private First Class James Francis Ryan (Matt Damon), who is the last-surviving brother of four servicemen.

317. Bonnie and Clyde (1967) Dir. Arthur Penn, 112 mins.

The film follows Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, the notorious bank robbers who operated in the central United States during the Great Depression. The couple meet when Clyde (Warren Beatty) tries to steal Bonnie’s mother’s car. Controversial due to the excessive violence, it is seen as one of the first of the New Hollywood Era.

316. 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. Buy

315. Floating Clouds (1955) Dir. Mikio Naruse, 123 mins.

Based on a novel of the same name by Japanese author and poet Fumiko Hayashi, the film is set after World War II and contains the common post-war theme of wandering. It follows Yukiko Koda, a woman who, having just returned to post-war Japan from French Indochina, struggles to find where she belongs and ends up floating endlessly about.

314. Killer of Sheep (1977) Dir. Charles Burnett, 83 mins.

The drama depicts the culture of urban African-Americans in Los Angeles’ Watts district.

313. Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962) Dir. Agnes Varda, 90 mins.

Shot in real time, the story starts with a young singer, Florence “Cléo” Victoire (Corinne Marchand), at 5pm on June 21, as she waits until 6:30pm to hear the results of a medical test that will possibly confirm a diagnosis of cancer. A stark drama which addresses feminist issues in a curiously oblique fashion.

312. Red Desert (1964) Dir. Michelangelo Antonioni, 120 mins.

Written by Antonioni and Tonino Guerra, the film is about a woman trying to survive in the modern world of cultural neurosis and existential doubt.

311. Ivan’s Childhood (1962) Dir. Andrei Tarkovsky, 95 mins.

Ivan’s Childhood tells the story of orphan boy Ivan and his experiences during World War II.

310. Charulata (1964) Dir. Satyajit Ray, 117 mins.

This film by Satyajit Ray, India’s most renowned filmmaker, tells the story of Charu (Madhabi Mukherjee), a woman in late 19th-century Calcutta. She is neglected by her busy husband, Bhupati (Shailen Mukherjee), a politically active newspaper publisher.

309. We All Loved Each Other So Much (1974) Dir. Ettore Scola, 124 mins.

Stefania Sandrelli plays the longtime object of three friends’ affections. The film traces the interrelationships of those friends, Vittorio Gassman, Nino Manfredi and Satta Flores, over a period of thirty years, beginning with their involvement in the wartime Resistance. Buy

308. The Saragossa Manuscript (1965) Dir. Wojciech Has, 182 mins.

Based on the novel by Jan Potocki and set during the Napoleonic Wars, two officers from opposing sides find a manuscript in a deserted house, which tells the tale of the Spanish officer’s grandfather, Alphonso van Worden (Zbigniew Cybulski). Van Worden travelled in the region many years before, being plagued by evil spirits, and meeting such figures as a Qabalist, a sultan and a gypsy, who tell him further stories, many of which intertwine and interrelate with one another.

307. Samurai Rebellion (1967) Dir. Masaki Kobayashi, 128 mins.

Considered one of the best samurai films ever made, Toshiro Mifune is electric as the masterful swordsmen who goes against his local rulers to protect his family. It’s a meditative and gripping film which ends with an action packed and tragic finale.

306. Dersu Uzala (1975) Dir. Akira Kurosawa, 144 mins.

The film is based on the 1923 memoir Dersu Uzala (which took its name from the native trapper) by Russian explorer Vladimir Arsenyev, about his exploration of the Sikhote-Alin region of the Russian Far East over the course of multiple expeditions in the early 20th century. Buy

305. Rififi (1955) Dir. Jules Dassin, 122 mins.

Directed by American blacklisted filmmaker Jules Dassin, the film stars Jean Servais as the ageing gangster Tony “le Stéphanois”, Carl Möhner as Jo “le Suédois”, Robert Manuel as Mario Farrati, and Dassin, himself, as César “le Milanais”. The foursome band together to commit an almost impossible theft, the burglary of an exclusive jewellery shop on the Rue de Rivoli. The centrepiece of the film is an intricate half-hour heist scene depicting the crime in detail, shot in near silence, without dialogue or music.

304. Love Streams (1984) Dir. John Cassavetes, 141 mins.

The film tells the story of a middle-aged brother (Cassavetes) and sister (Gena Rowlands) who find themselves relying on one another after being abandoned by their loved ones.

303. La Notte (1961) Dir. Michelangelo Antonioni, 122 mins.

With the success of L’avventura, Antonioni was given access to larger budgets and the opportunity to work with international stars. With La Notte the star of his previous film, Monica Vitti is joined by the languid Marcello Mastroianni and morose Jeanne Moreau. Filmed on location in Milan, the film is about a day in the life of an unfaithful married couple and their deteriorating relationship. As with L’Avventura, Antonioni’s bold modernism struck a chord with the new young audience for art cinema.

302. Army of Shadows (1969) Dir. Jean-Pierre Melville, 145 mins.

Army of Shadows follows a small group of Resistance fighters as they move between safe houses, work with the Allied forces, kill informers and attempt to evade the capture and execution that they know is their most likely fate.

301. Tale of Tales (1979) Dir. Yuriy Norshteyn, 29 mins.

Named as the greatest animation of all time by a large international jury in 1984, Tale of Tales, like Tarkovsky’s Mirror, attempts to structure itself like a human memory. The film follows a little wolf of Russian folklore who reflects the animator’s burden of keeping the past alive. A masterpiece of cinematic poetry, the graceful and expressive sequences recall Pushkin, the World Wars and childhood loss of innocence.


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