The Pendragon Society’s 1000 Greatest Films (2020) 380-361


380. A Short Film About Love (1988) Dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski, 86 mins.

A Short Film About Love is one of two episodes of Kieslowski’s The Decalogue TV series, that focused on the Ten Commandments, to be expanded for a cinema release. The film is about a shy young post office worker who spies on a promiscuous older woman living in an adjacent apartment building and falls deeply in love with her. There’s some beautiful and funny moments and it helped set Kieslowski on the road to international prominence.

379. The Tale of the Crucified Lovers (1954) Dir. Kenji Mizoguchi, 102 mins.

Set in 1693 during a period of rigid feudal hierarchy and strict social customs, the film unfolds in the estate of a miserly scroll maker named Ishun (Eitaro Shindo). While Ishun busies himself by harassing a comely worker named Otama (Yoko Minamida), Ishun’s wife, Osan (Kyoko Kagawa), is approached by her ne’er-do-well brother, Doki, who needs money. Knowing that there is no way that Ishun will agree to the loan, Osan turns to Mohei (Kazuo Shindo), Ishun’s most trusted clerk, for help and he agrees to use his master’s seal to allocate the funds.

378. Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) Dir. Peter Weir, 115 mins.

Entirely fictitious, the plot involves the disappearance of several schoolgirls and their teacher during a picnic at Hanging Rock, Victoria on Valentine’s Day in 1900, and the subsequent effect on the local community. An atmospheric mystery drama that was one of the high points of the Australian New Wave.

377. The Travelling Players (1975) Dir. Theodoros Angelopoulos, 230 mins.

In 1952 a travelling actor’s troupe roams the countryside performing a popular Greek pastoral play, which soon becomes a thinly disguised version of the “Oresteia.” At the same time, their performances and lives are constantly interrupted by a year in which there is tremendous political change and they are forced to reflect upon their lives since 1939, the last time their country had a major political upheaval, the eve of entering World War II.

376. The Holy Mountain (1973) Dir. Alejandro Jodorowsky, 114 mins.

The most powerful individuals in the solar system are out to become gods and rule the universe. Watch

375. Akira (1988) Dir. Katsuhiro Otomo, 124 mins.

Set in a dystopian 2019, Akira tells the story of Shōtarō Kaneda, a leader of a local biker gang whose childhood friend, Tetsuo Shima, acquires incredible telekinetic abilities after a motorcycle accident, eventually threatening an entire military complex amidst chaos and rebellion in the sprawling futuristic metropolis of Neo-Tokyo. A stunning game changer for anime.

374. I Vitelloni (1953) Dir. Federico Fellini, 107 mins.

A story of five young Italian men at crucial turning points in their small town lives.

373. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) Dir. James Cameron, 137 mins.

Terminator 2 follows Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) and her ten-year-old son John (Edward Furlong) as they are pursued by a new, more advanced Terminator, the liquid metal, shapeshifting T-1000 (Robert Patrick), sent back in time to kill John and prevent him from becoming the leader of the human resistance. A second, less advanced Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is also sent back in time to protect John. James Cameron delivers with state of the art effects and an exciting narrative.

372. The Lady Eve (1941) Dir. Preston Sturges, 94 mins.

The film is based on a story by Monckton Hoffe about a mismatched couple who meet on board an ocean liner.

371. Peeping Tom (1960) Dir. Michael Powell, 101 mins.

The notoriously vilified film was Powell’s most important outside of his prominent collaborations with Emeric Pressburger. Peeping Tom follows the tormented son of a neurologist, Mark Lewis (a chilling performance by Carl Boehm), who works as an assistant cameraman at a London film studio, but is also an amateur documentary maker, aspiring movie director and a part-time taker of pornographic pictures. His voyeuristic perversions lead him to murdering women while filming them, forcing his victims to view their own deaths in a mirror attached to his tripod equipped with a deadly protruding blade. At the time of release the film did not always connect with mainstream audiences and was attacked by many critics. As a result it was heavily cut and altered for overseas distribution. While it hugely damaged Michael Powell’s reputation, it has since been re-evaluated as a masterpiece of self-reflective perversity and been championed by the likes of Martin Scorsese.

370. Stroszek (1977) Dir. Werner Herzog, 115 mins.

Bruno S.. stars as an ex-mental patient who dreams of the so-called promised land of America. He aligns himself with two other outcasts, the like minded prostitute Eva Mattes and a whimsical, near-senile neighbour, Clemens Scheitz. Arriving for a new start in Wisconsin, they find that they’re just as trapped in Dairy Country as they’d been in Germany, if not more so.

369. Paris Is Burning (1990) Dir. Jennie Livingston, 78 mins.

Filmed in the mid-to-late 1980s, it chronicles the ball culture of New York City and the African-American, Latino, gay, and transgender communities involved in it.

368. Love Exposure (2008) Dir. Sion Sono, 237 mins.

The story of a teenage boy called Yu, who falls for Yoko, a girl he runs into while working as an `up-skirt’ photographer in an offshoot of the porn industry. His attempts to woo her are complicated by a spot of cross-dressing – which convinces Yoko that she is lesbian – dalliances with kung-fu and crime, and a constant struggle with the guilt that’s a legacy of his Catholic upbringing.

367. Summer (1986) Dir. Eric Rohmer, 98 mins.

Unlike most of his work, Rohmer decided to have the actors almost entirely improvise their dialogue for this comedy drama about an unhappy Parisian student Marie Riviere (Rohmer’s star in all of the “Comedies et Proverbes”) who is left out of everyone’s summer vacation plans and so accepts an invitation to stay at her friend’s empty apartment in Biarritz. She is bored to begin with until she meets the man of her dreams.

366. Dust in the Wind (1986) Dir. Hou Hsiao-hsien, 109 mins.

In Taiwan, teenage lovers Wan (Wang Jingwen) and Huen (Xin Shufen) find life in their remote mining town unbearable. So, against their families’ wishes, they quit school and emigrate to Taipei to find jobs. But, lacking education, neither can find anything more than menial employment.

365. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005) Dir. Cristi Puiu, 150 mins.

In the film an old man (Ioan Fiscuteanu) is carried by an ambulance from hospital to hospital all night long, as doctors keep refusing to treat him and send him away.

364. Strangers on a Train (1951) Dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 101 mins.

The story concerns two strangers who meet on a train, a young tennis player and a charming psychopath. The psychopath suggests that because they each want to “get rid” of someone, they should “exchange” murders, and that way neither will be caught. The psychopath commits the first murder and then tries to force the tennis player to complete the bargain.

363. The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013) Dir. Isao Takahata, 137 mins.

Found inside a shining stalk of bamboo by an old bamboo cutter (James Caan) and his wife (Mary Steenburgen), a tiny girl grows rapidly into an exquisite young lady (Chloë Grace Moretz). The mysterious young princess enthrals all who encounter her, but ultimately she must confront her fate, the punishment for her crime. Buy

362. When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006) Dir. Spike Lee, 255 mins.

A documentary about the devastation of New Orleans, Louisiana following the failure of the levees during Hurricane Katrina.

361. Nostalghia (1983) Dir. Andrei Tarkovsky, 125 mins.

Nostalghia is Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky’s enigmatic work about a writer (Oleg Yankovsky) who, trapped by his fame and an unhappy marriage, seeks out his cultural past in Italy. Here he meets Erland Josephson, a local pariah who declares that the world is coming to an end. The writer finds this prophecy curiously more alluring than the possibility of a dead-end future.


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