The Pendragon Society’s 1000 Greatest Films (2020) 400-381


400. Through a Glass Darkly (1961) Dir. Ingmar Bergman, 89 mins.

The film tells the story of a young woman with schizophrenia spending time with her family on a remote island, and having delusions about meeting God, who appears to her in the form of a monstrous spider.

399. Il Posto (1961) Dir. Emanno Olmi, 93 mins.

An extension of Italian Neorealism, it explores many of the dehumanising practices of Italian corporations from the viewpoint of an adolescent.

398. Funeral Parade of Roses (1969) Dir. Toshio Matsumoto, 105 mins.

Set in the underground gay culture of 1960s Tokyo, the film follows a young transvestite (Peter).

397. The Philadelphia Story (1940) Dir. George Cukor, 112 mins.

Based on the Broadway play of the same name by Philip Barry, the film is about a socialite whose wedding plans are complicated by the simultaneous arrival of her ex-husband and a tabloid magazine journalist.

396. The Grapes of Wrath (1940) Dir. John Ford, 129 mins.

The film tells the story of the Joads, an Oklahoma family, who, after losing their farm during the Great Depression in the 1930s, become migrant workers. They take an arduous journey across the United States to California in search of work and opportunities.

395. La Belle Noiseuse (1991) Dir. Jacques Rivette, 237 mins.

A reclusive famous painter, Frenhofer (Michel Piccoli), lives quietly with his wife and former model (Jane Birkin) in a rambling château in rural Languedoc-Roussillon. When a young artist visits him with his girlfriend, Marianne (Emmanuelle Béart), Frenhofer is inspired to commence work once more on a painting he long ago abandoned, La Belle Noiseuse, using Marianne as his model.

394. Bringing Up Baby (1938) Dir. Howard Hawks, 102 mins.

The film tells the story of a palaeontologist in a number of predicaments involving a scatterbrained heiress and a leopard named Baby.

393. All That Heaven Allows (1955) Dir. Douglas Sirk, 89 mins.

One of a series of 1950s melodramas directed by Sirk and produced by Ross Hunter, All That Heaven Allows stars Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson in a tale about a well-to-do widow and a younger landscape designer falling in love. Buy

392. The Seventh Continent (1989) Dir. Michael Haneke, 104 mins.

Haneke’s debut feature chronicles the last years of an Austrian family, which consists of Georg, an engineer, his wife Anna, an optician and their young daughter, Eva. They lead routine urban middle-class lives, with hopes of escaping to Australia to start a new life, but suddenly decide to destroy themselves without any apparent reason.

391. The Human Condition II: Road to Eternity (1959) Dir. Masaki Kobayashi, 181 mins.

Kaji, having lost his exemption from military service by protecting Chinese prisoners from unjust punishment, has now been conscripted into the Japanese Kwantung Army. Under suspicion of leftist sympathies, Kaji is assigned the toughest duties in his military recruiting class despite his excellent marksmanship and strong barracks discipline. Buy

390. Dead Souls (2018) Dir. Wang Bing, 495 mins.

Documents the testimony of survivors of the hard-labor camp in the Gobi Desert in Gansu, China.

389. The Red Balloon (1956) Dir. Albert Lamorisse, 34 mins.

A thirty-five-minute short, which follows the adventures of a young lonely boy who one day finds a sentient, mute, red balloon. Notable at the very least for being the first film without dialogue since the silent era to be Oscar nominated for best screenplay, it’s also an enchanting journey that sees the balloon following the wonderfully responsive Pascal Lamorisse (son of director Albert) across Paris towards an uplifting finale. Watch

388. Make Way for Tomorrow (1937) Dir. Leo McCarey, 92 mins.

The plot concerns an elderly couple (Victor Moore and Beulah Bondi) who are forced to separate when they lose their house and none of their five children will take both parents.

387. Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948) Dir. Max Ophuls, 86 mins.

Perhaps the finest American film from the famed European director Max Ophüls, Letter from an Unknown Woman stars Joan Fontaine as a young woman who falls in love with a concert pianist.

386. Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) Dir. Hayao Miyazaki, 119 mins.

Loosely based on the novel of the same name by British author Diane Wynne Jones, the story follows Sophie Hatter who is a responsible and beautiful girl who runs her late fathers hat shop in a fictional kingdom where both magic and early 20th century technology are prevalent. On her way to the bakery to visit her sister she encounters, by chance, a mysterious wizard named Howl and gets caught up in his resistance to fighting for the king in a war with another kingdom. Influenced by Miyazaki’s opposition to the United States invasion of Iraq in 2003 the film is thematically different to the book and considers the destructiveness of war and the value of compassion. Although the narrative begins to lose focus by the second half this is still an imaginative fantasy that becomes more and more emotionally intense.

385. The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974) Dir. Werner Herzog, 110 mins.

The film closely follows the real story of foundling Kaspar Hauser, using the text of actual letters found with him.

384. My Voyage to Italy (1999) Dir. Martin Scorsese, 246 mins.

The film is a voyage through Italian cinema history, marking influential films for Scorsese and particularly covering the Italian neorealism period.

383. L.A. Confidential (1997) Dir. Curtis Hanson, 138 mins.

The film tells the story of a group of LAPD officers in 1953, and the intersection of police corruption and Hollywood celebrity.

382. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) Dir. Wes Anderson, 99 mins.

Featuring an ensemble cast, Anderson’s marvellously entertaining comedy stars Ralph Fiennes as a concierge who teams up with one of his employees, the lobby boy Zero (Tony Revolori), to prove his innocence after he is framed for murder. Fiennes, with his perfect delivery of the witty rapid fire dialogue, is a revelation.

381. The Matrix (1999) Dir. The Wachowskis, 136 mins.

It depicts a dystopian future in which human life as perceived by most people is actually a simulated reality called “the Matrix”, created by sentient machines to subdue the human population, while their bodies’ heat and electrical activity are used as an energy source. Computer programmer Neo (Keanu Reeves) learns this truth and is drawn into a rebellion against the machines, which involves other people who have been freed from the “dream world.”


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