The Pendragon Society’s 1000 Greatest Films (2020) 460-441


460. The Shop on Main Street (1965) Dir. Jan Kadar, Elmar Klos, 125 mins.

The Shop on Main Street is a Czechoslovak film about the Aryanization programme during World War II in the Slovak State. Buy

459. Onibaba (1964) Dir. Kaneto Shindo, 102 mins.

Set during a civil war in the fourteenth century, the film follows two women (Nobuko Otowa and Jitsuko Yoshimura) who kill soldiers to steal their possessions, and the man (Kei Satō) who ultimately comes between them.

458. The Fire Within (1963) Dir. Louis Malle, 108 mins.

Widely regarded as one of Malle’s best, the film follows an alcoholic writer, Alain Leroy (Maurice Ronet), who is on the verge of suicide (his character is based on writer Jacques Rigaut, who killed himself in 1929). Having betrayed his wife with a recent liaison with Lydia (Lena Skerla) he visits his bourgeois friends in Paris searching for a reason to live. Stylishly made and enhanced by the outstanding and sympathetic Ronet, The Fire Within is an affecting study of self-realisation. Buy

457. Platform (2000) Dir. Jia Zhangke, 154 mins.

The film is set in and around the small city of Fenyang, Shanxi province, China (Jia’s birthplace), from the end of the 1970s to the beginning of the 1990s. It follows a group of twenty-something performers as they face personal and societal changes.

456. Duck Amuck (1953) Dir. Charles M. Jones, 7 mins.

In the cartoon, Daffy Duck is tormented by an unseen, mischievous animator, who constantly changes Daffy’s locations, clothing, voice, physical appearance and even shape, much to Daffy’s aggravation, embarrassment and finally rage. Pandemonium reigns throughout the cartoon as Daffy attempts to steer the action back to some kind of normality, only for the animator to either ignore him or, more frequently, to over-literally interpret his increasingly frantic demands. In the end, the tormenting animator is revealed to be Bugs Bunny.

455. Perfect Blue (1997) Dir. Satoshi Kon, 81 mins.

The film follows Mima Kirigoe, a member of a Japanese idol group, who retires from music to pursue an acting career. As she becomes a victim of stalking, gruesome murders begin to occur, and Mima starts to lose her grip on reality.

454. Inglourious Basterds (2009) Dir. Quentin Tarantino, 153 mins.

The film, set in a fictional alternate history, tells the story of two plots to assassinate Nazi Germany’s political leadership, one planned by Shosanna Dreyfus (Melanie Laurent), a young French Jewish cinema proprietor, and the other by a team of Jewish American soldiers led by First Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt).

453. Walkabout (1971) Dir. Nicolas Roeg, 100 mins.

It centres on two schoolchildren, teenage girl (Jenny Agutter) and her younger brother, who are abandoned in the Australian outback and come across a teenage Aboriginal boy who helps them to survive.

452. A Day in the Country (1936) Dir. Jean Renoir, 40 mins.

It chronicles a love affair over a single summer afternoon in 1860, along the banks of the Seine.

451. One More Time with Feeling (2016) Dir. Andrew Dominik, 112 mins.

It documents the recording of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ sixteenth studio album, Skeleton Tree, in the aftermath of the death of Cave’s 15-year-old son Arthur.

450. Rio Bravo (1959) Dir. Howard Hawks, 141 mins.

Written by Jules Furthman and Leigh Brackett, and based on the short story “Rio Bravo” by B. H. McCampbell, the film is about the sheriff of the town of Rio Bravo, Texas, who arrests the brother of a powerful local rancher to help his drunken deputy/friend. With the help of a cripple and a young gunfighter, they hold off the rancher’s gang.

449. The Ox-Bow Incident (1943) Dir. William A. Wellman, 75 mins.

With Westerns becoming vehicles for the exploration of moral issues in the 1940s, The Ox-Bow Incident deals with a lynching that exposes the hypocrisy of respectable society. Two drifters (Henry Fonda and Harry Morgan) are passing through a small Nevada town when they hear that a local rancher has been murdered and his cattle stolen. They join a posse with the townspeople and when three men are found in possession of the cattle, the drifters try to prevent an act of mob mentality. Despite technical and narrative flaws it has been acclaimed as one of most important films of the western genre.

448. Boyhood (2014) Dir. Richard Linklater, 163 mins.

Filmed from 2002 to 2013, Boyhood depicts the childhood and adolescence of Mason Evans Jr. (Coltrane) from ages six to eighteen as he grows up in Texas with divorced parents (Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke).

447. Nobody Knows (2004) Dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda, 141 mins.

Nobody Knows tells the story of four children, Akira, Kyōko, Shigeru and Yuki, who are aged between five and twelve years old. They are half-siblings, with each of them having different fathers. Because the three youngest children are in the apartment illegally without the landlord’s knowledge or permission, they cannot go outside or be seen in the apartment, and they do not attend school. Their mother leaves them alone for weeks, and finally does not return. Forced over time to survive on their own, they can only rely on each other to face the multiple challenges in front of them.

446. The Fifth Seal (1976) Dir. Zoltan Fabri, 116 mins.

The story takes place in the twilight of World War II and the five protagonists are buddies who try to have as much fun as possible without treading on anyone’s toes. One of the five, however, makes an offhand remark which proves insulting to a military functionary. The boys are arrested, and forced to perform a series of tasks to test their loyalty.

445. Burden of Dreams (1982) Dir. Les Blank, 95 mins.

A documentary film shot on location in the jungles of Peru during and about the chaotic production of Werner Herzog’s 1982 film Fitzcarraldo.

444. Amelie (2001) Dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 122 mins.

It tells the story of a shy waitress (Audrey Tautou), who decides to change the lives of those around her for the better, while struggling with her own isolation. Buy

443. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) Dir. Robert Mulligan, 129 mins.

Set a small Alabama town in the 1930s, the story focuses on scrupulously honest, highly respected lawyer Atticus Finch, magnificently embodied by Gregory Peck. Finch puts his career on the line when he agrees to represent Tom Robinson (Brock Peters), a black man accused of rape. The trial and the events surrounding it are seen through the eyes of Finch’s six-year-old daughter Scout (Mary Badham).

442. A Night at the Opera (1935) Dir. Sam Wood, 91 mins.

Enticed to MGM by Irving Thalberg, the Marx Brothers had their last great success with A Night at the Opera. We are introduced to Groucho Marx as penny-ante promoter Otis B. Driftwood. After a sumptuous dinner with a beautiful blonde at a fancy Milan restaurant, Driftwood tries to cadge another free meal from his wealthy patroness, Mrs. Claypool (Margaret Dumont). The dignified dowager complains that Driftwood had promised to get her into high society, but has done nothing so far.

441. Murmur of the Heart (1971) Dir. Louis Malle, 118 mins.

Louis Malle always had a penchant for taboo subjects as shown here with his tale of incest. Written as Malle’s semi-autobiography, the film tells a coming of age story about a 14-year-old boy growing up in bourgeois surroundings in post-World War II Dijon, France, with a complex relationship with his Italian mother.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *