The Pendragon Society’s 1000 Greatest Films (2020) 560-541


560. The Terrorizers (1986) Dir. Edward Yang, 110 mins.

A metaphysical mystery about the lives of three couples in Taipei that continually intersect over a span of several weeks.

559. Throw Away Your Books, Rally in the Streets (1971) Dir. Shūji Terayama, 137 mins.

A metaphor for Japan’s descent into materialism, it follows a young man’s disillusionment with the world around him and his determination to achieve something in life while his family members are content with their poor social and economic standing.

558. Dawson City: Frozen Time (2016) Dir. Bill Morrison, 120 mins.

First screened in the Orizzonti competition section at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival, the film details the history of remote Yukon town Dawson City, from the Klondike Gold Rush to the 1978 Dawson Film Find, a discovery of 533 nitrate reels containing numerous lost films.

557. 42 Up (1998) Dir. Michael Apted, 139 mins.

The saga continues with the lives of people first profiled in “Seven Up!” in 1964.

556. Pyaasa (1957) Dir. Guru Dutt, 146 mins.

Set in Calcutta, West Bengal, the film tells the story of Vijay, a struggling poet trying to make his works known in post-independence India, and Gulabo, a prostitute with a heart of gold, who helps him to try and get his poems published.

555. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) Dir. Mike Nichols, 131 mins.

In this film, married couple George (Richard Burton) and Martha (Elizabeth Taylor) know just how to push each other’s buttons. Tiring of attacking each other, George and Martha invite newcomers to join in the invective. After an evening of sadistic “fun and games,” the truth about George and Martha’s son comes to light.

554. A Short Film About Killing (1988) Dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski, 84 mins.

Set in Warsaw, Poland, the film compares the senseless, violent murder of an individual to the cold, calculated execution by the state. Buy

553. Drive (2011) Dir. Nicolas Winding Refn, 95 mins.

The film stars Ryan Gosling as an unnamed Hollywood stunt driver moonlighting as a getaway driver. He quickly grows fond of his neighbour, Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her young son, Benicio. Her debt-ridden husband, Standard (Oscar Isaac), is released from prison, and hires him to take part in what turns out to be a botched million-dollar heist that endangers their lives.

552. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring (2003) Dir. Ki-duk Kim, 103 mins.

The story is about the life of a Buddhist monk as he passes through the seasons of his life, from childhood to old age.

551. The Big Heat (1953) Dir. Fritz Lang, 89 mins.

It centres on a cop who takes on the crime syndicate that controls his city, after the murder of his wife.

550. The Wind Will Carry Us (1999) Dir. Abbas Kiarostami, 118 mins.

This idiosyncratic drama from Iran begins as a jeep winds through the hills of Kurdistan, containing an engineer (Behzad Dourani) and his two assistants (whom we never see) as they search for a small village in the mountains. When they arrive, they are greeted by a young boy, who shows them a place they can stay and guides the engineer to the home of an old woman (also never seen) who seems to be dying. No one is sure what the engineer and his men are doing there; some locals think he’s keeping watch of the old woman and wants to purchase her land when she dies, while others think he could be an archaeologist searching for rare artifacts.

549. Back to the Future (1985) Dir. Robert Zemeckis, 116 mins.

It stars Michael J. Fox as teenager Marty McFly, who is sent back in time to 1955, where he meets his future parents in high school and accidentally becomes his mother’s romantic interest. Christopher Lloyd portrays the eccentric scientist Dr. Emmett “Doc” Brown, Marty’s friend who helps him repair the damage to history by helping Marty cause his parents to fall in love. Marty and Doc must also find a way to return Marty to 1985.

548. Harlan County U.S.A. (1976) Dir. Barbara Kopple, 103 mins.

It covers the “Brookside Strike” a 1973 effort of 180 coal miners and their wives against the Duke Power Company-owned Eastover Coal Company’s Brookside Mine and Prep Plant in Harlan County, southeast Kentucky.

547. Lessons of Darkness (1992) Dir. Werner Herzog, 50 mins.

Shot in documentary style on 16mm film from the perspective of an almost alien observer, the film is an exploration of the ravaged oil fields of post-Gulf War Kuwait, decontextualised and characterised in such a way as to emphasise the terrain’s cataclysmic strangeness.

546. The Hour of the Furnaces (1968) Dir. Octavio Getino, Fernando Solanas, 260 mins.

The paradigm of revolutionary activist cinema, it addresses the politics of the Third worldist films and Latin-American manifesto of the late 1960s.

545. A Trip to the Moon (1902) Dir. Georges Melies, 14 mins.

Perhaps the most famous film of the decade, A Trip to the Moon, was loosely based on Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon and H. G. Wells’ The First Men in the Moon. Méliès stars as Professor Barbenfouillis, the President of the Astronomer’s Club who proposes an expedition to the Moon. A space vehicle in the form of a large artillery shell is built in his laboratory, and he uses it to launch six men (including himself) on a voyage to the lunar surface. The vehicle is shot out of a large cannon into space and hits the Man in the Moon in the eye (the moment remains one of the most iconic and frequently referenced images in the history of cinema). Having landed, the intrepid French explorers encounter unfriendly extraterrestrials. The explorers flee to their spaceship and hurry back to the safety of Earth. While the use of overlapping action may confuse and even disconcert the modern viewer, A Trip to the Moon is still seen as important to view thanks to, what was then, an unusual length, lavish production values, innovative special effects, and an emphasis on storytelling that was markedly influential on other film-makers and ultimately on the development of narrative film as a whole.

544. Son of the White Mare (1981) Dir. Marcell Jankovics, 90 mins.

The son of a divine horse sets out to avenge injustices and free three captive princesses.

543. Boogie Nights (1997) Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson, 156 mins.

Set in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, the film focuses on a young nightclub dishwasher who becomes a popular star of pornographic movies, chronicling his rise in the Golden Age of Porn of the 1970s through to his fall during the excesses of the 1980s.

542. Tampopo (1985) Dir. Juzo Itami, 115 mins.

Two Japanese milk-truck drivers (Tsutomu Yamazaki, Ken Watanabe) help a restaurant owner (Nobuko Miyamoto) learn how to cook great noodles.

541. Accattone (1961) Dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini, 120 mins.

Pasolini’s first film as director, set in the slums of Rome, follows Vittorio “Accattone” Cataldi (Franco Citti), a pimp for his longtime girlfriend, Maddalena (Silvana Corsini). When his meal ticket goes to jail after being assaulted by a pack of thugs, Accattone scrambles to survive, reduced to begging for food from his ex-wife, Ascenza (Paola Guidi). When he meets the virginal Stella (Franca Pasut), he sees a way back into his former profession.


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