The Pendragon Society’s 1000 Greatest Films (2020) 660-641


660. The Navigator (1924) Dir. Buster Keaton, Donald Crisp, 59 mins.

Wealthy Rollo Treadway (Buster Keaton) suddenly decides to propose to his neighbour across the street, Betsy O’Brien (Kathryn McGuire), and sends his servant to book passage for a honeymoon sea cruise to Honolulu. When Betsy rejects his sudden offer however, he decides to go on the trip anyway, boarding without delay that night. Because the pier number is partially covered, he ends up on the wrong ship, the Navigator, which Betsy’s rich father (Frederick Vroom) has just sold to a small country at war. Buy

659. Shoplifters (2018) Dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda, 121 mins.

It is about a non-biological family that relies on shoplifting to cope with a life of poverty.

658. All That Jazz (1979) Dir. Bob Fosse, 123 mins.

With a screenplay by Robert Alan Aurthur and Fosse, All That Jazz is a semi-autobiographical fantasy based on aspects of Fosse’s life and career as a dancer, choreographer and director. It’s an irreverent send up of show business conventions and, as well as being superbly shot, features a brilliantly energised central performance by Roy Scheider.

657. The Wind (1928) Dir. Victor Sjöström, 95 mins.

A psychologically charged character study that follows a gentle southern country girl, who goes to live with her very unpleasant Texas family, where she’s forced to deal with constantly blowing wind, a bad marriage and a villainous ex-lover.

656. Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985) Dir. Paul Schrader, 121 mins.

Produced by Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas, the film is based on the life and work of the self-destructive Japanese writer Yukio Mishima (Ken Ogata), and shows interweaving episodes from his life with dramatisations of segments from his books, The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, Kyoko’s House, and Runaway Horses. Featuring a stunning score from Philip Glass, Schrader’s unconventional biopic is inventively plotted and visually arresting.

655. Letters From a Dead Man (1986) Dir. Konstantin Lopushansky, 87 mins.

The film takes place in a Soviet village which is devastated by a nuclear meltdown. A professor (Rolan Bykov), a Nobel Prize laureate in Physics, is trying to survive in the basement of the former museum of history with a small group of children and adults. The professor begins composing letters to his son, Eric, who had disappeared shortly after the disaster. Clearly influenced by Andrei Tarkovsky (Lopushansky worked on StalkerLetters From a Dead Man is an eloquent, powerful and strangely beautiful film. Buy

654. World of Tomorrow (2015) Dir. Don Hertzfeldt, 17 mins.

A little girl is taken on a mind-bending tour of her distant future.

653. Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx (1972) Dir. Kenji Misumi, 85 mins.

The second in a series of six Japanese martial arts films based on the long-running Lone Wolf and Cub manga series about Ogami Ittō, a wandering assassin for hire who is accompanied by his young son, Daigoro.

652. Casino (1995) Dir. Martin Scorsese, 178 mins.

Based on a true story, Casino follows Sam “Ace” Rothstein (Robert De Niro), a Jewish American gambling handicapper who is called by the Italian Mob to oversee the day-to-day operations at the Tangiers Casino in Las Vegas.

651. A Time for Drunken Horses (2000) Dir. Bahman Ghobadi, 80 mins.

The youngest of a destitute Kurdish family has a terminal illness, and his young siblings struggle to pay for a life-saving operation. In desperation, the eldest sister agrees to marry an Iraqi willing to care for the boy. At the border exchange, however, the family of the man rejects the sick boy, putting the siblings in a harrowing race against time.

650. A Special Day (1977) Dir. Ettore Scola, 106 mins.

Set in Rome in 1938, its narrative follows a woman and her neighbor who stay home the day Adolf Hitler visits Benito Mussolini.

649. For a Few Dollars More (1965) Dir. Sergio Leone, 132 mins.

It stars Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef as bounty hunters on the trail of a ruthless psychopath, Maria Volontè.

648. Fox and His Friends (1975) Dir. Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 123 mins.

The plot follows the misadventures of a working-class homosexual, who wins the lottery and then falls in love with the elegant son of an industrialist. His lover uses flattery to exploit him and ultimately swindles him out of his fortune. A riveting melodrama that features a strong lead performance by director Fassbinder.

647. Black Girl (1966) Dir. Ousmane Sembène, 55 mins.

The film centers on Diouana, a young Senegalese woman, who moves from Dakar, Senegal to Antibes, France to work for a rich French couple. In France, Diouana hopes to continue her former nanny job and anticipates a cosmopolitan lifestyle. But from her arrival in Antibes, Diouana experiences harsh treatment from the couple, who force her to work as a servant. She becomes increasingly aware of her constrained and alienated situation and starts to question her life in France.

646. Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler (1922) Dir. Fritz Lang, 297 mins.

Criminal mastermind Dr. Mabuse attempts to gain total control over society by manipulating the stock market. He uses hypnosis, seductive women and psychological terror to drive his wealthy victims to self destruction. Exuberant but uneven cinema art, Dr. Mabuse remains a film to see for the moments of visual brilliance.

645. Bigger Than Life (1956) Dir. Nicholas Ray, 95 mins.

The film follows a seriously ill school teacher and family man whose life spins out of control after he develops a dependency on cortisone that begins to affect his sanity. With the subject matter deemed controversial and the melodramatic scenes much maligned at the time of release, Bigger Than Life needed the support of French critics at the influential film magazine Cahiers du Cinéma to have it re-evaluated and eventually lauded as a classic.

644. Sanjuro (1962) Dir. Akira Kurosawa, 96 mins.

Toshiro Mifune stars as a wandering samurai warrior who becomes the mentor for a bunch of budding samurai who are heading toward a showdown with their corrupt clan fathers. Watch

643. Les Amants du Pont-Neuf (1991) Dir. Leos Carax, 125 mins.

The film follows a love story between two young vagrants, a would be circus performer addicted to alcohol and sedatives and Michele, a painter with a disease that is slowly turning her blind.

642. In Vanda’s Room (2000) Dir. Pedro Costa, 179 mins.

The film follows the daily life of Vanda Duarte, a heroin addict in Lisbon, and the community she lives in.

641. Twenty Years Later (1984) Dir. Eduardo Coutinho, 119 mins.

It originated in 1964 as a planned feature film about the life and death of João Pedro Teixeira, a leader of the Peasant leagues from Paraíba who was assassinated on the order of local landowners in 1962. But before it could be completed, production was interrupted by political developments, with some of the crew and cast arrested and their materials confiscated by the Brazilian military dictatorship. In 1984, Coutinho returned to the material, shooting new footage of some of the actors and crew.


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