The Pendragon Society’s 1000 Greatest Films (2020) 700-681


700. Splendour in the Grass (1961) Dir. Elia Kazan, 124 mins.

Tells a story of a teenage girl navigating her feelings of sexual repression, love, and heartbreak.

699. Farewell, My Concubine (1993) Dir. Kaige Chen, 156 mins.

Farewell My Concubine explores the effect of China’s political turmoil during the mid-20th century on the lives of two male stars in a Peking opera troupe and the woman who comes between them. Financed with Taiwanese money, the film was the first from China to win the Palm d’Or at Cannes.

698. Le Deuxième Souffle (1966) Dir. Jean-Pierre Melville, 140 mins.

An escaped con becomes involved with a double-crossing gang planning to steal two tons of gold from an armoured truck.

697. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) Dir. Jacques Demy, 91 mins.

Guy Foucher (Nino Castelnuovo), a 20-year-old French auto mechanic, has fallen in love with 17-year-old Geneviève Emery (a luminous Catherine Deneuve), an employee in her widowed mother’s chic but financially embattled umbrella shop. On the evening before Guy is to leave for a two-year tour of combat in Algeria, he and Geneviève make love. She becomes pregnant and must choose between waiting for Guy’s return or accepting an offer of marriage from a wealthy diamond merchant.

696. Wake in Fright (1971) Dir. Ted Kotcheff, 114 mins.

Wake in Fright offers a cutting critique of Australian masculinity through a story of a young schoolteacher from Sydney who descends into personal moral degradation while trapped in a menacing outback town. Seen as a pivotal entry in the Australian New Wave, the film is brilliantly directed by Kotcheff.

695. Europe ’51 (1952) Dir.  Roberto Rossellini, 113 mins.

Starring Alexander Knox and Ingrid Bergman as a woman who’s declared insane after her son’s suicide.

694. Days and Nights in the Forest (1970) Dir. Satyajit Ray, 115 mins.

Four friends venture out to the forests of Palmau to escape the mundane city life, an expedition that turns into a journey of self-discovery.

693. Domestic Violence (2001) Dir. Frederick Wiseman, 196 mins.

Filmmaker Frederick Wiseman profiles a number of women and children who have been victims of domestic violence.

692. Short Cuts (1993) Dir. Robert Altman, 188 mins.

Perhaps Altman’s last masterpiece, Short Cuts traces the actions of 22 principal characters, both in parallel and at occasional loose points of connection.

691. Shadow of a Doubt (1943) Dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 108 mins.

The film is about the relationship between an Uncle, Charlie (Joseph Cotton) and his niece (Teresa Wright). He seems to be a good man on the surface, however, secrets about him soon become revealed to his niece and she will need to make choices that could end up destroying the whole family.

690. Freaks (1932) Dir. Tod Browning, 64 mins.

Real sideshow performers star in Tod Browning’s infamous cult classic, a grotesque revenge drama set against a circus backdrop. Trapeze artist Cleopatra plans to wed and then murder midget Hans for his fortune, but when his fellow ‘freaks’ discover her scheme, she becomes the target of their horrifying vengeance.

689. The Long Day Closes (1992) Dir. Terence Davies, 85 mins.

Bud is a lonely and quiet child whose moments of solace occur when he sits in rapture at the local cinema, watching towering and iconic figures on the movie screen. The movies give Bud the strength to get through another day as he deals with his oppressive school environment and his burgeoning homosexuality.

688. The Killers (1946) Dir. Robert Siodmak, 103 mins.

A character study of one man, Swede (Burt Lancaster), who because of betrayal and the love for a woman, Kitty Collins (Ava Gardner) has lost the will to live and waits, alone in one room as his fate unfolds.

687. Fallen Angels (1995) Dir. Wong Kar-Wai, 90 mins.

Sometimes frustrating but often visually exhilarating Wong Kar-Wai’s film expands on the themes and mood of Chungking Express while focusing more on style than the two loosely linked and minimal plot lines. Buy

686. What Time Is It There? (2001) Dir. Tsai Ming-liang, 116 mins.

A street vendor (Lee Kang-sheng) with a grim home-life forges a connection with a young woman (Shiang-chyi Chen) on her way to Paris.

685. Salesman (1969) Dir. Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin

Salesman is a direct cinema documentary film about door-to-door Bible salesmen.

684. The Naked Island (1960) Dir. Kaneto Shindo, 96 mins.

Notable for having almost no spoken dialogue, the film depicts one family’s impoverished existence as the sole inhabitants of an island in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea. Their tough life as farmers become even more challenging when the oldest son (Shinji Tanaka) falls deathly ill while his parents (Nobuko Otowa, Taiji Tonoyama) are away gathering water. Confronted with this tragedy, the family must work even harder to survive.

683. The Flowers of St. Francis (1950) Dir. Roberto Rossellini, 89 mins.

Written by Rossellini and Federico Fellini, the film dramatises about a dozen vignettes from the life of St. Frances of Assisi and his followers. Buy

682. Alice (1988) Dir. Jan Švankmajer, 86 mins.

Combining live action with stop motion animation, Svankmajer’s dark fantasy is a loose adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s first Alice book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865), about a girl who follows a white rabbit into a bizarre fantasy land.

681. Flowers of Shanghai (1998) Dir. Hsiao-hsien Hou, 130 mins.

Set in Shanghai in the 1880s the film follows the intrigues of four elegant brothels, each with a madam, a courtesan in her prime, older servants and maturing girls in training. Maybe not Hou’s best film and it does require plenty of patience, but it’s worth seeing for its exquisite imagery. Buy


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