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1001 movies…


Having worked my way through a substantial portion of the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list, it’s only natural I might want to create a similar list myself. After all, not every film I’ve seen from the list to my mind belongs on it; and there are a number of movies I think should have been on it but weren’t. So…

Unfortunately, picking 1001 films for such a list is easier said than done. I’ve watched a lot of films over the years, and a number of them were, I thought, excellent. But a thousand of them? And, of course, I’d want my list to have a good spread – across the decades, and across countries (and not have over half from the US, like the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list).

I’ve so far managed to put together around a third of my list:

1 Nosferatu, FW Murnau (1922, Germany)
2 La roue, Abel Gance (1923, France)
3 Our Hospitality, Buster Keaton (1923, USA)
4 Aelita, Yakov Protazanov (1924, Russia)
5 Strike, Sergei Eisenstein (1924, Russia)
6 The Great White Silence, Herbert G Ponting (1924, UK)
7 Battleship Potemkin, Sergei Eisenstein (1925, Russia)
8 Metropolis, Fritz Lang (1927, Germany)
9 The Passion of Joan of Arc, Carl Theodor Dreyer (1928, Denmark)
10 A Throw of the Dice, Franz Osten (1929, India)
11 Frau im Mond, Fritz Lang (1929, Germany)
12 Man with a Movie Camera, Dziga Vertov (1929, Russia)
13 Pandora’s Box, GW Pabst (1929, Germany)
14 Zemyla, Aleksandr Dovzhenko (1930, Russia)
15 City Lights, Charlie Chaplin (1931, USA)
16 Tabu, FW Murnau (1931, USA)
17 42nd Street, Lloyd Bacon (1933, USA)
18 Footlight Parade, Lloyd Bacon (1933, USA)
19 Gold Diggers of 1933, Mervyn LeRoy (1933, USA)
20 L’atalante, Jean Vigo (1934, France)
21 Tag der Freiheit, Leni Riefenstahl (1935, Germany)
22 Swing Time, George Stevens (1936, USA)
23 Things to Come, William Cameron Menzies (1936, UK)
24 La grande illusion, Jean Renoir (1937, France)
25 The Adventures of Robin Hood, Michael Curtiz (1938, USA)
26 La règle de jeu, Jean Renoir (1939, France)
27 Citizen Kane, Orson Welles (1941, USA)
28 Sullivan’s Travels, Preston Sturges (1941, USA)
29 The Maltese Falcon, John Huston (1941, USA)
30 Went the Day Well?, Cavalcanti (1942, UK)
31 Day of Wrath, Carl Theodor Dreyer (1943, Denmark)
32 Henry V, Laurence Olivier (1944, UK)
33 Ivan the Terrible Part 1, Sergei Eisenstein (1944, Russia)
34 Leave Her to Heaven, John M Stahl (1945, USA)
35 Mildred Pierce, Michael Curtiz (1945, USA)
36 Black Narcissus, Powell & Pressburger (1946, UK)
37 It’s a Wonderful Life, Frank Capra (1946, USA)
38 The Best Years of Our Lives, William Wyler (1946, USA)
39 Gentleman’s Agreement, Elia Kazan (1947, USA)
40 Spring in a Small Town, Mu Fei (1948, China)
41 The Third Man, Carol Reed (1949, UK)
42 Whirlpool, Otto Preminger (1949, USA)
43 Cinderella, Clyde Geronimi (1950, USA)
44 Orphée, Jean Cocteau (1950, France)
45 The Day the Earth Stood Still, Robert Wise (1951, USA)
46 Monkey Business, Howard Hawks (1952, USA)
47 Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Howard Hawks (1953, USA)
48 Gion Bayashi, Kenji Mizoguchi (1953, Japan)
49 Madame de…, Max Ophüls (1953, France)
50 Shane, George Stevens (1953, USA)
51 The Cruel Sea, Charles Frend (1953, UK)
52 Les Diaboliques, Henri-George Clouzot (1954, France)
53 Magnificent Obsession, Douglas Sirk (1954, USA)
54 Rear Window, Alfred Hitchcock (1954, USA)
55 All That Heaven Allows, Douglas Sirk (1955, USA)
56 Violent Saturday, Richard Flesicher (1955, USA)
57 Forbidden Planet, Fred M Wilcox (1956, USA)
58 High Society, Charles Walters (1956, USA)
59 The Burmese Harp, Kon Ichikawa (1956, Japan)
60 The Searchers, John Ford (1956, USA)
61 Les Girls, George Cukor (1957, USA)
62 Ivan the Terrible Part 2, Sergei Eisenstein (1958, Russia)
63 Mon oncle, Jacques Tati (1958, France)
64 Some Came Running, Vincent Minelli (1958, USA)
65 Vertigo, Alfred Hitchcock (1958, USA)
66 Der Tiger von Eschnapur, Fritz Lang (1959, Germany)
67 Floating Weeds, Yasujiro Ozo (1959, Japan)
68 Imitation of Life, Douglas Sirk (1959, USA)
69 Nebo Zovyot, Valery Fokin (1959, Russia)
70 Rio Bravo, Howard Hawks (1959, USA)
71 Sleeping Beauty, Clyde Geronimi (1959, USA)
72 Some Like It Hot, Billy Wilder (1959, USA)
73 The Best of Everything, Jean Negulesco (1959, USA)
74 The World of Apu, Satyajit Ray (1959, India)
75 A Cloud-Capped Star, Ritwik Ghatak (1960, India)
76 Knights of the Teutonic Order, Aleksandr Ford (1960, Poland)
77 L’avventura, Michelangelo Antonioni (1960, Italy)
78 Le testament d’Orphée, Jean Cocteau (1960, France)
79 Peeping Tom, Michael Powell (1960, UK)
80 Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock (1960, USA)
81 Last Year at Marienbad, Alain Resnais (1961, France)
82 Lola, Jacques Demy (1961, France)
83 The Exiles, Kent Mackenzie (1961, USA)
84 8½, Frederico Fellini (1962, Italy)
85 Cleo from 5 to 7, Agnès Varda (1962, France)
86 Lawrence of Arabia, David Lean (1962, UK)
87 The Exterminating Angel, Luis Buñuel (1962, Mexico)
88 Ikarie XB-1, Jindřich Polák (1963, Czech Republic)
89 Le mépris, Jean-Luc Godard (1963, France)
90 Passenger, Andrzej Munk (1963, Poland)
91 Shock Corridor, Samuel Fuller (1963, USA)
92 The Haunting, Robert Wise (1963, USA)
93 The Leopard, Luchino Visconti (1963, Italy)
94 Culloden, Peter Watkins (1964, GB)
95 Gertrud, Carl Theodor Dreyer (1964, Denmark)
96 Red Desert, Michelangelo Antonioni (1964, Italy)
97 Woman of the Dunes, Hiroshi Teshigahara (1964, Japan)
98 Doctor Zhivago, David Lean (1965, UK)
99 Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, Sergei Parajanov (1965, Russia)
100 The Ipcress File, Sidney J Furie (1965, UK)
101 The War Game, Peter Watkins (1965, UK)
102 Blow-up, Michelangelo Antonioni (1966, UK)
103 Fahrenheit 451, François Truffaut (1966, USA)
104 Falstaff – Chimes at Midnight, Orson Welles (1966, Spain)
105 Queen of Blood, Curtis Harrington (1966, USA)
106 The Battle of Algiers, Gillo Pontecorvo (1966, Italy)
107 Wings, Larisa Shepitko (1966, Russia)
108 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her, Jean-Luc Godard (1967, France)
109 Les demoiselles de Rochefort, Jacques Demy (1967, France)
110 Playtime, Jacques Tati (1967, France)
111 The Firemen’s Ball, Miloš Forman (1967, Czech Republic)
112 Weekend, Jean-Luc Godard (1967, France)
113 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick (1968, USA)
114 Shame, Ingmar Bergman (1968, Sweden)
115 The Colour of Pomegranates, Sergei Parajanov (1968, Russia)
116 The Valley of the Bees, Frantisek Vlácil (1968, Czech Republic)
117 Easy Rider, Dennis Hopper (1969, USA)
118 Fellini Satyricon, Frederico Fellini (1969, Italy)
119 The Confrontation, Miklós Jancso (1969, Hungary)
120 The Wild Bunch, Sam Peckinpah (1969, USA)
121 El Topo, Alejandro Jodorowsky (1970, Mexico)
122 Moonwalk One, Theo Kamecke (1970, USA)
123 Secrets of Sex, Antony Balch (1970, UK)
124 The Conformist, Bernardo Bertolucci (1970, Italy)
125 Zabriskie Point, Michelangelo Antonioni (1970, USA)
126 Get Carter, Mike Hodges (1971, UK)
127 Out 1, Jacques Rivette (1971, France)
128 Punishment Park, Peter Watkins (1971, USA)
129 Szindbád, Zoltán Huszárik (1971, Hungary)
130 The Third Part of the Night, Andrzej Żuławski (1971, Poland)
131 Wake in Fright, Ted Kotcheff (1971, Australia)
132 Aguirre: The Wrath of God, Werner Herzog (1972, Germany)
133 Cries and Whispers, Ingmar Bergman (1972, Sweden)
134 Eolomea, Hermann Zschoche (1972, Germany)
135 Love in the Afternoon, Éric Rohmer (1972, France)
136 Red Psalm, Miklós Jancso (1972, Hungary)
137 F for Fake, Orson Welles (1973, USA)
138 La Planète Sauvage, René Laloux (1973, France)
139 The Holy Mountain, Alejandro Jodorowsky (1973, Chile)
140 The Scarlet Letter, Wim Wenders (1973, Germany)
141 Effi Briest, Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1974, Germany)
142 Dersu Uzala, Akira Kurosawa (1975, Russia)
143 Jeanne Dielmann, 23 Quaie de Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, Chantal Akerman (1975, France)
144 Mirror, Andrei Tarkovsky (1975, Russia)
145 Man of Marble, Andrzej Wajda (1976, Poland)
146 The Man Who Fell to Earth, Nicolas Roeg (1976, UK)
147 Star Wars: A New Hope, George Lucas (1977, USA)
148 Autumn Sonata, Ingmar Bergman (1978, Sweden)
149 Alien, Ridley Scott (1979, UK)
150 All That Jazz, Bob Fosse (1979, USA)
151 Apocalypse Now, Francis Ford Coppola (1979, USA)
152 Christ Stopped at Eboli, Francesco Rosi (1979, Italy)
153 Stalker, Andrei Tarkovsky (1979, Russia)
154 Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Robert Wise (1979, USA)
155 The Black Hole, Gary Nelson (1979, USA)
156 The Marriage of Maria Braun, Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1979, Germany)
157 La naissance du jour, Jacques Demy (1980, France)
158 Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears, Vladimir Menshov (1980, Russia)
159 The Big Red One, Samuel Fuller (1980, USA)
160 Man of Iron, Andrzej Wajda (1981, Poland)
161 The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Karel Resiz (1981, UK)
162 Time Bandits, Terry Gilliam (1981, UK)
163 Blade Runner, Ridley Scott (1982, USA)
164 Fitzcarraldo, Werner Herzog (1982, Germany)
165 Koyaanisqatsi, Godfrey Reggio (1982, USA)
166 Crime and Punishment, Aki Kaurismäki (1983, Finland)
167 Krull, Peter Yates (1983, UK)
168 The Fourth Man, Paul Verhoeven (1983, Netherlands)
169 American Dreams (lost + found), James Benning (1984, USA)
170 Nineteen Eighty-four, Michael Radford (1984, UK)
171 No End, Krzysztof Kieślowski (1984, Poland)
172 A Simple Death, Aleksandr Kajdanovsky (1985, Russia)
173 Brazil, Terry Gilliam (1985, UK)
174 Calamari Union, Aki Kaurismäki (1985, Finland)
175 Come and See, Elem Klimov (1985, Russia)
176 Das Boot, Wolfgang Petersen (1985, Germany)
177 O-Bi, O-Ba. Koniec Cywilizacji, Piotr Szulkin (1985, Poland)
178 Ran, Akira Kurosawa (1985, Japan)
179 Blue Velvet, David Lynch (1986, USA)
180 The Fly, David Cronenberg (1986, USA)
181 Babette’s Feast, Gabriel Axel (1987, Denmark)
182 Royal Space Force: Wings of Honnemâise, Hiroyuki Yamaga (1987, Japan)
183 Wings of Desire, Wim Wenders (1987, Germany)
184 Yeelen, Souleymane Cissé (1987, Mali)
185 Distant Voices, Still Lives, Terence Davies (1988, UK)
186 On the Silver Globe, Andrzej Żuławski (1988, Poland)
187 Story of Women, Claude Chabrol (1988, France)
188 Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Pedro Almodóvar (1988, Spain)
189 For All Mankind, Al Reinert (1989, USA)
190 Leningrad Cowboys Go America, Aki Kaurismäki (1989, Finland)
191 The Abyss, James Cameron (1989, USA)
192 The Seventh Continent, Michael Haneke (1989, Austria)
193 Close-up, Abbas Kiarostami (1990, Iran)
194 The Second Circle, Aleksandr Sokurov (1990, Russia)
195 The Sheltering Sky, Bernardo Bertolucci (1990, UK)
196 Delicatessen, Jean-Pierre Jeunet & Marc Caro (1991, France)
197 Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, Fax Bahr & George Hickenlooper (1991, USA)
198 La belle noiseuse, Jacques Rivette (1991, France)
199 Only Yesterday, Isao Takahata (1991, Japan)
200 The Double Life of Veronique, Krzysztof Kieślowski (1991, France)
201 Man Bites Dog, Belvoir, Bonzel & Poelvoorde (1992, Belgium)
202 Mięso (Ironica), Piotr Szulkin (1993, Poland)
203 Ocean Waves, Tomomi Mochizuki (1993, Japan)
204 Caro diario, Nanni Moretti (1994, Italy)
205 London, Patrick Keiller (1994, UK)
206 The KIngdom, Lars von Trier (1994, Denmark)
207 Apollo 13, Ron Howard (1995, USA)
208 Dead Man, Jim Jarmusch (1995, USA)
209 Deseret, James Benning (1995, USA)
210 Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Adtiya Chopra (1995, India)
211 Safe, Todd Haynes (1995, USA)
212 Underground, Emir Kusturica (1995, Serbia)
213 Lone Star, John Sayles (1996, USA)
214 Insomnia, Erik Skjoldbærg (1997, Norway)
215 Mother and Son, Aleksandr Sokurov (1997, Russia)
216 Starship Troopers, Paul Verhoeven (1997, USA)
217 The Fifth Element, Luc Besson (1997, France)
218 Festen, Tomas Vinterberg (1998, Denmark)
219 Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Karan Johar (1998, India)
220 Run Lola Run, Tom Tykwer (1998, Germany)
221 Saving Private Ryan, Steven Spielberg (1998, USA)
222 Sliding Doors, Peter Howitt (1998, UK)
223 The  Thin Red Line, Terence Malick (1998, USA)
224 X-Files: Fight the Future, Rob Bowman (1998, USA)
225 Beau travail, Claire Denis (1999, France)
226 In the Mood for Love, Wong Kar-Wai (1999, China)
227 The Matrix, Wachowskis (1999, USA)
228 The Wind Will Carry Us, Abbas Kiarostami (1999, Iran)
229 Amores Perros, Alejandro González Iñárritu (2000, Mexico)
230 Kippur, Amos Gitai (2000, Israel)
231 Le goût des autre, Agnès Jaoui (2000, France)
232 Memento, Christopher Nolan (2000, USA)
233 Nine Queens, Fábian Bielinsky (2000, Argentina)
234 The Circle, Jafar Panahi (2000, Iran)
235 Water Drops on Burning Rocks, François Ozon (2000, France)
236 Werckmeister Harmonies, Béla Tarr (2000, Hungary)
237 X-Men, Bryan Singer (2000, USA)
238 A Day in the Life of Andrei Arsenevich, Chris Marker (2001, France)
239 Atanarjuat the Fast Runner, Zacharias Kunuk (2001, Canada)
240 Avalon, Mamoru Oshii (2001, Japan)
241 Mulholland Drive, David Lynch (2001, USA)
242 No Man’s Land, Danis Tanović (2001, Bosnia)
243 Secret Ballot, Babak Payami (2001, Iran)
244 Spirited Away, Hayao Miyazaki (2001, Japan)
245 The Discovery of Heaven, Jeroen Krabbé (2001, Netherlands)
246 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Peter Jackson (2001, USA)
247 8 femmes, François Ozon (2002, France)
248 City of God, Fernando Meireilles & Kátia Lund (2002, Brazil)
249 Divine Intervention, Elia Suleiman (2002, Palestine)
250 Hero, Zhang Yimou (2002, China)
251 Lilya 4-ever, Lukas Moodysson (2002, Sweden)
252 Russian Ark, Aleksandr Sokurov (2002, Russia)
253 Osama, Siddiq Barmak (2003, Afghanistan)
254 Zatoichi, Beat Takeshi (2003, Japan)
255 Atash, Tawfik Abu Wael (2004, Palestine)
256 Downfall, Oliver Hirschbiegel (2004, Germany)
257 Head-on, Fatih Akin (2004, Germany)
258 Moolaadé, Ousmane Sembène (2004, Senegal)
259 Primer, Shane Carruther (2004, USA)
260 Sky Captain & the World of Tomorrow, Kerry Conran (2004, USA)
261 The Consequences of Love, Paolo Sorrentino (2004, Italy)
262 The Incredibles, Brad Bird (2004, USA)
263 Free Zone, Amos Gitai (2005, Israel)
264 Frozen Land, Aku Louhimies (2005, Finland)
265 Tsotsi, Gavin Hood (2005, South Africa)
266 Atomised, Oskar Roehler (2006, Germany)
267 Children of Men, Alfonso Cuarón (2006, UK)
268 Daratt, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (2006, Chad)
269 Jar City, Baltasar Kormákur (2006, Iceland)
270 Lady Chatterley, Pascale Ferran (2006, France)
271 Ostrov, Pavel Lungin (2006, Russia)
272 Red Road, Andrea Arnold (2006, UK)
273 The Bothersome Man, Jens Lien (2006, Norway)
274 The Lives of Others, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (2006, Germany)
275 The Yacoubian Building, Hamed Marwan (2006, Egypt)
276 In the Shadow of the Moon, David Sington (2007, UK)
277 La Antena, Esteban Sapir (2007, Argentina)
278 Paranormal Activity, Oran Peli (2007, USA)
279 The Band’s Visit, Eran Kolirin (2007, Israel)
280 Timecrimes, Nacho Vigalondo (2007, Spain)
281 XXY, Lucia Penzo (2007, Argentina)
282 Gomorra, Matteo Garrone (2008, Italy)
283 Let the Right One In, Tomas Alfredson (2008, Sweden)
284 She Should Have Gone to the Moon, Ulrike Kubatta (2008, UK)
285 Tears for Sale, Uros Stajonavic (2008, Serbia)
286 The Wedding Song, Karin Albou (2008, Tunisia)
287 About Elly, Asghar Farhadi (2009, Iran)
288 Ajami, Scandar Copti & Yaron Shani (2009, Israel)
289 Antichrist, Lars von Trier (2009, Denmark)
290 Cargo, Ivan Engler & Ralph Etter (2009, Switzerland)
291 Fish Tank, Andrea Arnold (2009, UK)
292 Hierro, Gabe Ibáñez (2009, Spain)
293 No One Knows About Persian Cats, Bahman Ghobadi (2009, Iran)
294 The Secret in their Eyes, Juan José Campanella (2009, Argentina)
295 The Time that Remains, Elia Suleiman (2009, Palestine)
296 The White Ribbon, Michael Haneke (2009, Germany)
297 Villa Amalia, Benoît Jacquot (2009, France)
298 Watchmen, Zack Snyder (2009, USA)
299 Women without Men, Shirin Neshat & Shoja Azari (2009, Iran)
300 Four Lions, Chris Morris (2010, UK)
301 Norwegian Ninja, Thomas Capellan Malling (2010, Norway)
302 Of Gods and Men, Xavier Beauvois (2010, France)
303 Troll Hunter, André Øvredal (2010, Norway)
304 Winter’s Bone, Debra Granik (2010, USA)
305 Apollo 18, Gonzalo Lopéz-Gallego (2011, USA)
306 Hanna, Joe Wright (2011, USA)
307 Sound of My Voice, Zal Batmanglij (2011, USA)
308 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, David Fincher (2011, USA)
309 The Skin I Live In, Pedro Almodóvar (2011, Spain)
310 Call Girl, Mikael Marcimain (2012, Sweden)
311 Dredd, Pete Travis (2012, UK)
312 John Carter, Andrew Stanton (2012, USA)
313 The Act of Killing, Joshua Oppenheimer (2012, UK)
314 Wadjda, Haifaa al-Mansour (2012, Saudi Arabia)
315 Europa Report, Sebastián Cordero (2013, USA)
316 Gravity, Alfonso Cuarón (2013, USA)
317 Nympho()maniac, Lars von Trier (2013, Denmark)
318 The Great Beauty, Paolo Sorrentino (2013, Italy)
319 Upstream Colour, Shane Carruther (2013, USA)
320 Predestination, Michael & Peter Spierig (2014, Australia)
321 Under the Skin, Jonathan Glazer (2014, UK)

At present, it breaks down as follows by country and decade.



There are still too many US films (29%) and too many from the first decade of this century (22%). There are some directors I’d like to include at least one work by, such as Otto Preminger, but I have yet to pick one. One or two of my choices may not make the final list, especially some of the science fiction films. But most choices I’m prepared to defend (although one or two – Queen Of Blood, for example – is just me being a bit perverse for the sake of it, although I do love the film…). One or two films I chose because of their influence on cinema, rather than because they are good films per se; but there are still a number of cinematic movements without representatives. Many of the films listed are personal favourites – that undoubtedly swayed my vote, but hey I have good taste in movies anyway…

There are also one or two directors who certainly belong on the list but I may not have chosen their best, or most obvious, films. Sometimes it’s because I much prefer the film I picked, sometimes it’s because I wasn’t sure which one to choose. I also need to watch more Bollywood films to see if more of those should make my list…. And more cinema from assorted African and South American countries… Not to mention exploring more of the oeuvres of world-class directors like Akira Kurosawa and Satyajit Ray…

Of course, if there other movies which belong on this list that I’ve not listed, then feel free to name them in a comment. But please, don’t go suggesting loads of shitty Hollywood films. Yes, I’m going to need help to reach 1001 films, but I’m looking for good films…

Oh, and the first person to suggest The Force Awakens will be roundly chastised…


7 thoughts on “1001 movies…

  1. I’ve seen a little less than half of your list there, and of those, about half are things I’m not a big fan of, so I guess take these suggestions with a grain of salt (I’m assuming you’ve seen a lot of classics unless otherwise specified, so no Godfather or Dr. Strangelove picks )

    Raise the Red Lantern (Zhang Yimou , China, 1991)
    Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa, Japan, 1950) (Other Kurosawa: Yojimbo/Sanjuro, Throne of Blood, Seven Samurai…)
    M (Fritz Lang, Germany, 1931)
    Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, Japan, 2001)

    I’m sure there are more, but this is what I came up with off the top of my head…

    • I don’t want my list to be filled with Hollywood films – not that I especially rate them all that much… I decided limit my Kurosawa to two films, and picked the two I like best of those I’ve seen (and to date I’ve seen around half a dozen, but plan to watch more). Likewise I didn’t want too many by Lang on the list, so no M. But Spirited Away is there, at 244.

  2. Well, Eric Rohmer is one of my favourite directors and you’ve included one of my favourites of his. And talking of SF movies, I’m glad I’m not the only person who liked Sliding Doors, though I’m not sure I’d put it on a best list. Given my own specialist interest, I’d put some more Australian films on a list than the two you have – and technically Wake in Fright is a US/Aus coproduction. (I was once in contact via another forum with the daughter-in-law of one of that film’s producers.)

    • Sliding Doors probably won’t make it to the final list – I like the conceit, and it’s well-handled; but John Hannah’s character is actually really annoying. And Platrow’s ex- is definitely stalker-y.

      Quite a few of the films are co-productions – in those cases I’ve picked either the country which put the most into the production, the director’s country, or the country where it’s set – ie, which nation the film feels most like a product of, in other words.

  3. I see you have a couple of Michael Powell/Powell & Pressburger films. My favourite of theirs is A Matter of Life and Death (1946), closely followed by The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943).

    I also have a soft spot for their A Canterbury Tale (1944). Its plot is not that important, but is something to hang the evocation of ancient England on in time of war. There’s the trademark P&P otherworldly magic to the film.

    The Red Shoes (1948) is I suppose about their most famous production, but though I admire it I don’t like it as much as the others.

    Other films I see you don’t have that I really liked/admired/found memorable for various reasons below. Not much that isn’t pretty mainstream, I suppose:

    Taste of Cherry, Abbas Kiarostam (1997, Iran)
    Ma Vie en Rose, Alain Berliner (1997, Belgium)
    Bicycle Thieves, Vittorio De Sica (1948, Italy)
    The Sweet Hereafter, Atom Agoyan (1997, Canada)
    Y Tu Mama Tambien, Alfonso Cuarón (2001, Mexico)
    400 Blows, Francois Truffaut (1959, France)
    The Warrior, Asif Kapadia (2001, UK, Germany and France – but filmed in Hindi)
    Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, Tom Tykwer (2006, Germany)
    House of Flying Daggers, Zhang Yimou (2004, China)
    Pan’s Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro (2006, Spain/Mexico)

    Local Hero, Bill Forsyth
    Inception, Christopher Nolan
    Monty Python and the Holy Grail
    Blood Simple, Coen Brothers
    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Michel Gondry
    Big Fish, Tim Burton
    The Man Who Would Be King, John Huston
    Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Peter Weir
    The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Philip Kaufman
    Twelve Monkeys, Terry Gilliam
    (and the Making of of it, The Hamster Factor and Other Tales of Twelve Monkeys, Keith Fulton, Louis Pepe
    The Iron Giant, Brad Bird
    Ex_Machina, Alex Garland
    Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, John McNaughton
    Adaptation, Spike Jonze
    Boyhood, Richard Linklater
    Mr Turner, Mike Leigh

    • Another Archers film is likely to make it onto the list, but I couldn’t decide between Colonel blimp or Life and Death. I did consider Taste of Cherry – I’m a big fan of Kiarostami’s films – but decided to go with only two in the end; but I may include more later. I really didn’t like The Sweet Hereafter, and for de Sica I think I prefer The Garden of the Finzi-Continis. The only Truffaut I’ve liked is the one I’ve chosen, House of Flying Daggers was a maybe, and I didn’t like Perfume or Pan’s Labyrinth all that much. The others I’ve yet to see.

      As for the Anglophone movies you list… I did consider Twelve Monkeys, and that might still make it onto the list. Boyhood, Mr Turner and The Iron Giant I’ve not seen. Ex Machina I really didn’t like at all.

      • Twelve Monkeys I like as a time travel movie because the information the people in the future have about the past is incredibly fuzzy and murky. They’re trying to find out stuff that happened in the past, but have actually affected the past & future, and mislead themselves about it too. But there’s so much noise in their signal that they can’t be sure of anything. (Whereas something like Looper has implausible amounts of perfect information about past and future, so that people can be sent back to be executed on a rigid timeline).

        Boyhood is a great experiment… we see the kid (and everyone else) actually grow up over 12 years, rather than get made up to look like they have, and yet it is always “now”. So film-makers in 2014 didn’t have to work to reproduce election bunting from 2008 or source brand-new-looking but old tech like mobile phones and Apple see-through computers from 2002; they filmed the 2002 scenes in 2002 and the stuff they used was just sitting around them in the world. When they filmed in 2008 they didn’t know Obama was going to win, so you’re aware the film doesn’t have that knowing looking-back-and-knowing-what’s-going-to-happen aspect that is obviously the case in most normal films not filmed over 12 years (though of course by the time they came to edit it they knew the answer).

        Mr Turner I like for its observational evocation of a driven life… it is not plot-driven and so may seem rather aimless and episodic to some people. For instance, there’s a great scene where the enthusiastic Victorian scientist Mary Somerville (played by Lesle Manville) comes into Turner’s studio and shows him stuff about violet light and magnetism. It doesn’t pay off in the traditional movie plot sense (giving Turner and Sherlock Holmes clues as to where the murderer has hidden the bearer bonds before the bomb goes off etc etc.) but it evokes a sense of art and science in some kind of fruitful marriage and informs the whole art project of turning paint into light (or is it the other way round).

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