Tag Archives: foreign films

rules of the game 5In Jean Renoir’s 1939 classic, “The Rules of the Game,” one character sums up the problems of existence: “The awful thing about life is this: Everyone has his reasons.”

The film, which tops many lists as the greatest film ever made, has no heroes, no villains; it has no right, no wrong; no simple lessons to be learned, no closure. It is as French as it gets, and despite Hollywood’s penchant for remakes, it could never be made in America.

On the other hand, the 1980 “Star Wars” sequel, “The Empire Strikes Back,” has plenty of heroes and villains: It’s the quintessential American film; it could never have been made in France. “Horizontal boosters. Alluvial dampers? Ow! That’s not it, bring me the hydrospanner.” empire strikes back 1


The difference is more than merely language; it’s sensibility. Both excellent films, they sum up the divide between European cinema and Hollywood movies, a divide filled by more than the Atlantic Ocean.

One doesn’t have to take sides. There are great films from both sides of the pond. But it is important to realize when you go into the theater that there is a difference and which kind of film you’re about to see. If you’re looking for an amusement-park ride, European cinema probably will bore you to tears; if you want intense drama about the human condition, Hollywood films will feel trivial. You pays your money and you takes your choice.

This is not to dismiss American films. First of all, they remain the most popular films worldwide. Many countries, including France, have felt the need to restrict the percentage of American films available to their citizens, to subsidize the local product. Steven Spielberg would always sell more tickets than Jacques Rivette. It doesn’t matter where you go, American films remain popular.

Second, American films remain the major influence on world cinema: The tics of Hollywood become the universal style of everyone else, too. There are the editing rhythms, the lenses and equipment, the green-screen technology, the CGI — these are all the lingua franca of movies everywhere. Even a quiet film like Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s popular “Amelie” would not be possible without computer assistance: Most of its signature color was digitally added.

One should not forget that the inspiration for the French New Wave in the 1960s were the Hollywood films the movement loved. Jean-Luc Godard’s “Breathless” is his take on American films, with their gangsters and girlfriends.breathless 2

We in the U.S. now are exposed to more foreign films than ever before. There are Hong Kong martial-arts films, Bollywood films, the emerging films of China and Korea, not to mention those from Iran, Israel and the Arab world.

All that is in addition to the many French, German, Italian and British films that traditionally have constituted the world of foreign films.

They’re not only in theaters but frequently available on cable channels, on DVD and from Netflix. Even Turner Classics has its percentage of foreign-language films.

It’s nearly impossible for the curious filmgoer to remain provincial in the comparative flood of world cinema.

It is true there are American indie films, but even those, no matter how gritty they are, tend to follow an American world view.

Americans see the world differently, so their films portray the world differently. We prize directness and informality; we despise hypocrisy and airs; we look for answers, not questions. We are fundamentally optimistic.

It is partly a matter of history. Because we have seldom suffered the devastation of war on our homeland, we have a different relationship with the past. Europe is haunted by history; for Americans, history is largely a matter of colorful costumes.paul schrader

The American writer and director with the most European sensibility is Paul Schrader, who wrote Martin Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver,” and he puts it simply:

“American movies are based on the assumption that life presents you with problems, while European films are based on the conviction that life confronts you with dilemmas — and while problems are something you solve, dilemmas cannot be solved; they’re merely probed.”

The American sensibility demands we open the box to find out if the cat is dead or alive.

For American audiences, an unsolved story is profoundly unsatisfying. We demand closure.

It’s the Oprah in us.


It Stinks

Wall Street Journal writer Charles Passy recently wrote a piece describing “10 Things Movie Critics Won’t Tell You.” Some of those things were certainly true: “We’re not as powerful as we once were;” “My Top 10 List is Full of Movies Nobody’s Seen.” But one of his observations made me cringe: “We’re Not in Tune with the Public’s Taste.”

To ordinary moviegoers, critics seem often to project a snobbish attitude to movies the ticket-buyers most enjoy. Critics love to dump on Michael Bay, for instance, even as theater lines extend around the block. The public (or at least the part of the public that is the demographic for most current blockbuster movies) loves to see things blow up real good. The critics? Not so much. It seems they would much rather see a film in Hungarian shot on poorly lit video in which a lonely widow starves slowly to death in real time.

Passy is not a film critic, and he cannot possibly understand one of the basic dynamics of the career he criticizes. But I’ve seen it in action.

He complains: “How to explain this gap between critics and the public? Some filmgoers see it as elitism at its worst: ‘Most critics are trying to impress the public (and other critics) by flaunting their perceived affluent taste and intelligence,’ one movie fan wrote on a Yahoo message board about the issue.”

He points out that Rotten Tomatoes, a film website that gives scores to movies based on a survey of reviews from as many as 200 critics, gives Tyler Perry’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman a 15 percent approval rating, while in the audience rating section of the website, Diary received an 88 percent approval. How can critics and audiences be at such odds?

Passy quotes Leslie Gray Streeter, a film writer with The Palm Beach Post, who observed: “The most objectionable reviews are disturbingly dismissive of the movie’s audience and its presumably simplistic religious or cultural attitudes. They read like ‘Who is this Tyler Perry fellow and who does he think he is?’”

Surely, the movie audience reacts, the critics must be snobs, showing off their “superior” taste and cinematic knowledge. Cries of elitism abound.

Yet, as I say, I have seen the true dynamic at work. It has nothing to do with showing off, or any feeling of cultural superiority (except perhaps for John Simon: There is no excuse for John Simon).

When I wrote for The Arizona Republic in Phoenix, Ariz., the old movie critic moved on to greener pastures, and the paper’s management decided to replace him with an “Everyman” reviewer. Exactly the kind of critic who would see movies through the eyes of the ordinary film goer. They fixed on  Bill Muller, an award-winning former investigative and political reporter, full of extroverted bonhomie and a regular guy if ever there was one. Not only was he someone you would like to have a beer with, he was someone you, in fact, did have a beer with.


When Muller arrived in the Features department, he professed to having no knowledge of movies at all. He didn’t know a DP from a grip from a Foley artist. It wasn’t that he was proud of his ignorance; in fact, he immediately set to learning his new field. He asked questions constantly of those around him who were movie buffs. Muller was ignorant of movies, but he was incredibly intelligent. Hungrily curious.

His first reviews were just what his bosses were looking for: true appreciation of movies in which things blew up real good. For the first year of his tenure, he continued to be the voice of the common man.

The problem is, that if you see one movie where things blow up real good, you can really enjoy the fireworks. If you see 10 such movies, you begin to rate which of them does the blowing up better than the others. If you see 100 of them, you really cannot avoid developing what can only be called “taste.” The more movies you see, the higher rises your taste level. It is inevitable. Critics see a lot of movies.

The monotony of fireballs and car crashes eventually become wearing. At some point, you have simply seen enough.

When Muller first began writing about movies, he avoided Foreign Films. Like most Americans, he hated subtitles. I was the beneficiary of his aversion: He passed on most foreign language films to me to review. I got to see scores of great films that he just wasn’t interested in. I was in pig heaven.

The result, for me, was that seeing so many French films, made me realize that not all foreign films are masterpieces. I began to recognize the dross (at a lower percentage than Muller and Hollywood: Americans get to see only a preselected group of foreign films. Most French films never see the light of Dayton, Ohio).

But, as I say, Muller’s taste level unavoidably began to rise as he realized one blowing-up movie was pretty much like another. And after a few years, he began looking forward to the so-called “art films” he had once tossed aside.

He never became a hoity-toity snob. There was nothing preventing him from enjoying a popular movie that was well made and original. It wasn’t a movie’s popularity that interested him. But having seen thousands of movies over that time made him able to distinguish between movies that tackled something real and worthy, and those that just fed fodder into the studio machine and spit out unimaginative clones.

And so, some readers began to complain about Muller, calling him an elitist and a snob. It was unfortunate. If you see only a few movies a year, like most people, most of them seem exciting; if you see hundreds, like a professional movie critic, the dreck stands out by contrast. I’m talking to you, Michael Bay.

By the time of his untimely death, in 2007, Bill Muller had become one of the best movie critics in the country. Nobody was less elitist than Muller, but he could never be less than honest about his judgement.

This is an affliction that visits anyone, like Muller, who sees that many films.

The solution, obviously, is for newspapers to change film critics at least once a year. That way, the critic is always in the unlearned state of the beginner. We should pluck him out of his desk the moment he begins to say nice things about Pedro Almodovar or has his first qualms about “Spiderman 5: The Regurgitation.”

Of course, this has already happened, in its way. As newspapers spiral down the drain of historical insignificance, their place is taken by an infinite number of bloggers (mea culpa) who cannot afford to see a film a day, sometimes two, and have their tastes involuntarily elevated.

These happy many, writing online, can pour forth panegyrics about the latest Adam Sandler film, or find the virtues in Tyler Perry, or conversely, complain about the casting of the latest Star Trek feature.

Every man his own critic. And nothing rises to converge.


children of paradise lede

I used to tell people my top-10 list had 40 movies on it. It’s a common problem. We all like to make lists, but there’s never enough room.

(Of course, the ranking of any artform is a pathetic and meaningless exercise. We are stipulating that at the outset. But lists are not only fun, they are the current American venue for intellectual debate — see below: The 50 Greatest Lists of All Time —

When the American Film Institute decided to list the hundred greatest films, they restricted it to American films — or at least they say they did. Somehow, a few English films made the list. But no foreign language films did.

And that leaves us a whole universe of movies not eligible, including some of the best ever made.

So, in response, we are providing the list of 100 best foreign films.

What constitutes a “foreign” film is always a little iffy. The Oscars have had trouble with that for years: Do you count the language of the dialog? The country where the movie was made? The country where the movie was financed?

Most of these films are established classics, and if you worry that the list has too many of the “usual suspects,” I hope I have included enough eccentric personal choices to give everyone something to talk about. That, after all, is the purpose of such a list.

And you will notice a francophile bias. I cannot disavow that. Most of my favorite films are in French. I’ve seen hundreds, maybe thousands of them, and I’ve become acculturated.

The movies on this list were chosen for several reasons. Some are among the greatest artistic creations of our civilization. Others are on the list because of their enormous influence on other film makers. Still others are just such fun to watch.

Which reminds me, if you think all foreign films are dreary and boring, you haven’t been watching the right ones. Admittedly, French or German films are more likely to investigate the outer reaches of alienation and philosophy than Hollywood films, but you will never find better battle scenes than in Akira Kurosawa’s Ran. You will be hard pressed to find more suspense than in the last half hour of Georges-Henri Clouzot’s Les  Diaboliques. And if it’s blowing things up you are after, check out Clouzot’s Wages of Fear, in which Yves Montand and a bunch of toughs drive a truck full of nitroglycerine 300 miles over unpaved South American roads.


Yet, I don’t want to gloss over the difference between American and foreign films.

I have always made the distinction between what I call “Hollywood films” and “real movies.”

The real movie is about being human, about relationships, character, moral issues and historical and philosophical meaning. Hollywood movies are about blowing things up.

Now, there are foreign-made Hollywood movies by my definition, and Hollywood-made real movies: One thinks of spaghetti Westerns on one hand, and of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation or John Ford’s The Searchers on the other.

At least one film manages to play both sides of the field: AFI’s No. 1 film, Citizen Kane manages like nothing else I know, to join seamlessly the slick Hollywood side  with the depth and character development of a “real movie.”

As critic Pauline Kael has said, it is one of the few great movies that is also great fun.

But by and large, foreign filmmakers play out their creativity in a larger world, with more possibilities and fewer hidebound cinematic conventions.

After all, Hollywood earned its reputation as the manufacturer of the shallow happy ending.

My list of the 100-best foreign films is a very personal list, drawn from a lifetime of watching movies. I expect you have your own films to nominate. But these are the ones I came up with.

children of paradise

First on my list is Children of Paradise, which is more like a full-length novel than any other film I know. It has a rich cast of characters and follows them over many years. And as in Brothers Karamazov, each character also embodies a different philosophy. It is a very full movie.

Set in the Paris of the 1840s, it tells the tale of Baptiste Debureau and the theatrical world in which he lived. It is also about love, art and social class.

If Kane manages to mix high and low successfully, so does Children of Paradise, in its own way. It has something of the sweep of Gone with the Wind, the passion of From Here to Eternity and the wit of Ninotchka.

And it is a film you can grow with rather than out of. When I was fresh out of college, I identified with the idealistic Baptiste; after a few marriages, I took the practical Frederick Lemaitre’s attitude toward relationships; nowadays, I uncomfortably find myself more in the cynical Pierre-Francois Lacenaire.

rules of the game

Jean Renoir’s Rules of the Game might just as well claim the top spot. No other film is as deft at showing the disjunction between what our impulses are and what society demands of us.

Cocteau’s Orphee is also a great deal of fun, playing with all the tricks of cinema to create visual magic. What you see is likely to remain in your memory forever.

Fellini’s La Dolce Vita may be the saddest film ever put on celluloid. It is long and slow, but every detail is life itself, and it makes me weep for the world.

Potemkin is one of those seminal films that invent the language of cinema. What is all the more astonishing is that this Soviet propaganda film actually plays down the more sensational aspects of the historical affair it is based on. If it had been truer to history, it would have felt more simply propagandistic.

The Passion of Joan of Arc is not the most consistently good film. It has stretches of languors, but when the camera is on the face of Maria Falconetti, in the only film she ever made, the intensity is literally unbearable. It is the face of human suffering.

Kurosawa’s Ran is a Japanese retelling of Shakespeare’s King Lear, and shows the director at the absolute peak of his powers, with the best battle sequences ever filmed.

Marlene Dietrich sings Falling in Love Again in The Blue Angel, which makes Cabaret look like “Gidget Goes to the Weimar Republic.” Steamy, smoky, atmospheric, its director, Josef von Sternberg — an American — never did anything so good again.

It takes a serious commitment of time and attention to sit through Andre Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev, but you will know you have experienced something worth your effort, as the director takes us through a brutal vision of life and the place in it for both art and faith.

andrei rublev

Admittedly, almost any of the next 25 or 30 could legitimately make it to the top 10, but I’ll stand with the ones I have chosen.

Some, like Jules and Jim or Amarcord are pure pleasure to watch. Others, such as Rashomon or Wild Strawberries have at their core a moral vision. And still others, such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Metropolis are simply visionary.

You will find intensity, passion, intellect, visuals, acting and directing the equal or better of anything from Hollywood. What you will not find are giant lizards and serial car wrecks. (Although, the original, Japanese version of Godzilla is a horrifying metaphor for the Atomic bomb in Hiroshima, and a great movie, ruined by Hollywood’s re-edit — see the version in Japanese and weep.)


A few, such as Henry V and The Mahabharata are unabashedly theatrical, using their staginess as a style.

There are few British films on my list: AFI threw me a curve and included several on their list. So, Third Man, Dr. Strangelove and Lawrence of Arabia are not here, although they would have been.

You will discover that a handful of directors made the majority of these films. I cannot apologize for that. I made the list without considering authorship. As it turns out, Ingmar Bergman shows up a dozen times; Kurosawa, 10. Francois Truffaut and Federico Fellini follow up with seven and five films.

Prety much anything by them, or by Robert Bresson, Jean-Pierre Melville, Erich Rohmer, Agnes Varda or Krzysztof Kieslowski is worth watching, multiple times.

But, if Bergman is on this list more than others, does this mean Bergman is the greatest director? No. He has made many great films, but he is more prone to self-parody than any other important director and when he is bad — as in the miserable Elliot Gould film, The Touch, he comes close to rivaling Ed Wood.

In art, there is no best. There is only overwhelming.


1. Children of Paradise (1945) Marcel Carne — The French “Gone With the Wind.” Everyone after the same woman.

2. Rules of the Game (1939) Jean Renoir — Infidelity in pre-war France. Everyone after the same woman.


3. Orphee (1949) Jean Cocteau — French surrealist retells myth with magical camera tricks.

4. La Dolce Vita (1960) Fellini — Unforgetable images. We have met the anomie and he is us.

5. Seven Samurai (1954) Akira Kurosawa — The perfect samurai movie.

6. Battleship Potemkin (1925) Sergei Eisenstein — 1905 Odessa uprising and mutiny in Tsarist Russia.

7. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) Carl Theodore Dreyer — The story of the French saint told in intense close-ups.

8. Ran (1985) Kurosawa — Japanese “King Lear.”


9. The Blue Angel (1930) Josef von Sternberg — Obsession, degradation, sex in pre-Hitler Germany.

10. Andrei Rublev (1966) Andre Tarkovsky — Cryptic and beautiful film about art and faith in a brutal world.

11. Rashomon (1950) Kurosawa — He-said, she-said in medieval Japan, looks at nature of truth.

12. Grand Illusion (1937) Renoir — Prison bust in WWI.

13. Amarcord (1974) Fellini — A nostalgic film memoir.

14. La Strada (1954) Fellini — Italian circus strong-man Anthony Quinn takes wife, loses same.

15. Seventh Seal (1957) Ingmar Bergman — Death checkmates the Swedish knight during the Plague Years.

seventh seal

16. Wild Strawberries (1957) Bergman — Old Swedish doctor takes a road trip through the past to examine his life.

17. Jules and Jim (1961) Francois Truffaut — Two guys, one girl. You do the math. The delights of French bohemia.

18. Abel Gance’s Napoleon (1927) Abel Gance — The great film biography, currently unavailable, blame Francis Ford Coppola.

19. Ikiru (1952) Kurosawa — Dying old man finds purpose to his life by beating the bureaucracy.

20. Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919) Robert Wiene — Expressionist ur-horror tale is a silent classic.

21. Blue, White and Red (1993-94) Krzysztof Kieslowski — Three great films, but one overarching theme, that explodes in the denouement that ties them together.

22. The Bicycle Thief (1949) Vittorio de Sica — Neo-Realist classic about bike messenger who loses his wheels.

23. 400 Blows (1959) Truffaut — French borstal boy.


24. Fanny and Alexander (1983) Bergman — Theater family readjusts to life with strict preacher step-father.

25. Breathless (1959) Jean-Luc Godard — New Wave punk on the lam, with Jean Seberg. Godard is one of the true geniuses of cinema, with astounding and inventive scenes, who nevertheless seldom made a completely satisfying movie. A genius of bits and pieces.

26. L’Avventura (1960) Michelangelo Antonioni — Existential mystery about a woman who disappears on an island.


27. Le Doulos (1962) Jean-Pierre Melville’s hardboiled policier full of dark twists and turns. One of Quentin Tarantino’s favorite films.

28. Day for Night (1973) Truffaut — Sweet-natured film about shenanigans on the set of a “B” movie.

29. Cries and Whispers (1972) Bergman — Who loves the dying woman? The sisters or the nurse?

30. Alexander Nevsky (1938) Eisenstein — Medieval battle on the ice.

31. Persona (1966) Bergman — Burning psychological study of mute actress and her nurse.

32. Ugetsu Monogatari (1953) Kenji Mizoguchi — Two brothers and ambition in medieval Japan.

33. Wings of Desire (1988) Wim Wenders — Angel hears poetry of life and is seduced.


34. Metropolis (1926) Fritz Lang — The future choreographed as machinery.

35. Nosferatu (1922) F.W. Murnau — The original “Dracula.”

36. Le Jour se Leve (1939) Carne — Jean Gabin as a murderer waiting for the police to come.

37. The Last Laugh (1924) Murnau — Devastating, brilliant silent film with no title cards about age and humiliation.

38. Solaris (1972) Tarkovsky — Russian director’s answer to “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

39. Dr. Mabuse, Gambler (1922) Lang — Two-part allegory of Nazi evil with Rudolf Klein-Rogge.

40. Viridiana (1970) Luis Bunuel — Innocence corrupted, with the beggars’ “Last Supper.”

Silvia Pinal inÊLuis Bu–uel'sÊVIRIDIANA. ÊCredit: Janus Films. Ê

41. Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962) A pop star waits two hours for results of her biopsy; Agnes Varda’s signature film, but one of only several worth knowing by heart.

42. The Sorrow and the Pity (1970) Marcel Ophuls — Are the Nazi collaborators telling the truth? Documentary.

43. La Bete Humaine (1938) Renoir — Jean Gabin is a train engineer who witnesses a murder.

44. Andalusian Dog (1928) Bunuel — Surrealism’s flagship film.

45. Diabolique (1955) Henri-Georges Clouzot — Is the murder victim dead? Forget Sharon Stone; rent this.

46. A Nous la Liberte (1931) Rene Clair — “Modern Times” in French.

47. M (1931) Lang — Criminals convict a child molester.

48. Ivan the Terrible Parts 1&2 (1943-1946) Eisenstein — Once-banned pageant, too close to home for Stalin.

49. Le Boucher (1970) Claude Boucher was the most prolific of the New Wave French directors. This is probably his most characteristic film.

le boucher

50. Woman in the Dunes (1964) Hiroshi Teshigahara — Japanese vacationer gets caught in sand trap of life.

51. Mr. Hulot’s Holiday (1953) Jacques Tati — Comic seaside vacation. Tati’s best film.

52. Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959)  Alain Resnais — Interracial love and angst in post-war Japan, told stream-of-consciousness.

53. Aguirre, Wrath of God (1972) Werner Herzog — Klaus Kinski as a Spaniard, leading doomed expedition down Amazon.

54. Last Tango in Paris (1973) Bertolucci — Brando laments dead wife, has nameless affair with young woman.

55. Smiles of a Summer Night (1955) Bergman — Drawing-room comedy matches the lovers with correct mates.

smiles of summer night

56. Wild Child (1969) Truffaut — Science vs. Parenthood.

57. Farewell My Concubine (1993)  Chen Kaige — Chinese opera vs. Maoism. A film with broad sweep.

58. Olympia (1936) Leni Riefenstahl — Athletics as heroism. It settles into tedium, but the montage is breathtaking.

59. The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1966) Pier Paolo Pasolini — Sober replay of Bible story, told absolutely straight.

60. Hara Kiri (1962) Masaki Kobayashi — Harrowing samurai revenge epic.

61. The Mahabharata (1989) Peter Brook — Theatrical film tells history of the world, Vedic-style.

62. Shop on Main Street (1965) Jan Kadar — Subverting Nazis in Czechoslovakia.

63. My Night at Maud’s (1969) Eric Rohmer — One of Erich Rohmer’s “Six Moral Tales.” Is it infidelity if you don’t have sex with her and you aren’t yet married yet?

64. The Wages of Fear (1952) Clouzot — Explosive road movie.

65. Le Roman d’un Tricheur (the Cheat) (1936) Great French comedian Sacha Guitry speaks virtually all the parts in voice-over narration.

sacha guitry

66. Fellini Satyricon (1970) Fellini — If you thought the Classics were dull, you’ve underestimated Fellini.

67. The Virgin Spring (1959) Bergman — Medieval folk tale.

68. Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972) Bunuel — Let’s do lunch, in hell. Recast of Tantalus myth.

69. Scenes from a Marriage (1973) Bergman — Very civilized divorce. Very definition of “internalization.”

70. The Passenger (1975) Antonioni — Jack Nicholson in Italian art film, changes identities, risks life.

71. Beauty and the Beast (1946) Cocteau — Magical retelling of fairy tale. Puts Disney to shame.


72. Last Year at Marienbad (1961) Resnais — Classic puzzle picture. Don’t believe anything you see.

73. The Baker’s Wife (1938) Marcel Pagnol — She ran away, but the town still needs bread.

74. Nibelungenlied Parts 1&2: Siegfried and Kriemhild’s Revenge. (1924) Lang — German saga brilliantly remounted.

75. Knife in the Water (1962) Roman Polanski — Thriller. Don’t pick up hitchhikers.

76. Small Change (1976) Truffaut — One of the few films about childhood that isn’t sappy.

77. The Hidden Fortress (1958) Kurosawa — C-3PO and R2D2 help princess in Medieval Japan.

78. The Magician (1958) Bergman — Science vs. Religion.

79. The Mystery of Picasso (1956) Clouzot — Documentary of great painter at work. Utter magic.

80. The Earrings of Madame … (1953) The master of the moving camera, Max Ophuls tells an ironic and moving story of the La Belle Epoque.

81. Mouchette (1967) Any Robert Bresson film might — and should — be on this list. Mouchette is a good place to start, the story of a young girl whose life is nasty, brutal and short.


82. Le Fabuleux Destin de Amelie Poulain (2001) Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s vision of Paris, in deep greens and blues, miraculous and warm.

83. Stolen Kisses (1968) Truffaut — Antoine Doinel, from “400 Blows,” grows up, sort of.

84. Los Olvidados (1950) Bunuel — Street life in Mexico.

85. Black Orpheus (1959) Marcel Camus — Myth retold in Brazil, with song and samba.

86. Autumn Sonata (1978) Bergman — Quintessential mother-daughter film, complete with icy stares.

87. Decalogue (1989) Ten short films by Kieslowski, each with an idiosyncratic take on one of the Ten Commandments. Harrowing at best.

88. Throne of Blood (1957) Kurosawa — Japanese “Macbeth.”

89. Yojimbo (1961) Kurosawa — Samurai “Fistful of Dollars.”

90. Sanjuro (1962) Kurosawa — Another “Teriyaki Western.”

91. Pather Panchali (1955) Satyajit Ray — Poor family raises son in poverty-stricken Bengal.

Arabian Nights

92. Arabian Nights (1974) Pasolini — Scheherezade in the nude. Simple filmmaking, complex storytelling.

93. The Story of Adele H. (1975) Truffaut — Touching portrait of obsessive love. With Isabelle Adjani.

94. Du Rififi Chez les Hommes (1955) Jules Dassin’s iconic caper movie, with its long, silent, heart-pumping theft sequence. The granddaddy of them all.

95. The Devil’s Eye (1960) Bergman — Don Juan comes back from hell to seduce preacher’s daughter.

96. Forbidden Quest (1995) Peter Delpeut — Visionary Antarctic pseudo-documentary.

97. Bye-bye Brazil (1980) Carlos Diegues — Roaming Brazil’s back country with traveling magic show.

98. The Passion of Anna (1969) Bergman — Isolation and love on a Swedish island. In color, though hard to tell.

99. Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams (1990) Kurosawa — Uneven anthology, but the best episodes are visionary.

100. Marat/Sade (1966) Brook — The persecution and assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as performed by the inmates of the asylum at Charenton under the direction of the Marquis de Sade. In English.

Battle of Algiers3

But, how can you make such a list and leave off The Battle of Algiers? Cheez! That’s on my Top 10 List, too.