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La Promesse (1996)

It took three features for the Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne to break out into international acclaim with La Promesse (The Promise), a film that distinctly bears the hallmarks,…
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Plein Soleil (1960)

One of the most terrible things in cinema happens when an ostensible masterpiece gets under-appreciated. Not that René Clément’s adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Talented Mr Ripley has been…
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Tokyo Story (1953)

This is, without a doubt, one of cinema’s most exquisite, profound and aching paeans to parenthood, marriage, ageing, demise and life itself. We are fortunate to have films like Tokyo Story, a work borne out of compassion and respect, that allows us to become better human beings – one of those rare celluloids that will make you weep buckets and then reach for the handset to call your parents and tell them you’re grateful for everything.
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The Apartment (1960)

The Apartment has it all in spades – character, story, emotion, pathos and exquisite heartbreak – a film that still resonates until today. Wilder crafted a perceptive comedy and tentative romance, eschewing corn, schmaltz and bullshit. It is also very funny and very humane. This is one for the ages.
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The Idiots (1998)

The cinematic equivalent of a knife in your gut. The Idiots is altogether a complex, maddening, devastating, kaleidoscopic one-of-a-kind viewing experience. Compared to its more triumphant film-brother Festen, this is an underrated Dogme 95 work that lobs a searing, scathing critique to society, Hollywood and sanitised audience expectations.
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Last Tango in Paris (1972)

Like most challenging works of art, it divides people. But to claim Last Tango in Paris as a pile of puerile sexual nonsense is an act of antagonism against intellectualism. It is one of most emotionally and sexually frank films ever made, boldly confronting society’s preconceived notions about sex, relationships, conventions and censorship. Bertolucci orchestrates a sad, devastating masterpiece, drawing the last great performance from Brando, arguably the greatest film actor to grace the entire history of celluloid.
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Les Quatre Cent Coups (1959)

For the record, this is one of the greatest childhood films ever captured in celluloid. The film that launched the French New Wave, this one is timeless, truthful, seminal, passionate, heartbreaking and extraordinarily beautiful. That wonderful, aching feeling after watching this is cinema’s pure triumph.
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Death in Venice (1971)

Never has a film about dying so beautifully photographed. This is also a sombre, melancholic mood-piece that daringly explores hefty subject matters such as the inevitability of death, unattainable perfection and cruelty of youth. Visconti’s vision of beauty and Great Art maybe flawed, but such is life.
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All About My Mother (1999)

Impressively crafted, handsomely acted (especially by Roth) and emotionally satisfying, Almodóvar’s All About My Mother assumes a zenith in the auteur’s fascinating oeuvre. Above all, this is a heartfelt paean to motherhood and human resilience.
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Wings of Desire (1987)

Here is a film that wraps you up and never lets you go. Wings of Desire transcends conventional film form into a haunting, lyrical, elegiac, beautifully profound cinematic poetry about earthbound existence. For a film about angels, Wim Wenders provides a very humanist philosophy here, a deeply touching love-letter to the simple pleasures of human life. An enriching, stunning work of art.
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