Awards Manager/Administrator Film Critics Circle of Australia/Film Critic
|A City of Sadness
|Toute la mémoire du monde
|Letter from an Unknown Woman
|William A. Wellman
|GANGS OF WASSEYPUR
The first contemporary Hindi film to make it to the top ten box-office list on its release in the UK. The 'Chaiyya Chaiyya' number, with star Shah Rukh Khan dancing on top of a moving train, is an iconic moment in cinema. Dil Se is a potent film about a challenging subject, visualised in a unique style. The theme of what drives people to terrorism is as relevant today as it was when the film was made, if not more so.
A City of Sadness
Winner of the Golden Lion at Venice, the film is set in 1945 soon after Japan relinquished control over Taiwan. This evocative and moving story of a turbulent time in Taiwan’s history is Hou’s masterpiece. Although the events depicted (based on historical fact) may not have been well known to an international audience, the portrayal of the characters' dilemmas and struggles, combined with the affects of the socio-political environment, has a universality relatable to any viewer.
Nominated in multiple categories at various French and international awards, Wild Reeds won Best Film and Best Director (André Téchiné) at the 1995 Césars, as well as Most Promising Young Actress (Élodie Bouchez) and Best Original Screenplay.
The film follows four teenagers at the end of the Algerian War, their sexual awakening and passage to adulthood in a totally unclichéd and realistic way, reinforced by the exceptional naturalistic performances of the young actors. The evocation of time and place is outstanding.
Toute la mémoire du monde
Ostensibly a documentary about the organisation of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, this film is essentially an essay, proposing both the boundaries and the possibilities of human knowledge .
Letter from an Unknown Woman
Stefan Zweig's novella has been adapted numerous times, but never as stunningly as this film: the luminous black-and-white photography and camera movement endow the film with a mesmerising ambience, giving an unlikely story an ethereal quality.
This exquisite melodrama was chosen by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry in 1992 as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". It was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2021 in the Cannes Classic selection.
Wings hardly seems like a silent film; you can feel and 'hear' the noises of war. Clara Bow sparkles as the heroine caught between Charles 'Buddy' Rogers and Richard Arlen, recreating a feel-good love story set against the background of WWI pilots.
The winner of the first Academy Award for Best Picture, Wings helped launch the career of Gary Cooper and remains a testament to the ingenuity of silent cinema.
Although this was Marion Davies' 27th feature, it was the first of three successful films she made for director King Vidor. It was also one of the best films of her career.
If ever a film showed how a star persona could shine, and what a superb comedienne Davies was, it's The Patsy – now recognised as a classic of the Hollywood-on-Hollywood genre. Davies plays a downtrodden young woman who decides to re-invent herself with a new personality; there is a truly brilliant and unforgettable sequence in which Davies impersonates other silent stars of the time – Lillian Gish, Mae Murray and Pola Negri.
Despite not receiving as much attention as similar Kurosawa films, this historical drama set in the year 1725, during the Edo period, is one of the best Japanese samurai films.
With an impressively controlled performance by Mifune, the film received awards including the Fipresci prize at the 1967 Venice Film Festival. Although in many ways a typical samurai film, it weaves a poignant family saga into the narrative, leading to an emotionally devastating ending.
This strikingly simple film, written, edited and directed by Koreeda, is a portrait of a contemporary Japanese family commemorating their elder son’s death. Proof that Koreeda is one of the great humanist filmmakers of modern-day cinema.
GANGS OF WASSEYPUR
Kashyap’s confronting crime saga follows the underlying power struggles, politics and vengeance between three crime families from Dhanbad in the state of Jharkhand. The saga follows the three families vying for supremacy over area's vast coalmines, from 1941 to the mid-1990s. This ambitious film proved to be the international calling card of director Kashyap (an exciting new auteur on the global cinematic landscape). The movie marks the arrival of a New Wave of Hindi cinema. Gangs… creates a milieu that is both repugnant and intriguing, drawing the viewer into an unfamiliar world with a range of characters, some unpleasant, some unexpectedly endearing, but always believable because of the extremely strong cast and Kashyap’s astute direction.
Gangs of Wasseypur recalls the stature and impact of The Godfather trilogy.
With over 100 years of cinema, it is not only impossible but unlikely that ten films can represent the best of world cinema.
Choices in this list are films that have made a substantial impact one way or another, and have stood the test of time.
These films are all important and hold a special place in the history of cinema; they are obviously not the only films that could be termed 'the greatest', but they represent a spectrum of the global cinematic landscape.