Cinematheque Ontario's Best Films of the 1990s

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At the end of the decade, Cinematheque Ontario (the former name of TIFF) polled 60 film curators, archivists, and programmers and asked them to pick the best films of the decade.
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1.
Dream of Light (1992 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The artist, Antonio Lopez, tries to paint the quince tree he planted some time back in his garden. Throughout his life... (133 mins.)
Director: Victor Erice
 
2.
Life, and Nothing More... (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A director and his son return to a region damaged by the Guilan earthquake, hoping to find the children who appeared in his film a few years earlier. (95 mins.)
 
3.
Through the Olive Trees (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The movie focuses on one of the events in Zendegi Edame Darad (1992), and explores the relationship between the movie director... (103 mins.)
 
4.
Drifting Clouds (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The recession hits a couple in Helsinki. (96 mins.)
Director: Aki Kaurismäki
 
5.
Close-Up (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
The true story of Hossain Sabzian that impersonated the director Mohsen Makhmalbaf to convince a family they would star in his so-called new film. (98 mins.)
 
6.
Breaking the Waves (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Oilman Jan is paralyzed in an accident. His wife, who prayed for his return, feels guilty; even more, when Jan urges her to have sex with another. (159 mins.)
Director: Lars Von Trier
 
7.
Satantango (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
Plotting on a payment they are about to receive, residents of a collapsing collective farm see their plans turn into desolation when they discover that Irimiás, a former co-worker who they thought was dead, is coming back to the village. (450 mins.)
Director: Béla Tarr
 
8.
Flowers of Shanghai (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
In Shanghai in the 1880s there are four elegant brothels (flower houses): each has an auntie (called madam)... (130 mins.)
Director: Hsiao-Hsien Hou
 
9.
Taste of Cherry (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
An Iranian man drives his truck in search of someone who will quietly bury him under a cherry tree after he commits suicide. (95 mins.)
 
10.
Chungking Express (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Two melancholy Hong Kong policemen fall in love: one with a mysterious female underworld figure, the other with a beautiful and ethereal server at a late-night restaurant he frequents. (102 mins.)
Director: Kar Wai Wong
 
11.
Fireworks (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Nishi leaves the police in the face of harrowing personal and professional difficulties. Spiraling into depression, he makes questionable decisions. (103 mins.)
Director: Takeshi Kitano
 
12.
The Thin Red Line (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Terrence Malick's adaptation of James Jones' autobiographical 1962 novel, focusing on the conflict at Guadalcanal during the second World War. (170 mins.)
Director: Terrence Malick
 
13.
Histoire(s) du cinéma (1989 TV Series)
Episode: Toutes les histoires (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
An 8-part documentary chronically the history of cinema: "All the Histories", "A Single History", "Only Cinema", "Deadly "Beauty", "The Coin of the Absolute", "A New Wave", "The Control of the Universe", and "The Signs Among Us".
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
 
14.
A Brighter Summer Day (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Based on a true story, primarily on a conflict between two youth gangs, a 14-year-old boy's girlfriend conflicts with the head of one gang for an unclear reason, until finally the conflict comes to a violent climax. (237 mins.)
Director: Edward Yang
 
15.
A Moment of Innocence (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A semi-autobiographical account of Makmahlbaf's experience as a teenager when, as a 17-year-old, he stabbed a policeman at a protest rally. Two decades later, he tracks down the policeman he injured in an attempt to make amends. (78 mins.)
 
16.
Goodfellas (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
The story of Henry Hill and his life through the teen years into the years of mafia, covering his relationship with wife Karen Hill and his Mob partners Jimmy Conway and Tommy DeVitto in the Italian-American crime syndicate. (146 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
 
17.
Cold Water (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Gilles and Christine a boy and a girl live in the outskirts of Paris, their families are ineffective and distant and they lead a purposeless life... (92 mins.)
Director: Olivier Assayas
 
18.
Mother and Son (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A slow and poignant story of love and patience told via a dying mother nursed by her devoted son. The... (73 mins.)
 
19.
Vive L'Amour (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
The film focuses on three city folks who unknowingly share the same apartment: Mei, a real estate agent who uses it for her sexual affairs; Ah-jung... (118 mins.)
Director: Ming-liang Tsai
 
20.
Nouvelle vague (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Composed entirely by literary quotations from many different sources and from several historical periods... (90 mins.)
 
21.
Abraham's Valley (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Ema is a very attractive but innocent girl, so pretty that cars crash in her presence. Young marries Dr... (187 mins.)
 
22.
Safe (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
An affluent and unexceptional homemaker in the suburbs develops multiple chemical sensitivity. (119 mins.)
Director: Todd Haynes
 
23.
Dead Man (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
On the run after murdering a man, accountant William Blake encounters a strange North American man named Nobody who prepares him for his journey into the spiritual world. (121 mins.)
Director: Jim Jarmusch
 
24.
The Sweet Hereafter (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A bus crash in a small town brings a lawyer to the town to defend the families, but he discovers that everything is not what it seems. (112 mins.)
Director: Atom Egoyan
 
25.
Unforgiven (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Retired Old West gunslinger William Munny reluctantly takes on one last job, with the help of his old partner and a young man. (131 mins.)
Director: Clint Eastwood
 
26.
Exotica (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Francis, whose daughter was murdered a few years ago, is always watching Christina dance in the night club Exotica. One night he is dared to touch the girl and ends up being thrown out. He then sends in Thomas to try and find explanations. (103 mins.)
Director: Atom Egoyan
 
27.
Sonatine (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Several yakuza from Tokyo are sent to Okinawa to help end a gang war. The war escalates and the Tokyo drifters decide to lay low at the beach. (94 mins.)
Director: Takeshi Kitano
 
28.
Maborosi (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A young woman's husband apparently commits suicide without warning or reason, leaving behind his wife and infant. (110 mins.)
 
29.
Naked (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Parallel tales of two sexually obsessed men, one hurting and annoying women physically and mentally, one wandering around the city talking to strangers and experiencing dimensions of life. (132 mins.)
Director: Mike Leigh
 
30.
The Life of Jesus (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A social movie about current life in the north of France. Freddy and his friends are all unemployed... (96 mins.)
Director: Bruno Dumont
 
31.
Fargo (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Jerry Lundegaard's inept crime falls apart due to his and his henchmen's bungling and the persistent police work of the quite pregnant Marge Gunderson. (98 mins.)
Director: Joel Coen
 
32.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
The lives of two mob hit men, a boxer, a gangster's wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption. (154 mins.)
 
33.
La belle noiseuse (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The former famous painter Frenhofer revisits an abandoned project using the girlfriend of a young visiting artist. Questions about truth, life, and artistic limits are explored. (238 mins.)
Director: Jacques Rivette
 
34.
Van Gogh (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
The final sixty-seven days of Van Gogh's life is examined. (158 mins.)
Director: Maurice Pialat
 
35.
Three Colors: Red (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A model discovers her neighbor is keen on invading people's privacy. (99 mins.)
 
36.
The Last Bolshevik (1993 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
This documentary tells the story of film director Aleksandr Medvedkin, throughout his life a sincere believer in communism... (120 mins.)
Director: Chris Marker
 
37.
Caro diario (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Nanni Moretti directs himself playing himself in this wry look at life. Presented in three chapters... (100 mins.)
Director: Nanni Moretti
 
38.
Crumb (1994 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An intimate portrait of the controversial cartoonist and his traumatized family. (119 mins.)
Director: Terry Zwigoff
 
39.
The Puppetmaster (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
In the first half of this century, young Li Tienlu joines a travelling puppet theatre and subsequently... (142 mins.)
Director: Hsiao-Hsien Hou
 
40.
Goodbye, South, Goodbye (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A glimpse at the lives of two petty criminals in Taipei. (124 mins.)
Director: Hsiao-Hsien Hou
 
41.
Sicily! (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A man returns to visit his native Sicily after living in New York for a long time. He learns about the... (66 mins.)