Out of the Shadows: 50 Cinematic Masterpieces

"The imminent launch of the newly redeveloped BFI Southbank – the new name for the NFT – suggested that it was timely to take a fresh look at cinema history and various cinematic canons. To formulate a season of 50 masterpieces that would demonstrate what the medium’s been capable of, we settled on a list of titles that would prove fresh, illuminating, thought-provoking and different."
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1.
The Arrival of a Train (1896 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A group of people are standing in a straight line along the platform of a railway station, waiting for a train... (1 mins.)
 
2.
Our Hospitality (1923)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A man returns to his Appalachian homestead. On the trip, he falls for a young woman. The only problem is her family has vowed to kill every member of his family. (65 mins.)
 
3.
Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler (1922)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Arch-criminal Dr. Mabuse sets out to make a fortune and run Berlin. Detective Wenk sets out to stop him. (242 mins.)
Director: Fritz Lang
 
4.
Greed (1924)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The sudden fortune won from a lottery fans such destructive greed that it ruins the lives of the three people involved. (140 mins.)
 
5.
A Trip to the Moon (1902 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A group of astronomers go on an expedition to the Moon. (13 mins.)
 
6.
Man with a Movie Camera (1929 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A man travels around a city with a camera slung over his shoulder, documenting urban life with dazzling invention. (68 mins.)
Director: Dziga Vertov
 
7.
Un Chien Andalou (1929 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí present seventeen minutes of bizarre, surreal imagery. (16 mins.)
Director: Louis Bunuel
 
8.
L'Atalante (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Newly married couple Juliette and a ship captain Jean struggle through marriage as they travel on the L'atalante along with the captain's first mate Le père Jules and a cabin boy. (89 mins.)
Director: Jean Vigo
 
9.
A Colour Box (1935 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Animated shapes dance to Cuban music. This was one of the first animations to be painted directly onto the film. (3 mins.)
Director: Len Lye
 
10.
A Day in the Country (1936 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The family of a Parisian shop-owner spends a day in the country. The daughter falls in love to a man at the inn, where they spend the day. (40 mins.)
Director: Jean Renoir
 
11.
Listen to Britain (1942 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A depiction of life in wartime England during the Second World War. Director Humphrey Jennings visits many aspects of civilian life and of the turmoil and privation caused by the war, all without narration. (20 mins.)
 
12.
The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The adopted son of a legendary actor, and an aspiring star himself, turns to his infant brother's wet nurse for support and affection - only for her to give up everything for her beloved's glory. (143 mins.)
Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
 
13.
His Girl Friday (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A newspaper editor uses every trick in the book to keep his ace reporter ex-wife from remarrying. (92 mins.)
Director: Howard Hawks
 
14.
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
From the Boer War through World War II, a soldier rises through the ranks in the British military. (163 mins.)
 
15.
Duck Amuck (1953 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
The short-tempered Daffy Duck must improvise madly as the backgrounds, his costumes, the soundtrack, even his physical form, shifts and changes at the whim of the animator. (7 mins.)
Stars: Mel Blanc
 
16.
The Lusty Men (1952)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Retired rodeo champion Jeff McCloud agrees to mentor novice rodeo contestant Wes Merritt against the wishes of Merritt's wife who fears the dangers of this rough sport. (113 mins.)
Director: Nicholas Ray
 
17.
The Earrings of Madame de... (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The diamond earrings of a French aristocrat, a wedding gift from her husband, cause a series of conflicts as they change hands repeatedly. (105 mins.)
Director: Max Ophüls
 
18.
Journey to Italy (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
An unhappily married couple attempts to find direction and insight while vacationing in Naples. (85 mins.)
 
19.
Tokyo Story (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
An old couple visit their children and grandchildren in the city; but the children have little time for them. (136 mins.)
Director: Yasujirô Ozu
 
20.
Ordet (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Follows the lives of the Borgen family, as they deal with inner conflict, as well as religious conflict with each other, and the rest of the town. (126 mins.)
 
21.
Shadows (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Cassavetes' jazz-scored improvisational film explores interracial friendships and relationships in Beat-Era (1950s) New York City. (81 mins.)
Director: John Cassavetes
 
22.
Psycho (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A Phoenix secretary embezzles $40,000 from her employer's client, goes on the run, and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother. (109 mins.)
 
23.
La Jetée (1962 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
The story of a man forced to explore his memories in the wake of World War III's devastation, told through still images. (28 mins.)
Director: Chris Marker
 
24.
Contempt (1963)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Screenwriter Paul Javal's marriage to his wife Camille disintegrates during movie production as she spends time with the producer. Layered conflicts between art and business ensue. (103 mins.)
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
 
25.
Meshes of the Afternoon (1943 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A woman returning home falls asleep and has vivid dreams that may or may not be happening in reality. Through repetitive images and complete mismatching of the objective view of time and space, her dark inner desires play out on-screen. (14 mins.)
 
26.
Scorpio Rising (1963 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
An army of gay/nazi bikers make their engines roar and ride the way to pain/pleasure as sexual and sadistic... (28 mins.)
Director: Kenneth Anger
 
27.
The 13 Most Beautiful Women (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Director: Andy Warhol
 
28.
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A young woman separated from her lover by war faces a life-altering decision. (91 mins.)
Director: Jacques Demy
 
29.
Charulata (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
The lonely wife of a newspaper editor falls in love with her visiting cousin-in-law, who shares her love for literature. (117 mins.)
Director: Satyajit Ray
 
30.
Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The story of a mistreated donkey and the people around him. A study on saintliness and a sister piece to Bresson's Mouchette. (95 mins.)
Director: Robert Bresson
 
31.
Persona (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A nurse is put in charge of a mute actress and finds that their personas are melding together. (85 mins.)
Director: Ingmar Bergman
 
32.
Antonio das Mortes (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Period piece about a Brazil that is no more. This movie is the sequel to "God and the Devil in the Land of the Sun" (Deus e o diabo na terra do sol)... (100 mins.)
Director: Glauber Rocha
 
33.
My Night at Maud's (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
The rigid principles of a devout Catholic man are challenged during a one-night stay with Maud, a divorced woman with an outsize personality. (110 mins.)
Director: Éric Rohmer
 
34.
Wavelength (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
One of the most unconventional and experimental films ever made, Wavelength is a structural film of a 45-minute long zoom in on a window over a period of a week. (45 mins.)
Director: Michael Snow
 
35.
Zorns Lemma (1970 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A rhythmically edited alphabet composed of street and shop signs shot in New York City and other elements is gradually replaced by repeated seemingly abstract shots in this influential structuralist film. (60 mins.)
Director: Hollis Frampton
 
36.
Land of Silence and Darkness (1971 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Through examining Fini Straubinger, an old woman who has been deaf and blind since adolescence, and her work on behalf of other deaf and blind people... (85 mins.)
Director: Werner Herzog
 
37.
Xala (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
It is the dawn of Senegal's independence from France, but as the citizens celebrate in the streets we... (123 mins.)
Director: Ousmane Sembene
 
38.
Citizen Kane (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance. (119 mins.)
Director: Orson Welles
 
39.
The Travelling Players (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Greece 1939 - 1952 Fascist, Nazi, Communist conflict as seen through a family of travelling provincial players (230 mins.)
 
40.
Nashville (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Over the course of a few hectic days, numerous interrelated people prepare for a political convention as secrets and lies are surfaced and revealed. (160 mins.)
Director: Robert Altman
 
41.
Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A lonely widowed housewife does her daily chores, takes care of her apartment where she lives with her teenage son, and turns the occasional trick to make ends meet. However, something happens that changes her safe routine. (201 mins.)
 
42.
Dimensions of Dialogue (1983 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A three-part depiction of various forms of communication. 'Factual Discussion' depicts three heads (made up of fruit... (12 mins.)
Director: Jan Svankmajer
 
43.
In the Realm of the Senses (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A passionate telling of the story of Sada Abe, a woman whose affair with her master led to a sexual obsession which then came to a violent end. (109 mins.)
Director: Nagisa Ôshima
 
44.
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
 
45.
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
 
46.
Destiny (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
The story is set in the 12th century in Arab-ruled Spanish province Andalusia, where famed philosopher... (135 mins.)
Director: Youssef Chahine
 
47.
A Girl's Own Story (1986 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A look at three girls, young teens, in the era of the Beatles. Pam lives with parents who haven't spoken directly to each other in two years... (27 mins.)
Director: Jane Campion
 
48.
Beau Travail (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
This film focuses on an ex-Foreign Legion officer as he recalls his once glorious life, leading troops in Africa. (92 mins.)
Director: Claire Denis
 
49.
The Wind Will Carry Us (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Irreverent city engineer Behzad comes to a rural village in Iran to keep vigil for a dying relative. In the meanwhile the film follows his efforts to fit in with the local community and how he changes his own attitudes as a result. (118 mins.)
 
50.
In the Mood for Love (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Two neighbors, a woman and a man, form a strong bond after both suspect extramarital activities of their spouses. However, they agree to keep their bond platonic so as not to commit similar wrongs. (98 mins.)
Director: Kar Wai Wong