early art house

Covering famous arthouse movies between WWII and the French New Wave. I've tried to stick to movies an American could see in an arthouse theater soon after release - this leaves out later "discoveries" like Yasujiro Ozu. Although since I don't have detailed listings of U.S. screenings, I'm listing these by domestic release date - so Children of Paradise comes before Rome, Open City, even though the first U.S. audiences would've seen the latter first.
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1.
Children of Paradise (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
The theatrical life of a beautiful courtesan and the four men who love her. (190 mins.)
Director: Marcel Carné
 
2.
Rome, Open City (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
During the Nazi occupation of Rome in 1944, resistance leader Giorgio Manfredi is chased by Nazis and he seeks refuge and escape. (103 mins.)
 
3.
Shoeshine (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Two shoeshine boys in postwar Rome, Italy, save up to buy a horse, but their involvement as dupes in a burglary lands them in juvenile prison where the experience take a devastating toll on their friendship. (93 mins.)
 
4.
Beauty and the Beast (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A beautiful young woman takes her father's place as the prisoner of a mysterious beast, who wishes to marry her. (96 mins.)
Director: Jean Cocteau
 
5.
Paisan (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Six vignettes follow the Allied invasion from July 1943 to winter 1944, from Sicily north to Venice... (125 mins.)
 
6.
Black Narcissus (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
After opening a convent in the Himalayas, five nuns encounter conflict and tension - both with the natives and also within their own group - as they attempt to adapt to their remote, exotic surroundings. (100 mins.)
 
7.
Germany Year Zero (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A young German boy faces the problems of the tough life in the immediate post WWII Berlin. (78 mins.)
 
8.
Bicycle Thieves (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Set in Post-WWII Italy, a working class man's bicycle is stolen. He and his son set out to find it. (89 mins.)
 
9.
The Red Shoes (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A young ballet dancer is torn between the man she loves and her pursuit to become a prima ballerina. (133 mins.)
 
10.
Whisky Galore (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Scottish islanders try to plunder 50,000 cases of whisky from a stranded ship. (82 mins.)
 
11.
Rashomon (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A heinous crime and its aftermath are recalled from differing points of view. (88 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
12.
Les Enfants Terribles (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
In a snowball fight between schoolboys the handsome Dargelos hits the chest of Paul, who drops unconscious to the ground... (105 mins.)
 
13.
Ikiru (1952)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A bureaucrat tries to find a meaning in his life after he discovers he has terminal cancer. (143 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
14.
Umberto D. (1952)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A elderly man and his dog struggle to survive on his government pension in Rome. (89 mins.)
 
15.
Summer with Monika (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Harry Lund is a nineteen-year-old man who meets Monika, a romantic, reckless and rebellious seventeen-year-old... (96 mins.)
Director: Ingmar Bergman
 
16.
Monsieur Hulot's Holiday (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Monsieur Hulot comes to a beachside hotel for a vacation, where he accidentally (but good-naturedly) causes havoc. (114 mins.)
Director: Jacques Tati
 
17.
Ugetsu (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A fantastic tale of war, love, family and ambition set in the midst of the Japanese Civil Wars of the sixteenth century. (96 mins.)
Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
 
18.
Sawdust and Tinsel (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
While traveling in caravan through the country of Sweden, one member of the decadent Alberti Circus... (93 mins.)
Director: Ingmar Bergman
 
19.
Sansho the Bailiff (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
In mediaeval Japan a compassionate governor is sent into exile. His wife and children try to join him... (124 mins.)
Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
 
20.
Seven Samurai (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves. (207 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
21.
La Strada (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A care-free girl is sold to a traveling entertainer, consequently enduring physical and emotional pain along the way. (108 mins.)
 
22.
Ordet (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Follows the lives of the Brogen family, as they deal with inner conflict, as well as religious conflict with one and other, and the rest of the town. The various events that unfold throughout the film tests all of their faith and beliefs. (126 mins.)
 
23.
Diabolique (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
The wife of a cruel headmaster and his mistress conspire to kill him, but after the murder is committed, his body disappears, and strange events begin to plague the two women. (116 mins.)
Director: H.G. Clouzot
 
24.
Rififi (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Four men plan a technically perfect crime, but the human element intervenes... (122 mins.)
Director: Jules Dassin
 
25.
Pather Panchali (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Impoverished priest Harihar Ray, dreaming of a better life for himself and his family, leaves his rural Bengal village in search of work. (125 mins.)
Director: Satyajit Ray
 
26.
Smiles of a Summer Night (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
It's late nineteenth century Sweden. Middle aged lawyer Fredrik Egerman and his nineteen year old current... (108 mins.)
Director: Ingmar Bergman
 
27.
Aparajito (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Following his father's death, a boy leaves home to study in Calcutta, while his mother must face a life alone. (110 mins.)
Director: Satyajit Ray
 
28.
...And God Created Woman (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
In sunny St. Tropez, a young sexpot loves one brother but marries the other. (95 mins.)
Director: R. Vadim
 
29.
The Red Balloon (1956 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A red balloon with a life of its own follows a little boy around the streets of Paris. (34 mins.)
 
30.
A Man Escaped (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Captured French Resistance fighter Andre Devigny awaits a certain death sentence for espionage in a stark Nazi prison... (99 mins.)
Director: Robert Bresson
 
31.
The Seventh Seal (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A man seeks answers about life, death, and the existence of God as he plays chess against the Grim Reaper during the Black Plague. (96 mins.)
Director: Ingmar Bergman
 
32.
Nights of Cabiria (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A waifish prostitute wanders the streets of Rome looking for true love but finds only heartbreak. (110 mins.)
 
33.
The Cranes Are Flying (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Veronica plans a rendezvous with her lover, Boris, at the bank of river, only for him to be drafted into World War II shortly thereafter. (97 mins.)
 
34.
Wild Strawberries (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
After living a life marked by coldness, an aging professor is forced to confront the emptiness of his existence. (91 mins.)
Director: Ingmar Bergman
 
35.
Elevator to the Gallows (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A self-assured business man murders his employer, the husband of his mistress, which unintentionally provokes an ill-fated chain of events. (91 mins.)
Director: Louis Malle
 
36.
Ashes and Diamonds (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
During the German occupation noble, bourgeois and worker's partisan groups lived in peace with another. On the first day of freedom they start to fight each other. In these fights is weaved a most tender love story. (103 mins.)
Director: Andrzej Wajda
 
37.
The Lovers (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Saddled with a dull husband and a foolish lover, a woman has an affair with a stranger. (90 mins.)
Director: Louis Malle
 
38.
Mon Oncle (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Monsieur Hulot visits the technology-driven world of his sister, brother-in-law, and nephew, but he can't quite fit into the surroundings. (117 mins.)
Director: Jacques Tati
 
39.
The Magician (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
When 'Vogler's Magnetic Health Theater' comes to town, there's bound to be a spectacle. Reading reports... (100 mins.)
Director: Ingmar Bergman
 
40.
The World of Apu (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
This final installment in Satyajit Ray's Apu Trilogy, follows Apu's life as an orphaned adult aspiring to be a writer as he lives through poverty, and the unforeseen turn of events. (105 mins.)
Director: Satyajit Ray
 
41.
The 400 Blows (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Moving story of a young boy who, left without attention, delves into a life of petty crime. (99 mins.)