I Live in Fear (1955)

“Human beings share the same common problems. A film can only be understood if it depicts these properly.” ‘I Live in Fear’, written and directed by Akira Kurosawa in 1955, is a drama set in contemporary Japan. A factory owner, Nakajima played by Toshiro Mifune, is terrified of nuclear war and is pressuring his family…

My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

“Well, ghosts are a lot harder to see. But when you suddenly move from a lighted room to a dark one, you can’t see for a second, and that’s when the dust bunnies come out.” ‘My Neighbor Totoro’, directed by Hayao Miyazaki in 1988, is a Studio Ghibli animated childrens film. It tells the story…

The Magician (1958)

“It’s a fox without eyes, and with a rotten hole for a mouth” ‘The Magician’, directed by Ingmar Bergman in 1958, is a thriller set in the nineteenth century. Max von Sydow plays a magician and mesmerist called Vogler who travels with his family. After a fateful encounter with an actor on the way they…

A Day at the Races (1937)

Gil: Are you a man or a mouse? Dr. Hackenbush: You put a piece of cheese down there and you’ll find out. ‘A Day at the Races’, directed by Sam Wood in 1937, is the seventh Marx Brothers comedy. Groucho Marx plays a horse veterinarian, Hugo Z. Hackenbush, who pretends to be a doctor in…

Tesis (1996)

“My name is Angela. They’re going to kill me.” ‘Tesis’, directed by Alejandro Amenábar in 1996, is a Spanish thriller set in modern day Madrid. Angela, played by Ana Torrent (the young girl from ‘Spirit of the Beehives’, is studying video nasties for a project at university. In the course of her studies she discovers…

The World of Apu (1959)

“In the final moments of the film, Kajal has rejected Apu. When Apu’s father-in-law is about to strike Kajal with a stick because he has refused to leave with Apu, Apu rescues Kajal instinctively. A hint of trust begins to develop. Apu starts to walk away as he has given up hope of earning Kajal’s…

The Trial of Joan of Arc (1962)

“Bishop Cauchon: Do your saints hate the English? Jeanne d’Arc: They love what Our Lord loves and hate what he hates. Bishop Cauchon: Does God hate the English? Jeanne d’Arc: Whether he loves or hates them I don’t know. I only know they’ll be driven from France or die here.” ‘The Trial of Joan of…

Mirror (1975)

“It seems to make me return to the place, poignantly dear to my heart, where my grandfather’s house used to be in which I was born 40 years ago right on the dinner table. Each time I try to enter it, something prevents me from doing that. I see this dream again and again. And…

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Seita: Can you give her medicine or a shot? Please, doctor, help her. Doctor: Give her medicine? All this child needs is some food. ‘Grave of the Fireflies’, written and directed by Isao Takahata in 1988, is an animated historical drama produced by Studio Ghibli. It tells the story of a teenage boy and his…

Tale of Tales (2015)

“I want to be with my sister.” ‘Tale of Tales’, directed by Matteo Garrone in 2015, is a European adaptation of three Giambattista Basile stories with adult horror overtones. The three stories are unlinked, but the characters meet at the beginning (a funeral) and the end (a wedding). One story focuses on a queen whose…

The Golden Coach (1952)

“At the end of the second act, when Colombine goes, driven away by her masters, there is a tradition you seem not to know. The comedians bow to her.” ‘The Golden Coach’, directed by Jean Renoir in 1952, is an opulent costume drama set in Peru in the 18ths century. A troupe of performers arrive…

Red Psalm (1972)

“Protect us from widowhood…protect us from immigration…Save us O Lord from starvation…Save us O Lord from the holes in our boots…” ‘Red Psalm’, directed by Miklós Jancsó in 1972, is a Hungarian movie set in a village in 1890. The villagers are rebelling against the feudal government and the film is made up of a…