Robinson in Space (1997)

“Like its predecessor this is an offbeat, verbose, witty mix of documentary, fiction and essay: are we really a poor, terribly provincial nation plagued by industrial decline, or are our hardships and low morale the outcome of choices made by self-serving politicians?” ‘Robinson in Space’, written and directed by Patrick Keiller in 1997, is second…

Of Gods and Men (2010)

“Should it ever befall me, and it could happen today, to be a victim of the terrorism swallowing up all foreigners here, I would like my community, my church, my family, to remember that my life was given to God and to this country. That the Unique Master of all life was no stranger to…

Diva (1981)

“Some get high on airplane glue… detergents… fancy gimmicks. My satori is this: Zen in the art of buttering bread!” ‘Diva’, directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix in 1981, is a French thriller and an early entry to the ‘cinéma du look’ movement. Jules, a postman played by Frédéric Andréi, is obsessed by the American opera singer…

Uzak (2002)

“’Her şey senden çok uzak göründüğünde umutsuzluğa düşme, kendine dön, çünkü sen kendine en yakın şeysin! Kendinle enerji biriktir! Sonra uzak şeylerin bile ötesine erişmek için kendini güçlü hissedeceksin!’” ‘Uzak’, directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan in 2002, is a Turkish film about an unemployed man, Yusuf, played by Mehmet Emin Toprak, who moves in with…

Paradise Now (2005)

“I was born in a refugee camp. I was allowed to leave the west Bank only once. I was 6 at the time and needed surgery. Life here is like life imprisonment. The crimes of the occupation are countless. The worst crime of all is to exploit the people’s weaknesses and turn them into collaborators….

By Our Selves (2015)

“I found the poems in the fields, And only wrote them down.” ‘By Our Selves’, directed by Andrew Kotting in 2015, is a British experimental docudrama about the journey of poet John Clare from Epping Forest to Northamptonshire. The film stars Toby Jones as the poet, silently wandering through woodland, whilst Freddie Jones, his father,…

Culloden (1964)

 “They’ve created a desert and have called it “peace”.” ‘Culloden’, directed by Peter Watkins in 1964, is a British docudrama focusing on the aftermath of the Scottish Jacobite rising of 1745. The film follows the events of the battle that took place in 1746 in which the British army, supported by antagonistic Scottish clans, defeated…

Modern Times (1936)

“Good morning, my friends. This record comes to you through the Sales Talk Transcription Company, Incorporated: your speaker, the Mechanical Salesman. May I take the pleasure of introducing Mr. J. Widdecombe Billows, the inventor of the Billows Feeding Machine, a practical device which automatically feeds your men while at work? Don’t stop for lunch: be…

Au revoir les enfants (1987)

“Goodbye, children. I’ll see you soon.” ‘Au revoir les enfants’, directed by Louis Malle in 1987, is a French drama set during the Nazi occupation. Julien, played by Gaspard Manesse, is a pupil at a Carmelite boarding school who puts on a front of being tough but throughout the film seems vulnerable, perplexed by the…

Volver (2006)

“Don’t say that, Raimunda, or I’ll start crying. And ghosts don’t cry.” ‘Volver’, directed by Pedro Almodóvar in 2006, is a Spanish drama film set in Madrid and in the countryside around the city. Penélope Cruz plays Raimunda who, with her daughter Paula and sister Soledad, become embroiled in a story of apparent ghosts, faked…

The Class (2008)

“I didn’t asked you what you liked in the class, I want to know what did you learned from it.” ‘The Class’, directed by Laurent Cantet in 2008, is a French drama set entirely within a modern middle school in a district of Paris famous for its immigrant communities. Based on a book by teacher…

Rosetta (1999)

“Your name is Rosetta. My name is Rosetta. You found a job. I found a job. You’ve got a friend. I’ve got a friend. You have a normal life. I have a normal life. You won’t fall in a rut. I won’t fall in a rut. Good night. Good night.” ‘Rosetta’, directed by the Dardenne…

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

“What will you do when they catch you? What will you do if they break you? If you continue to fight, what will you become?” ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’, directed by Gareth Edwards in 2016, is an American science fiction fantasy movie and part of the ‘Star Wars’ franchise. The story takes place…

The King of Comedy (1983)

“What about things that I did for you that no money can buy, no money can buy? What about the time I gave you my spot! You came over there, I gave you my spot! You stood there and I let you get right next to Jerry. I waited for 8 hours for him and…

Paisà (1946)

“Beautiful Shots! That is the one thing that makes me sick!” ‘Paisà’, directed by Roberto Rossellini in 1946, is the second of his trilogy of neorealist war movies that started with ‘Rome, Open City’ and concluded with ‘Germany, Year Zero’. Unlike those films, which told single, small scale stories on the enormous canvas of cities…

The Jerk (1979)

“And that’s the only thing I need is this. I don’t need this or this. Just this ashtray… And this paddle game. – The ashtray and the paddle game and that’s all I need… And this remote control. – The ashtray, the paddle game, and the remote control, and that’s all I need… And these…

My Life to Live (1962)

“Suddenly I don’t know what to say. It happens to me a lot. I think first about whether they’re the right words. But when the moment comes to speak, I can’t say it. Why must one always talk? I think one should often just keep quiet, live in silence. The more one talks, the less…

The Official Story (1985)

“Literature and History always meet.” ‘The Official Story’, directed by Luis Puenzo in 1985, is an Argentine domestic drama set during the country’s last military dictatorship. Norma Aleandro plays Alicia, a teacher and the wife of a government agent Roberto, played by Héctor Alterio. They live in a upper middle class bubble, insulated from the…

Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)

“We Fascists are the only true anarchists, naturally, once we’re masters of the state. In fact, the one true anarchy is that of power.” ‘Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom’, directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini in 1975, is a controversial Italian horror movie set after the fall of Mussolini in 1943. Four fascist noblemen…

Medieval Movies

There is an debate that divides historical movies into two camps. The first attempts to depict history without mediation, in essence films that try to access a past before cinema began to shape it  through genre. The second embraces this mediation by presenting the past as a series of genre tropes and iconography, the past…

The Vanishing (1988)

“My daughter was bursting with pride. But I thought that her admiration wasn’t worth anything unless I could prove myself absolutely incapable of doing anything evil. And as black cannot exist without white, I logically conceived the most horrible deed that I could envision right at that moment. But I want you to know, for me killing is not the worst thing”

Man with a Movie Camera (1929)

“The ‘honesty’ of documentary as compared with fiction film, the ‘perfection’ of the cinematic eye compared with human eye.” ‘Man with a Movie Camera’, directed by Dziga Vertov in 1929, is a Soviet experimental film that pushes the boundaries of how cinema was understood at the time. The film contains no plot, but, like ‘Koyaanisqatsi’…

Chungking Express (1994)

 “We split up on April Fool’s Day. So I decided to let the joke run for a month. Every day I buy a can of pineapple with a sell-by date of May 1. May loves pineapple, and May 1 is my birthday. If May hasn’t changed her mind by the time I’ve bought thirty cans,…

Juliet of the Spirits (1965)

“I don’t care about the clemency you offer me but the salvation of my soul.” ‘Juliet of the Spirits’, directed by Federico Fellini in 1965, is an Italian fantasy starring Fellini’s own wife Giulietta Masina. Giulietta (the character) is a wealthy, middleclass housewife who is married to an unreliable man and is locked into a…

The Match Factory Girl (1990)

“Nothing could touch me less than your affection.” ‘The Match Factory Girl’, directed by Aki Kaurismäki in 1990, is a Finnish drama that completes the ‘Proletariat Trilogy’ that included the director’s 1988 movie ‘Ariel’. In this film, Kati Outinen plays Iris, a factory worker who is supporting her stepfather and mother. She works, brings home…

The American Friend (1977)

“I like this room. It’s got a good feel to it. It’s quiet and peaceful. Just like you. I envy you. The smell of paint and wood. Must be good to work here. Then when you finish something, you can see what you’ve done.” ‘The American Friend’, directed by Wim Wenders in 1977, is a…

The Colour of Pomegranates (1969)

“In this healthy and beautiful life my share has been nothing but suffering. Why has it been given to me?” ‘The Colour of Pomegranates’, directed by Sergei Parajanov in 1969, is an unconventional Armenian biopic of Sayat-Nova. The movie tells the story of the 18th Century poet in a highly abstract and symbolic way, dividing…

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

“You’re an interesting man, Mr. Scamander. Just like your suitcase, I think there’s more to you than meets the eye. Kicked out of Hogwarts for endangering human life with a beast, yet one of your teachers argued strongly against your expulsion. I wonder… what makes Albus Dumbledore so fond of you, Mr. Scamander?” ‘Fantastic Beasts…

Jezebel (1938)

“But you had to come back home, didn’t you? You had to come back to the country and the things you know, because you belong here! Nothing can change that. Pres, Listen… Can you hear them? The night noises? The mockingbird in the magnolia? See the moss hanging from the moonlight? You can fairly taste…