Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

“Moses supposes his toeses are roses, but Moses supposes erroneously. Moses he knowses his toeses aren’t roses as Moses supposes his toeses to be.” ‘Singin’ in the Rain’, directed and choreographed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen in 1952, is an American musical starring Kelly, Donald O’Connor, and Debbie Reynolds. Kelly plays Don Lockwood, a…

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960)

“Mam called me barmy when I told her I fell of a gasometer for a bet. But I’m not barmy, I’m a fighting pit prop that wants a pint of beer, that’s me. But if any knowing bastard says that’s me I’ll tell them I’m a dynamite dealer waiting to blow the factory to kingdom…

The Wind Will Carry Us (1999)

“No. the good go to Heaven, and the evil go to Hell. Hurry in and write that, then come back.” ‘The Wind Will Carry Us’, directed by Abbas Kiarostami in 1999, is an Iranian movie about four journalists, posing as engineers, who travel to a small Kurdish village to cover the rituals of mourning in…

Ali Zaoua: Prince of the Streets (2000)

“Nabil Ayouch’s film immerses us in the lives of these grubby street kids, limiting the adult roles to just three characters. It’s at its best when showing us the fractured innocence that these children share – they may only be eight, but they’ve already developed an understanding of the harsh realities of the world that’s…

Stroszek (1977)

“We have a 10-80 out here, a truck on fire, we have a man on the lift. We are unable to find the switch to turn the lift off, can’t stop the dancing chickens. Send an electrician, we’re standing by.” ‘Stroszek’, directed by Werner Herzog in 1977, is a German drama focusing on the picaresque…

Le Mépris (1963)

“I’ll tell you the story of Ramakrishna and his disciple. Ramakrishna was a Hindu wise man. And he had a disciple who had absolutely no faith in his teachings. So the disciple went off all by himself. Fifteen years later, he came back and said, “I have found the Way!” He told Ramakrishna, “Come, and…

Jodorowsky’s Dune (2013)

“My ambition with Dune was tremendous. So, what I wanted was to create a prophet. I want to create a prophet… to change the young minds of all the world. For me, Dune will be the coming of a god. Artistical, cinematographical god. For me, it was not to make a picture. It was something…

The Hustler (1961)

“You know, I got a hunch, fat man. I got a hunch it’s me from here on in. One ball, corner pocket. I mean, that ever happen to you? You know, all of a sudden you feel like you can’t miss? ‘Cause I dreamed about this game, fat man. I dreamed about this game every…

Footlight Parade (1933)

“Aw, talking pictures, it’s just a fad.” ‘Footlight Parade’, directed by Lloyd Bacon in 1933, is an American musical comedy starring James Cagney as Chester Kent, a theatre director whose career is failing. He comes up with the idea of staging a live action musical ‘prologue’ in movie theatres before the main feature, but under…

She’s Gotta Have It (1986)

“It’s really about control, my body, my mind. Who was going to own it? Them? Or me? I’m not a one-man woman. Bottom line.” ‘She’s Gotta Have It’, directed by Spike Lee in 1986, is an American comedy drama set in the black community in Brooklyn, New York City. Tracy Camilla Johns plays Nola Darling,…

Lift to the Scaffold (1958)

“Is there any movie that’s more perfectly French, more perfectly Parisian, and more perfectly 1950s than Louis Malle’s debut ‘Lift to the Scaffold’? Melville’s ‘Bob Le Flambeur’, perhaps, or Cocteau’s ‘Orphée’, but there is also in Malle’s movie a strong indication of the new directions French cinema would soon take.” ‘Lift to the Scaffold’, directed…

Funny Games (1997)

“You’re on their side, aren’t you? So, who will you bet with?” ‘Funny Games’, directed in Michael Haneke in 1997, is an Austrian home invasion thriller. A wealthy family, Georg, Anna and their son Georgie, arrive at their holiday home for a break. When they arrive they meet Peter and Paul, who claim to be…

Mulholland Drive (2001)

“No hay banda! There is no band! Il n’est pas de orquestra! This is all… a tape-recording. No hay banda! And yet we hear a band. If we want to hear a clarinette… listen. Un trombon “à coulisse”. Un trombon “con sordina”. Sient le son du trombon in sourdine. Hear le son… and mute it……

Partie de campagne (1936)

“Henriette at the oars while her useless husband languishes in the boat’s prow. It’s the opposite of the way in which Henri once rowed her to this secluded spot to seduce her, and as he watches her row away, partially obscured by the leafy foliage overhanging the river, this last little comic touch becomes almost…

Amarcord (1973)

“In our town, the puffballs and spring arrive hand in hand. These are the sort of puffballs that drift around, soaring over the cemetery, where all rest in peace, soaring over the beachfront and over the Germans, newly arrived, who don’t feel the cold. Drifting, drifting… swirling… swirling… swirling… Drifting, drifting, drifting.” Federico Fellini’s ‘Amarcord’,…

Top Hat (1935)

“No, no. When a clumsy cloud from here meets a fluffy little cloud from there, he billows towards her. She scurries away and he scuds right up to her. She cries a little and there you have you showers. He comforts her. They spark. That’s the lightning. They kiss. Thunder.” ‘Top Hat’, directed by Mark…

8 ½ (1963)

“I thought my ideas were so clear. I wanted to make an honest film. No lies whatsoever. I thought I had something so simple to say. Something useful to everybody. A film that could help bury forever all those dead things we carry within ourselves. Instead, I’m the one without the courage to bury anything…

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)

“Don’t you know that a man being rich is like a girl being pretty? You wouldn’t marry a girl just because she’s pretty, but my goodness, doesn’t it help?” ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’, directed by Howard Hawks in 1953, is an American adaptation of the comedy musical from 1949. Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell play a…

La La Land (2016)

“What do you mean you don’t like jazz?” ‘La La Land’, directed by Damien Chazelle in 2016, is an American romantic comedy musical starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Stone plays Mia, an aspiring actress who, over the course of a year, forms a relationship with Sebastian, played by Gosling, a Jazz pianist whose ambition…

Zabriskie Point (1970)

“There’s a thousand sides to everything – not just heroes and villains. So anyway… so anyway… so anyway… so anyway ought to be one word. Like a place or a river. ‘So Anyway River.’” ‘Zabriskie Point’, directed by Michelangelo Antonioni in 1970, is an American counterculture movie featuring a pair of students who independently travel…

A Matter of Life and Death (1946)

“Members of the jury, as Sir Walter Scott is always saying… In peace, Love tunes the shepherd’s reed; In war, he mounts the warrior’s steed; In halls, in gay attire is seen; In hamlets, dances on the green. Love rules the court, the camp, the grove, and men below, and saints above; For Love is…

The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)

“How fascinating. You make love without fading out?” ‘The Purple Rose of Cairo’, directed by Woody Allen in 1985, is an American fantasy comedy set in New Jersey during the Great Depression. Mia Farrow plays Cecilia, a waitress who is in an unhappy marriage and takes refuge in the local cinema in the evenings. She…

My Night at Maud’s (1969)

“Absolutely. For a Communist, Pascal’s wager is very relevant today. Personally, I very much doubt that history has any meaning. Yet I wager that it has, so I’m in a Pascalian situation. Hypothesis A: Society and politics are meaningless. Hypothesis B: History has meaning. I’m not at all sure B is more likely to be…

Don’t Look Now (1973)

“Age makes women grow to look more like each other. Don’t you find that? Old men decay and each becomes quite distinct. Women seem to converge.” ‘Don’t Look Now’, directed by Nicolas Roeg in 1973, is a haunting, elegiac movie that, once watched, demands repeated viewings. The film tells the story of John and Laura…

Being There (1979)

“This is just like television, only you can see much further.” ‘Being There’, directed by Hal Ashby in 1979, is an American comedy drama starring Peter Sellers and Shirley MacLaine. Sellers plays Chance, a man who has lived almost his entire life in the house of a wealthy man in Washington DC. Chance looks after…

The Goddess (1934)

“The Goddess delivers the leftist sentiments of social inequality and of the need for change within China through focusing on female suffering in 1930s society.” ‘The Goddess’, directed by Wu Yonggang in 1934, is a silent Chinese film telling the story of a sex worker who is abused by her pimp and struggles to care…

Two Days, One Night (2014)

“I don’t want the kids to see me crying.” ‘Two Days, One Night’, directed by the Dardenne brothers in 2014, is a Belgian movie starring Marion Cotillard. Cotillard plays Sandra, a worker at a solar-panel factory who suffers from depression and has been forced to take time off work. Whilst she is absent, her fellow…

Paris nous appartient (1961)

“Paris belongs to no-one” ‘Paris nous appartient’, directed by Jacques Rivette in 1961, is a French thriller set in the bohemian communities of Paris in the 1950s. Betty Schnieder plays Anne, a student who uncovers a plot to murder left-wing immigrants. She learns that Gérard Lenz, a theatrical director played by Giani Esposito is being…

Pride (2014)

“I don’t mind taking more, Hefina. Not the lesbians so much, because of their cuisine, but I’ll take an extra gay.” ‘Pride’, directed by Matthew Warchus in 2014, is a British comedy drama that tells the story of the support given to Welsh miners by a group of lesbian and gay activists and their unlikely…

Hôtel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie (1988)

“Without a story structure to guide us, we become the accomplices of the director – his passengers. We go where he goes. Ophuls asks the same questions again and again, until we grow as angry as he does by the evasions of the answers. When he grows sarcastic (ridiculing one man who will not talk…