Django Unchained (dir. Quentin Tarantino, 2012) 3.5/5
A film that is as disappointing as it is fascinating and intelligent, Quentin Tarantino’s revisionist western, Django Unchained, explores America’s history of slavery with its story of a freed slave’s journey to rescue his wife from a brutal plantation owner.
O Lucky Man! (dir. Lindsay Anderson, 1973) 4.5/5
Lindsay Anderson’s brilliant anti-capitalist satire, O Lucky Man!, tells the still relevant and highly irreverent story of a young and ambitious coffee salesman’s increasingly cruel and surreal journey into the world of business.
Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid (dir. Sam Peckinpah, 1973) 4/5
Starring Kris Kristofferson as Billy and James Coburn as Pat Garret, Sam Peckinpah’s beautifully photographed revisionist western explores greed and corruption in its retelling of the legendary death of Billy the Kid.
Hannah Takes The Stairs (dir. Joe Swanberg, 2007) 3.5/5
With its story following a twenty-something production assistant has she bounces from one unsatisfactory relationship to the next, Joe Swanberg’s charming mumblecore film, Hannah Takes The Stairs, has an existential nihilistic undertone with its themes of discontentment and aimlessness.
The Spirit Of The Beehive (dir. Victor Erice, 1973) 4.5/5
With its atmospheric story surrounding a travelling cinema’s screening of James Whale’s Frankenstein and a seven-year-old girl’s subsequent fascination with a local spirit, Victor Erice’s heavily symbolic and allegorical critique of General Franco’s dictatorship, The Spirit Of The Beehive, is a unique, beautiful, and poignant debut.
Looks and Smiles (dir. Ken Loach, 1981) 4/5
Set against a backdrop of Thatcherism and based on Barry Hines’ novel, Ken Loach’s beautifully observed feature, Looks and Smiles, follows a young man’s struggle to find employment in reccession-hit Sheffield.
People On Sunday (dir. Robert Siodmak & Edgar G. Ulmer, 1929) 5/5
Made by a group of young filmmakers including Robert Siodmak, Edgar G. Ulmer, Fred Zinnemann, and Billy Wilder, People On Sunday is a delightful avant-garde experiment that follows a group of young Berliners on an excursion to the countryside during a typical German Sunday.
The Living End (dir. Gregg Araki, 1992) 4/5
A seminal film of the New Queer Cinema movement, Gregg Araki’s ‘irresponsible’ road movie, The Living End, confronts America’s fear of AIDS with its stylish story of a gay couple on the run.
Captured (dir. John Krish, 1959) 3/5
Envisioned by the director as a showpiece for feature film producers, John Krish’s ‘restricted’ military training film, Captured, offered a fascinating and propogandic insight to the brainwashing and torture techniques used during the Korean war but remained unseen by the public until 2004.
What Richard Did (dir. Lenny Abrahamson, 2012) 3.5/5
Lenny Abrahamson’s interesting story of morality, responsibility, and guilt, What Richard Did, sees a privileged 18-year-old’s final hedonistic summer take an abrupt turn to tragedy after a jealousy fuelled act of violence…
Jeanne Dielman (dir. Chantal Akerman, 1975) 5/5
Following the daily routines of a repressed single mother over a period of three days, Chantal Akerman’s minimalist masterpiece, Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, is a seminal work of feminist filmmaking.
The Long Goodbye (dir. Robert Altman, 1973) 4/5
Adapted from Raymond Chandler’s novel, Robert Altman’s audacious revisionist noir, The Long Goodbye, parodies the detective genre with its entertaining story that follows Philip Marlowe’s attempts to get to the bottom of his friend’s apparent suicide.
Le Petit Soldat (dir. Jean-Luc Godard, 1963) 4/5
Not released until 1963 due to it being banned by the French censors, Jean-Luc Godard’s contentious second feature, Le Petit Soldat, explores political ideals against the backdrop of the Algerian War with it story surrounding the relationship between a right-wing assassin and a left-wing actavist.
Les Cousins (dir. Claude Chabrol, 1959) 4/5
Deemed by Jean-Luc Godard to be “a deeply hollow and therefore profound film,” Claude Chabrol’s second feature, Les Cousins, mirrors the setup of his debut with its story of a student from the country who goes to Paris to stay with his decadent cousin.
Le Beau Serge (dir. Claude Chabrol, 1958) 4/5
The first film of the nouvelle vague, or at the very least the first feature directed by a Cahiers critic, Claude Chabrol’s beautifully observed film, Le Beau Serge, examines class divisions with its story of a Parisian student’s return to the village he grew up in.