The 1. 00 Best Films Of World Cinema, Feature . So rustle up some sushi, strike up a gauloise and make sure you've locked your bicycle as we count down the top 1. Night Watch. Year: 2. Country: Russia. Director: Timur Bekmambetov. It's Buffy meets The Matrix meets Blade! Russian madman / genius Timur Bekmambetov arrived on our screens with a bang thanks to this demented, dizzily dark twist on the action movie. It seems that the world is still peopled with witches, werewolves, vampires and the rest - but they are divided into Light and Dark Others, battling it out for supremacy, and the souls of new, emerging Others, on the streets of Russia's capital.
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Extraordinary visuals on a shoestring budget, bravura subtitle design (it matters) and a plot that just makes sense (unlike its ? Back in 2. 00. 4 when Fox signed Bekmambetov to a three- picture deal, the plan was that they'd make Twilight Watch, a prequel to Night Watch and Day Watch, and remake the other two in English if that did well. So far, however, there's zero movement on that score and Bekmambetov is busy elsewhere. Prizes A Russian Golden Eagle for Best Sound. Look, it made lots of money at the Russian box office. You can't expect successful films to win prizes. What to say.. Iron Monkey.
Year: 1. 99. 3Country: China. Director: Yuen Woo- ping. It's the Robin Hood story transferred to the Ch'ing Dynasty, helmed by Yuen Woo- ping, the martial arts director that would go onto create such western fighting spectaculars such as Kill Bill and The Matrix Trilogy. Iron Monkey is an action romp starring the then fresh- faced Donnie Yen, so chock- a- block full of breathtaking fighting sequences that you barely have time to place the popcorn in your mouth.
If it's the nuanced acting seen in Crouching Tiger you're looking for, you've come to the wrong place, but set pieces such as the knife fight, and the final balancing- on- top- of- giant- sticks rooftop battle are stone cold classics of the genre. And, it's fair enough to say, this has yet to be beaten in terms of fight skill and direction. Hollywood remake? No remake as such, though when Quentin Tarantino campaigned to have it released in the US, notable Westernisation occurred around the mention of the Chinese folk character Wong Fei- hung that Yen plays.
Prizes Two minor nominations, but nothing in the actual cabinet. What to say.. Ran. Year: 1. 98. 5Country: Japan. Director: Akira Kurosawa. Akira Kurosawa was almost blind when he directed his biggest movie, in 1.
A sumptuous and powerful epic inspired by, but not directly based on, King Lear, it tells the story of a powerful warlord whose three sons, bad eggs all, contribute to his downfall. Moving, and packed with images that sear themselves onto the brain, it's an astonishing work from an old master.
Hollywood remake? Well, not specifically. It is King Lear, after all, and after a fashion, and we're never shy of one of those. Prizes It won an Oscar for Best Costume Design, while Kurosawa was nominated for Best Director, the only time the Academy deigned to decorate one of the greatest directors of all time. What to say.. Farewell My Concubine. Year: 1. 99. 3Country: China. Director Chen Kaige.
To fit the span of a character's entire life is no mean achievement; to do so for two (arguably three) characters and take in a swathe of tumultuous Chinese history while you're about it - taking in the Second Sino- Japanese War and Cultural Revolution for kicks - is just showing off. But Kaige's story of two childhood friends who become stars of the Beijing Opera but are torn apart by politics and unrequited love manages to make the personal its focus even against a huge backdrop, helped in huge measure by compassionate performances from Zhang Fengyi, Gong Li and the late, great Leslie Cheung. Operatic but never melodramatic, this shows a more sensitive side to Chinese cinema than we're used to. Hollywood remake?
Never gonna happen. Prizes Farewell won the Palme d'Or and FIPRESCI prize at Cannes, a BAFTA, the National Board of Review and the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film. It had to settle for mere nominations at the Oscars and Cesars(France's Oscars), however. What to say.. Delicatessen.
Year: 1. 99. 1Country: France. Director: Jean- Pierre Jeunet, Marc Caro. The central character is grieving the death of his monkey (not a euphemism). The bad guy is a butcher who carves up his assistants to provide meat for his building's tenants. The heroine enlists the help of radical, violent vegetarians to bring the villain down. And it's all played out against the backdrop of a post- apocalyptic Paris where all the traditional concerns (gourmet food, music, adultery) remain at the forefront of people's minds while the planet goes to hell around them. Witty, strange and quite brilliant, this is a unique view on what remains when the world ends.
Hollywood remake? Not unless you count The Hills Have Eyes or Hannibal. Prizes It was nominated for a BAFTA and won four Cesars. What to say.. Way of the Dragon.
Year: 1. 97. 2Country: Hong Kong. Director: Bruce Lee. Arguably his greatest film, it's undoubtedly the skill, charm and work ethic of Bruce Lee that steamrollered this martial arts movie into the classic it has become. It's tempting to confuse how great a martial artist Lee is with how good his films actually were, but in this case, the individual set pieces that dominate the film (notably the Chuck Norris gladiatorial fight at the end) are so well choreographed and so well delivered, that nothing else matters much. In a world now where every every fight and every punch is so full of trickery and post- production, the sheer purity of Lee's work here makes it one of the best of its kind ever made. Hollywood remake? It's on its way, in the form of a Stephen Chow project (Shaolin Soccer, Kung- Fu Hustle).
The worrying news is that it's rumoured to include cast members such as, er, Jack Black and Anne Hathaway. Prizes Underappreciated critically at the time of release, it only won a Hong Kong award (The Golden Horse) for Best Editing. What to say.. Chuck never loses! Chuck is GOD! Yeelen. Year: 1. 98. 7Country: Mali. Director: Souleymane Cisse.
FACT! African films move at a funereal pace to mirror the rhythms of African life. It doesn't matter if they are all as good as Yeelen. A strange beautiful film, Yeelen weaves together elements of African folklore to tell the tale of a boy who, fleeing his jealous Shaman father, goes on a journey to reach his uncle, helping strangers on the way, all the while gaining knowledge to face his father (it's a bit like Star Wars, this). Yet what really grabs the attention is Cisse's skill with the breadth of landscapes and the simplicity of the human face. Its symbolism might not translate, but it is hypnotically ravishing. Hollywood remake?
No. Prizes None. What to say.. The Fourth Man. Year: 1. Country: Holland. Director Paul Verhoeven.
Perhaps not as controlled as Soldier Of Orange, Spetters and Black Book amongst non- Hollywood Paul Verhoeven flicks, this is the Dutch master channelling Hitchcock if Hitch had given in to every one of his warped impulses and is therefore unmissable. Jeroen Krabbe is the bisexual writer who falls into the orbit of hairdresser/femme fatale Renee Soutendjik, who may or may not have killed her previous three husbands. Cue rampant symbolism, castration images, kinky sex and dead seagulls - welcome to Verhoevenland.
Hollywood remake? Verhoeven has said this is a spiritual prequel to Basic Instinct. Prizes Far too pervy for prizes.
What to say.. Oh except for The Last Temptation Of Christ The Swimwear Cut. Ghost in the Shell. Year: 1. 99. 5Country: Japan. Director Mamoru Oshii.
The fact that both the Wachowski brothers and James Cameron are huge fans of the film should come as no surprise - it's set in a futuristic cyperpunk world where everyone is connected to a mainframe, and a cyborg by the name of Motoko Kusanagi must hunt down 'The Puppet Master' who's hacking into people's memories. Matrix, much? The film itself remains so popular because it picks up where Akira left off - delivering a grown- up, engaging, fascinating version of a future that challenges the viewer whilst wowing them with stunning animation and eye- candy visuals. Car chases, shoot- outs and existential philosophy are exquisitely mixed together to make a film that intrigues and excites, time and again. Hollywood remake? Not a Hollywood one (unless you could The Matrix . Turtle power! Goodbye Lenin. Year: 2. 00. 3Country: Germany.
Director: Wolfgang Becker. Subtle and delicately delivered humour is where Goodbye Lenin is at. The main premise, that a son must pretend that the Berlin Wall is still up so that his mother, fresh out of a 9- month coma, isn't shocked into a relapse, is one that had to be deftly handled, and deftly handled it is.
Though out- and- out farce could be on the cards, leading actor Daniel Bruhl delivers the script with understated aplomb, making intentional audiences wonder whether 'German comedy' was really a contradiction in terms after all. Hollywood remake? No, and since the story is peculiarly German and Hollywood doesn't like films about Communism, we're probably safe here. Prizes Cleaning up at the German film awards (it went home with 6 in total), it only managed a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film from the BAFTAs and the Golden Globes. What to say.. Rififi. Year: 1. 99. 5Country: France. Director: Jules Dassin.
There's delicious irony in the fact that Rififi was made in Montmartre while American director Jules Dassin - one of Hitchcock's proteges - was on the Hollywood blacklist, as this striking crime- masterpiece has exerted a heavy influence on virtually every Hollywood heist movie since. Dealing with the set- up, execution and fall- out after a diamond- store safe- break in '5.
Paris, it may sound conventional, but with a virtuoso near half- hour - the heist itself - playing out with no dialogue or score in near silence, it's anything but. Hollywood remake?