69. Through a Glass, Darkly (1961) I love The Seventh Seal and Persona as much as anyone, but this is one of the two films that really stay with me from Bergman. A typically dark drama about a brother/sister/father relationship, this film deals with spiritual issues unseen in most films – especially the notion that if there is a God, it may not have any human connection to us whatsoever.
68. Last Year at Marienbad (1961) Being a fan of the literary work of Alain Robbe-Grillet, I am probably more inclined to be patient with this film’s depiction of spiritual emptiness in wide shots of corridors. The director, Alain Resnais (who also made the celebrated Hiroshima Mon Amour) didn’t entirely share the author’s vision, but the film does evoke Robbe-Grillet’s style very effectively. Surreal, beautifully shot, and dreamlike in execution.
67. Point Blank (1967) John Boorman wore his New Wave influences openly in the making of this crime picture, resulting in a weird, sometimes choppy but compelling revenge drama. Lee Marvin walks through the film knocking down doors and knocking over people on his single-minded quest, which ends only in ambiguity. And the weird was just getting started for Boorman, who has one of the more unique filmographies around.
65. Brazil (1985) Terry Gilliam’s quasi-masterpiece is big, sprawling, not always on-point, but often brilliant and occasionally unforgettable. Gilliam has always been one of my favorite filmmakers because of his unique vision and indefatigable chutzpah. I may not love everything he makes, but – as with David Cronenberg – I always want to see his films.
64. Wild Strawberries (1957) Victor Sjostrom, as the elderly professor reflecting back on his life, gives a devastating performance; of all Bergman’s films, this one comes back to me most often. A meditation on God, life, the universe, and everything, but without the dreariness that description might suggest. Instead, this is a glorious film.
62. Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987) Louis Malle’s coming-of-age story set in WWII left me bawling for an hour afterward. I understand that doesn’t sound like a recommendation, but it is.
61. Red River (1948) Howard Hawks, my favorite American classic Hollywood director, cast John Wayne as the heavy in this brilliant Western. Montgomery Clift plays his prodigal “son,” and their conflict sets the table for this cowboy drama. The movie that caused John Ford to remark, “I didn’t know the sonofabitch could act,” about Wayne. Dazzling entertainment.