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From 'Metropolis' to 'Parasite': 100 best international movies of all time

  • #30. A Brighter Summer Day (1991)

    - Director: Edward Yang
    - Stacker score: 91
    - Metascore: 90
    - IMDb user rating: 8.4
    - Runtime: 237 min

    Edward Yang is a quintessential director of the Taiwanese New Wave cinema movement known for its stylistic innovations and political content specific to Tawainese identity and history. “A Brighter Summer Day,” set in 1960 and based on a true event, follows a teenage boy caught up in gang life who murders his girlfriend. Yang’s captivating realist style uses long takes to create a mesmerizing and affective tragedy.

  • #29. Werckmeister Harmonies (2000)

    - Directors: Béla Tarr, Ágnes Hranitzky
    - Stacker score: 91
    - Metascore: 92
    - IMDb user rating: 8.2
    - Runtime: 145 min

    The Hungarian husband-wife auteur team of Béla Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky creates another strange masterpiece made up of long takes and somber black-and-white cinematography instilled with a philosophy of politics. “Werckmeister Harmonies” is set in a small European village where a circus comes to town with a giant whale carcass in tow, eventually inciting violent riots.

  • #28. Umberto D. (1952)

    - Director: Vittorio De Sica
    - Stacker score: 91
    - Metascore: 92
    - IMDb user rating: 8.2
    - Runtime: 89 min

    Vittorio De Sica’s masterpiece of the Italian neorealist cinema examines the plight of an elderly man, Umberto, and his dog adrift in a social system with no means to support them. The film features long takes of the details of everyday existence as Umberto gets evicted from the room he rents, then is discharged from a hospital, finding himself without options to survive.

  • #27. Elevator to the Gallows (1958)

    - Director: Louis Malle
    - Stacker score: 91
    - Metascore: 94
    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Runtime: 91 min

    French director Louis Malle’s debut film, a crime thriller with a Miles Davis soundtrack, imbues film noir with a jazz edge. An adulterous couple plots a murderous scheme that leaves one of them locked in an elevator in scenes that teem with claustrophobic suspense. One thing after another goes awry as the crimes go from bad to worse on a twisting path toward doom.

  • #26. Journey to Italy (1954)

    - Director: Roberto Rossellini
    - Stacker score: 91
    - Metascore: 100
    - IMDb user rating: 7.4
    - Runtime: 97 min

    Star Ingrid Bergman was married to director Roberto Rossellini during the production of this Italian film shot in English and dubbed for its release in Italy. Rossellini was a master of the Italian neorealist cinema, but in this drama he turned to an upper-crust British couple on holiday in Naples who drift apart. Critics found it a modern transformation of the director’s previous style into a work that explores the mysterious inner lives of the married couple at its center.

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  • #25. Yi Yi (2000)

    - Director: Edward Yang
    - Stacker score: 91
    - Metascore: 93
    - IMDb user rating: 8.2
    - Runtime: 173 min

    Edward Yang, an auteur of the Tawainese New Wave film movement, won the best director award at the Cannes Film Festival for his intimate, detailed look at the everyday lives of three generations of a family in Taipei. The drama unfolds at an unhurried pace as a father of two endures problems at work, a mother-in-law in a coma, and a wife in a midlife crisis—all presented in a gentle, droll, and deeply affecting style.

  • #24. La Dolce Vita (1960)

    - Director: Federico Fellini
    - Stacker score: 91
    - Metascore: 95
    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Runtime: 174 min

    There are several iconic scenes in Federico Fellini’s rhapsody on hedonism and excess, including the fountain frolic and the opening sequence where a statue of Jesus dangles from a helicopter. Marcello Mastroianni plays a tabloid columnist moving through a series of surreal vignettes across Rome in an exploration on love and celebrity that upends film conventions.

  • #23. Jules and Jim (1962)

    - Director: François Truffaut
    - Stacker score: 91
    - Metascore: 97
    - IMDb user rating: 7.8
    - Runtime: 105 min

    François Truffaut, a major director of the French New Wave, uses elements such as handheld shots, freeze frames, roving pans, newsreel footage, and superimposition to create a sense of vivid yet ethereal realism in “Jules and Jim.” Jeanne Moreau plays the woman at the center of one of the quintessential cinematic love triangles. The film follows two friends who fight for opposite sides during World War I and fall for the same enigmatic woman.

  • #22. Pépé le Moko (1937)

    - Director: Julien Duvivier
    - Stacker score: 91
    - Metascore: 98
    - IMDb user rating: 7.7
    - Runtime: 94 min

    Julien Duvivier’s atmospheric romance takes place in the dark, twisting alleys and porticos of the Casbah district of Algiers, a gritty, labyrinthine world where the gangster Pépé holes up to evade police. Pépé falls for a mysterious woman, but love leads to downfall. Duvivier’s style emerged as part of the Poetic Realism movement in French film that later influenced the doomed characters and bleak themes of film noir.

  • #21. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

    - Director: Céline Sciamma
    - Stacker score: 92
    - Metascore: 95
    - IMDb user rating: 8.1
    - Runtime: 122 min

    Céline Sciamma’s mesmerizing love story creates a new cinematic language, one that explores a female gaze that reinvents what it means for women both to look and be looked at beyond the conventions of male objectification. Set in late 18th-century France, an artist, Marianne (Noémie Merlant), is commissioned to paint the portrait of Héloïse (Adèle Haenel). The painting, meant for a groom whom Héloïse has never met, becomes a subversive and romantic project for the two.

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