It’s time to move on from the 20th century. Sure, it gave us some great movies (from Casablanca to Kagemusha), but what films matter now? Enter BBC Culture. They worried critics were too fixated on the past: A recent ranking of the 100 Greatest American Movies included a mere six made since 2000. Thus the Beeb rounded up 177 critics from six continents to focus on the present. The result? A list of the 100 best films since the world said goodbye to the 1900s.
We highlighted five you may not have heard of, much less seen.
#99: The Gleaners and I (directed by Agnès Varda, 2000)
This French documentary focuses on “gleaning,” the practice by which people hunt for items others have discarded to survive, with the director herself traveling the countryside and city to understand what propels these people to do this. It’s generally considered one of the 10 best documentaries ever made.
#66: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring (directed by Kim Ki-duk, 2003)
Directed, written by, and starring the South Korean Kim Ki-duk, it takes place entirely on a floating monastery. Split in five segments (like the title), it’s a powerful meditation on the circle of life. One of the more unnerving sequences includes a monk teaching a boy who tortures animals compassion by subjecting the boy to the same experiences.
#64: The Great Beauty (directed by Paolo Sorrentino, 2013)
A winner of honors including an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and a BAFTA, it’s essentially an updating of Fellini’s classic La Dolce Vita. Italy has never looked so stylish.
#30: Oldboy (directed by Park Chan-wook, 2003)
Spike Lee did a mediocre remake of it for Hollywood, but seek out the remarkable original. Another South Korean offering, it features a brilliant performance by Choi Min-sik as a man mysteriously imprisoned for 15 years and then unleashed on the world, where he seeks revenge. From a technical standpoint, filmmaking doesn’t get any better than this. Witness this remarkable fight scene in a continuous take below.
#1: Mulholland Drive (directed by David Lynch, 2001)
David Lynch has made movies more famous and initially celebrated: Blue Velvet, The Elephant Man, Lost Highway. (Even his adaptation of Dune may still be more discussed thanks to the amount of notoriety its failure generated.) Yet this remains a uniquely haunting achievement. Intended to be a TV pilot, it brought Naomi Watts and Justin Theroux their first American recognition and, obviously, continues to win the hearts of critics today. Get a preview of what happens when an actress newly arrived in L.A. meets a beautiful amnesiac below.
—Sean Cunningham for RealClearLife
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