THE FIVE BEST FILMS

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The Independent Culture
La Vie de Jesus (NC)

The unforced poetry of the director Bruno Dumont's first feature is truly something to behold. His portrayal of a bunch of twentysomething friends in a humdrum French town is tender despite its toughness.

The Last Days of Disco (15)

Go to Whit Stillman's chronicle of the early 1980s dance scene expecting another Boogie Nights and you'll be disappointed - this is something more subtle, witty and perceptive.

The Spanish Prisoner (PG)

David Mamet's The Spanish Prisoner is as cool and calculating as his other film work - a crafty little thriller which gives the brain a two-hour workout. Bonus points for hiring Steve Martin to play sinister.

Love and Death on Long Island (15)

Anyone insulted by what Visconti did to Death in Venice should turn to Richard Kwietniowski's tentative love story for comfort. John Hurt is the fuddy-duddy who falls for an American teen idol (Jason Priestley).

Saving Private Ryan (15)

Included in the top five for its astonishing battle scenes. A formulaic war movie bookended by combat sequences which suggest the chaos, not the glory, of war. Tom Hanks is excellent as a bewildered captain.

FIVE BEST REVIVALS

Fox and his Friends (18) Lux Cinema, Sun

Fassbinder rarely made films featuring gay characters - his sexuality permeated his work in less explicit ways. But in this fine 1975 drama he stars as a fairground worker befriended by some ruthless homosexuals.

Repulsion (18) NFT, Sun

Roman Polanski's chilling 1965 psychological thriller is a lesson in horror. Catherine Deneuve is the unbalanced young woman who falls apart when she begins living alone in London. It retains its power 30 years on.

Psycho (15)

What was Hitchcock's most perfectly conceived and executed work? Psycho is in the running: 38 years on, it is still blackly funny, effortlessly chilling and a pretty succinct encapsulation of the joys of cinema.

Deliverance (18) Oxford Phoenix Picture House, Tue

The Warners' Anniversary tour continues with John Boorman's unsettling 1971 thriller about a group of friends (including Burt Reynolds and Jon Voight) whose holiday turns into a brutal battle with nature.

La Grande Illusion (U)

Renoir's haunting and poetic study of a blossoming friendship between two French PoWs (Jean Gabin and Pierre Fresnay). Made in 1937, its profound vision and generosity still endure today.

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