50 World Cinema Movies You Need To See Before You Die

50. Night Watch (2004, Russia)

Night WatchAKA: Nochnoy dozor Sometimes making a great movie is a little like baking a cake. You take your ingredients - in this case Blade and The Matrix - mix them together and hey presto you have the most awesome cake you've ever seen. Of course cake's the metaphor the end result is actually Timur Bekmambetov's big screen début Night Watch the most exciting thing to come out of Russia since Ivan Drago. Horror movies might not be your thing and the idea of sitting through a Russian horror might be terrifying in itself but giving this tremendous effort a chance will definitely change your mind. Set on the rough streets of Russia's capital Night Watch tells the tale of the last remaining Vampires, Werewolves and other otherworldly beings who's centuries long war has culminated in a very fragile coexistence. Ensuring the terms of the ceasefire remain in tact are the Night Watch and the Day Watch each keeping their eyes peeled in case the opposing side tries any funny business. Fantastic and incredibly imaginative action sequences are as much a part of the story here as gore and horror and many critics have described it more as a superhero movie than anything else. When compared to Blade it's not difficult to see why.

49. Battle Royale (2000, Japan)

battleroyaleAKA: Batoru Rowaiaru Manga adaptations don't always turn out the way you expect them. This is as much to do with the original source material being bat s**t crazy as it does poor writing/direction. One of the very best examples of how to get this process right is Battle Royale acclaimed Japanese director Kinji Fukasaku's final film. Any hopes of a Stateside remake were killed following the Virginia Tech shootings and understandably so. Battle Royale for the uninitiated is an ultra violent tale in which disruptive students in a not too distant dystopian future are sent to a remote island and forced to compete against each other until all but one are dead. The survivor is then declared the winner and released back out into the general population. Condemned by people who just don't get it Battle Royale is a terrifyingly prophetic look at the decline of society but yet it remains banned in some areas of Germany as it is alleged to violate section 131 of the Criminal Code - the glorification of violence. Fortunately the rest of the world seems less intent on depriving you of such an incredible viewing experience - but if you're weak of heart then maybe Hunger Games is more for you?

48. 20th Century Boys (2008/9, Japan)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwAIzPweL5o AKA: 20-seiki shônen Where do you begin to describe a film like 20th Century Boys? Based on the Manga of the same name the story is split into a trilogy but is presented as a complete piece on DVD. A group of childhood friends are drawn back together in later life when a mysterious figure from their collective pasts re-emerges as a hooded dictator named Friend. Set against a dystopian, futuristic backdrop 20th Century Boys is the personification of a graphic novel come to life. It is crazy with bonkers ideas and visuals that are sometimes hard to follow. There's time travel, murder mysteries and even a ghost story all serve as a distraction from the overall who dunnit approach of Who is Friend and what does He want? At the time of its release 20th Century Boys was the most expensive Japanese movie(s) of all time and it's not hard to see why. There is absolutely no way America would ever dare attempt their own remake because it is regarded by many as completely unfilmable. Yukihiko Tsutsumi's genre bending opus is a true lightening in a bottle moment that will never be replicated. Not to be missed.

47. House Of Flying Daggers (2004, China)

HouseofflyingdaggersAKA: Shi mian mai fu Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon opened the floodgates for mainstream Hollywood to embrace the high flying, wire work obsessed Wuxia movies of China and House of Flying Daggers is it's undeniably excellent offspring that is absolutely must see. Zhang Ziyi stars as a stunning, blind dancer who is incarcerated when she is suspected of being the daughter of the old leader of the Flying Daggers a group of thieves with Robin Hood morals. She doesn't spend long in the clink however as she is freed by the very police officer who had her arrested in the hope that once released she will lead him to the current leader of the extremely wanted gang. Unlike most Wuxia House of Flying Daggers focuses more on the romance story than it does martial arts and fight sequences though the battles that do take place are breath taking as is the opening dance sequence which is totally unforgettable. If you only see one Wuxia in your lifetime make it Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. If you see two then you simply must watch this.

46. A Bout de Souffle (1960, France)

BreathlessAKA: BreathlessThis highly influential black and white movie was the most important example from the French New Wave movement and is an absolute must see for anyone who considers themselves to be a film connoisseur. Directed by the visionary Jean-Luc Goddard A Bout de Souffle is the story of a wannabe gangster who finds himself on the run from the law after shooting dead a policeman after stealing a car. With nowhere to turn Michael (Jean-Paul Belmondo) seeks refuge with his American girlfriend Patricia while hatching a plot to escape the country. Despite its setting and use of monochrome Breathless remains a truly timeless example of neo-noir storytelling with a simple but compelling narrative modern filmmakers should really take note of. The film was remade in 1983 with Richard Gere in the main role but it is the 1960 original that you absolutely must watch before you die.
Posted On: 

Master of Quack-Fu. Fishfinger Sandwich aficionado. Troll Hunter.