James DiCaudo's Top 100 Foreign Films List 

Rank Title Director Year Notes
1 Diary of a Country Priest Bresson 1950 The supreme example of the art of cinema, the one miracle even non-believers can acknowledge.
2 Umbrellas of Cherbourg Demy 1964 More power to enthrall across repeated viewings than any film in history.
3 Pickpocket Bresson 1959 Not a single wasted frame across it's full 75 minutes, Pickpocket presents the best argument for Bresson's controlled style.  The chilling moments where Marika Green, half in profile, eyes lowered, glances back at Martin LaSalle present an emotion no "actress" could possibly have conveyed.
4 Jules and Jim Truffaut 1961 Best example of Truffaut's unmatched lyricism.
5 Andrei Rublev Tarkovsky 1969 Jaw-dropping, awe inspiring self-portrait of the "Artist."
6 Contempt Godard 1963 Not, as some would suggest, a failed dabbling in big-budget Cinemascope; nor, as one critic claimed, "the greatest work of art produced in post-war Europe";  but rather, Godard, at the height of his powers, churning out the best example of his reflexive nature.
7 Time Regained Ruiz 1999 Best collective performance by an ensemble cast, and one of the finest displays of sound engineering in history.  Absolutely sumptuous.
8 Double Life of Veronique Kieslowski 1991 An overlooked, flawed diamond.
9 In the Mood for Love Wong Kar-Wai 2000 Wong's supposed weaknesses become great strengths (lack of a script, musical bridges, frequent speed changes), while his strengths (gorgeous cinematography, firm control of mood & tone) have never been more evident.
10 Nights of Cabiria Fellini 1957  
11 Days of Being Wild Wong Kar-Wai 1991  
12 Fire Within Malle 1963 Neglected due to it's dour tone, Malle's excellent musical taste (Satie's Gymnopedies and Gnossienes) once again combines with a fine Ronet performance to leave an "indelible stain" on the viewer's conscience.
13 My Night at Maud's Rohmer 1969 Intellectual, in the best sense of the word.
14 Shoot the Piano Player Truffaut 1960 One of the 20th century's most famous cineastes makes the sum of the parts at least equal to the whole, so that the occasional self-indulgence becomes a guilty pleasure, forcing us to stop and replay the film's first half hour 2-3 times before settling back to drink in the remainder.
15 L'Appartement Mimouni 1996 One of the best photographed films of the Nineties.
16 Decalogue Kieslowski 1987  
17 Solaris Tarkovsky 1972 Typical Tarkovsky:  challenges you to stay awake, then refuse to let you sleep.
18 Elevator to the Gallows Malle 1957  
19 Winter Light Bergman 1963 Bergman hits the viewer over the head with a padded hammer, a deceptively understated attack of light, shade, sound and framing that masquerades as a glancing blow yet leaves the viewer reeling for days.
20 Les Choses de la Vie Sautet 1969 A bit too bourgeau for some film buffs, Sautet was nonetheless one of the finest craftsmen ever to sit in a director's chair, and was particularly good at using music to evoke a mood.
21 La Collectionneuse Rohmer 1967 Perhaps unfairly regarded among Rohmer-ites given the lack likeable characters, the brilliant use of interior monologues and tight focus makes this the supreme statement of Rohmer's most common theme -- ironic self-deception.
22 Muriel Resnais 1963 Even when flying at levels beyond the average viewer's radar, Resnais fascinates and demands repeat viewings.
23 M Lang 1931  
24 Mirror Tarkovsky 1975  
25 Cold Water Assayas 1994 Certainly the most underrated filmmaker of the late 20th century, the searing honesty of this nostalgic (and perhaps autobiographical) film places it at the summit of Assayas' art.  The bonfire scene, with its deft combination of music and camera movement, is perhaps the best single example of his unique talent.
26 Eclipse Antonioni 1961  
27 Ossessione Visconti 1942 Viewed today, the utter lack of "camp" in this near 60-yr-old feature only magnifies its continuing importance.
28 Un Couer en Hiver Sautet 1993  
29 Jean de Florette Berri 1986  
30 This Man Must Die Chabrol 1969  
31 Ridicule Leconte 1996  
32 Chloe in the Afternoon Rohmer 1970  
33 L'Atalante Vigo 1926  
34 Magician Bergman 1958  
35 Late August,  Early September Assayas 1998 Great Jeanne Balibar performance coupled with Assayas' swirling camera work.
36 Return of Martin Guerre Vigne 1983  
37 Alphaville Godard 1965  
38 World of Apu Ray 1959  
39 Claire's Knee Rohmer 1972  
40 Destinées sentimentales, Les Assayas 2000 One can sense Assayas fighting hard in the first third of this epic to rein in his trademark "nervous camera" and, while he successfully does so in the last two hours, it's arguable whether this adds or detracts from the presentation.  It's as if he was saying to himself and the studios "see, I can make a popular epic if I want to."  So, though points must be deducted (for the restraint is far too evident), one wonders what this might have been ...
41 Big Deal on Madonna St Monicelli 1956  
42 La guerre est finie Resnais 1966  
43 Cesar & Rosalie Sautet 1972  
44 Ashes of Time Wong Kar-Wai 1994  
45 Bicycle Thief de Sica 1948  
46 La Dolce Vita Fellini 1960  
47 Red Kieslowski 1994  
48 Spider's Stratagem Bertolucci 1970  
49 Two English Girls Truffaut 1971  
50 A Man Escaped Bresson 1956  
51 Summer with Monika Bergman 1952  
52 Chung King Express Wong Kar-Wai 1994  
53 Loves of a Blond Forman 1965  
54 Puppetmaster Hou Hsiao-Hsien 1993  
55 Le Boucher Chabrol 1969  
56 Monsieur Hire Leconte 1994  
57 Wild Reeds Techine 1994  
58 8 1/2 Fellini 1963  
59 La Notte Antonioni 1960  
60 400 Blows Truffaut 1959  
61 Peking Opera Blues Hark 1986 If Man were meant to fly, he'd … make movies in Hong Kong.
62 Pierrot le Fou Godard 1965  
63 Senso Visconti 1954  
64 My Life to Live Godard 1962  
65 Manon de Sources Berri 1987  
66 Girl on a Bridge Leconte 1999 Yes, Leconte shamelessly plays to the gallery (as he freely admits), casting his nets in rather shallow waters, yet only the snobbiest cineaste would consider "popular" and "artistic" to be absolute antonyms.
67 L'Argent Bresson 1983  
68 Lovers, The Malle 1959  
69 Maborosi Koreeda 1996  
70 Man who loved Women Truffaut 1977  
71 Masculine-Feminine Godard 1966  
72 Mouchette Bresson 1967  
73 Red Desert Antonioni 1964  
74 Pauline at the Beach Rohmer 1983  
75 Scent of Green Papaya Tran Anh Hung 1993  
76 School of Flesh Jacquot 1998  
77 Stalker Tarkovsky 1979  
78 Bande à part Godard 1964  
79 Summer Interlude Bergman 1951  
80 Knife in the Water Polanski 1960  
81 Le Beau Mariage Rohmer 1981  
82 My Girlfriend's Boyfriend Rohmer 1987  
83 Through a Glass Darkly Bergman 1962  
84 A Woman is a Woman Godard 1961  
85 Loulou Pialat 1980  
86 All the Mornings of the World Corneau 1991  
87 Seventh Seal Bergman 1957  
88 L'avventura Antonioni 1960  
89 Cinema Paradiso Tornatore 1989  
90 Au Revoir en Enfants Malle 1987  
91 Bride Wore Black Truffaut 1967  
92 Roundevous Techine 1985  
93 Un femme douce Bresson 1969  
94 I Can't Sleep Denis 1994  
95 Roundevous in paris Rohmer 1995  
96 Beautiful Troublemaker Rivette 1994  
97 Swindle, the Fellini 1955  
98 Sacrifice Tarkovsky 1985  
99 Suzhou River Ye Lou 2000  
100 Vertical Ray of the Sun Tran Anh Hung 2000