KAGEMUSHA
1980, 20th Century Fox, 179 min, Japan/USA, Dir: Akira Kurosawa

In 16th-century Japan, Lord Shingen Takeda is killed by an enemy sharp-shooter and a condemned thief (Tatsuya Nakadai) who looks uncannily like Takeda must take the ruler’s place. Shakespearean in scope, Akira Kurosawa's epic period drama won the Palme d'Or at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival.


THE ASCENT
VOSKHOZHDENIE
1977, Janus Films, 111 min, Soviet Union, Dir: Larisa Shepitko

Larisa Shepitko’s emotionally overwhelming final film won the Golden Bear at the 1977 Berlin Film Festival and has been hailed around the world as the finest Soviet film of its decade. Set during World War II’s darkest days, THE ASCENT follows the path of two peasant soldiers, cut off from their troop, who trudge through the snowy backwoods of Belarus seeking refuge among villagers. Their harrowing trek leads them on a journey of betrayal, heroism and ultimate transcendence.


OH! WHAT A LOVELY WAR
1969, Paramount, 136 min, UK, Dir: Richard Attenborough

In this dazzling directorial debut from Richard Attenborough, a working class family is confronted with the unfathomable realities of World War I, after three brothers witness trench warfare first hand. This is no ordinary war film, however, as Attenborough injects humor, dazzling camera effects, and music into this otherwise stark reality. Thus by fusing the surreal with the factual, and juxtaposing savagely funny satire with quiet sorrow, Attenborough creates a powerful anti-war statement like no other. Based on the stage musical by the same name, OH! WHAT A LOVELY WAR features a stellar cast that includes Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, John Mills, John Gielgud, Maggie Smith, Vanessa Redgrave, Ian Holm, Dirk Bogarde and Susannah York.


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