1985, Janus Films, 140 min, Soviet Union, Dir: Elem Klimov

Its title drawn from a chilling passage in the Book of Revelation, this nightmarish, fact-based WWII drama is told through the eyes of 14-year-old Florya (Aleksey Kravchenko), a Belarusian boy eager to join the fight against Nazi invaders. But Florya’s dreams of heroics are quickly replaced by the litany of horrors he witnesses from the moment he joins the army to the film’s unforgettable conclusion. “One of the most devastating films ever about anything. … I have rarely seen a film more ruthless in its depiction of human evil.” - Roger Ebert.

1953, Janus Films, 94 min, Japan, Dir: Kenji Mizoguchi

An ambitious potter (Masayuki Mori) and his devoted spouse (Kinuyo Tanaka) as well as a kindred couple (Eitaro Ozawa, Mitsuko Mito) are torn apart by the civil-war chaos of 16th-century Japan. Both men realize their material dreams but at a tragic cost to their respective mates. In particular, Mori’s shallow success is reflected in his delirious romance with a ghostly noblewoman (Machiko Kyo), an affair that will drive him to the brink of madness. One of the most poignant evocations of the illusory nature of worldly desires and missed opportunities and one of the most haunting depictions of the supernatural ever committed to celluloid. Winner of the 1953 Venice Film Festival Silver Lion Award. “If poetry is manifest in each second, each shot filmed by Mizoguchi, it is because…it is the instinctive reflection of the filmmaker’s creative nobility. … The director of UGETSU MONOGATARI can describe an adventure which is at the same time a cosmogony.” – Jean-Luc Godard.

1969, Milestone Films, 251 min, France/Switzerland/West Germany, Dir: Marcel Ophuls

This two-part look at the collaboration between the French government in Vichy and the Nazis during WWII is one of the most devastating films ever made. In a series of interviews with both supporters and opponents of the French-German arrangement, Ophuls revolutionized the art of nonfiction filmmaking. Famously featured in Woody Allen’s ANNIE HALL, the film received an Oscar nomination in 1971 for Best Documentary Feature.

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