The Sight and Sound Greatest Films of All Time poll is held every 10 years and aims to determine a list of the top 100 films based on approximately 1,600 film critics and academics. Every 10 years, naturally, there are films that rise up the list, some fall down, and still others either come out of the blue or get cut. Part Citizen Kane the reputation came from topping the list for 50 years, though Dizziness replaced it in 2012 and then Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles took first place in 2022.
The Citizen Kane And Dizziness hang about two hours long, and Zhanna Dilman exceeds three hours, you can be forgiven for suggesting that the critics interviewed prefer longer films. In fact, the survey considers films of any length, the list includes several short films, as well as numerous feature films under 90 minutes. Below are some of the best films under 90 minutes in the Sight & Sound poll for any curious movie buffs who might be on a time limit.
10 “Modern Time” (1936)
Charlie Chaplin the best movie – or at least one of them – has to be modern time. This was his last silent film, although with some limited dialogue here and there, it may not be 100% silent… but ultimately, his story about technology changing the world can be seen as a commentary on the advent of cinema changing sound.
As with many Chaplin films, it has a simple yet engaging story, as well as plenty of timeless humor well balanced with heartfelt emotional content. Another Chaplin classic city lightsalso featured on the Sight & Sound Top 100 as of 2022, and coincidentally both run just under an hour and a half, 87 minutes each.
9 ‘Bicycle Thieves’ (1948)
Character-driven dramas rarely get simpler and stronger than Bicycle thieves, perhaps the definitive film of Italian neorealism. It follows a father struggling to provide for his family in post-World War II Italy and finds his job in jeopardy after his bike is stolen, leading him and his young son to search for who took the bike and return it .
Its simplicity may seem boring, but it’s not a success at all due to how natural the performances are and how well the film’s universal emotions are explored. It also doesn’t risk stretching out its simple premise, running at only 89 minutes.
8 ‘Person’ (1966)
Surprisingly, only one Ingmar Bergman film hits the Sight & Sound Top 100: 1966 A person. It is also notable for being one of Bergman’s shortest films, as it is only 83 minutes long, making it stand out from films of epic length such as Fanny and Alexander And Scenes from the wedding (both of which also feature even longer miniseries versions).
It’s a twisted—maybe twisted—psychological thriller centered on two women: a nurse and an actress. The former is asked to take care of the latter, but their meeting changes every woman’s life forever, given that their personalities soon begin to merge, or so it seems. It’s a strange film, but hard to forget, and achieved a lot in its short run.
7 ‘General’ (1926)
Together with Chaplin Buster Keaton Easily one of the most famous directors/actors of the silent film era. He was behind some of the greatest and most important films of early cinema, although when it comes to deciding which of his films is his best, few can match him. General when it comes to ingenuity and entertainment value.
Overall, it’s a veritable mix of genres, including action, comedy, and romance, even set during the American Civil War. Keaton plays a young man who needs to save the love of his life and his train from the film’s villains, with much of the 67-minute film playing out as an extended chase scene filled with physical comedy and impressive stunt work.
6 ‘Zhete’ (1962)
Among the most important short films of all time has to be the 1962 film. La Jete, which still seems unique and revolutionary 60 years after its release. It is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi film set in the aftermath of a devastating third world war and involves traveling back in time to relive memories in the hope that it might answer questions about the future.
Time travel turns out to be confusing, making it all much more difficult than many full-length feature films, despite La Jete just 28 minutes. It is also notable for its presentation, which is a series of still images, making it a particularly cinematic (and exciting) slideshow for much of its short running time.
5 ‘Man with Movie Camera’ (1929)
Man with a movie camera is a groundbreaking documentary, although on paper what it is intended to tell sounds very simple. For 68 minutes, it covers urban life throughout the Soviet Union in the 1920s, with no real narrative to speak of, and certainly no focus on specific characters or plots.
Regardless, it’s very entertaining because the visuals are extremely creative and all the editing work is pretty inventive. It has a reputation as one of the most respected Russian films of all time – documentary or otherwise – and has certainly earned that reputation by remaining a great film almost a century after it was made.
4 “Rashomon” (1950)
Akira Kurosawa He has made many great films in his long career, two of which made it into the latest Sight & Sound poll. Oddly enough, one of those films… seven samurai – the longest, and the other – Rashomon is one of his shortest feature films.
In just 88 minutes Rashomon doesn’t waste much time and really tells the same story from different points of view to demonstrate how complicated memory can be and how unreliable eyewitnesses can sometimes be. This helped put Kurosawa, and Japanese cinema in general, on the world map as early as the early 1950s, and so it easily earned a place on the list of the 100 best films of all time.
3 “The Gatherers and Me” (2000)
Agnes Varda has made numerous feature films over her long career, although she is perhaps better known for her documentaries. Collectors and I is one such documentary, and it follows Varda as she interviews different pickers: the people who pick up the food left behind by the pickers.
Thanks to Varda’s style and warm personality, the end result is a sweet and entertaining documentary, even if it doesn’t sound like much on paper. This is evidence that almost any subject can be used as the main plot of a documentary, as long as the documentarian is skilled enough to make it interesting for viewers.
2 “Nets of the Day” (1943)
Meshes of the day is the shortest film on the latest Sight and Sound list as it is only 14 minutes long. It’s an exploration of dreams and possibly alternate realities/timelines that features strange recurring visions of a lonely woman, giving viewers little indication of what exactly the film is supposed to be about.
But that’s not the point, because it’s one of those experimental films where the viewer has to find their own meaning in what they see on the screen. This approach may seem lazy or boring on the part of the filmmaker if his film was both obscure and boring, but fortunately Meshes of the day it’s anything but boring, with huge style and catchy images, making it a surreal journey well worth taking. In addition, the short execution time also helps to make it easier to revisit.
1 “My Neighbor Totoro” (1988)
Spirited Away perhaps the most famous Hayao Miyazaki the film is on the Sight and Sound list, but there is another, shorter film by the great director that made it to the top 100: My Neighbor Totoro. It is about two young girls who go to live in the countryside with their father and then befriend strange spirits in a nearby forest.
This is a charming animated film that will likely appeal to audiences young and old alike. It is only 86 minutes long, which is the perfect length for a film as simple yet visually complex as this one.
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