Escape From New York (1981)

Escape From New York is a dystopian sci-fi, an action, but most of all it runs by the Western playbook, as John Carpenter sets up ex-soldier Snake Plissken as a swaggering hero tasked with rescuing the president from the giant prison that was once Manhattan Island, and setting its monstrous steel and concrete structures up as decrepit, urban labyrinth brimming with anarchy and chaos.

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Body Heat (1981)

Body Heat surely isn’t the first film to push the boundaries of the neo-noir, but it may one of the most overwhelmingly passionate, as Lawrence Kasdan fills its air with a thick, humid wantonness that few of its many characters truly knows how to navigate.

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Dekalog (1989)

For all its authentic grounding in the culture of 1980s Poland, Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Dekalog remains a mystical piece of theological cinema for its complex examination of the Ten Commandments in a series of contemporary moral fables, collectively provoking deep contemplation through an omniscient perspective akin to that of an all-seeing God.

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A Short Film About Love (1988)

The Hitchcockian setup of an obsessive voyeur with a telescope in A Short Film About Love is very familiar, but in place of a suspenseful mystery Krzysztof Kieslowski instead absorbs us in a compelling morality play concerning two opposed yet twisted perceptions of love – the romanticisation of one-sided affection, and the complete denial of its existence.

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A Short Film About Killing (1988)

The vision of Warsaw that Krzysztof Kieslowski presents in A Short Film About Killing is a barren wasteland of mud and shadows, strained through a sickly, jaundiced filter that unnervingly reveals the truly grotesque horror in justifying the malevolent destruction of human life.

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A Zed and Two Noughts (1985)

The very structure of A Zed and Two Noughts is marked by a symmetry that Peter Greenaway is compelled to tease all through his colourfully ostentatious mise-en-scène, centring a pair of twin zoologists whose disturbing studies of life and decomposition mirror the film’s own taxonomical obsessions.

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