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Withnail And I (1987)
Another entry from Brit mini-production house Handmade, this is one of those masterpieces that almost didn't happen. Producer Denis O'Brien hated the first rushes, threatening to fire writer / director Bruce Robinson - who had already quit once already before lunch on the first day. The film is possibly one of the finest on-the-page screenplays ever written, brought to life with an understated style that the mainstream simply wouldn't dream of attempting. Sadly much of its popularity has been within the student community, who still believe that endlessly quoting the lines (often incorrectly) will make them as funny as the title characters, but don't let that sour the genius.

City of God (2002)
There can be no greater commitment to filmmaking than putting your life on the line to tell a story. Such are the lengths Fernando Meirelles, Katia Lund and their crew went to while filming City of God in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. Shooting (and trying to avoid being shot) among the gangs and street violence of and recruiting a cast from the slum kids themselves, they retell a true story of crime, corruption, degradation and a complete disregard for human life in '60s Rio's most notoriously violent slum. Heavily improvised and impressively performed, City of God is a powerful, beautiful film that's as emotionally devastating as it is technically stunning.

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