My film-hunter's top 500 movies, and why I love film

This is not a greatest films list, it's a personal favourites list (I don't know how to make a greatest films list). The first 100 movies in the list have my notes by them, I hope to write notes for the rest of the movies that don't have automatic summaries or pictures, so that you can see more than just a title and a date, but it's is an extremely laborious process and so I hope you'll bear with me. Some of the films I last saw a long time ago, and so to write my notes I've had to look at my reviews from the time, or have a real scrabble around in the toolbox to remember exactly what triggers ignited my passion for the film in question so markedly. I hope you'll forgive me if a few of the comments are therefore slim. I've tried to make them as personal and conversational as possible. As a whole document I hope the reviews and this intro make clear why I absolutely adore films, and if you don't already share this passion, why it could be for you. Roberta Flack once sung (and the Fugees later covered) a song called Killing Me Softly, a lyric of which goes, "Strummin' my pain with his fingers. Singing my life with his words. Killing me softly with his song." That's a great deal of the appeal of the movies to me, as well as trying to reach a better understanding of life (of mine and others' emotions in particular), and attaining sensations of grace.

Types of films and aesthetics I have a penchant for.

There's several types of films here, classic auteur films from the likes of control freaks von Sternberg/Lang/Welles/Borzage/Bresson; films that programmers clunkily refer to as artist's film and video/experimental film/avant-garde cinema, by folks like Dorsky/Hutton/Klahr/Jordan/Bokanowski/Fischinger/Deren; films that I'd call Amerarkana (low profile, minimalist, enchanted, anonymous American crime/horror), The Music of Chance/The Kill-Off/Liebestraum/Crawlspace/The Passion of Darkly Noon; dreamlike films, such as La Nuit Fantastique/Dementia/Amer/Judex/Fascination/The Alphabet Murders; film noir; films with unrequited love, particularly The Unsent Letter and Les Enfants du Paradis; films portraying outsider experiences, films about the art of living (these are mainly French); portrayals of ecstatic experiences; westerns; films dealing with the fact of the human body (as opposed to cerebral films) and human lifecycle such as the Cremaster Cycle, False Aging, Stereo, Belly of An Architect, and Seconds; well-handled treatments of Buddhism (Kim Ki-Duk films); films regarding existential folly such as Youth Without Youth and the Shanghai Gesture; films with fairy-light-style diegetic lighting (this means lighting that comes from within the fictional world of the film as opposed to huge lights behind the camera) such as This World, Then The Fireworks; films showcasing great/interesting interior design, like David Lynch films or White of the Eye (not usually felt to be the primary merits of these movies of course!). I was a teenager in the '90s so there are quite a few '90s genre movies in the mix, particularly '90s action movies, that I love, if taken at face value these can be hard to understand, but they're all visually beautiful and generally have something clever going on under the surface, examples being Wes Craven's Shocker, Richard Stanley's Hardware, Albert Pyun's Adrenalin: Fear the Rush and Russell Mulcahy's Silent Trigger. Emotionally-resonant film treatments of metanoia, or the process or realising that you never knew yourself, or that your conception of the world is/was entirely wrong, for example Pasolini's Oedipus Rex, The Shanghai Gesture, Night Sun, and Shutter Island (The Truman Show wouldn't qualify because it's other people fooling Truman rather than himself). Films within the tradition of Bildung, or a film version of the Entwicklungsroman, that is to say stories of hard won personal growth, such as Adam and America America, and perhaps the opposite, "what doesn't kill you makes you weaker" (my little joke treatment of Nietzsche's famous phrase) type stories such as Apartment Zero, or even films where these ends are shown as beginning as a forked path (Franklyn). Escapism is an obvious one that I share in common with everyone! Films that deal with perception or the nature of the mind, such as Memento, The Prestige, La Nuit Des Traquées. Recently highly aesthetic treatments of people discovering their sexuality (not for erotic content) such as Lewis Klahr's Pony Glass, Philip Ridley's The Passion of Darkly Noon or Steven Shainberg's Secretary. All sorts of films really. In another person's words, IMDb User Ear_Poisoner pointed out to me on the List and Recommendations forum, "your interest tends to more visual and tonal experience rather than narrative based.". I also like for films to be intriguing or interesting, I want lots of secondary neural detonations after the movie has ended. Speaking of explosions I think the idea for me has always been that a movie should blow my mind, so I sometimes find the distinction between entertainment and art movies moot in that they're just different ways of achieving the same end.

A note on availability, and how to see more of these should you wish to.

A lot of the films in this list are not available on dvd or blu-ray in your region, or just not available on dvd or blu-ray at all. Here's some suggestions. Hack your DVD/Blu-ray player so that it plays whatever you want it to play, this is usually dead easy with DVD. I drew the short straw and bought a hard-to-hack player, but for a small fee and a remote control in the post, this obstacle was overcome. I still buy and watch VHS tapes all the time where the dvd is out of print; the last batch of VHS players made will play SECAM, PAL, NTSC, anything you want, though you have to buy these off restorers now. Other outlets. There are websites all over the world selling official dvds that you won't find in chain stores or just any store if you don't live in a capital city in an affluent country: the German Filmmuseum website, Re:Voir, FNAC for Spain, the Danish Film Institute, the University of Massachussets (DEFA archive films), Amazon has various branch outs in other countries, even the Japanese Amazon is usable to non-Japanese speakers, with a little patience and thought. You can get Minerva Classics and Raro Video films off of Italian Amazon, and many more! Some directors even sell DVDs on their own websites, like Jon Jost, Ken Jacobs, Frederick Wiseman, Barbara Hammer, and Barney Platts-Mills (and I'm sure many others). Travelling to see films is not an unreasonable thing if you are able. I am happy to travel over 100 miles to see a film that I'm dying to see and can't be seen any other way. If you'd do the same to see the Mona Lisa, why not do it for the film equivalent? Go to a good film festival. All sorts of amazing films play at film festivals and nowhere else, if you complain about the quality of contemporary films, this is the shot in the arm you need! Cannes requires a special effort (you would need press accreditation), however large urban festivals such as London, TIFF, NYFF, are just as good in terms of quality, and will take the cream of the Cannes, Berlin, and Venice crop. All sorts of other amazing niche ones are around such as Pordenone for silents and Oberhausen for shorts. A large majority of the short films mentioned are on Youtube, Vimeo, Google Video, or UbuWeb, don't miss out! Rental/streaming services like Netflix, MUBI, LoveFilm, they're all there for you. Phone a friend for more info on this, but there are also invitation-only websites where members download genuinely unavailable movies, these are a treasure trove. Blind buying. An expensive habit, but can be eye-opening. Making sure you understand your taste is good for blind buying, this means that you will do well more often than not when you buy, get used to knowing what sorts of elements in a film you like, and who is good at recommending them. If you recognise that you've never enjoyed a portmanteau film, don't blind buy one! Local cinemas you don't know about. They are often around, and the folks inside will not bolt the doors and eat your entrails (unless they do). Often they can be a bit grungy and dilapidated, and there's not fifteen different varieties of cokey cola, abbattoir slurry in a bun (hot dogs), and buckets of million percent mark-up popped corn; however these facilities often offer alternatives like absinthe and apple pie (at least mine does), and they show different movies.

Warnings and confusions.

The list can be confusing to mainstream fans (I've no beef with people whose dreams are mirrored by the blockbuster makers, but also not much in common). I often get a response from people who have seen the say 20 mainstream movies on the list (and nothing else), where they just tell me the entire list is rubbish because the movies mentioned aren't much kop by mainstream criteria. I tend to enjoy these movies when they become zany and unabandoned, examples being The Spirit and Bad Boys II. The gradual process where I came to really enjoy movies mostly involved realising that I disagreed strongly with the implied values in mainstream film (promiscuous people generally dying first in horror movies would be an example of an implied value, i.e. promiscuity is bad).

To avoid confusion it's worth pointing out that although I enjoy irony in every day conversation, none of the appreciation of films listed below is ironic. There are five Roger Corman movies on the list, but they're there in earnestness, that particular gentleman was fond of subtext, in my opinion he was a bona fide auteur, and a socially comitted filmmaker.

Miscellaneous notes and typically requested statistics.

**The average IMDb rating of these films at the current time is 7.1/10. The highest is 9.0/10 for The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, the ones under 5.0/10 are:

Eye of the Beholder (1999 - Stephan Elliott) 4.9/10
The Face of an Angel (2014 - Michael Winterbottom) 4.7/10
Ett Hål i mitt hjärta / A Hole in My Heart (2004 - Lukas Moodysson) 4.6/10
Gas! -Or- It Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save It. (1970 - Roger Corman) 3.9/10
Adrenalin: Fear the Rush (1996 - Albert Pyun) 3.9/10

Always take the IMDb rating with a pinch of salt!

**Whenever publishing something like this before I always get asked about the director count, so here it is to pre-empt the question. It's slightly spurious in the sense that, with only three films extant (and only one available on dvd), no matter how much I like Sadao Yamanaka's work he can't ever get to the top, whereas, Fritz Lang must eventually triumph with such a large filmography.
3 films: Peter Greenaway, Michaelangelo Antonioni, Dario Argento, Oskar Fischinger, Manoel de Oliveira, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Alex Cox, Jean-Luc Godard, Orson Welles, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Jacques Rivette, Matthew Barney (taking Cremaster 3 and 4 as two separate films), Monte Hellman, and Werner Herzog.
4 films: Fritz Lang, Lewis Klahr and René Laloux.
5 films: Marguerite Duras, Lars von Trier and Roman Polanski.

** There are several films here which are particularly subjective personal choices, the main example is The History of Mr Polly, I've feel a very close personal similarity to the character of Mr Polly. This probably bought the film to life for me a lot more than for another viewer. This is as opposed to Les enfants du Paradis where pretty much anyone is going to associate with at least one of the characters.

** A hopefully diminishing list of films that are on my top 500 but not on IMDb is below. Usually I try and get these films added to IMDb and antnield of criterionforum has also helped with this.

94 Art Herstory (1974 - Hermine Freed)
181 Exit (1971 - Denys Irving & Naomi Zack)
319 Wolkenschatten (2014 - Anja Dornieden & Juan David Gonzålez Monroy)
397 Dach / Roof (1994 - Anja Czioska)
429 Schwebebahn (1995 - Darren Almond)

Please don't be afraid to leave me recommendations if you have any, no-one alive has ever watched more than a fraction of the good stuff!
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Ana-ta-han (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Josef von Sternberg directed, photographed, provides the voice-over narration and wrote the screenplay... (92 mins.)
Time Masters (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Piel, a 7 or 8 year old boy, is alone on the desert planet Perdide, only survivor of an attack by giant hornets... (78 mins.)
Director: René Laloux
“ I first saw this film when I was a little boy in its English-language dub. It haunted me for years later, and all I could remember was that there was a this little boy like me lost in a strange forest with glowing red and yellow fruits. I came across it quite by chance in it's French-language version, which is what you should see if you're an adult. It has the most amazing upbeat but weird soundtrack and is staggeringly beautiful in every single way you could think of. It works for all ages and has themes regarding the importance of individuality, and the possibility for redemptive acts, the nature of childhood and loss, the passing of time, and metanoia. It is scary and tender, and wonderful and I am very grateful to all the artists involved. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
The Satin Slipper (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
During the century of the Spanish Gold, Doña Prouhèze, wife of a nobleman, deeply loves Don Rodrigo... (410 mins.)
“ The Satin Slipper is a near seven hour metafictional trans-continental theatrical epic, realised by Manoel de Oliveira from the staged period drama of Paul Claudel. It is weighty, inspiring, and exquisitely beautiful. The movie opens with two quotes, which frame the film, regarding the mysterious ways of God, the second of which, "etiam peccata", "even sins", is a reference to St Augustine, who added this to a then famous phrase, giving, "Omnia cooperantur in bonum, etiam peccata", which is to say that everything happens for the glory of God, even sin.

The opening scene contains an exhortation by a dying priest, that his brother, Don Rodrigo, who has given up his studying for the priesthood, in favour of an exploration of power, for yoking the world to his will, be led back onto the path of righteousness, and that his sins be Augustinian in nature. Rodrigo's journey provides a skeleton for the movie, which however contains numerous supplementary stories and messages.

After the introduction, I do not think that you could watch straight the next nearly seven hours of this film without going mad, or rather it would be like holding a cup and letting the continuous pouring of wisdom and beauty overflow and go all over the floor. The Satin Slipper has seven hours of content, of talking where it pays to listen.

There will be home truths for everyone here, but for me Dona Prouheze's condemnation of her husband Don Pelagio, "Or it may be he is so proud, to make me love him, he disdains to appeal to anything other than the truth.". I also liked pearls of wisdom such as couples only loving what they build together, and descriptions of love, such as the feeling of regret for the time you did not know your lover.

The excesses of God's plan seem often to be exorbitant, even for One so mysterious, twice a whole ship of people drown in aid of details of the destinies of two of the main characters, and highly winsome characters often exist on this earth only as auxiliaries to the blithe. The message here may well be about tyranny, but also that the vast majority of people on earth can only expect to hear stories and get used, with the implication that they should prepare for the next life. The fruits of Rodrigo's labour, a tremendous gift, are rudely compensated for by his humiliation. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Donkey Skin (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A fairy godmother helps a princess disguise herself so she won't have to marry a man she doesn't love. (91 mins.)
Director: Jacques Demy
“ Lovely is an excellent word. To me it describes someone or an aspect of someone you can't not love. The folks that made this movie transmitted and transmuted a lot of their beauty for the world to see when they made this movie. They are lovely, and Peau d'Ane is a lovely movie.

A movie without malice, set in a sugary Medieval noplace, it has a colour scheme from a Chagall painting, bright and joyful.

The story is about a princess who has to avoid marrying her father, and find true love. Despite some of the content theoretically being quite strong, the movie comes off as being utterly absent of ill feeling. Watching is like being a child again and sung a tale by your mother, if it ever takes a serious tone it's a faux serious tone.

Peau d'Ane singing a song about baking a cake for her love is a highlight for me.

The only actual problem with the film is that it ends. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Vertigo (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A San Francisco detective suffering from acrophobia investigates the strange activities of an old friend's wife, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her. (128 mins.)
America America (1963)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A young Anatolian Greek, entrusted with his family's fortune, loses it en route to Istanbul and dreams of going to the United States. (174 mins.)
Director: Elia Kazan
“ I've never personally experienced migration. However Elia Kazan's highly personal project America America had me fighting back tears all the time, with it's depiction of the peregrinations involved in searching for a safe life for yourself and your family. We're not talking about a small film here though, it's got it all going on, meditations about what it is to be a man, and how to become one, passion buried deep inside, screaming to escape, quiet desperate lives, friendship, the possibilty of altruism. It wasn't shot by any old chump either, double Oscar laureate Haskell Wexler here revelling in his first big budget shot at the big time. Over three hours of souls etched on film, buckle up! ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Eden and After (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A group of French students are drawn into the psychological and sexual games of a mysterious Dutchman. Once they sample his "fear powder" the students experience a series of hallucinations. (93 mins.)
“ A metafictional film where a group of bored French students who play out theatrical games of sex and death are visited by a gent who offers them "poudre de peur" or powder of fear, a drug which removes their inhibitions and sees them off to Tunisia for real games of sex and murder and sadomasochism, or is it all just more theatre / hallucination? Although arguably you would provoke fear responses from anyone who caught you watching this, it's actually fundamentally chaste and geometric, the fantasy of a bookworm and maths student. Much of the spirit of the Zanzibar filmmakers may be here, in a twisted and warped form; the idea of the film more being to provoke recognition of ideologies and conditionings in which the viewer exists. A very bad idea for a watch if you're not used to freethinking (freethinking is seen as a meliorative word, but I'm here to tell you of it's neutrality, freethinking is by no means a good plan). Its high position on this list is a testament to its power. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Khrustalyov, My Car! (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Military doctor General Klenski is arrested in Stalin's Russia in 1953 during an anti-Semitic political... (137 mins.)
Director: Aleksey German
“ German's films are a joy to watch for any addict of film as an artform, the level of the technical achievement is practically miraculous. With Khrustalyov the entire film is composed of takes that most directors would never even try to attempt. The camera is in almost constant motion, close to a large number of actors coordinating with it with full intimacy. It is a bravura effort. To me it really outdoes Fellini in terms of a display of cultural colourfulness (stuff like Roma), and it's in black and white!

The film mostly follows General Klensky, a doctor with a military rank, who is in charge of a large dysfunctional hospital, and a large dysfunctional family, during a period where Communism had turned into a personlity cult of Stalin, and was hysterically lashing out at both friend and foe.

It makes me laugh a lot, all the silly little things which were happening all the time, tiny instances of slapstick. It's also a very subtle movie, there's a bit later on in the movie where Klensky looks out of quite a small window at a little bird that's staring back, pretty fleetingly, it's hard to describe how it made me feel, it was poetic in the way Pasolini can be at his very best. Hard to describe the sublime but I'll attempt, it was like the bird was a spectator, looking at the crazy humans from a much better off place (even though it's perched on a wintery branch), it just kind of made me feel the sheer madness of Russia at that time. Going back to Roma, it also has this connection with the past too, there's definitely a nostalgia for Tsarist times.

Reading up a little bit about the historical background helps a lot with this one, e.g. about the doctors plot and the anti-Zionist purge etc.

What does an intelligent man do in a crazy world? It's such a schizophrenic movie! ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Cesarée (1978 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
A short film Marguerite Duras which documents the Tuileries Gardens. (10 mins.)
“ Cesarée leaves me speechless with every watch, Duras' voice is magnetic. Rosenbaum has described her as a narcissist, if that's so, Cesarée is a splendiferous fragrant tiger-lily of narcissism. It's narrated by the inexorable and love-wracked voice of Marguerite Duras herself, the Prix Goncourt winning novelist. Duras, high priestess, prostrate at the altar of Venus in this film. How curious is cinema that, what would be my favourite film on another day, should prove to have been made from unused shots of another? That it should be made by a writer who considers the images secondary to the narrated text? The images themselves are mostly lovely tracking shots of the Tuileries Gardens, and the Malliol sculptures inhabiting it at the time. Amy Flamer's violin score is a harrow to the soul, making you wonder if there is any difference between love, longing, and grief.

Suetonius records in his "Lives of the Caesars" that Emperor Titus had fallen in love with Queen Berenice, but against both of their wills he had found it necessary to expel her from Rome. They never met again, this is the story Duras relates. On the subject of the images being leftovers from Le Navire Night, I have read that huge-hearted Marguerite, on occasion, cooked for the crew of her films, I bet she made a mean bubble-and-squeak! ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Gymnopédies (1965 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
An experimental short from Larry Jordan in which a horse rider and gymnast are filmed. (6 mins.)
Director: Larry Jordan
“ The Soundtrack of this stop motion collage short is indeed Satie's Gymnopedie #1. The movie is all footage of old engravings/etchings tinted blue. I absolutely love the innocence of the whole thing, such as an androgynous angel with a fig leaf fluttering along the screen. It's a sexless affair that luxuriates in naive Victorian fantasies of the world beyond the boarding school and the library. It's also about the protean nature of thought streams and the beauty of ideas and dreams. Something that I massively enjoy in terms of technique is seeing reversals in motion, which is why the micro-short Newark Athlete of 1891 (William K.L. Dickson) is more than a curiosity to me and indeed a pleasure (the movie shows a gent swinging Indian clubs, played forwards and then reversed back mid swing, at the current time both movies are available on YouTube) ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Children of Paradise (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
The theatrical life of a beautiful courtesan and the four men who love her. (189 mins.)
Director: Marcel Carné
“ I saw a re-release of Les Enfants du Paradis at a film festival and the announcer introduced it by saying, "If you have seen this film before, it needs no introduction, if you have not seen it before, I have only this to say, I envy you.". There are not many films that a hardened programmer might say this about, and I totally agree. Although I abhor objectivity Les Enfants du Paradis, is probably the greatest film ever made. The title refers to the section of a theater auditorium, paradise, which is at the rear of the theatre and is the cheapest part. The children of the paradise are the merry masses who make up the audience in this area of the theatre (the characters and the action revolve around a variety theatre). The movie covers love and heartbreak from many angles, there are many characters to associate with however for me Baptiste is the one, poor oversensitive Baptiste who does not apprehend the simplicity of love. Watching his emotions tearing him apart is perhaps the most savage thing I have seen in the cinema and speaks to the audacity of the filmmakers, so realistic it verges on the profane. The stage act he performs after his initial letdown made me feel that I was not watching a movie, but that some strange alchemist had distilled life and poured it on the screen, I was literally rapt with agony and ecstasy. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Dodsworth (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A retired auto manufacturer and his wife take a long-planned European vacation only to find that they want very different things from life. (101 mins.)
Director: William Wyler
Ferdinand the Bull (1938 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Little Ferdinand the bull is stung by a bumblebee when men come to pick a bull for a fight. When he gets in the arena, all he cares about are the flowers in the matador's hands. (8 mins.)
“ This is a 10 minute Disney short that neatly points out that you should not be afraid of being different. Ferdinand the Bull likes sitting under his cork tree and smelling flowers whilst the other bulls butt heads and jump around. He has beautiful brown eyes, black velvet back, cream undercarriage, and a tuft of blue hair on his smiley head. I have fairly uncanny connections with this short, I was always bigger than the other kids, and I'm still taller than anyone I ever meet, always kept my own company, never wanted to be competitive, had a mother who was worried that I didn't play along with the other kids, have a childish grin, and I specialised in botany at university. It is hard for me to watch this and not cry. Ferdinand the Bull is a thoroughly lovely short and won the Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Cartoons) in 1938. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Club de femmes (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A hotel for women-only and catering to working girls is the setting for not being able to get a USA PCA seal-of-approval for this French-film... (106 mins.)
Director: Jacques Deval
“ Club de femmes is a story about a stylish modern hotel run for women in Paris. The young lady lodgers pay a nominal rent amount and the balance is picked up by a charity/league of decency that is trying to stop them being exploited (lured into prostitution or dishonored by men of ill repute). It's a loving and sympathetic film that follows a variety of these women during a formative period in their lives. It's as camp as you like. It is as elegant as you would want a film to be. The scene where Alice falls in love with Juliette, sketching her as she swims, is the most beautiful moment I have seen in film. Claire (Danielle Darrieux) kissing her boyfriend whilst he wears her pyjamas is somewhat blissfully confusing. It's just a wonderful film, directed by Patrick Deval and assisted by Jean Delannoy. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Zardoz (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
In the distant future, a savage trained only to kill finds a way into the community of bored immortals that alone preserves humanity's achievements. (105 mins.)
Director: John Boorman
“ Sherlock Holmes is recorded by Dr John Watson as having mentioned the "...giant rat of Sumatra, a story for which the world is not yet prepared". Similarly Zardoz was made in 1974 and the world is still not prepared for its colourfulness and its anti-elitism. It was created completely outside of the Overton window of its time and still outside of the current window. I was put off from watching it for many years by seeing pictures of Sean Connery in a ridiculous skimpy orange ammo-belt outfit, please don't let the same happen to you. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Li'l Quinquin (2014 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A murder mystery that opens with the discovery of human body parts stuffed inside a cow on the outskirts of a small channel town in northern France. (206 mins.)
Director: Bruno Dumont
“ This was the turning point in Dumont's career, when he started to use comedy to lighten some of his rather weighty messaging. The movie also has an excellent attitude to the mentally disabled. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
The Spiral Staircase (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
In 1916, a shadowy serial killer is targeting women with "afflictions"; one night during a thunderstorm, the mute Helen feels menaced. (83 mins.)
Director: Robert Siodmak
“ A fundamentally perfect corker of a horror movie, with more emphasis on tension, suspension and implication than any actual violence. I absolutely adore Old Dark House movies, and will happily watch even bad ones, but this is not just for the likes of me. The premise of the movie is pretty nasty, there's a guy who likes to kill women with disabilities, which is quite unforgivable one must admit. The conceit here is that the girl who is mute (the protagonist) cannot scream when he comes for her. It's a gen-yoo-eyne old fashioned hide-behind-the-sofa cuddle-your-loved-ones horror movie that can set the hairs on your back standing up. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Amer (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
As a young girl Ana was a rebellious child. She was also tormented by images of death and a shadowy, ominous figure in black. Now an adult, she is once again tormented by shadowy, other-worldly forms. (90 mins.)
“ Amer is the French word for bitter. It is a plot-light study of the life of Ana, as a girl, a teenager, and as a young women. To call it impressionistic would imply a superficial capturing of moments in her life, however the film is deeply inside her experiences. Amer is a sensorium. I have a lot of connection with it, in that my strongest memories involve kaleidoscopic childhood nightmares, and fleeting encounters with members of the opposite gender wearing highly sexualised clothing.

In terms of lineage, it comes from giallo, and indeed uses classic giallo film scores, and had colour-explosion cinematography tracing from Bava and Argento. I think it is not sufficient to call Amer a homage though, in that I think it improves upon the aesthetic, and is essentially the best-looking movie I have ever seen.

It's a tough film in that it's really not clear what happens in the last segment, potentially a descent into madness, potentially pursual by a maniac. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Inhabitants (1970 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A reflection on the relationship between wildlife and humans. (9 mins.)
Meshes of the Afternoon (1943 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A woman returning home falls asleep and has vivid dreams that may or may not be happening in reality. Through repetitive images and complete mismatching of the objective view of time and space, her dark inner desires play out on-screen. (14 mins.)
“ Maya Deren's lasting legacy, shot with her first husband Alexander Hammid, and scored by her second, Toru Takemitsu, this film has had many interpretations. I've no real interest in rational interpretations of the film, for me it's title says it all. Why not the dreams of a woman sleeping in a house with a carbon monoxide leak, or on an acid trip. I know that from the instant I saw the first scene, from the moment the sunflower is handed down in front of me, that I had fallen in love with the film. It strips absolutely everything away, it is an animal film, I think about what I imagine a fox in a forest thinks when it skulks through the undergrowth and the pools of light, feeling and instinct only. The phone is off the hook, the connection to all this crud that makes humans so grotesque, the bills and the self-control and the conditioning. An Attenborough documentary on plants once showed an emerald-eyed black panther rolling around in the jungle, drunk on catnip, that's what this movie makes me for just a few minutes. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
The Pumpkin Eater (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Film screenwriter Jake Armitage and his wife Jo Armitage live in London with six of Jo's eight children... (118 mins.)
Director: Jack Clayton
“ Anne Bancroft's grave has a statue of an angel weeping perched on top of it. There can be no doubt that this is merely a faithful representation of what was happening in heaven as the gift of her life left the earth. She was in my opinion a truly estimable person who makes the modern era's idols looks unutterably ridiculous. The Pumpkin Eater is a movie about a relationship and a family, of Jo and Jake Armitage (Anne Bancroft and Peter Finch). Jo is one of those wonderful people who shame you by comparison, a self-sacrificing mother, full of soul and passion, denying herself even the most minor of pleasures, an entity that exists only to give. Jake is a serial adulterer who tries his level best to stop this from damaging his marriage, but at the end of the day can only follow his nature. On a personal level, Jo reminded me very much of my mother. No less than Harold Pinter wrote the screenplay for this one. Yes, once upon a time adults went to see adult films like this at the cinema, deep films, though you can scarcely believe it if you see what they go and watch now. The only film approaching this in modern times that I can think of is Revolutionary Road. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Napoleon (1927)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A film about the French general's youth and early military career. (240 mins.)
Director: Abel Gance
Heaven's Gate (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A dramatization of the real-life Johnson County War in 1890 Wyoming, in which a Sheriff born into wealth, attempts to protect immigrant farmers from rich cattle interests. (325 mins.)
Director: Michael Cimino
I Served the King of England (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A look at the glamorous life at an old-world Prague hotel. (113 mins.)
Director: Jirí Menzel
The Bat Whispers (1930)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A master criminal terrorizes the occupants of an isolated country mansion. (83 mins.)
Director: Roland West
“ So this is just a joy to watch, pure comfort viewing, a mystery thriller about a highly skilled criminal called the Bat. Some of the camerawork is so lovely, there are two points where a camera does a huge swoop along sets that are models and then there's a match cut into a life-size set. You can just have these extremely elegant moments on rewind. This beauty and craft in special effects, I would argue got lost a long time ago. This despite it being much cheaper than modern techniques and more satisfying, I'd argue that the only visually interesting part of Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull was the model shooting, where there's a temple purchased above the Nazca Lines.

It turns into an Old Dark House movie. I have to admit that this is my very favourite genre of movie, however it's one with a history of imperfect realisations, and this a very rare good one. Sometimes you have to admit that in very fanciful films with little higher pretensions, the dialogue can shame much more serious-minded films, and this is the case in this one where a maid scolds her lady.

There's something refreshing in the visual format of this film, I doubt there are many films floating around that were shot on 65 mil and in an aspect ratio of 2:1 ! ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Fantastic Night (1942)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Denis is distracted: he's studying all day for philosophy exams and working all night at the flower market; plus... (103 mins.)
“ A student dreamer who works in a flower market falls asleep and has a wonderful dream about a lady in white whom he falls in love and must save from a rotter, it's nonsensical and beautiful and makes me really appreciate all over again the terms fantastic and night, finally not being abused. This movie is an asylum into which you can climb, it is an impervious haven where the bastards can't get you. It has an American dvd release, but it's gone out-of-print and new copies are retailing at about $100. Should anyone who is filthy rich be grateful for the steers on this list, it would put a smile on my face that a chisel couldn't remove if you bought me the beautiful original poster! ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Shutter Island (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
In 1954, a U.S. Marshal investigates the disappearance of a murderer, who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane. (138 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
“ Shutter Island is many things to many people. For me it was a story of a man hiding from himself who undergoes a metanoiac transformation that I hugely identified with. It's got other elements that go in my favourite cooking, a music literate soundtrack to die for (I have literally wept to Dinah Washington singing "This Bitter Earth", and then there's all sorts of goodies from avant-garde composers like Adams and Cage) and unrestrained voluptuous visuals. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Fünf Patronenhülsen (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
The Spanish Civil War in the year 1936. Five brigadiers are singled out to stay behind in the Spanish... (87 mins.)
Director: Frank Beyer
“ The time of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), at least in this movie, is a time of idealism and solidarity, when soldiers of conscience came from all over the world to fight in the International Brigades against the Fascists of Spain, Italy, and Germany (and the American corporations who eagerly supplied Franco and his rebels). In reality, whilst I'm sure there was a large flavour of comradeship, there was also a great deal of factionalism on the Republican side, fomented in part by the Soviet sponsors.

As to the story, Commissar Wittig, five volunteers and a radioman stay behind in the trenches of the Jarama front to cover the retreat of the Republican forces to the Ebro river. They spend a witching hour in the deserted trenches, using up all the heavy machine gun ammo on the enemy before fleeing into the hills. They are chased and chased again, and over again, until their bodies and their ideals are brittle, will they shatter? ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Deadfall (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
Cat burglar Henry Clarke and his accomplices, the Moreaus, attempt to steal diamonds from the château of millionaire Salinas. However, Henry's partners in crime aren't the most emotionally stable people. (120 mins.)
Director: Bryan Forbes
“ Deadfall is one of the great underrated movies, and I'll tell you why in a bit. What everyone seems more than appreciative about, is the greatness of the piece that John Barry wrote for it, Romance For Guitar And Orchestra, which he appears during the movie personally conducting, intercut with scenes from a robbery. People are mostly happy that the robbery scene is great as well.

What really chills my bones in that robbery scene is the triumph of the will (a phrase unfortunately robbed of it's awe by Leni Riefenstahl), how Henry bends matters to his will, and you can feel the bruises and lacerations that came with that in the scene.

It's unfortunate that the art house crowd haven't get round to this one, and it's more Michael Caine completists and genre fans, because it's truly exceptional. It probably has my favourite joke in a movie, deliciously dark, "What's the use in happiness, it can't buy you money.". Nietzsche's idea that, "Man does not strive after happiness; only the Englishman does that." always brings a smile to my face.

The movie is full of jaded, weary, and intelligent people, into whose web falls jewel thief Henry. The thing about these people is that they do actually all love, they have hearts, it's their great secret. It's really, despite the crazily beautiful robbing, a movie about love, bitterness, and youth versus growing old. I liked a lot of things in the movie, how Fé sees through the fatalism of the men, how facades come crumbling down, how there's all this lovely turquoisey colouring going on. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
In the Midst of Life (1963)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
This Civil War anthology adapts three Ambrose Bierce stories "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," "Chickamauga" and "The Mockingbird." (95 mins.)
Director: Robert Enrico
“ This compendium of three Ambrose Bierce US Civil War short story adapatations is primarily know for the part "An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge", which has often been shown separately. This part is probably the strongest of the three, and has a yearning for life that is very accessible. Chickamauga and A Mockingbird are the other two parts and are very special indeed. It is very strange to me that the two most authentic looking American Civil War movies were made by Europeans (the other is American Torso, directed by Gábor Bódy), and both use Ambrose Bierce as source. These are eerie, macabre and sublime stories that are perfectly realised. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
During a rural summer picnic, a few students and a teacher from an Australian girls' school vanish without a trace. Their absence frustrates and haunts the people left behind. (115 mins.)
Director: Peter Weir
“ A beautiful unsolved mystery. A group of Australian schoolgirls and one of their teacher go missing forever on a field trip to Hanging Rock. It's just that simple. Something makes me feel that the girls just turned into sunshine, that youth so giddy and guileless scintillated into light. The hard thing about this movie is that it has to end and you have to get off the sofa and get back to living. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Three Colors: Blue (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A woman struggles to find a way to live her life after the death of her husband and child. (98 mins.)
“ I learnt about having ice cream "affogato" from this movie, and Kieslowski uses it metaphorically, to portray a woman hurting herself, guilty to take pleasure in life after the death of her husband, desperate for surcease from grief. I watched this as a youngin and was transfixed by this rapacious performance from Juliette Binoche, who gave her all in this movie, physically hurting herself for the famous ivy scene. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
The Liberation of the Mannique Mechanique (1967 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
An experimental short film by Steven Arnold in which manikins in a department store come to life. (15 mins.)
Director: Steven Arnold
Black Field (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
Greece, 1654. A seriously wounded Janissary arrives at a cloister situated on a cliff, and the sisters take him in and care for him... (104 mins.)
La fin du jour (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Aged penniless actors are living in a old people's home. They always talk about their past glory or failures... (99 mins.)
Director: Julien Duvivier
Upstream Color (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A man and woman are drawn together, entangled in the life cycle of an ageless organism. Identity becomes an illusion as they struggle to assemble the loose fragments of wrecked lives. (96 mins.)
Director: Shane Carruth
The Grand Maneuver (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A French lieutenant makes a bet that he can seduce any woman in town in the two weeks before his regiment leaves for maneuvers, but his chosen target (a Parisian divorcée) isn't like other girls he's known. (106 mins.)
Director: René Clair
Redland (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
As a family struggles to survive in rural isolation during the Great Depression, their daughter's secret affair begins a journey into the unknown. (105 mins.)
Director: Asiel Norton
Excalibur (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Merlin the magician helps Arthur Pendragon unite the Britons around the round table of Camelot even as forces conspire to tear it apart (140 mins.)
Director: John Boorman
Happiness (1935)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A hapless loser (with the surname of Loser) undergoes misadventures with avaracious clergy, a tired horse... (95 mins.)
Accattone (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A pimp with no other means to provide for himself finds his life spiraling out of control when his prostitute is sent to prison. (117 mins.)
“ Accattone is a Roman pimp who lives off his girlfriend Maddalena's earnings. Pasolini's cheeky aim is to put forward this young man as a modern saint. To this end he lathers Bach's St Matthew's Passion (inspired by the Apostle's experience of the crucifixion of Christ) over scenes of Accattone's life. In one of Accattone's first scenes he's shown devouring a slice of tomato, displayed horizontally as if a cardinal's galero, whilst an sculpture of perhaps a guardian angel can be seen over his shoulder in the distance (an anti-clerical pro-Christ stance seems to be a consistent theme for Pasolini). Later, a prophecy regarding Accattone's descent is eerily similar to Christ's pronunciation of Peter's forthcoming triple renunciation.

Whatever Accattone is, he's not sunless; when he tries out the world of work (legitimate work involving labour), he becomes Vittorio, his Christian name, and the light goes out. The film reminds me very much of Fassbinder's Gods of the Plague in that sense, young men with brio but no skills or education who, given the choice between drudgery or crime, choose crime. Both films polemicise against urban post-industrial capitalist societies, which have become increasingly removed from the milieu in which humanity evolved and is "designed" to cope with. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A New York City doctor, who is married to an art curator, pushes himself on a harrowing and dangerous night-long odyssey of sexual and moral discovery after his wife admits that she once almost cheated on him. (159 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
“ Jocelyn Pook worked out that if she played Romanian liturgical chant backwards it sounded like the primal deranged hymn of a secret society of Nietzschean master moralists. How did she do that? How did Stanley "Special K" Kubrick manage to pick out Shostakovich's Waltz from his Jazz Suite #2 as the perfect psychosexual mood setter for a Schnitzler adaptation? Kubrick's vast mastery makes Otto Muehl's attempts to open the same doors look positively peasantish. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Parsifal (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Richard Wagner's last opera has remained controversial since its first performance for its unique, and... (255 mins.)
Jauja (2014)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A father and daughter journey from Denmark to an unknown desert that exists in a realm beyond the confines of civilization. (109 mins.)
Director: Lisandro Alonso
A Farewell to Arms (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
An American ambulance driver and an English nurse fall in love in Italy during World War I. (80 mins.)
Director: Frank Borzage
The Sword of Doom (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Through his unconscionable actions against others, a sociopath samurai builds a trail of vendettas that follow him closely. (119 mins.)
Director: Kihachi Okamoto
“ The Sword of Doom is about a Samurai, Ryunosuke Tsukue, who is brimful of contempt for society and its compromises, a one man army he ruthlessly murders anyone he sees fit. A man of extreme integrity, one senses that his fate could have gone either way depending on chance alone. As it is he turns his hand against every man, becoming an inhumanly isolated monomaniac who takes ostracisation and loneliness to its limits in his quest for purity. The Sword of Doom is an awe-inducing film about a man who cultivates his rage until it turns into a forest he becomes lost in. One cannot watch this film other than with respect and a sign to ward off the evil eye. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Konets vechnosti (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Based on the novel by Isaac Asimov.The End of Eternity is a science fiction film with mystery and thriller elements on the subjects of time travel and social engineering. (137 mins.)
Director: Andrei Yermash
King of New York (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A drug kingpin is released from prison and seeks to take total control of the criminal underworld in order to give back to the community. (103 mins.)
Director: Abel Ferrara
“ King of New York may not have been the most acclaimed movie ever but if you were to base the acclaim on the number of posters of the movie on the walls of teenage boys and young men, it rapidly becomes more of a noteworthy film. I'm still hep with a load of these stylish, macho, antagonistic, freewheeling movies, and the movie has a soundtrack to match, full of body-shaking beats.

Frank White is a gangster who gets out of prison and decides to do it right this time, he gathers his interracial gang to him and starts taking over New York's rackets, whilst funding altruistic projects and blamming away the less racially inclusive gangs.

Musically of interest as the soundtrack is great, standout for me being rap by Schoolly D.

It is without doubt one of the coolest movies ever made. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Angel's Egg (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A mysterious young girl wanders a desolate, otherworldly landscape, carrying a large egg. (71 mins.)
Director: Mamoru Oshii
Medea (1988 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Medea is in Corinth with Jason and their two young sons. King Kreon wants to reward Jason for his exploits: he gives the hand of his daughter... (77 mins.)
Director: Lars von Trier
“ As a child I was obsessed by the Greek Myths, my copy of Grimal's Dictionary of Classical Mythology fairly fell to pieces, though Graves' The Greek Myths fared better because my school put a protective plastic jacket on the hard copy of it that I stole. Every year that goes by they get stronger to me emotionally. Medea's is the ultimate of these stories, she is a knowledgeable, capable, powerful, emotional, mystical woman who is not afraid of putting her cards face down on the table and putting all her chips in the middle for love. I aspire to be worthy of such woman.

Von Trier filmed Carl Theodor Dreyer's script of Medea for TV. It is a beautiful piece of video art, astonishing in it's use of experimental techniques. Kirsten Olesen's portrayal of Medea, seems to take Falconetti as inspiration. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Army of Darkness (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A man is accidentally transported to 1300 A.D., where he must battle an army of the dead and retrieve the Necronomicon so he can return home. (81 mins.)
Director: Sam Raimi
“ Ash is fundamentally someone who copes, he's got this crappy hopeless life, he gets transported into a terrible world where he has a hopeless task to accomplish, absolutely no-one is one his wavelength, all he can do is be an audience for his own stand-up comedy. He throws himself at his life and his task with aplomb, and there is nothing about that which is not admirable.

Unlike the other two Evil Dead movies, I actually find this one incredibly scary, particularly when he's fighting versions of himself, but also when he finds the three Necronomicons. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Andrei Rublev (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
The life, times and afflictions of the fifteenth-century Russian iconographer. (205 mins.)
“ A titanic film that hardly requires any introduction or recommendation from me. A film of scope, ambition, technical virtuosity, and unparalleled genius. It shows you the lives of folks back in 15th century Russia, and lets you know all about the purpose of creativity and the relationship between artists and power structures. It's a film of almost appalling weight by one Andrei Arsenyevich Tarkovsky, a man who had the creativity of one hundred thousand people crammed into his one poor cranium. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Beyond the Black Rainbow (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
Despite being under heavy sedation, a young woman tries to make her way out of the Arboria Institute, a secluded, quasifuturistic commune. (110 mins.)
Director: Panos Cosmatos
Altair (1995 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
(10 mins.)
Director: Lewis Klahr
“ The most intoxicating of Lewis Klahr's collage shorts that I have seen. A night-blossoming alcoholic noir dream set to moonlight and "Lullaby" from Stravinsky's 1919 version of "The Firebird" Suite. Lewis is a collector-supremo of ephemera, he gets cut-outs from old magazines, comic books, and odd little found items and animates them using stop motion photography. Altair is set in the post-WWII era (the Bernstein recording of Stravinsky would put it at 1957 if used alone), and is full of strange glamour, romance, power, luxury, and pain in the night, images of cocktail menus from the day, and passé liquor bottles fly by (Old Forester being the most evocative for me). False Aging from 2008 comes off as the most meaningful, heartfelt, and worthy of Klahr's films, but Altair is where my heart is at. One of the great things about Klahr's films is that he shows off his taste in music which ranges all over the place from Rap to Ravel and always seems to be just right. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
At Sea (2007 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
This is a soundless story of the building of 'Toledo Spirit', the container ship, its sailing and eventual beaching. Insignificant men crawl on cranes and gantries to build it and other men, sans the equipment, scrape it after beaching. (60 mins.)
Director: Peter Hutton
The Parallel Street (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Feature-documentary "pointing up a thousand facets of this world and probing to determine what may lie beneath the surface". (86 mins.)
“ The film stays with a group of five men sat in a room at night in lamp-lit darkness puzzling over a series of documents and images. Their task is to understand the documents, understand their unifying theme, understand who prepared the documents. Erasure awaits them should they fail this task; they have three nights to complete it. A weary yet sympathetic clerk watches over them, supplying them with supplementary information and advice where required. The film is heavily allegorical, perhaps bitterly so. The men are somnambulists, blindly following baseless conventions, focusing on irrelevant minutiae, bickering, endlessly deliberating without coming to any action or conclusion, mentally blocked. Life itself as three nights.

Khittl made no fiction films save this one, perhaps he managed to say it all in just one go. What I haven't mentioned is that it's a deliriously beautiful film at times, lots of luscious photography from all over the world that serve as the documents for the individuals to study. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Marie Antoinette (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
The retelling of France's iconic but ill-fated queen, Marie Antoinette. From her betrothal and marriage to Louis XVI at 15 to her reign as queen at 19 and to the end of her reign as queen, and ultimately the fall of Versailles. (123 mins.)
Director: Sofia Coppola
Winter (2008 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
(22 mins.)
“ Nathaniel Dorsky makes short films with no narratives or actors, visual works that have some sort of thematic coherence only. Visual poetry is a cliche that doesn't go far enough to describe his work. He often ends up using focus and framing to produce abstract images from what he's photographed whose origins are hard to decipher. Unfortunately his works are limited to playing at festivals and special screenings. He hinted in a talk he gave that he may allow dvd released after he is dead, but for now he sees himself as more like Vivaldi, prefering to accompany his work when it is displayed. Winter is quite a magnificent piece where "peace comes dropping slow" in the words of Yeats. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Les mains négatives (1978 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
(14 mins.)
“ As with Cesarée, Les mains négatives ("Negative Hands") is made of unused footage from Duras' Le Navire Night project. The footage is of Paris at dusk, Durassian images passe-partout (tonal images). The voiceover concerns ancient cave art, in particular petrogylphs of hands. Amy Flamer's violin score produces a feeling of intense longing, which is what Duras is all about. Les mains négatives is fundamentally a gesamtkunstwerk, a universal art work where several art forms are utilised. The narration unites literature with film: that which is fundamental to literature, is the quality where the reader has the liberty to conjure up their own mental images in response to the author's directions. The actual images on the screen, are tonal in nature. The images you develop yourself in your mind's eye are the real images of the film. So the film is about people leaving behind their hand prints in caves eons ago (the paint goes around the hands, so they are literally negative hands, only viewable because of their absence). Why did they do this, why is this something that Duras wants to draw attention to? For me they're simply recording their existence, standing up against immensity, against the unknowable. It's about equality, every hand print looks the same, everyone equal in eternity. Duras attempts the impossible, she attempts to bridge the gap between people, to reach out to the sea of souls of the past in the spirit of love. I've written more in a user comment on the relevant IMDb page. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Moderato cantabile (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A wealthy and bored woman is witness of a murder in affection and meets another witness. She asks him about the history of the victim and falls in love with him. (91 mins.)
Director: Peter Brook
Maska (2010 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
(23 mins.)
For a Few Dollars More (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Two bounty hunters with the same intentions team up to track down a Western outlaw. (132 mins.)
Director: Sergio Leone
“ So it turns out that Clint wasn't the man with no name here, because he's called Monco, even if you only hear that once! Anyway, the second two dollars movies I love the best, because they are so fluid. A Fistful of Dollars is all set in the same place, it's a static film, I have little interest in it. Why not watch Eastwood's own High Plain's Drifter instead, or the oneiric remake with Bruce Willis, Last Man Standing?

Monco and Colonel Mortimer, bounty hunters extraordinares, are out for el Indio's hide. The movie is ritualistic, features expanded time, and has one of the great soundtracks. Movies can save your life, and at university, when everything was caving in, I would slide the VHS of this in and everything was alright. I've watched this one tens of times, and it never loses anything. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
A bounty hunting scam joins two men in an uneasy alliance against a third in a race to find a fortune in gold buried in a remote cemetery. (161 mins.)
Director: Sergio Leone
“ It's more the bad guy that you sympathise with, the bad guy who's a sadist so you don't sympathise with, and the guy who's there for comic relief, but that's not such a catchy title. This film doesn't need much selling, arguably having the greatest soundtrack, it's pure comfort watching. Analysis can be like acid, and I prefer not to analyse storytelling, however plot elements that I'm very keen on in this movie regard food, Angel Eyes stew-stealing at the start of the movie and Tuco's nervous eating in the Andersonville camp (Onibaba and Kuleshov's Po Zakonu are other great movies that capture the viscerality of our fellow primates stealing and protecting their grub). This seems to tap into something primal, much like the greasiness and unshaved look of the characters.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is a miracle, a syzygy, all the elements that make a movie lining up in perfection, even the out of synch dialogue of minor characters seems to positively bring something to the party. Leone's background in sword and sandal movies stood him in good stead here for the civil war battle scenes, which bring a dimension to the film that no other spags have. The soundtrack is an experimental bizarrerie of unusual sounds that has no right to be so astonishingly successful on every level. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Le grand jeu (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Pierre (Pierre Richard-Willm), a young lawyer, has enormous debts due to his mistress Florence (Marie Bell)... (120 mins.)
Director: Jacques Feyder
“ Very few movies for me have captured the tragedy and pageantry of life in one fell swoop, the other two are Les Enfants du Paradis and The Satin Slipper, supernatural titles which must be uttered only in awe. These are decidedly Promethean movies, which beg a thunderbolt from above for their creators. Such movies through their genius seem sacrilegious.

Exuberant, blithe and foolish, Belle Époque nitwit Pierre lives a pampered lifestyle with a sinecure at the family bank. Innocently in love with a man eater, he throws more and more "borrowed" money into the fire of her greed in the hopes of putting it out. Years of disgrace follow where Pierre must learn to be a man like other men, to silently put up with being un raté, to watch his life slide out of view, to take his pleasures where he can in exile with the Foreign Legion.

Le Grand Jeu is a film that makes one to wonder if God didn't conflate lust and love when He created the world. The filmmakers create their own world in miniature here, a world where people live with the ghouls of their pasts sat on their shoulders, loving without being loved back, cursed by lust unattainable, or attainable and consuming, damned one way or the other. It was a refreshingly raunchy movie with quite the most triple-x-rated cabaret song, from La môme Dauville (Lyn Clevers). Whilst lust does seem to inhibit the possibility of true love, male lust in particular is treated as something natural and not to be ashamed of.

So the world is a casino and our fortunes dictated by Fortuna (the great game of the title). One's only weapon against all this seems to be morale. That seems the key message of what is I would say, a perfect movie (it's probably also pretty similar in that regards to Les Enfants Du Paradis, and no surprise to find out that Marcel Carné was an assistant on this movie). Marie Bell and Pierre Richard-Willm act their hearts out here. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
A Canterbury Tale (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Three modern day pilgrims investigate a bizarre crime in a small town on the way to Canterbury. (124 mins.)
Natural Born Killers (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Two victims of traumatized childhoods become lovers and psychopathic serial murderers irresponsibly glorified by the mass media. (118 mins.)
Director: Oliver Stone
The Pied Piper (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin with a twist. (53 mins.)
Director: Jirí Barta
The Keep (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
Nazis are forced to turn to a Jewish historian for help in battling the ancient demon they have inadvertently freed from its prison. (96 mins.)
Director: Michael Mann
“ People usually apologise for this film when they write reviews of partial admiration. The studio cut the movie from Mann's 3 hours to one and a half. Let me be clear that this movie requires no apologies from me. To to me it's really great how things happen fairly spontaneously and it doesn't need so much explanation. It tackles religious matters with audacity, and is about as atmospheric as a movie can be.

The plot is about a band of Nazi stormtroopers who awake an ancient devil in the Carpathian mountains. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Entezar (1974 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
One of Naderi's most beautiful films, a kind of magical realist parable that follows a boy's daily chore:... (43 mins.)
Director: Amir Naderi
Lucifer Rising (1972 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Egyptian gods summons the angel Lucifer - in order to usher in a new occult age. (29 mins.)
Director: Kenneth Anger
“ Lucifer Rising is one of the great short films, but you have to be some sort of extreme enthusiast to come by even the great short films these days, and so I won't assume you know all about it. Inspired by Aleister Crowley and the Occult, it is about the feeling of being a God, the occult, creation and ritual. Crowley is represented in this one scene and a docrtinal representative of his attended the making of the movie. Crowley wrote a poem called the "Hymn to Lucifer" where he explained Lucifer's significance in his religion of Thelema. The poem points to the fallen angel Lucifer as a bringer of knowledge and love, things that folks were cast out of Eden for, Crowley explains. Thelema gets rid of the Golden Rule, and suggests that people should do as they will, a sole ethical princple, which is not to say that they should wallow in bestiality and egoistic impulse, but that they should fulfil their purpose. Knowledge and sexual desire (both forbidden in Eden), are what it's all about. Lucifer was "sun-souled", and I thin you definitely get that in this film.

If you read my explanation of why I like Meshes of the Afternoon, you will see that I talked about the separation of the conscious from the subconscious, of the dissolution of superego. That's what Thelema is all about to, and this movie. Definitely another one to add to the list is Acéphale.

I am a moralist but I definitely find this stuff valuable and worth savouring. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Six et demi onze (1927)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A renowned doctor and his brother live and work together until the brother falls in love with Marie... (84 mins.)
Director: Jean Epstein
Camille (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A Parisian courtesan must choose between the young man who loves her and the callous baron who wants her, even as her own health begins to fail. (109 mins.)
Director: George Cukor
Another Sky (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
After a puritan youth, a young English woman discovers her sensuality in North-Africa. (86 mins.)
Director: Gavin Lambert
“ Cahiers du Cinema is not the only magazine where critics have taken up the gauntlet and gone onto filmmaking. Gavin Lambert of Sight & Sound directed this his only film, about a repressed englishwoman in Morocco, journeying into fugue. The psychological enormity of a tight-laced englishwoman of this era vanishing into Morocco is awe-inspiring to me, especially as it's not some cop-out blossoming into a higher conciousness or gregarious new personality, but rather represents an erasure of roots in favour of scorched adobe and desert purity. The night after watching this, when I went to sleep I could hear feel the dunes outside my window. Like Paul Bowles, who was a personal friend of Lambert, and who inspired the films, I've felt the call of Morocco, and of fugue. See also The Sheltering Sky, also on this list. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A couple uses extremely black comedy to survive taking care of a daughter who is nearly completely brain dead... (106 mins.)
Director: Peter Medak
“ Quite without being aware of the fact beforehand, I noticed during A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, that the film was shot in my home town of Bristol, so I don't know how much of its placement is what the Americans call a "hometown decision". But the way it brings my skin alive and makes me want to cry probably suggest otherwise.

It's a movie about two parents who are both attempting to have careers whilst bringing up a child in what is called a permanent vegetative state. They're two beautiful people who try their best to keep their spirits up and look after their unresponsive daughter (the Jo Egg of the title). I think what the film, most simply is about, is being human, about love and altruism and looking after one another even in the face of nil return. The scene where Elgar's Nimrod is played whilst the parents tend to Jo still brings tears to my mind just thinking about it. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Liquid Sky (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Invisible aliens in a tiny flying saucer come to Earth looking for heroin. They land on top of a New... (112 mins.)
Director: Slava Tsukerman
“ Liquid Sky is probably the coolest film ever made. A wildly unhinged soundtrack to die for includes of all things an electronic recasting of Orff's Trionfo di Afrodite. Liquid Sky by the by is a slang for heroin. The characters are mostly New York scenesters with attitude and androgyny. All this is hyped up enough but then comes a UFO of miniature aliens from far far away and photography that would give Stan Brakhage a stiffy. The type of thing your daddy would have sent you away to military school for if he caught you watching. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Hours for Jerome (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
It is a "silent tone poem" recording the daily events of Dorsky and his partner, artist Jerome Hiler around Lake Owassa in New Jersey and in Manhattan. (45 mins.)
“ Hours for Jerome is a serene recording of beautiful moments in the lives of a handful of people over a period of a few years. It is currently Nathaniel Dorsky's longest movie, and was the first in which he gave up on sound. His cinema from then on relied on images alone, trying to encapsulate an inner state of calm and splendour, which arises from public spaces shot in silence, at a speed only subconsciously perceptible as slower than real time (18 frames per second versus the 24 at which it was shot). What's different here compared to his later films is that there's some razzmatazz editing, more of the energy of youth. The Hours of the title are named after the medieval book of hours, which were illuminated collections of psalms and prayers. Jerome is Jerome Hiler, Nathaniel Dorsky's partner.

Nathaniel Dorsky turns the cinema into a temple. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Brigands-Chapter VII (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
King Vano rides bravely off into battle, but only after ensuring his passionate Queen is safely locked in her chastity belt. (129 mins.)
Director: Otar Iosseliani
“ I am waiting to see a bad Georgian film although once when I spoke to a Georgian director (Levan Koguashvili) he said to me that Georgian domestic cinema is very mundane and panders to the lowest common denominator! In any case Brigands is part of the very fine internationalist tradition of Georgian film. Its idea is fairly simple, that all the historic rulers of Russia have always been brigands, whether they be warlords, commissars or oligarchs, this is expanded upon at length in a series of historical vignettes, comic in their banality. William Lubtchansky does the photography, which of course means that the entire film is a sheer pleasure to watch. One of my favourite scenes in film history is the extremely comic scene in this film where a Stalin-type character crawls up the carpet in a Tsarist official's office and emerges from behind his desk to dispatch him. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Voyager (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Walter Faber has survived a crash with an airplane. His next trip is by ship. On board this ship he... (117 mins.)
“ So Homo Faber (Latin for a man who forges his own destiny) is Walter Faber, a prodigal engineer, who seems like a laid back cross between Fitzcarraldo and Brunel. He's too caught up in his romance with engineering to seize the moment and the girl. He is reminiscent in this sense of Dominic in "Youth Without Youth", and Zetterstrøm in "Allegro" (excellent films), both love-blind men caught up in their pursuits (linguistics and piano playing). As Cupid is the real God and reigns over drama, these men must be punished.

Highly beautiful high concept high production values globe-trotting noir about a man who didn't understand being human. I watched this with my mother and I think she wanted to throttle the guy at one point. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Careful (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
In the Alpine village of Tolzbad in the 1800s, the townsfolk talk quietly and restrain their movements lest they incur avalanches... (100 mins.)
Director: Guy Maddin
“ Where better to escape than the mountains? Guy Maddin latterly became overtly auto-biographical in his work and I think the magic went, but his early features, are brilliant homages to old movies, Bergfilme here. This started a whole kick for me, Der Heilige Berge, Das Blaue Licht, and Die weiße Hölle vom Piz Palü. The duel scene is particularly memorable. The peculiar situation in this film is that everyone in the village up in the mountains, Tolzbad, has to be quiet the whole time in order to avoid avalanches. The situation is allegorical regarding repressed sexuality. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
The History of Mr. Polly (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Quiet and somewhat direction-less, Alfred Polly uses the money he inherits from his father to marry and to set up shop in a small town... (95 mins.)
“ A very personal choice from me here, based on a story by HG Wells. Mr Polly is a Victorian shop clerk with no place in life, he spends his days in reverie, daydreaming on the job and reading Chretien de Troyes. He is spat out and must begin his long journey to find a place where his sensibilities are welcome, and he can finally put down roots. I have so many tears for this film. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
I Was an Adventuress (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A pair of crooks (von Stroheim and Lorre) use a phony countess (Zorina) who winds up falling in love with one of their victims (Greene). (81 mins.)
Director: Gregory Ratoff
The Mystery of Oberwald (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A hunted man breaks into the castle at Oberwald to kill the Queen, but faints before doing so. He is Sebastian... (129 mins.)
The Neon Demon (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
When aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has. (118 mins.)
“ "So I asked myself, of all the melancholy topics, what, according to the universal understanding of mankind, is the most tragic? Death. And when is this most tragic of melancholy topics most poetical? When it most loosely alludes itself to beauty. The death, therefore, of a beautiful girl is unquestionably the most poetic topic in the world." So spoke the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe in Francis Ford Coppola's movie Twixt. These words are a paraphrasing of Poe's own writing, from his essay "The Philosophy of Composition". Coppola and Refn both seem to have taken some interest in using Elle Fanning in films about the death of a beautiful woman. The topic is insanely fascinating in this presentation.

The Neon Demon is about a girl who goes to Los Angeles in order to become a top model. The work, compliments, admirers and envy all start to roll in. The movie is essentially thematic, largely relying on the visual and on atmosphere.

NWR is an extreme addict of beauty, and the movie contains some staggeringly voluptuous photography. The message is that physical beauty is superficial. But there is no sanctimony to be had from Refn here, on the contrary he goes for full immersion, a beauty-holic on a bender. The film is a testimony to the power of beauty, it is a mesmeric, galvanic glory. The tail end of the beast mutates into images you see only in rare dreams, a mix of the abject and the byzantine. A judgemental reaction to this dreamworld would be a nonsensical act. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Two employees of a secluded hotel investigate a murder on the premises in which the goofy bellboy is the prime suspect. (84 mins.)
“ This is on my list for much the same reason as Lewis Klahr's Altair, it's a melange of post war glamour, mystery and murder set in a plush hotel, and it always seems like night-time. I feel a strange overwhelming sympathy for Lou Costello's character Freddie Phillips, an incompetent bellhop, always hoping that something good happens for him. There's some weird scenes set in a system of grottoes near the hotel that takes this to the next league of heartbroken nocturnal zaniness. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Grenouilles (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
(80 mins.)
Director: Adolfo Arrieta
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A witness of an attack, a writer becomes stalked by a serial killer. (98 mins.)
Director: Dario Argento
“ This is the first giallo I ever watched (often seedy Italian murder mysteries, with as many hallmarks as film noir). It's as good as it gets so far, according to my discoveries. The centerpiece murder at the start moves me a lot, the sense of mystery and powerlessness of the main character to intervene. What I really like with Argento murderers is their sheer insanity and pain. The really good giallo are also just plain odd. The lighting is also a critical thing, deserted Italian streets in the 70s at night just seem to have something about them. I like the white telephones too (there is actually a genre of Italian comedy called "white telephone" films). ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
The Artist and the City (1956 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A painter wanders around the city of Oporto painting what he sees: old and modern buildings, people arriving and leaving work in the factories, children playing. (26 mins.)
“ Oliveira's first colour movie is a wordless dialogue between a filmmaker and a painter. Each portray the city of Porto according to their own ability. It very much comes off as a synergistic process where the images are informed by each of the techniques. There's a "motion painting" scene at one point that is almost as beautiful as you can get, showing the light changing over the city. I felt as I watched the movie, seeing the city in the round, that God was perhaps involved in the planning. It has been a source of interest for me that Oliveira was making films during a dictatorship, and yet none of them are known for their criticism of Salazar. And yet the only time I saw people who looked out of place was when there were policeman around. I think he took a render unto Caesar view. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Kaos (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Five stories by Luigi Pirandello set in turn-of-the-century Italy. (188 mins.)
“ Moments of intense joy always seem to me to be fleeting and unexpected, even unrecognised when they're happening. In life they can be so rare that they have an intensity that they last down the years, even if you sometimes don't realise their power at the time. The Taviani brothers capture what is probably the most glorious scene in cinema history, an unpper class family undergoing forced migration from Sicily to Malta after political disturbance, experience a moment of peace in the Aeolian Islands, the children careening down a pumice chute to the sea.

Kaos contains a collection of five stories from the Tavianis, of slightly varying quality. As a leftie I particularly admire the poltical ones, The Jar, and Requiem. The stories are all from Sicily's past. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
The Scalphunters (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Forced to trade his valuable furs for a well-educated escaped slave, a rugged trapper vows to recover the pelts from the Indians and later the renegades that killed them. (102 mins.)
Director: Sydney Pollack
“ I have a huge admiration for Burt Lancaster and his films. There is no actor I know of who had such spirit, humanity and plain good vibes as Burt Lancaster. He's alwas bursting with energy, and you can often sense his roots as an acrobat in the movies. If a movie encapsulates his spirit more than The Scalphunters, let me know. This one has fallen through the cracks somehow, because it has no real categorisation, it is a Western in a sense, but it's so zany and experimental and joyous that it comes across like no other film. The feel of it to me was more like a William Morris novel. You've got at least three actors in this movie competing to have the most fun, and enough reversals in stereotype that it makes Johnny Guitar look staid.

One of the great movies, but far ahead of its time. In definite need of more exposure, pretty much an open secret amongst buffs that this is one of the great sleepers. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
World of Tomorrow (2015 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A little girl is taken on a mind-bending tour of her distant future. (17 mins.)
Director: Don Hertzfeldt
Mournful Unconcern (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Family and friends gather in a decadent house to party. Despite their delusive distinction a raw passion for sex and violence comes to light. (110 mins.)
“ Sokurov's incredible and hermetic adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's play Heartbreak House. It has all the dolorous feel that the title Mournful Unconcern implies. What is heartbreak here? It is quite a hard concept to understand these days, as almost everyone is heartbroken (or is that just my view from inside the bell jar?). There was once abroad the spirit of self-improvement, of a thirst for knowledge, of loving every man. Who knows if this was just the case for a microcosm of Victorian society, or whether it was something to be found at large all over the civilised world? Matthew Arnold once wrote "The Sea of Faith / Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore / Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled. / But now I only hear / It's melancholy, lone, withdrawing roar...". That was some time ago so I suspect anomie ebbs and flows.

There's a part of Cries and Whispers where Bergman shows the transformation to heartbreak in Marie, the doctor (David) who has come to see her dying sister describes Maria's change in countenance to her,

"'Come here, Marie. Come. Look at yourself in the mirror. You’re beautiful. You’re probably more beautiful now than before. But you’ve changed a lot too. I want you to see how you’ve changed. Now your eyes cast quick, calculating side glances. You used to look ahead, straightforwardly, openly, unmasked. Your mouth has taken on an expression of discontent and hunger. It used to be so soft. Your complexion is pale now. You use makeup. Your fine, broad forehead now has four wrinkles above each brow. No, you can’t see it in this light, but you can in broad daylight. Do you know what caused those wrinkles?’
‘Indifference, Marie. And this fine line that runs from ear to chin isn’t as obvious any more. But it’s etched there by your easygoing, indolent ways. And there, by the bridge of your nose. Why do you sneer so often, Marie? You see it? You sneer too often. See, Marie? And look under your eyes. The sharp, scarcely noticeable lines of your impatience and your ennui.'"

This is a good one for a double bill I think. Sokurov, as well as Tarr, Bartas, Tarkovsky, and a whole generation of Eastern European filmmakers have perhaps filmed the cinema of heartbreak. It's something that's happened to me in my lifetime, the thirst for knowledge has led to acquaintance with the ideas of Marx and Kropotkin, of Marcel Mauss and Guy Debord, of a stream of intellectuals who have proposed great ideals that have been annihilated by historical events of the twentieth century, or latterly who have pulled back the stone of society and let us see the woodlice crawl. Faced with the hijacking of the Marxist-Leninist movement, with the failures of '68, with the ideas of Milton Friedman running wild, a generation of filmmakers produced the cinema of heartbreak. So what do heartbroken people do? We make money and we amuse ourselves, and now I don't even think we know that we are heartbroken.

In terms of what you see in the film, it has a strange anaesthetic quality that renders you almost unable to recall any particular scene in the movie, or an idea of any general direction of plot. A house of the heartbroken in the midst of nowhere contains refugees from a war going on outside and heartbroken aesthetes, they don't even acknowledge the war is happening. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Cube (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Six complete strangers of widely varying personality characteristics are involuntarily placed in an endless maze containing deadly traps. (90 mins.)
Director: Vincenzo Natali
“ The best way to experience this horror movie is probably to not know anything about it beforehand. However should you be curious:

Seven strangers named after famous prisons awake in an infernal cube-shaped environment. Together they must attempt to harness their different strengths in order to escape. Each room they enter appears the same, however some hide deadly traps.

To an extent the movie is a philosophical one, which suggests that we are doomed as individuals in a modern self-perpetuating unregulated technological environment unless we act together. However if you have a gruesome tooth / macabre sensibility and like Grand Guignol (scenes of elaborately staged theatrical murders strung together) this is for you too. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Touki Bouki (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Mory, a cowherd, and Anta, a university student, try to make money in order to go to Paris and leave their boring past behind. (85 mins.)
“ Mambéty has been called the African Godard, but there's also the spirit of Buñuel and Fellini in Touki Bouki, really stuff on a parallel too, not cheaply imitative.

Mory and Anta are boyfriend and girlfriend who want what basically anyone wants, safety, prosperity and personal fulfilment. They're cerebral folk who find it hard to fit into traditional Senegalese roles and yearn to emigrate to France. So the film is about their struggle to migrate. It's fascinating though because, the footage of ordinary people in Senegal is clearly sentimental, and the French in Senegal are shown as having little regard for blacks, regarding them as children. What Mory and Anta want is basically mythical. This film is so universal as well! How many people yearn for the acceptance of a group of individuals that couldn't care less about them and that they're better than? How many people suffer looking upon the gulf between the way the world is and how they'd prefer it to be?

The Fellinian flights of the mind really catapult this film into the pantheon of the great films in my opinion. Watcher beware, there are graphic scenes of animal slaughter in the movie! ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Hatsu yume (1981 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
(56 mins.)
Director: Bill Viola
Crossroads (1928)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
After falling in love with a courtesan, Rikiya is blinded by ash during a fight in a brothel. Believing the blindness permanent and his opponent dead... (74 mins.)
“ Kinugasa is famous amongst the community of silent filmgoers for his film A Page of Madness. There's no reason why the name wouldn't apply to this fever dream of a film just as admirably.

The English release title was something like Shadows of the Yoshiwara, the Yoshiwara district of Edo was an area that shogunate decree had set aside as a red-light district in the 17th Century. Inside this district, expressionistically depicted in a permanent nighttime, live a young man and his seamstress sister. The young man has developed amour fou for O-yume, an uber-vamp courtesan. When I think of her I'm reminded of a 12th century sculpture I saw in the Victoria and Albert museum, you can find it using a search engine, "Mahakala", who is the vengeful face of Lord Shiva. Mahakala has fangs and a belt of severed heads, really a gruesome sculpture. O-yume is no less wild and ferocious, she has not a feeling in the world for the young man who pursues her, she uses him for whatever cash value he can provide, he is a milking cow. The young man neglects his meek sister who provides for them, and sprints down the path towards ruin. Will he be saved?

Scores for silent films can be fairly crucial, a piano accompanist is often no good, especially for highly expressionistic material like this. This was made most clear to me when listening to old Frank Borzage western shorts and hearing an ole time banjo accompaniment. The accompaniment whilst I was watching Jujiro was a duel between experimental electronic musicians Matthew Bourne and the Birdman of Alkijazz. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
The Lady with the Dog (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
In the Nineteenth Century, at the seaside resort of Yalta, the upper class Dimitri Gurov from Moscow meets Anna Sergeyovna walking with her little dog... (83 mins.)
Director: Iosif Kheifits
Burn! (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
The professional mercenary Sir William Walker instigates a slave revolt on the Caribbean island of Queimada... (132 mins.)
“ Queimada has been a formative film for me, one of those films that genuinely changes your life. Particularly in this case it informed my politics. It makes it really clear that when a system disadvantages a majority, the only way out of that is via education. People who know nothing cannot help themselves.

Queimada is a Portuguese colony, an island where slaves grow sugar cane so that the salons of Europe may have sweet delicacies at tea time. The slaves are treated with brutality. An englishman, Sir William Walker (played by Marlon Brando) arrives and foments a revolution, but only so that he can swap the colonial mastership from the crown of Portugal to that of England (once the workers realise that they cannot sustain themselves, e.g. they have no knowledge of medicine and trade, Walker offers them new masters under slightly better conditions than before).

Remains utterly relevant for today, where people are hungry for change, but not for knowledge. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Knife in the Water (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
On their way to a sailing trip, an aging husband and wife invite along an emphatic young hitchhiker out of sheer patronization. (94 mins.)
Director: Roman Polanski
The Red and the White (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
In 1919, Hungarian Communists aid the Bolsheviks' defeat of Czarists, the Whites. Near the Volga, a... (90 mins.)
Director: Miklós Jancsó
“ A very simple movie about the fight between monarchists and revolutionaries in Civil War era Russia. Really very much more timeless than that though. In the ancient Christian versions of the tales of Arthur, God would help guide the lance of the righteous knight against the wicked knight. In the Red and the White randomness is the key, life and death happens according to whether someone turns left or right, hides or doesn't. It highlights that in war there is never any justice. The camera goes on a random walk through the random violence. The whole movie is a distillation of this point. ” - oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx