Lists by oOgiandujaOo
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/Pasolini; films that programmers clunkily refer to as artist's film and video/experimental film/avant-garde cinema, by folks like Dorsky/Duras/Breer/Bokanowski/Fischinger/Deren; films that I'd call Amerarkana (low profile, minimalist, enchanted, anonymous American crime/horror films), The Music of Chance/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; 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 Crawlspace, White of the Eye, or Vampiros Lesbos (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, 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, 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. 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'm also looking for a film to be interesting. 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, 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 to do, 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 nothing 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.
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, and I also have no appreciation of camp aesthetic either. 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 the 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:
Gas! -Or- It Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save It (Roger Corman). 3.6/10
The Cremaster Cycle (Matthew Barney) 3.9/10 (significantly lower than the average of the individual films).
Acéphale (Patrick Deval) 4.3/10
A Hole in My Heart (Lukas Moodysson) 4.5/10
Crawlspace (David Schmoeller) 4.8/10
Quintet (Robert Altman) 4.9/10
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, working my way through Fassbinder's filmography he will eventually get to the top even if I only like one fifth of his films.
3 films: Alain Robbe-Grillet, Alex Cox, Béla Tarr, Erich Rohmer, Frantisek Vlácil, Georges Franju, Guy Maddin, Hans Richter, Henry Hathaway, Ingmar Bergman, Jean Delannoy, Jonas Mekas, Josef von Sternberg, Kenneth Anger, Lars Von Trier, Manoel de Oliveira, Matthew Barney (taking Cremaster 3 and 4 as two separate films), Mikhail Kalatozov, Monte Hellman, Patrick Bokanowski, Sergio Leone, and Stanley Kubrick.
4 films: David Lynch, Jacques Rivette, Jean-Luc Godard, Lewis Klahr, Michaelangelo Antonioni, Miklós Jancsó, Oskar Fischinger, Pier Paolo Pasolini, René Laloux, Roger Corman, and Walerian Borowczyk.
5 films: Dario Argento, Nathaniel Dorsky, Orson Welles, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Werner Herzog.
6 films: Marguerite Duras, Fritz Lang (counting The Tiger of Eschnapur and The Indian Tomb as one movie), and Peter Greenaway
** If you are thinking of using this list for recommendations, people who like the list and have used it for recommendations have told me in the past that they don't like Vampiros Lesbos being on it. I'm a big fan of the interior design in the movie and the general mise en scène, but it's not really titillating, I'm not putting it forwards as an erotic classic.
** There are several films on there 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.
** Previously I had a list of films in this introduction that weren't on the IMDb, however I have since added them or been aided to add them (thanks to antnield of criterionforum).
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!