10 Movies That Influenced 'A Ghost Story'

by IMDb-Editors | last updated - 11 Aug 2017

Take a look at director David Lowery's list of 10 films that inspired 'A Ghost Story.'

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Bob Bergen and Rumi Hiiragi in Spirited Away (2001)

'Spirited Away' (2001)

"We looked at that phantom in Spirited Away as a point of reference for our ghost. Obviously, that spirit takes on a much different form but for much of the movie it’s a shrouded figure with an impassive face, but there’s so much emotion and complexity in that visage. It also has a charm, a naivety, a whimsy. I love that whimsy and I wanted our movie to capture that. I wanted it to be playful in the same way as [director] Hayao Myazaki’s films are playful."

Poltergeist (1982)

'Poltergeist' (1982)

"This is a movie I watch every year on or around Halloween. Two-thirds of the way through A Ghost Story, there’s an entire sequence that is basically a remake of Poltergeist from the ghost’s point of view. There are also some visual effects in the film, such as a portal to another world, that were deliberately intended to look like visual effects from Poltergeist. Even in the screenplay, I described it as looking like 'a glowing portal from Poltergeist.'"

Scarlett Johansson in Under the Skin (2013)

'Under the Skin' (2013)

"Under the Skin takes a very simple idea – an alien figuring out what it means to be human – and represents it so beautifully and with such complexity. A Ghost Story is ultimately about a character learning that he needs to let go. That’s a very simple, graspable, common place idea. And yet, I wanted to render it with some degree of complexity. I looked to Under the Skin for inspiration as to how to do that."

Tilda Swinton in Orlando (1992)

'Orlando' (1992)

"Orlando is about a great many things, but one of those things is time. The way in which Virginia Woolf uses time has had a great impact on me as a storyteller. Orlando is about someone who exists outside of time, and that concept fascinates me."

Loong Boonmee raleuk chat (2010)

'Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives' (2010)

"This is a film that takes a very handmade approach to its representation of ghosts and spirits. Sometimes they appear as transparent figures at a table. Other times, the spirit manifests itself as an actor in a gorilla suit with glowing LED eyes. The idea that [director] Apichatpong Weerasethakul could take such a goofy image and make it mysterious and moving was a great source of inspiration on me. In A Ghost Story, we try to take a goofy Halloween costume and render it mysterious."

Delphine Seyrig in Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)

'Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles' (1975)

"Jeanne Dielman... is a film that is focused almost entirely on mundane activities. We watch a woman go through her daily rituals over and over again. The cumulative effects of all these quotidian activities is monumental and really impressive. I wanted A Ghost Story to function in a similar way. I wanted to cast a spell over the audience, not with anything overt, but with the sheer mundanity."

Nathalia Acevedo in Post Tenebras Lux (2012)

'Post Tenebras Lux' (2012)

"I love how dense the movie is with symbolism, surrealism, and magical realism. It’s a movie that you really have to dig into, and it’s well worth digging into. It’s also a movie that was shot in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio, which I found incredibly invigorating. It was a really provocative choice. I feel like that was one of the modern movies to use that aspect ratio that inspired me to employ it in A Ghost Story."

Daniel London and Will Oldham in Old Joy (2006)

'Old Joy' (2006)

"This was also the film that introduced me to the acting talent of Bonny Prince Billy [aka Will Oldham]. I knew of him as a musician and was a huge fan but at that point I was unaware he was an actor. I loved his presence and felt so at ease watching him on screen. I made a mental note that I wanted to work with him and have now made three films with him in various capacities. He’s the sinter point of A Ghost Story in many ways, and I have Old Joy to thank for that."

Goodbye, Dragon Inn (2003)

'Goodbye Dragon Inn' (2003)

"Goodbye Dragon Inn has the trademark long takes that really are the signature of Tsai Ming-liang’s films. The way in which these extremely extended takes can manifest humor, sadness, slapstick, and mystery really were more pronounced in this film than in any of his others that I’d seen prior to that."

River of Fundament (2014)

'River of Fundament' (2014)

"River of Fundament is a really monumental piece of work. One of the things I love is how huge and operatic it is and how physical it is. It feels like it’s a regurgitation of something. It’s a bizarre movie, it’s a disgusting movie, it’s a hard movie to sit through, but it was one of the best experiences I had in a theater last year."

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