Experimental/Avant Garde

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1. Symmetricks (1972)

6 min | Animation, Short

Against a black background and a pulsating beat matching white symmetrical geometric flashes around a central orb, white lines are drawn in mirror images vertical to each other. The images ... See full summary »

Directors: Wade Shaw, Stan Vanderbeek

Votes: 65

2. Science Friction (1959)

10 min | Animation, Short

This film uses stop motion animation of still photographs to convey images of politics and science in the nuclear era. The advancement of science allows man to do things he never would have... See full summary »

Director: Stan Vanderbeek

Votes: 217

3. Little Stabs at Happiness (1960)

15 min | Short

A film in four parts. In "In the Room", a man and a woman in outlandish garb are sitting in a claw-foot bathtub smoking, while the man abuses a doll in various ways. In "They Stopped to ... See full summary »

Director: Ken Jacobs

Votes: 330

4. Un Chien Andalou (1929)

Not Rated | 16 min | Short, Fantasy, Horror

Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí present 17 minutes of bizarre, surreal imagery.

Director: Luis Buñuel | Stars: Pierre Batcheff, Simone Mareuil, Luis Buñuel, Salvador Dalí

Votes: 39,665

5. Ghosts Before Breakfast (1928)

6 min | Short

Hans Richter, noted for his abstract shorts, has everyday objects rebelling against their daily routine.

Director: Hans Richter | Stars: Werner Graeff, Walter Gronostay, Paul Hindemith, Darius Milhaud

Votes: 1,248

6. Rhythmus 21 (1923)

3 min | Animation, Short

Black and white rectangular images fade in and out of the screen. Their movement make them sometimes look like they're panning from side to side. Their movement also make the black and ... See full summary »

Director: Hans Richter

Votes: 1,030

7. Symphonie diaganale (1924)

7 min | Animation, Short, Music

A tilted figure, consisting largely of right angles at the beginning, grows by accretion, with the addition of short straight lines and curves which sprout from the existing design. The ... See full summary »

Director: Viking Eggeling

Votes: 1,106

8. Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)

Not Rated | 14 min | Short

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.

Directors: Maya Deren, Alexander Hammid | Stars: Maya Deren, Alexander Hammid

Votes: 8,588

9. Notes on the Circus (1966)

Not Rated | 12 min | Documentary, Short

The short film is a montage of sped up video clips of The Ringling Brothers Circus in action set to a musical track. The film is separated into four segments, each segment which focuses on ... See full summary »

Director: Jonas Mekas

Votes: 192

10. Cassis (1966)

Not Rated | 4 min | Documentary, Short

One day of the Cassis port filmed in one shot.

Director: Jonas Mekas

Votes: 111

11. Orchard Street (1955)

12 min | Documentary, Short

This short film documents the daily life of the goings-on on Orchard Street, a commercial street in the Lower East Side New York City. It is a bustling street with an eclectic mix of both ... See full summary »

Director: Ken Jacobs

Votes: 55

12. Chelsea Girls (1966)

210 min | Drama

Lacking a formal narrative, Warhol's art house classic follows various residents of the Chelsea Hotel in 1966 New York City, presented in a split screen with a single audio track in conjunction with one side of screen.

Directors: Paul Morrissey, Andy Warhol | Stars: Brigid Berlin, Randy Borscheidt, Christian Päffgen, Angelina 'Pepper' Davis

Votes: 998

13. Bike Boy (1967)

Unrated | 96 min | Drama

Joe Spencer, a member of a motorcycle gang, is taking a shower. After his bout with personal hygiene, Joe encounters Andy Warhol's "superstars," who engage him in conversation. The ... See full summary »

Director: Andy Warhol | Stars: Joseph Spencer, Ed Wiener, Vera Cruz, George Ann

Votes: 82

14. Blow Job (1963)

35 min | Documentary, Short

Andy Warhol directs a single 35-minute shot of a man's face to capture his facial expressions as he receives the sexual act depicted in the title.

Director: Andy Warhol | Stars: DeVeren Bookwalter, Willard Maas

Votes: 859

15. Kiss (1963)

55 min | Documentary, Drama

Close-ups of couples kissing for three minutes each.

Director: Andy Warhol | Stars: Rufus Collins, Johnny Dodd, Fred Herko, Jane Holzer

Votes: 326

16. Fireworks (1947)

20 min | Short, Drama, Horror

Depicts a dream sequence about the brutal rape and torture of Anger himself (as a teenager) by a group of sailors on the street (after trying to pick one of them up).

Director: Kenneth Anger | Stars: Kenneth Anger, Gordon Gray, Bill Seltzer

Votes: 1,869

17. Rabbit's Moon (1950)

7 min | Short, Drama, Fantasy

Pierrot waxes romantic, entranced by the moon. Harlequin appears and bullies him, then uses a magic lantern to project an image of Columbine. Pierrot tries to court the illusory Columbine ... See full summary »

Director: Kenneth Anger | Stars: Claude Revenant, André Soubeyran, Nadine Valence

Votes: 1,443

18. Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954)

38 min | Short, Fantasy, Horror

A Slavonic Mass by Leos Janácek plays as historical figures, biblical characters, and mythical creatures gather in the pleasure dome. Aphrodite, Lilith, Isis, Kali, Astarte, Nero, Pan, and ... See full summary »

Director: Kenneth Anger | Stars: Samson De Brier, Marjorie Cameron, Joan Whitney, Katy Kadell

Votes: 1,463

19. Scorpio Rising (1963)

28 min | Short, Music

An army of gay/nazi bikers make their engines roar and ride the way to pain/pleasure as sexual and sadistic symbols are intercut into the dazing chaos and rhythmic experiences of this ... See full summary »

Director: Kenneth Anger | Stars: Ernie Allo, Bruce Byron, Frank Carifi, Steve Crandell

Votes: 3,718

20. Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969)

12 min | Short, Horror

Experimental short, featuring strobe-like erotic imagery with several shots of the Rolling Stones in performance and an original synthesizer score by Mick Jagger.

Director: Kenneth Anger | Stars: Kenneth Anger, Bobby Beausoleil, Bill Beutel, Harvey Bialy

Votes: 1,420

21. Lucifer Rising (1972)

29 min | Short, Fantasy

Egyptian gods summons the angel Lucifer - in order to usher in a new occult age.

Director: Kenneth Anger | Stars: Kenneth Anger, Bobby Beausoleil, Donald Cammell, Haydn Couts

Votes: 2,231

22. Puce Moment (1949)

6 min | Short

A soundtrack plays folk rock as a woman prepares, at noon, to take her Borzois for a walk. She goes through her dresses, all 1920s style flapper gowns, holding them one at a time, shaking ... See full summary »

Director: Kenneth Anger | Star: Yvonne Marquis

Votes: 1,327

23. Kustom Kar Kommandos (1970)

3 min | Short, Music

A man in tight jeans buffs his car to the strains of "Dream Lover".

Director: Kenneth Anger

Votes: 1,282

24. Eaux d'artifice (1953)

Not Rated | 12 min | Short

A woman dressed elegantly walks purposely through the water gardens at the Villa d'Este in Tivoli, as the music of Vivaldi's "Winter" movement of "The Four Seasons" plays. Heavy red filters... See full summary »

Director: Kenneth Anger | Star: Carmilla Salvatorelli

Votes: 1,280

25. Dreams That Money Can Buy (1947)

Approved | 99 min | Drama, Fantasy

After learning how to look inside himself, a poetic bum sells people vivid dreams.

Director: Hans Richter | Stars: Jack Bittner, Libby Holman, Josh White, Norman Cazanjian

Votes: 672

26. La chute de la maison Usher (1928)

Not Rated | 63 min | Horror

Allan visits the sinister Usher family mansion, where his friend Roderick is painting a portrait of his sickly wife Madeline. The portrait seems to be draining the life out of Madeline, slowly leading to her death.

Director: Jean Epstein | Stars: Jean Debucourt, Marguerite Gance, Charles Lamy, Fournez-Goffard

Votes: 2,820

27. The Life and Death of 9413, a Hollywood Extra (1928)

Not Rated | 11 min | Short, Drama

This short experimental film tells the story of a man who comes to Hollywood to become a star, only to fail and be dehumanized (he is identified by the number 9314 written on his forehead),... See full summary »

Directors: Robert Florey, Slavko Vorkapich | Stars: Jules Raucourt, Voya George, Robert Florey, Adriane Marsh

Votes: 948

28. La coquille et le clergyman (1928)

28 min | Short

Obsessed with a general's woman, a clergyman has strange visions of death and lust, struggling against his own eroticism.

Director: Germaine Dulac | Stars: Alex Allin, Genica Athanasiou, Lucien Bataille

Votes: 1,429

29. Haiti (1938)

16 min | Documentary, Short

A travelogue of Port-au-Prince, Haiti concentrating on the daily life and rhythm of tropical island life.

Director: Rudy Burckhardt

Votes: 51

30. Ballet mécanique (1924)

19 min | Short

A pulsing, kaleidoscope of images set to an energetic soundtrack. A young women swings in a garden; a woman's face smiles. The rest is spinning cylinders, pistons, gears and turbines, ... See full summary »

Directors: Fernand Léger, Dudley Murphy | Stars: Kiki of Montparnasse, Fernand Léger, Dudley Murphy, Katherine Murphy

Votes: 2,312

31. L'étoile de mer (1928)

21 min | Short, Romance

Two people stand on a road, out of focus. Seen distorted through a glass, they retire upstairs to a bedroom where she undresses. He says, "Adieu." Images: the beautiful girl, a starfish in ... See full summary »

Director: Man Ray | Stars: Kiki of Montparnasse, André de la Rivière, Robert Desnos

Votes: 1,102

32. Jídlo (1993)

17 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

BREAKFAST: After eating breakfast, a man is transformed into an elaborate dumb-waiter-style breakfast dispenser - and the same fate befalls the man who obtains breakfast from him. LUNCH: ... See full summary »

Director: Jan Svankmajer | Stars: Ludvík Sváb, Bedrich Glaser, Jan Kraus, Pavel Marek

Votes: 2,216

33. Neco z Alenky (1988)

Not Rated | 86 min | Animation, Adventure, Fantasy

A surrealistic revision of Alice in Wonderland.

Director: Jan Svankmajer | Stars: Kristýna Kohoutová, Camilla Power

Votes: 9,685

34. Inland Empire (2006)

R | 180 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

72 Metascore

As an actress starts to adopt the persona of her character in a film, her world starts to become nightmarish and surreal.

Director: David Lynch | Stars: Laura Dern, Jeremy Irons, Justin Theroux, Karolina Gruszka

Votes: 47,410 | Gross: $0.75M

35. Santa sangre (1989)

NC-17 | 123 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

A former circus artist escapes from a mental hospital to rejoin his armless mother - the leader of a strange religious cult - and is forced to enact brutal murders in her name as he becomes "her arms".

Director: Alejandro Jodorowsky | Stars: Axel Jodorowsky, Blanca Guerra, Guy Stockwell, Thelma Tixou

Votes: 15,898

36. Fando and Lis (1968)

93 min | Adventure, Fantasy

Fando and his partially paralyzed lover Lis search for the mythical city of Tar. Based on Jodorowsky's memories of a play by surrealist Fernando Arrabal.

Director: Alejandro Jodorowsky | Stars: Tamara Garina, Sergio Kleiner, Diana Mariscal, María Teresa Rivas

Votes: 4,333

37. The Hourglass Sanatorium (1973)

124 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Józef visits his dying father at a remote mental institution, where time itself doesn't seem to exist, and the line between dreams and memories becomes indistinguishable.

Director: Wojciech Has | Stars: Jan Nowicki, Tadeusz Kondrat, Irena Orska, Halina Kowalska

Votes: 2,470

38. Brand Upon the Brain! A Remembrance in 12 Chapters (2006)

Not Rated | 95 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

79 Metascore

Returned home to his long-estranged mother upon a request from her deathbed, a man raised by his parents in an orphanage has to confront the childhood memories that have long haunted him.

Director: Guy Maddin | Stars: Gretchen Krich, Sullivan Brown, Maya Lawson, Katherine E. Scharhon

Votes: 3,074 | Gross: $0.23M

39. Powaqqatsi (1988)

G | 99 min | Documentary, Music

An exploration of technologically developing nations and the effect the transition to Western-style modernization has had on them.

Director: Godfrey Reggio | Stars: Christie Brinkley, David Brinkley, Pope John Paul II, Dan Rather

Votes: 6,773 | Gross: $0.59M

40. Naqoyqatsi (2002)

PG | 89 min | Documentary, Music

59 Metascore

A visual montage portrait of our contemporary world dominated by globalized technology and violence.

Director: Godfrey Reggio | Stars: Belladonna, Marlon Brando, Elton John, Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Votes: 4,699 | Gross: $0.13M

41. Koyaanisqatsi (1982)

Not Rated | 86 min | Documentary, Music

A collection of expertly photographed phenomena with no conventional plot. The footage focuses on nature, humanity and the relationship between them.

Director: Godfrey Reggio | Stars: Lou Dobbs, Ted Koppel

Votes: 30,200 | Gross: $1.72M

42. American Masters (1985– )
Episode: Man Ray: Prophet of the Avant Garde (1997)

Not Rated | 60 min | Documentary, Biography

Add a Plot

Director: Mel Stuart | Stars: Stockard Channing, Man Ray

Votes: 76

43. Heaven and Earth Magic (1962)

66 min | Animation

New York beat cronies slumbering through Harry Smith, Burroughs and Ginsberg, University Columbia, Colombia, or the crazy is just what we need, not to "explain" tears in the fabric but to ... See full summary »

Director: Harry Smith

Votes: 471

44. L'opéra-mouffe (1962)

16 min | Short, Drama, Romance

Impressions of the rue Mouffetard, Paris 5, through the eyes of a pregnant woman.

Director: Agnès Varda | Stars: Dorothée Blanck, Antoine Bourseiller, André Rousselet, Jean Tasso

Votes: 474

45. Odilon Redon or The Eye Like a Strange Balloon Mounts Toward Infinity (1995)

5 min | Short

A father and son ride the rails in their powerful locomotive. Witnessing a crash between two other engines, they rescue the lone survivor, Berenice, and make her a part of their family. All... See full summary »

Director: Guy Maddin | Stars: Jim Keller, Brandy Bayes, Caelum Vatnsdal, Evan Richards

Votes: 434

46. Careful (1992)

Not Rated | 100 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

62 Metascore

In the Alpine village of Tolzbad in the 1800s, the townsfolk talk quietly and restrain their movements lest they incur avalanches. This atmosphere lends itself to repressed emotions - shown... See full summary »

Director: Guy Maddin | Stars: Kyle McCulloch, Gosia Dobrowolska, Sarah Neville, Brent Neale

Votes: 1,551

47. Twilight of the Ice Nymphs (1997)

91 min | Fantasy, Mystery, Romance

65 Metascore

Peter Glahn is released after years of incarceration as a political prisoner and is now returning to his homeland, the mythical Mandragora where the sun never sets. On board the ship home, ... See full summary »

Director: Guy Maddin | Stars: Pascale Bussières, Shelley Duvall, Frank Gorshin, Alice Krige

Votes: 783

48. The Dead Father (1985)

26 min | Short, Comedy, Drama

The patriarch of a troubled clan dies, but the resentment and yearning of the eldest son conspire to bring the errant father back for periodic visits in an only partially living state. ... See full summary »

Director: Guy Maddin | Stars: D.P. Snidal, Margaret Anne MacLeod, John Harvie, Angela Heck

Votes: 275

49. Hospital Fragment (2000)

3 min | Short

An impressionistic series of images inspired by "Tales From the Gimli Hospital".

Director: Guy Maddin | Stars: Michael Gottli, Angela Heck, Darcy Fehr, Brent Neale

Votes: 241

50. Tales from the Gimli Hospital (1988)

72 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

71 Metascore

While their mother is dying in the modern Gimli, Manitoba hospital, two young children are told a tale by their Icelandic grandmother about Einar the Lonely, his friend Gunnar, and the ... See full summary »

Director: Guy Maddin | Stars: Kyle McCulloch, Michael Gottli, Angela Heck, Margaret Anne MacLeod

Votes: 1,118

51. Knout (III) (2000)

10 min | Short, Drama

6.7