Best Avant-Garde/Experimental films (IMO)by Catrician | created - 18 May 2013 | updated - 12 Feb 2017 | Public
IMPORTANT: Avant-garde/experimental directors, please message me here if you want me to see your short film or feature, I'd love to expand my horizons. I've found that this list is the first one on the net if you google "best avant-garde movies" so if I like it enough, and it ends up on here, it could be very good for everyone! Keep em coming!
Based on the very limited amount I've seen
Godard: 8 Brakhage: 4 Rivette: 3 Akerman, Snow, von Trier, Lynch, Korine: 2
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1. Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974)
Unrated | 193 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
A mysteriously linked pair of young women find their daily lives preempted by a strange boudoir melodrama that plays itself out in a hallucinatory parallel reality.
Votes: 4,087 | Gross: $0.03M
2. The Tree of Life (2011)
PG-13 | 139 min | Drama, Fantasy
The story of a family in Waco, Texas in 1956. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence and struggles with his parents' conflicting teachings.
Votes: 155,993 | Gross: $13.30M
This one's arguable, but I can see enough experimental elements for it to qualify.
85 min | Documentary, Drama, Sci-Fi
A man recalls the story of how his bees implanted in him a bee television, causing him to lose all perception of space, time, and self in the deserts of the American West.
4. Dogville (2003)
R | 178 min | Crime, Drama
A woman on the run from the mob is reluctantly accepted in a small Colorado town. In exchange, she agrees to work for them. As a search visits the town, she finds out that their support has a price. Yet her dangerous secret is never far away.
Votes: 126,119 | Gross: $1.53M
5. Mulholland Drive (2001)
R | 147 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
After a car wreck on the winding Mulholland Drive renders a woman amnesiac, she and a perky Hollywood-hopeful search for clues and answers across Los Angeles in a twisting venture beyond dreams and reality.
Votes: 290,137 | Gross: $7.22M
9. Marketa Lazarová (1967)
Not Rated | 162 min | Drama, History, Romance
A grim portrayal of the shift from Paganism to Christianity in medieval Czechoslovakia - as a young virgin promised to God is kidnapped and raped by a marauder who her religious father seeks to kill in return.
11. First Name: Carmen (1983)
R | 85 min | Crime, Drama, Music
A woman involved with a terrorist group becomes dangerously close to the police officer guarding the bank they plan to rob.
12. The Color of Pomegranates (1969)
Not Rated | 79 min | Biography, Drama, History
A super-stylized, surreal biography of Armenian troubadour Sayat Nova, whose life is depicted through non-narrative amalgamations of poetic images.
14. 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (1967)
Not Rated | 87 min | Comedy, Drama
A day in the life of a Parisian housewife/prostitute, interspersed with musings on the Vietnam War and other contemporary issues.
Votes: 5,788 | Gross: $0.10M
16. Prelude: Dog Star Man (1962)
25 min | Short, Drama
The prelude to Dog Star Man (1964), an experimental film wherein a man climbs a mountain along with his dog.
includes all parts of Dog Star Man
19. Weekend (1967)
Not Rated | 105 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama
A surreal tale of a married couple going on a road trip to visit the wife's parents with the intention of killing them for the inheritance.
21. Synecdoche, New York (2008)
R | 124 min | Comedy, Drama
A theatre director struggles with his work, and the women in his life, as he creates a life-size replica of New York City inside a warehouse as part of his new play.
Votes: 71,940 | Gross: $3.08M
As with The Tree of Life, I think there's enough elements of avant-garde to let this qualify as an experimental film.
24. 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.
25. Out 1 (1971)
Not Rated | 729 min | Drama, Mystery
Following the May 1968 civil unrest in France, a deaf-mute and a con artist simultaneously stumble upon the remnants of a secret society.
Votes: 962 | Gross: $0.03M
27. Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)
Not Rated | 14 min | Short, Fantasy, Mystery
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.
28. Last Year at Marienbad (1961)
Not Rated | 94 min | Drama, Mystery
In a strange and isolated chateau, a man becomes acquainted with a woman and insists that they have met before.
Votes: 17,868 | Gross: $0.01M
29. The Mirror (1975)
G | 107 min | Biography, Drama
A dying man in his forties remembers his past. His childhood, his mother, the war, personal moments and things that tell of the recent history of all the Russian nation.
Not Rated | 201 min | Drama
A lonely widowed housewife does her daily chores, takes care of her apartment where she lives with her teenage son, and turns the occasional trick to make ends meet. However, something happens that changes her safe routine.
Votes: 5,713 | Gross: $0.02M
31. Mr. Nobody (2009)
R | 141 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance
A boy stands on a station platform as a train is about to leave. Should he go with his mother or stay with his father? Infinite possibilities arise from this decision. As long as he doesn't choose, anything is possible.
Votes: 196,751 | Gross: $0.00M
32. The Idiots (1998)
R | 117 min | Comedy, Drama
The group of people gather at the house in Copenhagen suburb to break all the limitations and to bring out the "inner idiot" in themselves.
Votes: 27,771 | Gross: $0.01M
33. Nouvelle vague (1990)
89 min | Drama
Composed entirely by literary quotations from many different sources and from several historical periods, Godard's film works as an allegory on film. The loose narrative tells about a ... See full summary »
34. Star Spangled to Death (2004)
402 min | Documentary, History
Star Spangled to Death is a 2004 experimental film directed by Ken Jacobs, consisting almost entirely of archive footage, depicting the history of the United States in film.
35. Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One (1968)
Not Rated | 75 min | Documentary
Filmmaker William Greaves auditioned acting students for a fictional drama, while simultaneously shooting the behind-the-scenes drama taking place.
37. Lost Highway (1997)
R | 134 min | Mystery, Thriller
After a bizarre encounter at a party, a jazz saxophonist is framed for the murder of his wife and sent to prison, where he inexplicably morphs into a young mechanic and begins leading a new life.
Votes: 118,205 | Gross: $3.80M
39. The Headless Woman (2008)
Unrated | 87 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
After hitting something with her car, a bourgeois Argentine woman's life slowly descends into paranoia and isolation, as she fears she may have killed someone.
Votes: 3,943 | Gross: $0.10M
Histoire(s) du cinéma (1989–1999)
Une histoire seule
42 min | Documentary
An 8-part documentary chronically the history of cinema: "All the Histories", "A Single History", "Only Cinema", "Deadly "Beauty", "The Coin of the Absolute", "A New Wave", "The Control of the Universe", and "The Signs Among Us".
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
includes the entire Histoire(s) du cinema
42. Spring Breakers (2012)
R | 94 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
Four college girls hold up a restaurant in order to fund their spring break vacation. While partying, drinking, and taking drugs, they are arrested, only to be bailed out by a drug and arms dealer.
Votes: 126,173 | Gross: $14.12M
44. Leviathan (I) (2012)
Not Rated | 87 min | Documentary
A documentary shot in the North Atlantic and focused on the commercial fishing industry.
Votes: 2,929 | Gross: $1.09M
46. Sleep Has Her House (2017)
90 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery
The shadows of screams climb beyond the hills. It has happened before. But this will be the last time. The last few sense it, withdrawing deep into the forest. They cry out into the black, as the shadows pass away, into the ground.
Director: Scott Barley
47. Wavelength (1967)
45 min | Drama
One of the most unconventional and experimental films ever made, Wavelength is a structural film of a 45-minute long zoom in on a window over a period of a week.