10 Films You Haven’t Seen But Should
I am taking a big risk with this list because I know how well versed our readers are when it comes to movies. Nevertheless, I am going to do it anyway. This is a list of films that the majority of people have not seen (and in some cases probably haven’t heard of) that are great in their own way and should be watched as soon as possible. WARNING: Some video clips contain bad language and nudity. There are also spoilers here. People with a phobia of taxidermy might want to avoid item 4.
10. Idioterne 1998, Lars von Trier
From the director of Dancer in the Dark, and Dogville, we have Idioterne, one of his most unusual dogme films. A group of perfectly intelligent young people decide to react to society’s cult of an aimless, non-creative and non-responsible form of intelligence by living together in a community of “idiots”. Their main activity becomes going out into the world of “normal” people and pretending to be mentally retarded. They take advantage of this situation to create anarchy everywhere they go and try by every possible means to make people annoyed, disturbed, miserable, ridiculous, angered, and shocked. The films start as they recruit a new lost soul and introduced her to their megalomaniac leader.
This will appeal to the sci-fi lovers. A man wakes up to find himself literally alone in the world, and goes about trying to find other survivors, as well as to find out what happened. He suspects that a government research project he was involved in had something to do with the disappearance of everyone. Eventually he finds several other people, and once they begin to trust each other they try to figure out why they were left on earth.
8. Drowning By Numbers 1988, Peter Greenaway
Three generations of women, a mother, her daughter and her niece – all called Cissie Colpitts – experience dissatisfaction with their husbands and cause them to drown. The local coroner, an inveterate game player called Madgett, is drawn into a plot to disguise the murders. The story is paced by the numbers one to one-hundred, which appear sequentially through the film.
Antoine, a little boy, falls in love with the local hairdresser, so he gets a hair cut every time he can. This situation causes some problems with his parents. However, when he grows up, he is still obsessed with the hair cutting, and one fine day he gets into a barber shop, meets the hairdresser (Mathilde), they fall in love at first sight, and begin a strange relationship. A typically French film that is well worth the watch.
6. Into Great Silence 2005, Philip Gröning
This is an odd man out here because it is actually a documentary, but it is too good to leave off. Nestled deep in the postcard-perfect French Alps, the Grande Chartreuse is considered one of the world’s most ascetic monasteries. In 1984, German filmmaker Philip Groning wrote to seek permission from the Carthusian order to make a documentary about them.Sixteen years later they were ready for him, and sans crew or artificial lighting, Groning lived in the monks’ quarters for six months filming their daily prayers, tasks, rituals and rare outdoor excursions.
A surprisingly serious performance by Will Smith really makes this film (that and the always excellent acting of Stockard Channing and Donald Sutherland). Flan and Ouisa Kittredge, rich NYC art dealers, are called on one night by a young man, Paul, who professes to be a friend of their kids’ from Harvard. They offer him a bed for the night; he enchants them with a home-cooked meal and magnificent conversation. The next morning, they learn that he is not all he seems to be. Their investigations are intriguing and lead them to re-evaluate their lives. This is based loosely on a true story.
4. Alice 1988, Jan Svankmajer
People with a phobia of taxidermy may want to give this one a miss. A memorably bizarre screen version of Lewis Carroll’s novel ‘Alice in Wonderland’, mixing one live actor (Alice) with a huge variety of sinister animated puppets, ranging from the complex (the White Rabbit) to the incredibly simple (the Caterpillar, consisting of a sock, a couple of glass eyes and a pair of false teeth). The original story is followed reasonably faithfully, though those familiar with this director’s other films won’t be the least bit surprised by the numerous digressions into Svankmajer territory, living slabs of meat and all. As the opening narration says, it’s a film made for children… perhaps?
Recognize the boy on the floor? It’s Adam Ant. This is one of the most iconic films by Derek Jarman. Queen Elizabeth I travels to late twentieth-century Britain to discover a tawdry and depressing landscape where life mostly seems aimless and is anyway held cheap. Three post-punk girls while away their vacuous existence as best they can, from time-to-time straying into murder to relieve the boredom.
2. Beau Travail 1999, Claire Denis
The video above is from the end of the film where Denis Lavant busts a move or two. It is quite an amusing scene though the film itself is very serious. This film focuses on ex-Foreign Legion officer, Galoup, as he recalls his once glorious life, leading troops in the Gulf of Djibouti. His existence there was happy, strict and regimented, but the arrival of a promising young recruit, Sentain, plants the seeds of jealousy in Galoup’s mind. He feels compelled to stop him from coming to the attention of the commandant who he admires, but who ignores him. Ultimately, his jealousy leads to the destruction of both Sentain and himself.
1. Death in Venice 1971, Luchino Visconti
I finally managed to find a trailer for this masterpiece film by Luchino Visconti. It is the final scene so it contains spoilers, however it is also one of the most profound moments in film, so it is worth watching. The entire film is filled with breathtaking images. The music you hear is Mahler’s Adagietto from his 5th symphony. It plays a lot through the film. In this adaptation of the Thomas Mann novel, avant-garde composer Gustave Aschenbach (loosely based on Gustav Mahler) travels to a Venetian seaside resort in search of repose after a period of artistic and personal stress. But he finds no peace there, for he soon develops a troubling attraction to an adolescent boy, Tadzio, on vacation with his family. The boy embodies an ideal of beauty that Aschenbach has long sought and he becomes infatuated. However, the onset of a deadly pestilence threatens them both physically and represents the corruption that compromises and threatens all ideals.
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