MICHELANGELO ANTONIONI'S 'L'AVVENTURA'
Michelangelo Antonioni invented a new film grammar with this masterwork. An iconic piece of challenging 1960s cinema and a gripping narrative on its own terms, L’avventura concerns the enigmatic disappearance of a young woman during a yachting trip off the coast of Sicily, and the search taken up by her disaffected lover (Gabriele Ferzetti) and best friend (Monica Vitti, in her breakout role). Antonioni’s controversial international sensation is a gorgeously shot tale of modern ennui and spiritual isolation.
AKIRA KUROSAWA'S 'IKIRU'
One of the greatest achievements by Akira Kurosawa, Ikiru shows the director at his most compassionate—affirming life through an exploration of death. Takashi Shimura beautifully portrays Kanji Watanabe, an aging bureaucrat with stomach cancer who is impelled to find meaning in his final days. Presented in a radically conceived two-part structure and shot with a perceptive, humanistic clarity of vision, Ikiru is a multifaceted look at what it means to be alive.
BRUCE ROBINSON'S 'WITHNAIL AND I'
London. The 1960s. Two unemployed actors—acerbic, elegantly wasted Withnail (Richard E. Grant) and the anxiety-ridden “I” (Paul McGann)—drown their frustrations in booze, pills, and lighter fluid. When Withnail’s Uncle Monty (Richard Griffiths) offers his cottage, they escape the squalor of their flat for a week in the country. They soon realize they’ve gone on holiday by mistake when their wits—and friendship—are sorely tested by violent downpours, less than hospitable locals, and empty cupboards. An intelligent, superbly acted, and hilarious film, Bruce Robinson’s semi-autobiographical cult favorite is presented here in its complete and uncut version.
Lilya lives in poverty and dreams of a better life. Her mother moves to the United States and abandons her to her aunt, who neglects her. Lilya hangs out with her friends, Natasha and Volodya, who is suicidal. Desperate for money, she starts working as a prostitute, and later meets Andrei. He offers her a good job in Sweden, but when Lilya arrives her life quickly enters a downward spiral.
'THE ACT OF KILLING'
In a place where killers are celebrated as heroes, these filmmakers challenge unrepentant death-squad leaders to dramatize their role in genocide. The result is a surreal, cinematic journey, not only into the memories and imaginations of mass murderers, but also into a frighteningly banal regime of corruption and impunity.
'THE BIG SLEEP'
The Big Sleep is a 1946 film noir directed by Howard Hawks, the first film version of Raymond Chandler's 1939 novel of the same name. The movie stars Humphrey Bogart as private detective Philip Marlowe and Lauren Bacall as Vivian Rutledge in a story about the "process of a criminal investigation, not its results." William Faulkner, Leigh Brackett, and Jules Furthman co-wrote the screenplay.
CÉLINE SCIAMMA'S 'GIRLHOOD'
Céline Sciamma is one of the forefront auteurs for the past ten years. I can't say enough good things about her. This film encapsulates her genius, and the soundtrack by Para One helps.
RICHARD LINKLATER'S 'BEFORE TRILOGY'
DAVID LYNCH'S 'MULHOLLAND DR.'
'A TASTE OF HONEY'
The revolutionary British New Wave films of the early 1960s were celebrated for their uncompromising depictions of working-class lives and relations between the sexes. Directed by Tony Richardson, a leading light of that movement, and based on one of the most controversial plays of its time, A Taste of Honey features Rita Tushingham in her star-making debut role as a disaffected teenager finding her way amid the economic desperation of industrial Manchester, and despite her absent, self-absorbed mother. With its unapologetic identification with social outcasts and its sensitive, modern approach to matters of sexuality and race, Richardson’s classic is a still startling benchmark work of realism.
I've written about the film here.
The lives of two lovelorn spouses from separate marriages, a registered sex offender, and a disgraced ex-police officer intersect as they struggle to resist their vulnerabilities and temptations in suburban Massachusetts.
JOHN CAMERON MITCHELL'S 'HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH'
Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a 2001 American musical comedy-drama film written, adapted, and directed by John Cameron Mitchell, who also portrayed the title role, reprising his performance from the original production. Based on Stephen Trask's stage musical of the same name, the film follows a fictional rock band fronted by an East German genderqueer singer who survives a botched sex change operation. Hedwig subsequently develops a relationship with a younger man, Tommy, becoming his mentor and musical collaborator, only to have Tommy steal her music and move on without her. The film follows Hedwig and her backing band, the Angry Inch, as they shadow Tommy's tour, while exploring Hedwig's past and complex gender identity.
Michael Fassbender in Shame.
In New York City, Brandon's carefully cultivated private life - which allows him to indulge his sexual addiction - is disrupted when his sister arrives unannounced for an indefinite stay.
Spring Breakers is a 2013 American satirical crime action drama film written and directed by Harmony Korine. It stars James Franco, Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine and follows four college-aged girls on their spring break in Florida where they meet an eccentric local drug dealer named Alien who helps them in a time of desperation, and their eventual descent into a world of drugs, crime, and violence.
ALFRED HITCHCOCK'S 'VERTIGO'
A San Francisco detective suffering from acrophobia investigates the strange activities of an old friend's wife, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her.
NOBUHIKO OBAYASHI'S 'HOUSE'
How to describe Nobuhiko Obayashi’s indescribable 1977 movie House(Hausu)? As a psychedelic ghost tale? A stream-of-consciousness bedtime story? An episode of Scooby-Doo as directed by Mario Bava? Any of the above will do for this hallucinatory head trip about a schoolgirl who travels with six classmates to her ailing aunt’s creaky country home and comes face-to-face with evil spirits, a demonic house cat, a bloodthirsty piano, and other ghoulish visions, all realized by Obayashi via mattes, animation, and collage effects. Equally absurd and nightmarish, House might have been beamed to Earth from some other planet. Never before available on home video in the United States, it’s one of the most exciting cult discoveries in years.
Two brothers and a sister witness the disappearance of their childhood memories when they must relinquish the family belongings to ensure their deceased mother's succession.
'THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER'
Robert Mitchum, The Night of the Hunter.
The Night of the Hunter—incredibly, the only film the great actor Charles Laughton ever directed—is truly a stand-alone masterwork. A horror movie with qualities of a Grimm fairy tale, it stars a sublimely sinister Robert Mitchum as a traveling preacher named Harry Powell (he of the tattooed knuckles), whose nefarious motives for marrying a fragile widow, played by Shelley Winters, are uncovered by her terrified young children. Graced by images of eerie beauty and a sneaky sense of humor, this ethereal, expressionistic American classic—also featuring the contributions of actress Lillian Gish and writer James Agee—is cinema’s most eccentric rendering of the battle between good and evil.
TERRENCE MALICK'S 'BADLANDS'
Badlands announced the arrival of a major talent: Terrence Malick. His impressionistic take on the notorious Charles Starkweather killing spree of the late 1950s uses a serial-killer narrative as a springboard for an oblique teenage romance, lovingly and idiosyncratically enacted by Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek. The film introduced many of the elements that would earn Malick his passionate following: the enigmatic approach to narrative and character, the unusual use of voice-over, the juxtaposition of human violence with natural beauty, the poetic investigation of American dreams and nightmares. This debut has spawned countless imitations, but none have equaled its strange sublimity.
Travis Henderson, an aimless drifter who has been missing for four years, wanders out of the desert and must reconnect with society, himself, his life, and his family.
'LA RÈGLE DU JEU'
Considered one of the greatest films ever made, The Rules of the Game (La règle du jeu), by Jean Renoir, is a scathing critique of corrupt French society cloaked in a comedy of manners in which a weekend at a marquis’ country château lays bare some ugly truths about a group of haut bourgeois acquaintances. The film has had a tumultuous history: it was subjected to cuts after the violent response of the premiere audience in 1939, and the original negative was destroyed during World War II; it wasn’t reconstructed until 1959.
THOMAS VINTERBERG'S 'JAGTEN'
Despite Vinterberg being an anti-feminist...
A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son's custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie.
'A CLOCKWORK ORANGE'
In future Britain, Alex DeLarge, a charismatic and psychopath delinquent, who likes to practice crimes and ultra-violence with his gang, is jailed and volunteers for an experimental aversion therapy developed by the government in an effort to solve society's crime problem - but not all goes according to plan.
GUS VAN SANT'S
A teenage skateboarder's life begins to fray after he is involved in the accidental death of a security guard.
No trailer can make this film real justice.
ALEJANDRO JODOROWSKY'S 'HOLY MOUNTAIN'
The Holy Mountain (Spanish: La montaña sagrada) is a 1973 Mexican surreal-fantasy film directed, written, produced, co-scored, co-edited by and starring Alejandro Jodorowsky, who also participated as a set designer and costume designer on the film. The film was produced by the Beatles manager Allen Klein of ABKCO Music and Records, after Jodorowsky scored an underground phenomenon with El Topo and the acclaim of both John Lennon and George Harrison (Lennon and Yoko Ono put up production money).
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