Films that are surreal,weird, and/or outrageous

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Re: Films that are surreal,weird, and/or outrageous

Postby A » Tue Jan 24, 2006 2:30 am

I'll just list some of my favorites, as there are thousands of films that fit the bill:

Ichi The Killer (2001 / Japan / Takashi Miike)
pretty demanding study of different modes of violence, at the same time reflecting and satirizing it, going against all viewer expectations regarding slasher films, heros, villains, etc.,etc. Demands several viewings - the most complex Miike film I've seen to date.

El Topo (1970 / Mexico / Alejandro Jodorowsky)
Surrealist denouncement of society and heroic concepts. Pretty moralizing.

Institute Benjamenta (1995 / UK / Brothers Quay)
Adaptation of a german novel by Robert Walser transported into "ber"-surreal Quay territory. Critique of society's hypocrisy.

Possession (1981 / West Germany, France / Andrzej Zulawski)
Best film I've seen so far on the devastating effect a @#%$ up relationship can have on your psyche. Zulawski supposedly made this after a three year divorce-hell he went through with a wife he still loved. The persons have deep psychoses' and the film is mostly filtered through their point of view, so be prepared for a very troubling film. (with gruesome "unintentional" abortion scene). A claustrophobic tour-de-force set against the cold-war in Berlin that doesn't give you room to breathe.

The Beast (1975 / France / Walerian Borowczyk)
Satire on church, society, and "morality" that doesn't leave anyone off the hook.

Goto, island of love (1968 / France / Walerian Borowczyk)
Imagine 1984 crossed with Kafka and populated by hillbillies. Devastating account of structural oppression resulting from ignorance. Everybody is basically oppressing himself in an enclosed society that has lost its humanity.

Woman in the dunes (1964 / Japan / Hiroshi Teshigahara)
Allegorical tale about the meaning of life. What is a human being when stripped of all possessions? What's important what isn't? Critique of modern-day society and a call for choosing your own fate.

Stalker (1979 / Soviet Union / Andrei Tarkovski)
Same as above, but set in a distant "totalitarian" society that has destroyed its humanity.

Diamonds of the night (1964 / Czechoslovakia / Jan Nemec)
Surrealist tale of two jews that have escaped from a train was deporting them. Critique of Czech fascists during WWII.

Daisies (1966 / Czechoslovakia / Very Chytilova)
Two girls try to break free from society's restrictions, but don't realize that they themselves are part of it.

Branded to kill (1967 / Japan / Seijun Suzuki)
Suzuki playfully deconstructs the Yakuza "genre" and builds it up anew.

Kuroneko (1967 / Japan / Kaneto Shindo)
Social critique packaged as a surreal horror-fable.

The Shining (1980 / USA / Stanley Kubrick)
Exploration of the aftereffects of slavery and the genocide of the indians on a society that doesn't want to aknowledge its past, packaged as a horror film. Also reflection about the correlation between photography and the film, image and reality.

Class relations (1984 / West Germany / Straub/Huillet)
Hommage to cinema, literature and the theater, and a critical account of the USA, through an adaptation of Franz Kafka's Amerika.

Angel's Egg (1985 / Japan / Mamoru Oshii)
Exploration of faith. Allegorical anime told in long takes with minimal dialogue.

Lost Highway (1996 / USA / David Lynch)
A schizophrenic has murdered his wife, but doesn't want to aknowledge it. Told from his POV, you will get a mind-boggling display of images.

Lulu on the bridge (1998 / USA / Paul Auster)
Allegorical tale of the (im)possibility of love. Very melancholic.

Tokyo Decadence (1992 / Japan / Ryu Murakami)
One day in the life of a neurotic Tokyo prostitute who has lost her personality. But the people surrounding her are even worse of because opposed to her they don't even seem to have noticed this fact in their own lives. One day in soulless hell. Beware - highly depressing.

Three Days (1991 / Soviet Union / Sarunas Bartas)
Three people trying to find love in post socialist Russia. But do they even know what they are looking for? Isolation and apathy, almost completely without dialogues.

The Death of Stalinism in Bohemia (1990 / UK / Jan Svankmajer)
Svankmajer reflects on 40 years of dictatorship, but in his usual surrealist way. Agit-prop at its best.

I married a strange person (1997 / USA / Bill Plympton)
Crude satire on love and death in the US.

Faust (1994 / Czech Republic / Jan Svankmajer)
surrealist re-telling of the Faust saga.

The reflecting skin, and Salo also recommended.

Re: Films that are surreal,weird, and/or outrageous

Postby Johndav » Tue Jan 24, 2006 10:27 am

Lots of interesting selections there. I particularly like Goto Isle of Love. I'm afraid my ignorance + shallowness are utterly exposed by the interpretation of The Shining. I'm not sure how successful The Beast is at imparting its sense of social satire into the minds of the audience! Miike undoubtedly plays with genre expectations, and meticulously, but i'm still not convinced as to the effectivness of his satirical intent; he certainly appeals to plenty of slasher fans, though of course the outcome of Ichi could be interpreted as some sort of repudiation, at the very least questioning, of violent audience desires.

Re: Films that are surreal,weird, and/or outrageous

Postby trevor826 » Tue Jan 24, 2006 1:05 pm

A - The Beast (1975 / France / Walerian Borowczyk)
Satire on church, society, and "morality" that doesn't leave anyone off the hook.

Certainly true but who can forget the chase sequence with the giant continuously flowing phallus!

I've just rented Innocence by Lucile Hadzihalilovic, I definitely expect this to hit the spot for surreal and weird.

Madhuban brought up Cronenberg and Greenaway, I think the majority of their output would easily qualify for this thread.

Cheers Trev.

Re: Films that are surreal,weird, and/or outrageous

Postby Johndav » Tue Jan 24, 2006 1:54 pm

And i've just ordered Innocence to buy, have very high hopes it may be the best yet by a female director- enticing image that reminded me of Celine + Julie go Boating (has that film already been mentioned here?).

Re: Films that are surreal,weird, and/or outrageous

Postby A » Tue Jan 24, 2006 10:59 pm

Don't worry about The Shining John, I only "got" most of it at the 5th or 6th viewing. Kubrick can be really tricky.
But don't ask me how long I had to think about 2001 or Barry Lyndon to unravel their secrets for me...

Re: Films that are surreal,weird, and/or outrageous

Postby Johndav » Wed Jan 25, 2006 9:35 am

Well, there is one secret i can divulge about Barry Lyndon.It is a great secret. It is THE secret. In the film there is one beautiful view. It is at a spot dear to my heart. Where a friend flew boldly, majestically, with the wings of a giant bird, over the countryside below, and almost came to grief. But she was undaunted, for great was her courage.. and great was her reward. Once she was English, after that she was English no more. And that sir is the truth. There, behind the view in the film, lies a little road (barely a track) over the wild mountain behind where magic happens! It is not like other roads. No sir, it is not. I found out later- after my first unexpected taste of the magic- Joseph of Armithea is supposed to have turned back there. Oh yes, the Da Vinci Code barely scratched the surface. The truth is stranger, deeper than fiction. Merlin was also in those parts. And perhaps he still is. Turner the painter strode there in his youth, before he realised the sun is god. Little did he know, that track was the making of him. In the sky you will see the Red Kite. And along that track, there's an old priory, then a wide green beautiful valley with fine horses, then just past where the magic ends there are thousands of trout swimming together. A great secret indeed. And now, though many miles away, over the sea, i'm fearful for divulging; i fear the wrath. But beside me i have the little doll. And my heart is pure. And those with pure hearts need not fear the ways of the righteous. But those whose hearts are greedy shall never know the secret. Pain and sorrow will be their destiny, until such time when...

Deep deep is the magic that guards the secret, and it shall be safe from the wicked. Forever.

A Touch of Zen (King Hu) may fit this thread. A certain mysticism perched between Crouching Tiger + Jodorowsky's Holy Mountain.

Oh, and the picaresque, Bunuelesque, Quixotesque, ghostly, gothic, slightly erotic Polish labyrinthine-Borgesian shaggy dog, Chinese box (Diderot-esque?) period adventure set in Spain with a Belgian protagonist; The Saragossa Manuscript.

or another from Poland, Mother Joan of the Angels, about some naughty nuns in need of exorcism.

Central/Eastern Europe seems to be the place for the weird + surreal.

Re: Films that are surreal,weird, and/or outrageous

Postby madhuban » Wed Jan 25, 2006 10:01 am

yes, trevor, all of Greenaway and Cronenberg can fall into this category. perhaps, Kaurismaki's oeuvre too!

some more:

"The Element of Crime" - Lars Von Trier
"Narcissus" -Norman McLaren
"Satyricon" - Fellini
'Porcile" - Pasolini


Re: Films that are surreal,weird, and/or outrageous

Postby Johndav » Wed Jan 25, 2006 10:23 am

Oh yes, Greenaway- for though too great is his pride in his own intellect, in the fair ancient land of Merlin, by Monmouth meadows and beauteous Usk, not other side of Severn + Dyke, was he born, and so the magic is surely within him. For Tulse Luper is a Welshman too.

Re: Films that are surreal,weird, and/or outrageous

Postby madhuban » Wed Jan 25, 2006 10:47 am

wow john! loved the style and syntax of your posts. very Monmouth-ian

Re: Films that are surreal,weird, and/or outrageous

Postby myfavorite » Wed Jan 25, 2006 7:10 pm

a few more:

Chris Marker - La Jetee

Fernando Arrabal - I Will Walk Like A Crazy Horse

Frans Zwartjes - Visual Training/Anamnesis

Zbigniew Rybczynski - Tango (and others)

Michael Snow - Wavelength

Werner Herzog - Even Dwarfs Started Small/ Heart of Glass

Shinya Tsukamoto - Tetsuo The Iron Man

Kaneto Shindo - Onibaba/Hokusai Manga

Dusan Makavejev - Sweet Movie/ W.R. Mysteries of the Organism

Guy Maddin - Heart of the World (and others)

Nagisa Oshima - In The Realm of the Senses

Jean-Luc Godard - Weekend


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