Are you bored, by any chance? Looking for a film which is completely different from the formulaic crap we get so much of these days? Check out one of these films. Whether you like them or not, they’ll blow your mind.
1. THX 1138 (1971)
Wonder what George Lucas made before Star Wars? Here’s your answer. This beautiful but bleak film tells the story of a man living in a future where human beings don’t have names, sex is illegal and everyone is permanently sedated. His life changes radically when his roommate, who is in love with him, starts messing with his medication. I was struck by the film’s minimalism; without kick-ass special effects or CGI the film manages to convey a convincing and harrowing image of the future which is disturbingly similar to our world.
2. Begotten (1990)
Yup, we’re moving on the the really, really weird stuff. A disclaimer to begin with: this film is gory, disgusting and completely unsuitable for children or overtly sensitive people. Why bother to watch it anyway? Easy: it’s fascinating. There’s no plot to speak of (something about God and Mother Earth getting a son who vomits organs) even though some people, apparently, regard it as an allegory for life. If, like me, you don’t really get that part, focus on the style. Begotten was shot in black and white with extremely high contrast, making some shots look like abstract art rather than film. There’s no dialogue or soundtrack other than the sound of crickets. And yet it’s fascinating. If you’re curious; Marilyn Manson used some shots for his Cryptorchid video.
3. Immortal (2004)
Lo and behold, this film actually has a plot! It’s complicated, though, which puts many people off. But frankly, I’d still enjoy this film if it was about permaculture. It’s actually the only film I know which successfully combines CGI with life action. And it looks gorgeous. I’ve never read the graphic novels it’s based on but the film manages to convey the slightly confused feeling many graphic novels give me. Every scene and shot are packed with detail; this truly is a wholly original narrative universe. So, the plot? A mysterious girl becomes a guinea pig for a doctor whose intentions are shady at best, and meets a guy whose body is possessed by the Egyptian god Horus. Hey, I never said the plot was straightforward. But give it a go; even if you can’t stand science fiction you’ll love the film’s look.
4. El Topo (1970)
It contains horses, deserts, men with hats and sexy women, but it’s not a western. It’s a crazy and totally incoherent film which combines graphic (warning: GRAPHIC) violence with Eastern philosophy and religious allegories. To be honest, this is the kind of film which works best if you don’t try to follow the plot. Just sit back and let the disturbing images wash over you. Laugh at the bunch of bandits led by a fat guy with crazy underwear. Gasp as the hero and the love of his life are joined by a mysterious woman on a horse. Shiver when the hero finds himself surrounded by deformed people living in a cave, then an extremely violent cult. No, as the guys who left the cinema after me concluded, this is not your average western. But here’s a secret: it doesn’t claim to be.
5. Videodrome (1983)
Probably better known than most films on this list, Videodrome starts off as a film which appears to deal with media violence, morals and sexuality. And for a while it does. But in come the hallucinations, the paranoia, the exploding bodies Cronenberg is famous for. The film quickly turns into a scary labyrinth in which fact and fiction become utterly intertwined. Is main character Max losing his mind? Who’s that Brian Oblivion he keeps running into? And the most important question: what is Videodrome? Long live the new flesh…