A few weeks ago I saw Michael Haneke’s 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance. While I thought it was an excellent film, I felt quite ill after the credits finished rolling. The banality and lack of purpose in their lives was so blunt and powerful that my stomach nearly exploded.
Has anyone had similar experiences? I’m thinking more about content rather than vomit-inducing imagery.
I saw Repulsion about six months ago for the first time and I wouldn’t say it made my stomach explode but it certainly affected me physically. I love Polanski and there are very few directors who I will readily allow to violate me the way he did with that film – I don’t know what it was but it just screwed me up.
Another film is Julia, where I left the theater physically shaking because of Tilda Swinton’s emotionally raw performance (a very similar feeling I had after watching Rachel Getting Married last fall).
Haneke gave me a feeling over a year ago when I saw the Funny Games remake but it wasn’t me who felt physically ill – instead it made me want to inflict physical harm on him for subjecting me to that garbage! But that’s a whole other conversation.
Well, easily Salo and Irreversible, but that doesn’t mean the films have no merit. I have written enough about them, and my own reaction, on other threads. These were both disturbing enough to make me physically ill, but it is more interesting to explore why than how. I am sure from what I have heard here about Sweet Movie, it would be another example. I saw Jodorowsky’s El Topo and Holy Mountain, but the many ‘disturbing’ scenes just kind of washed over me – like a kind of cinematic projectile vomit. I haven’t seen enough Haneke to say one way or another. I have just seen his brilliant Cache, which wasn’t in any way disturbing in a visceral sense – just intellectually intense. I know of his reputation, so took on the film with some trepidation. He won at Cannes, so maybe he is mellowing? I won’t be seeing any ‘torture porn’ (yet another thread) because I don’t like getting off on that sort of thing – or nauseated. Lars van Trier and Breaking the Waves is intense, to say the least, but not physically disturbing – psychically maybe. Cronenberg’s Crash has its visceral moments, but is not disturbing to me in a physical sense. Greenaway’s The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover is gross, but not particularly nauseating – although trying, and the ending may put some off their dinner (ha!). His Zed and Two Noughts – with its time lapse photography of decay – that could be a bit physically nauseating!
I had to leave the cinema early after watching Amelie from the front row and i felt physically sick.
Four Months, Three Weeks, Two Days – during the hotel abortion/sex scene.
“Irreversible”- I would have to take motion sickness pills next time I watch that movie.
Husbands and Wives. If you’re going to go hand held, make sure the camera operator has hands
4 months 3 weeks 2 days, where you see the baby. oh god that is horrible.
Sante Sangre. But it also made me laugh alot, too.
La Region Centrale, by Michael Snow. One can only watch so much before starting to feel queasy from the constant movement.
The Polar Express (3D animation film dir. by Robert Zemeckis) seen at the IMax theater makes me sick although I’ve been on a roller coaster (not recommended for young children and the elderly) once before and it made me wonder how it affects children.
Those are the films off the top of my head that cause nausea.
Inland Empire was kind of hellish for me because someone had shown me the Room 47 scene beforehand , so I essentially spent two and half hours anticipating that scene thinking that something of equal magnitude would roll along.
Inland Empire was pretty nauseating – I remember sitting in the theater wondering the whole time what this film was about, waiting for something to happen, ANYTHING TO HAPPEN. And then the film just ended and I had a headache the rest of the day.
Kill Bill Volume 1
some of Inland Empire
a lot of El Topo
I Stand Alone. (Noe) – Queasy
21 Grams. (Iñárritu) – Drained
The Seventh Continent. (Haneke) – Sucker punched.
Mortal Kombat (Anderson) – Disgusted. Totally.
Haneke is the unsettleman.
i felt physically exhausted after seeing Requim for a Dream for the first time. i think it has a lot to do with the speeded up nature of the latter half of the film, it made it seem much longer than it actually was.
Heidi Ewing & Rachel Grady’s Oscar-nominated doc Jesus Camp (2006) made me feel so sick I couldn’t get through it. I’d mistakenly thought that books, articles and other docs had already plumbed the depths of the depravity of “religious conservatives” for me, and that I knew just what kind of crazy I’d be seeing. I was wrong. To see small children willfully plied so systematically with mad delusions and outright lies – to see pedagogy turned to hamstringing them, forging the sort of psychic dwarfs who best follow a religious cult – is tantamount to watching footage of physical child abuse. For its gruesomeness, I’d put this doc up against e.g. Le sang des bêtes or Mondo cane any day…
Stan Brakhage’s autopsy film The Act of Seeing With One’s Own Eyes (1971) is very strong stuff. I don’t know if I’ve seen a film before or since which has left me feeling so abject, so humbled.
Resnais’ Nuit et brouillard/Night and Fog (1955) is the most disturbing film ever made.
Another doc MARJOE…
I went to church camp as a kid. It was sort of like Jesus Camp. I refused to eat the food they were serving and I got by on bacon bits for four days until I finally fainted outside of one of the cabins. It was terrible there. I wore glasses and someone was stealing kids glasses in the middle of the night and stomping on them in one big pile. Kids would wake up and there glasses would be smashed on the floor. Pretty funny in retrospect, but I kept my glasses under my pillow. I was afraid… and starving!
If you enjoyed (or hated) Jesus Camp, you would probably hate Hell House just as much. I’ve never been to a Hell House, but I know they’re all around the area where I live. I’ll try to go to one this Halloween and report back.
Some film that I blocked from my mind, because it showed cadavers and death happening.
Night and Fog didn’t make me sick, but it did disturb me.
I second that Eraserhead, Drew. I had a severe physical, bile churning reaction to it. But maybe that meant I liked it?
@Jamie Mattick: yea that scene made me cringe like no other.
@Neil: I second that. Haneke’s films definitely affects me physically. His films always make me feel uncomfortable but I always stick it out and watch the whole thing.
i got oddly emotional during the scene where they capture the baby during the original Hills Have Eyes. the scene really disturbed me and to this day i can’t really say why. just the whole scene and the mother’s reactions…
@neil @nessa Indeed… Haneke is a master. Another freakie that makes me feel quite ill is Takashi Miike. The Audition is quite a masterpiece.
@Jaspar Lamarr Crabbe Saló may be the most radical film ever made. I don’t know…
The way Oldboy ends is quite disturbing too
Tod Browning’s Freaks
That’s interesting Justin. Freaks was kind of a shock to me. I saw it before I was really into film and had just heard it was a great horror movie. Well I don’t think its a horror movie. The “freaks” are not the villains, and are not scary. I think of it more as a sad drama. What in it made you ill?