What are the best movies about loneliness or alienation? My favorites are probably Taxi Driver and Lost in Translation.
Save The Tiger is a terribly underrated film. It’s about a man named Harry Stoner (Jack Lemmon) who finds himself separated from the rose-coloured memories of his childhood and unable to adapt to the new world around him. Jack won the Oscar for this film but strangely enough it seems to be increasingly obscure.
the conversation, le samourai, lars and the real girl, solaris, last life in the universe, dead man, 3-iron, the passenger, i could go on but i won’t
A Bittersweet Life
Antonioni wrote the book on alienation. Check out L’Avventura , La Notte, and L’Eclisse. Also, Pickpocket was the main influence on the Travis character in Taxi Driver. The films of Tsai Ming-liang are the best modern films on alienation. I recommend going through his filmography in order since he builds upon the storylines of each film.
If you can score a copy, check out Danny Huston in Bernard Rose’s “Ivans XTC.”
And I agree with Mark about the stellar “Save the Tiger,” though I disagree with his characterization of the film as “obscure.”. It’s frequently referenced and or taught in American film schools, screened at repertory theaters, and available via Netflix.
In an interview with 2+2 magazine a couple years ago Oprah Winfrey called “Save the Tiger” one of the five finest films of its decade.
Yeah, given Lemmon’s only Oscar win, Save the Tiger seems pretty well known to me. It may not be revered as a classic 70s film ala The Godfather but that’s ok by me. I thought the film was ok but nothing overwhelming. Wasn’t that John Avildson’s debut?
‘Im always on the lookout for film’s that tackle this theme. “The Man who Sleeps” could be the most moving film I’ve seen on the subject.
What Time Is It There?
All About Lily Chou-Chou
Lars and The Real Girl
Mary and Max
Three Colors: Blue
“Kes,” “Ratcatcher,” “Let the Right One In” for ones pertaining to kids.
Adults: “A Single Man,” “Naked,” “Morvern Callar,” most Bergman films (“The Silence,” “Cries and Whispers,” “Autumn Sonata”…).
Mouchette was my first Robert Bresson film. It didn’t really ring with me the first time I watched it, mainly because it wasn’t clear to me what the girl’s relation to everyone was in the film, whether they were family or just acquaintances.
But there was a lot about it that was memorable, and I feel that parts of the film show how alienation and loneliness tend to work (from my point of view, at least) in real life and in stories.
To me, and probably to the Mouchette character herself in the film, the scorn she faces from her classmates, her teacher, her own father and other people in her little hamlet seemed quite arbitrary and had no reason behind it, other than perhaps the people believed they could get away with it and not have any resistance from the girl they were picking at. It was understandable for her dad to act irascible during his wife’s sickness, but the level of scorn he had for Mouchette made it hard for me to believe or understand that that was, in fact, her dad. The older women who offered her shelter, and their belief they could call her vile names as payback for their “generosity,” was another example.
And then there’s the fact that she was raped, having no control over that incident other than she got crossed-up on her way home after staying in the wooded area too late by herself, and the complete lack of understanding or compassion from EVERYONE after that. She was old enough (a young-looking 15 if I remember right) to know that all of this B.S. she had to put up with from everyone was a big deal and definitely difficult to handle. But she was too innocent (you can be young and not innocent) and lacking in life-experience to see any way to get past these people’s emotions, to lay out a way to get past them.
IkiruShoot the Piano PlayerBlast of SilenceWinter LightLe SamouraiSolaris (Tarkovsky’s original, of course.)The PassengerParis, TexasDead Man
“In an interview with 2+2 magazine a couple years ago Oprah Winfrey called “Save the Tiger” one of the five finest films of its decade”
Five Easy PiecesThe King of Marvin GardensNakedThe Loneliness of the Long Distance RunnerThe Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty KickGhost WorldEraserheadMy Own Private Idaho
Wall-E is probably one of my favorite films about loneliness, to be perfectly honest. It’s captured so eloquently and sweetly, especially since he doesn’t truly realize how alone he is until he meets his lady.
Save The Tiger is not completely obscure, but it is relatively so. I bet you could stump quite a few film buffs by asking them to name Jack’s only Oscar winning role (it would take a lot of folks three or four guesses).
The film is not a “popular classic” a la “2001: A Space Odyssey”, “Gone with the Wind”, “Wizard of Oz”, “Cabaret”, “The Graduate”, etc. It may well be taught in a small number of schools, but probably only in North America. Remember gang, the world is not just the USA.
Save The Tiger is nowhere near being an instantly recognisable title like “Rocky” or “The Karate Kid” (all directed by Avildsen. (Note I said “INCREASINGLY obscure”—it is slowly losing profile, not gaining a la “Blade Runner”, to use an example from a totally different type)
The director did film work before Save The Tiger—he did “Joe” back in 1970, I have both of these early JGA films on DVD.
I love Save The Tiger and even though it may be well known in its native land and with older folks, a lot of people under 40 wouldn’t have any idea about it.
P.S. Oprah Windbag is “fed” a lot of stuff she says in the media. Do you REALLY think Oprah sits around READING BOOKS IN THE BOOK CLUB all day? Oprah probably says that about a lot of films: “one of the five best of its decade”. Still affords her no credibility in my book.
I’m not saying that Oprah never saw Tiger but it just goes to show you that you can praise a film and connect to zero of its values. Oprah is the polar opposite of Harry Stoner. I see a human being in Harry. Oprah is a gigantic fraud. Harry feels guilty about “selling out”. Oprah feels no such shame—it is an emotion alien to her being.
P.P.S. I wish Save The Tiger would screen here in Melbourne! The ACMI Cinemateque needs to do an Avildsen retrospective. They could do the four JGA films I’ve named here for starters.
In a Lonely Place
some of my faves include THE UNKNOWN by tod browning, GERTRUD by carl theodor dreyer, LE AMICHE by michelangelo antonioni, FALLEN ANGELS by wong kar-wai and LA STRADA by federico fellini
“Wasn’t that John Avildson’s debut?”
It was actually his sixth film.
About “Save the Tiger,” I think many think about it more as having the performance that won the Oscar over Marlon Brando’s in “Last Tango in Paris.” That’s how I see it anyway.
The Man Who Fell To Earth
The Match Factory Girl
My Life As a Dog
The Mudge Boy
Woman In The Dunes
Pink Floyd’s The Wall
Always, But Not Forever
Bad Lieutenant (the original)
la strada is the champ on loneliness and alienation