Goodbye, Dragon Inn
Welcome to L.A.
What Leandro said…
Fox and His Friends
To a certain extent I would say that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind explores those topics a bit. Children of Men is a great one as well; while the main characters are very together, the story itself is about how the main character is isolated from the others in mindset. For some classic American cinema, The Breakfast Club focuses on that topic as well.
& oh, yeah, Duncan Jones’ “Moon”
Well… let me add my contribution.
1. The Pawnbroker, by Sidney Lumet
Nothing more lonesome than to have all your family killed and have nothing else to live for rather than money and self-survival. And I think no other movie has portrayed loneliness and deep emotional suffering on a “normal” person as intensely as this one.
2. Peeping Tom, by Michael Powel
Nothing more lonesome than when the only human contact a person has all his life is done through the lens of a camera.
3. Psycho, by Alfred Hitchcock
Nothing more sad and lonely than this poor disturbed mind confined in his own mental illness,
4. Alien, by Ridley Scott
I think Alien is a great allegory of how humans are essentially alone in this human universe, since: a. all the crew is forsaken in a remote region of space by the company they work for for the sake of weapon development;
5. Oldboy, by Park Chan-wook
Man … 15 years locked up in a room without knowing why is pretty fucked up and a really nice start for a feature film. And notably remarkable is “Laugh and the world laughs with you. Weep and you weep alone”
6. Wall-E, by Andrew Stanton
One of the best post-apocalyptic depiction i’ve seen. What a desolate feeling to see the the poor little robot alone in a world of garbage…..
I was going to forget…..
7. Ordinary People, by Robert Redford
Very touching story…
The Devil, Probably (Robert Bresson)
I saw recently that someone interpreted Aguirre: the Wrath of God as a film about loneliness. I disagreed completely, but it is interesting…
A Short Film About Love
Harold and Maud
84 Charing Cross Road
I Stand Alone
The Truman Show
King of Comedy
Where the Wild things Are
Punch Drunk Love
In the Mood for Love
Stranger than Paradise
second Wall E! ♥♥
(am still to see Aguirre: the Wrath of God G, have seen part of it but got a faulty DVD)
Happiness. A story about people who are trapped with themselves, and are disgusted with themselves. It’s so honest and damaging it’s beautiful, lol.
Distant. by Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Distant by N.B. Ceylan.
Oh, i forgot about Distant. Fantastic
I guess I’d also throw in the latter half of Citizen Kane.
my personal fav is welcome home, roxy carmichael
prolly winona ryder’s best movie.
Anyone ever read Robert Kolker’s A Cinema of Lonliness? Really good book.
Anne Reid in Michel’s “The Mother.” Her performance was the epitomy of loneliness, perhaps a very extreme case of “empty nest” which led her to explore a sexual relationship with Daniel Craig.
Gene Hackman in Coppola’s “The Conversation.” A brilliant character study of loneliness, alienation and paranoia.
Talia Shire and Sylvester Stallone in “Rocky.” Two lonely souls who were fortunate enough to meet each other.
The John Huston film “The Misfits.” Extremely poignant because of the fact that it was Gable and Monroe’s last completed film. I did not really pick up on this the first time I saw it but on a repeat viewing, there is something there. I found all the actors at the top of their form but looking at Gable and Monroe, one could see the marked disillusionment, loneliness, cynicism. And I really don’t think they were just plain acting it all out. Most especially for Monroe. It was as if she had to be made-up and pretty for the camera one last time. Heartbreaking.
Simone Signoret in “Room at the Top.” The scene depicting her break-up with Laurence Harvey and her ultimate decision to drown her sorrows in alcohol and finally the fatal car accident. Not a false note in it.
Klaus Kinski’s performance in Herzog’s “Nosferatu.” He played the iconic vampire role as someone painfully shy, withdrawn and extremely lonely. To great effect.
I can think of a lot more but I’m tired typing for now.
>>Anyone ever read Robert Kolker’s A Cinema of Lonliness? Really good book.<<
Love this book!
A lot of good mentions; glad Another Year and Punch-Drunk Love got mentioned too. Just listening to parts of Jon Brion’s PDL score gives me a very specific feeling of loneliness/melancholy. And of course aspects of it are the total opposite as the film is largely about getting away from that.
Other films that I think could qualify as films about alienation/loneliness (or films that at least have aspects of it) – Refn’s Drive, Hallam Foe (or Mister Foe), Up in the Air, The Elephant Man, About Schmidt, Ikiru, Wild Strawberries (and a ton of Bergman), Synecdoche, New York (I plan on incorporating this as much as possible!), The Wrestler, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - that’s all I’ve got for now.
Obviously there are other themes in these films, but loneliness/alienation is definitely prevalent in all of them.
Aguirre is awesome Meg, I’d give it the highest of recommendations.
awesome’s a good word:) I’ll see it very soon
Yes, I know that I’m always bringing up nitpicky semantic points on MUBI threads, but isn’t there a difference between LONELINESS and ALIENATION?
There have been several good filmic examples of each term listed above but only a few of them feature BOTH loneliness AND alienation.
Furthermore, there are differences in the kinds of alienation one can speak of. Karl Marx’s definition involved the alienation of the worker from the product of his/her labor, the foundation of personal Angst. Others see it as more of a sociological or psychological phenomenon.
This nitpicking is probably why SOME MUBI subscribers get pissed at me! :-)
@ Brad: ">>Anyone ever read Robert Kolker’s A Cinema of Lonliness? Really good book.<<
Love this book!"
Yes, it is excellent. I bought it just for the sections on Kubrick and Scorsese, although there are many interesting observations about the work of Arthur Penn, Robert altman and even Spielberg, who I know is a flashpoint for some people on these boards. Get the revised edition, which includes more about Arthur Penn and makes some interesting (as opposed to obvious) connections between Penn’s Bonnie and Clyde and Stone’s Natural Born Killers.
I also enjoyed the way Kolker connects Eisenstein’s editing techniques and the whole “editing is the soul of film” idea to the way each director discussed in the book cuts and shapes his films (with his editor) to convey loneliness and isolation from the mainstream.
It’s a great read on contemporary American film, which is the focus. There’s no analysis of world cinema, just U.S. product, but it is a valuable text.
Bob Kolker is my friend and good colleague, although I think he is semi-retired now. We were neighbors in Atlanta when he chaired a department at Georgia Tech and I chaired one at Georgia State U. He gave a memorable guest lecture in one of my classes on Oliver Stone’s JFK; the course textbook was the then-new edition of A Cinema of Loneliness.
During the question and answer session, Bob told the following story about the textbook:
Kolker was in frequent touch with Oliver Stone’s office to get information for his added chapter on the director. He apparently was working with a young receptionist who often answered Stone’s phone and took messages.
Finally, one day, the young man asked, “Are you the Robert Kolker who wrote A Cinema of Loneliness?”
Bob answered, “Yes.”
The kid replied, “I read that book in film school! Great fuckin’ book!”
I told Bob that he should have that quote put on the back cover with the scholarly blurbs.
I was thinking about the essential difference between loneliness and alienation in film, principally Taxi Driver, which is a recurring film mentioned in this thread.
Loneliness by definition suggests a yearning for human contact — which is part of Travis Bickle’s nature. What makes Taxi Driver such a great film is the richness of the character, as he is alienated from the world as well. There is a fundamental misanthropic nature about Travis that puts him in conflict with his own loneliness. He wants to connect, but doesn’t have the first clue about how to do so. And we see clearly that he does not deal well with rejection.
So, yes, loneliness and alienation are different things.
The 1960 film Eyes Without a Face (Georges Franju) also offers an interesting look at these opposing forces.
When I think of loneliness, the music of Roy Orbison comes to mind. When I think of alienation, almost anything by Pink Floyd will fit the bill. I remember that a variation of Floyd’s “Careful with that Axe, Eugene” plays over the climactic moments of Antonionni’s Zabriskie Point. It’s also probably the most interesting part of that film, which deals with the director’s career-long theme of alienation and feeling ostrascized from society — or at minimum, indifferent to it.
La Jetée is on one level about loneliness. Also exploring alienation by time.
IN A YEAR WITH THIRTEEN MOONS. Fassbinder, for me, creates one of the most enduring images of loneliness and alienation through the world of Elvira. This film is one that really lingers well after you have watched it.