To quote David Fincher, “Movies that scar people”. This is a post for people who enjoy the darker side of cinema, not the typical auteurs stuff.
1) In A Glass Cage (Dir Augusta Villaronga)
The most disturbing movie I’ve ever seen. Not because of it’s content, but due to the sense of dread and unease evident in every frame. It’s brilliantly directed, and lesser seen due to it’s unnerving nature. Ahead of it’s time (released in 1986), an example of how a sustained tone is the key to unnerve any viewer. It’s theme is the passification of evil and it’s discontents. This is depicted in unflinching detail.
I didn’t even finished watching it. In A Glass Cage isn’t for everyone.
2) Angst (Dir Gerald Kargl)
THE MOST BRILLIANTLY DIRECTED HORROR FILM EVER MADE. Sorry, John Carpenter.
A case study in innovative cinematography (impossibly amazing use of the crane) marries a taut thriller about a man who upon release from prison, goes to his old ways. The intensity of the murders (almost in real time), propelled by the realistic performances makes Angst much better than the average gore fest. Obscure, overlooked, and ahead of its time. Only die hard obscure fans know this film, it deserves a criterion release. Important.
3) Taxidermia (Dir György Pálfi)
A man shoots fire out his penis, copulates with a pig, gets his brain blown up. That’s just the first reel. Along with Irreversible, it represent two of the most original (and intense) movies this decade. I’d take this over Chan Wook Park’s films anyday.
4) IRREVERSIBLE (Dir Gaspar Noe)
Aknowledged as a major influence on the new french cinema, Irreversible is as close to Dante’s Inferno as a film has taken a viewer. Everything about this movie is effed up, but brilliant and directed for maximum impact. The film has since created equal parts derision and admiration, among viewers. Gaspar Noe shows how fate and destiny collide with astounding technique and concentration. The dizzying camera (influences by Angst) and low frequency sounds caused audiences to walk out at Cannes not to mention the infamous 7 min rape scene. I studied this film for it’s sheer technique, and it never seizes to amaze me at how well it pulls off the horror.
5) Salo (Dir Pier Paolo Passolini)
King of the effed up movies. I’m sure it’s been written here on the Auteurs.
More to come, including: Trouble Every Day, In My Skin, Ma Mere, The Piano Teacher, ect.
Of the ones you have listed, I have only seen Irreversible, although I have just added In A Glass Cage and Angst to my to do list based on your descriptions here. Thanks. I would have to say Come And See stayed with me for some time.
Thanks for the list. I’m intrigued by “In a Glass Cage” and “Taxedermia.” While I was fascinated by “Funny Games,” it also rattled me. I’m interested in seeing the 1990’s version!
Kids by Larry ClarkGummo by Harmony Korine. (To a lesser extent: thirteen by Catherine Hardwick)
Both of those films (and even the entire body of Larry Clark) shook and depressed me very greatly. Kids is, in a single film, the tales of the destruction and total (and that’s no abuse of the superlative) loss of innocence of youth, and made so close and so devastating that it has made me question whether or not each teenager I brush by on the street has walked out of that film. Gummo is another film that is brutal. Essentially plotless, it’s a string of vingettes about the tornado-stricken town Xenia, Ohio, and the broken, backwards, and repulsive lives of its inhabitants. The film borders (actually, probably is ) exploitation, but is still a showcase of the very least of humanity, and still very sad >_<. thirteen is not nearly as taxing, but is like a miniature version of Kids and slightly more optimistic, but still serves as a wake up call for the absence (and/or misaction and inaction) of parents.
Gus Van Sant’s Elephant hit me right at the core.
I watched American Beauty at a very sensitive time of my life (when we lost the love of our lives – our granny) and may be thats why I could easily relate to the death of Leter Burnham.Swades by Ashtosh Gowariker never fails to move me.21Grams was very depressing.
These are all I can remember as of now.
I prefer Sant’s “Last Days” over “Elephant” probably because of the affinity I had for Nirvana and Kurt when I was a boy. It is a very disturbing picture.
“Salo” is certainly on this list.
“I Stand Alone” by Gaspar Noe is highly disturbing, moreson than “Irreversible,” I think, because Noe seems less concerned with aesthetics and more concerned with the depravity of the leading man. It makes a terrible thing look terrible; “Irreversible” is too beautiful to evoke the same kind of putrid resignation.
“Aguirre, The Wrath of God” is probably the most suffocating picture I’ve ever seen. Herzog’s masterful way of creating this sort of claustrophobic and haunting atmosphere is singular in the modern era, I think.
“Kids” is a mediocre picture that has lost whatever power it had to incite anxiety when the AIDS epidemic more or less became a homosexual disease. It relies far too much on its trick ending: it hasn’t earned it.
“Requiem for a Dream” still has the ability to be profound and shocking and highly disturbing. I first saw it when I was, I think, seventeen years old in high school and it was the very first film that I felt physically. When the credits rolled I couldn’t move. I was absolutely horrified by Aronofsky’s ability to create a compelling narrative that is compounded by the ugly and quick aesthetic. Ass to ass. It was probably the film that made me want to study films in college.
“Happiness” still disturbs me because I can’t make heads or tails of it. There is a terrible man who rapes children. His child learns to masturbate at the end of the picture and ejaculates on a guard rail. There is Philip Seymour Hoffman playing an impotent sexual deviant. All of these awful parts make one confusing whole. I think if I could understand what the hell the picture is trying to say I would probably hate the picture less.
My bad, double post.
come and see.
Wages of Fear.
Salo (I took 2 showers to cleanse myself of such iniquity.)
“Requiem for a Dream” also did a number on me when I first saw it. I believe Aronofsky is one of the better filmmakers around today.
I have yet to see “Salo”, but I’m not sure if I would really want to.
I’m adding “In a Glass Cage” to my netflix queue, but it appears they don’t have “Angst” or “Taxidermia”, which is disappointing.
Angst is very hard to find. It’s not commercially available on DVD but (and I don’t suggest piracy) but it is available in P2P networks. It’s the only way to find it. In a Glass Cage can be bought from Amazon, Anchor Bay released it and should still be available.
Notice most of the films on the list are foreign, not American. With all the Horror films made here (and liberties), none surpass the Film making displayed on those titles. Those movies transcend shock value and are about stories. There’s an intelligence, understanding and sheer balls to the direction of those movies. They stand alone, nothing like them. I urge anyone to track down Angst in particular, I’d be curious to know what you think. That picture contains images I’ve never seen in a movie since.
Sam, I understand the showers after Salo. That movie was disturbing!
Again Joseph Losey’s King and Country.
Yeah, ‘’In a Glass Cage" really was something. It’s great to know it’s on dvd – I saw it a decade ago on a pan ‘n scan bootleg vhs. I hope no one attemps to make a Hollywood remake ’cause it won’t be the same. Now I can’t wait to see "Angst’’, pirated or not!
I’ll be checking out Angst and In A Glass Cage. I’ve always found the original Vanishing to be a little uneasy. 1up on I Stand Alone.
Harry…. you beat me to it… King and Country it is.
Roman Polanski’s The Pianist
Luis Mandoki’s Voces Inocentes
Tsotsi left me feeling like I couldn’t move.
I think the only moving image I’ve seen that “shook me to the core,” was during the end of Hearts and Minds, when the mother of the ARVN soldier tries to fall into the grave with her son in order to be buried alive. The cut to Westmorland sealed the deal. It’s a painful image to take with you. It’s the only filmic “scar,” i have.
The Vanishing was a bit much for me to handle… which is probably a good thing. I mean, I liked it, but its not a movie I’d wish on other people.
I watched Andrei Rublev under less then optimal circumstances, but I gave it to a friend and she said she couldn’t watch the whole thing front to back because it was too intense.
I found Kids offensively preachy, and ridiculously dull.
Ken Burns documentary “The Civil War” is so tragic it brings me to tears. So much loss, so much devastation, so much death, all presented with photographs, narration and music. It blows me away! Should be required viewing for all Americans.
I love “The Vanishing”. Sooooooooo creepy!
There have been some really good ones in here.
I’ve really wanted to see “Taxidermia”, but being stuck in the middle of the Midwestern United States, I haven’t had the opportunity as of yet. Anyway, a movie that shook me to the core, for sure, was Bergman’s “Cries and Whispers”. So chilling, so disturbing, and so easy to place close to you, which is perhaps the most frightening aspect of the film.
Another that really messed with me was “Man Behind the Sun”. It’s pretty much pure garbage. Exploitation; shocking for the sake of the shock. But damn. It’s certainly shocking.
I almost had to turn off The Celebration and Hotel Rwanda because they upset me so much. Which is kind of weird, because I’ve watched so many movies that had more explicit content. I want to see Saló because I’ve heard so much about it, but I’m a little bit afraid to watch it.
Ooops, I totally forgot to mention “AUDITION” – equally brilliant and disturbing.
JORDAN H- “Man Behind the Sun” is definitely on the exploitation genre, but you know what’s more shocking? They actually happened – it’s up there with the Nazi death camps, gas chambers and all, and not just in China. Makes you wonder next time someone mentions Hiroshima…
“Eden Lake” upset me a great deal. I nearly walked out, and this is coming from someone who has championed and defended “Salo” for the past 19 years and admired “In A Glass Cage”, and has probably sat through more exploitation/gore/transgressive cinema than most.
The problem with “Eden Lake” is that it hasn’t got a U.S cinema distributor, but will be on dvd from Jan 09 on the Dimension Extreme label in the U.S. I urge horror fans to pick it up. it’s the best British horror movie since “The Innocents” (1960) and has a killer ending. Just because it didn’t get a U.S cinema release, doesn’t mean it’s not a great movie.
NOEL- Yeah, I knew about history behind the movie going into it, but it was pretty upsetting that such a tragic event was re-told in such a disrespectful, tasteless way. I know the director, Tun Fei Mou, is Chinese, and it’s pretty obvious what he was trying to do with the film.
Another one I just thought of is “Picnic at Hanging Rock”. I’m not sure I can say that it “[shook] me to the core”, but it definitely chilled me to the core. That movie stayed with me for quite some time after first seeing it.
“There Will Be Blood” is a recent one that did the same thing to me that “Picnic at Hanging Rock” did.
“Missing”. Sissy Spacek in that film is truly haunting and Jack Lemmon is one of the few characters that I share true, and by all means true pity for.
“Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” (1986) Pretty creepy!
The Grapes of Wrath. Just imagining the struggles that they went through, and then the feeling of relief when they get to the government camp. It’s such a great movie!