Voted in the critics poll
|13 Lakes||2005||James Benning|
|Angelic Conversation, The||1985||Derek Jarman|
|Dresden Dynamo||1971||Lis Rhodes|
|In Vanda's Room||2000||Pedro Costa|
|Scorpio Rising||1964||Kenneth Anger|
|Woman Under the Influence, A||1974||John Cassavetes|
This is a list of films that have shaped my view of cinema. I can vividly recall the time and place each film was watched: eight of the films were seen in a cinema (the best place for film), and three were in the presence of the directors at amazing venues like Gloria Kino in Kassel and, more locallym at Tyneside Cinema and Star & Shadow Cinema in Newcastle. The list covers a range of approaches and styles across independent cinema and artist film, including structural, optical, documentary, fiction and the magical. 13 Lakes was my first Benning experience and got me hooked on his sublime and witty work, showing how film and sound can expand beyond the cinematic frame. The features Wanda and A Woman Under the Influence both brilliantly show desperation, loneliness and the fate of strong female leads, both playing the roles of an American housewife and mother in the 1970s, set against the backdrop of industrial and societal change. Scorpio Rising and The Angelic Conversation are both, in their different ways, cinematic dream worlds, focusing on desire, magic and ritual, and with incredible soundtracks that make them iconic of their eras (1950s and 1960s pop, and 8190s electronic music by Coil). Blight is also about spirits, the spirits of previous inhabits of demolished houses around the M11 in east London. Reality is fictionalised through editing, making this one of the most powerful films about contemporary British society and displacement. The subversion of traditional documentary techniques is also at the root of Melancholia, an epic eight-hour feature that needs time and space to unfold its complex story about trauma, identity and revolutionary survival in contemporary Philippines. Melancholia changes our expectations of political film. Fate and In Vanda’s Room are also, in their different ways, films about the dispossessed and hidden inhabitants of society. These pre- and post-millennium films show European collective anxiety through the stories of immigrants and survivors, while the urban landscape around them collapses. Dresden Dynamo is a great example of an optical film, and importantly is the one film on the list not to be made with a camera. Created using Letraset on clear celluloid, the sound is completely synchonised, extending the image into the sound frame.