31 March 2020
We asked our Film and Media Studies lecturers for their top film recommendations for students to watch before joining the course.
These selections are from Dr Tina Kendall, Principal Lecturer in Film Studies, whose expertise includes extreme cinema, and materiality, ethics, violence, and spectatorship in contemporary film and media.
1. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (Ana Lily Amirpour 2015 USA)
The very first Iranian vampire western skate movie. Seriously.
2. The Boss of it All (Lars von Trier 2008 DEN)
Because Lars von Trier also makes comedies. Or wait - maybe he only makes comedies. Discuss.
3. Cléo from 5 to 7 (Agnès Varda 1962 FR)
Forget Godard. Forget Truffaut. Forget the stuffy Cahiers crew. Agnès Varda is the only French New Wave filmmaker you need to know about and this remains one of the best. films. ever.
4. Ratcatcher (Lynne Ramsay 1999)
Ramsay’s first feature length film is still one of her greatest. Watch it, then watch everything she has ever made, up to and including her most recent film, You Were Never Really Here, starring Joaquin Phoenix.
5. Rubber (Quentin Dupieux 2010 FR)
This film is about a sentient car tire called Robert, who can make heads explode through his telekinetic powers. Despite the wacky premise, it’s a surprisingly deep meditation on spectatorship, and the possibilities of seeing the world through an object’s point of view.
6. The Saddest Music in the World (Guy Maddin 2003 CAN)
In this film, Isabella Rossellini plays a legless beer magnate (with a marvellous set of glass prosthetic legs) who sponsors a competition to find out which country has the saddest music. Guy Maddin’s incomparable visual aesthetic (grainy black & white images and Soviet-era style montage, two-strip Technicolour, rear-projection, and other effects) and his offbeat sense of humour combine to make this the perfect midnight movie. Next watch his semi-autobiographical tribute to his home town, My Winnipeg (2007).
7. Le Samouraï (Jean-Pierre Melville 1967 FR)
Jean-Pierre Melville takes inspiration from American films noirs and Japanese gangster films in this French crime thriller. Alain Delon, as hit man Jef Costello, is pretty much the coolest thing ever.
8. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Jacques Demy 1964 FR)
Watch it for the wallpaper. Seriously.
9. Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer 2013 UK)
The film that was responsible for all those ScarJo Falling Down memes that blew up the internet circa 2013. But also, a brilliant, atmospheric exploration of alien female embodiment and sexuality.
10. Wall-E (Andrew Stanton 2008 USA)
Everything humanity forgot about itself and needs to remember. A film about cinephilia and spectatorship, filtered through the perspective of a rusty old robot.