Bene Recommends 002

This week we’re focusing on quarantine-induced creativity block antidotes! Here’s a list of three films that will either inspire through their ingenuity or make you go ‘what the fuck did I just watch!’, equally these classics demand your eyes. Check out why below:

The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (Robert Wiene, 1920, Germany)

A gem in the crown of the German Expressionist movement of the 1920s, on viewing The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, you’ll realise where the likes of Tim Burton et al get their dark gothic inspirations and use of quirky set pieces from.

Often hailed as the ‘first true horror film’, and sparked out of the bleak imaginations of the post-WW1 German art scene, The Cabinet of Dr Caligari features a somnambulist, Cesare (Conrad Veidt), who after a 23-year long slumber awakens seemingly to help Dr Caligari (Werner Krauss) commit a series of murders.

The films painted set pieces make it a gorgeous film to watch despite its dark and sinister tones, and its use of warped angles and narrow perspectives work to put you in a seat of uncomfortable confinement (which is arguably very relatable at this current time). 

The plot twist at its climax is as dark and twisted as its visual style- making it a classic that continues to inspire the scene to this day.

WATCH HERE: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cabinet-Dr-Caligari-Full-Sound/dp/B078WK7TTZ (available on prime as of date of publication).

Macunaima (Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, 1969, Brazil)

To say de Andrade’s Macunaima is a feast for the eyes might be an understatement! If the quirky debauchery of Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange is up your street, but maybe you want to add an extra sprinkle of imaginative insanity to your palette- Macunaima is the watch.

The films cyclical movement, from rural to urban back to rural, maps the journey of the titular Macunaima who after drinking magical water turns from black native Brazillian (Grande Otelo) to fair and white (Paulo Jose). This comment of Brazillian racial politics sees the now white Macunaima make it to the city where he meets a female revolutionary with a good luck charm he desires.

This satirical comedy is dark at times, pure drug-addled hedonism at others, and at all times a wild ride through the kitsch of 60’s Brazillian art house cinema. A real meal for the creatively confused, we’re sure you’ll get some inspiration from the vivid colour palettes or the crazed plot arch of this one.

WATCH HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kQ98hY3aDo

(TW: assault)

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2010, Thailand)

Perhaps Justin Chang hits the nail on the head the hardest when he writes in his Variety review of Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives: ‘...the result is pretty much the definition of a film that should be experienced, not explained.’

Winner of the Palme D’Or at Cannes back in 2010, Uncle Boonmee contrasts with our previous film picks by meshing the slow and mundane with the immediacy of unease at the surreal. Director Weerasethakul imbues Uncle Boonmee’s story with an innate dream-like quality that beautifully contrasts the sparse narrative arch.

Suffering from organ failure, Uncle Boonmee (Thanapat Saisaymar) lives out the end of his life with family in northeast Thailand. Family including, but not limited to: the ghost of his deceased wife and the reincarnated monkey spirit of his missing son. As crazed as that sounds, Weerasethakul uses Boonmee as a vehicle to explore the notion of reincarnation with a hauntingly surrealist lens, whilst intermingling this with the banal everyday.

A film slow in pace, but by no means a slow burner. It will have you questioning for weeks what it’s all really about.

WATCH HERE:

https://player.bfi.org.uk/subscription/film/watch-uncle-boonmee-who-can-recall-his-past-lives-2010-online (available on BFI player and amazon prime at the time of publication).

Article written by Molly Bennett


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