Fiction - Commercial - Corporate - Animation - Documentary

Holy Motors – 2012

2012 was the year the world might end, and Leos Carax made a film to match, just in case. Holy Motors is every kind of film you can think of rolled into one: musical, science-fiction, comedy, drama… it’s a patchwork that shouldn’t work but does, and a treat to lovers of cinema (did we mention we loved film?). You can bet they won’t be making them like this again for a while.

Woyzeck – 1979

If it makes sense that Woyzeck, an unfinished riddle of a German play written by a very young author, is deemed a monument of modern literature, then it makes just as much sense that the best man to adapt it might be Werner Herzog, with leftover funds, star, crew, kit and permits from his previous film (Nosferatu), wrapped a few days earlier. A masterclass in filmmaking, this was shot in 18 days and edited in 4, and the unlikely result speaks for itself. From the moment Klaus Kinski, teetering at the brink of sanity, steps into frame, it’s impossible to look away.

Jigoku – 1960

Happy Halloween! You’re probably in the mood for something spooky, and we’ve got just the film for you. It’s two thirds weird murder drama – so far so average – and then we dive deep into the most eclectic hell you’ve ever seen this side of Dante. Its visions of damnation will stay with you long after the credits roll.

Innocence – 2004

Or to use its fuller title, Ghost In The Shell 2. The original is a classic, and since we owe it the Matrix, we won’t argue with that. What we will say is that it pales in comparison to this sequel, which expands on its better ideas and focuses on a more interesting hero. This is a spiritual twin film to Blade Runner, and almost just as gorgeous to look at.

Beauty and the Beast – 1946

You’ll never know by the looks of this it was made on a shoestring budget, but you can tell it was made by one of the great poets of modern times. Cocteau’s take on the fairytale feels like a dream, and the beast will break your heart. If you really want to make your head explode though (in a good way), try to see this synced to the Philip Glass opera!

The Adventures of Prince Achmed – 1926

Lotte Reiniger pioneered silhouette animation in many short films that bravely stand the test of time. They actually transcend modern advances in animation because a human handprint is so obviously all over them, despite their technical ingenuity. Achmed is her crowning achievement: a feature-length animation film like nothing you’ve ever seen. If you’re even slightly interested in the medium, you owe it to yourself to experience this.

Kwaidan – 1964

Few nations have a spiritual and paranormal tradition as rich as Japan’s and 4 supernatural chestnuts get roasted to perfection in Kwaidan. A refreshing counterpoint to contemporary horror flicks, this one shows that terror can be beautiful, and is at its most unnerving when you barely see it or hear it.

Chimes at Midnight – 1966

We love Orson Welles and we love Shakespeare. Lucky us, were we to want to combine the two, we have several options and we’re going with his last attempt: a genius distillation Of Henry IV parts 1&2 and Henry V, focusing on the character of Falstaff (Welles himself). Welles always said he’d have liked to be a magician. Judging by this, he actually was.

Naked Lunch – 1991

Body horror master David Cronenberg manages to out-weird Burroughs by refusing to give us a straight adaptation of his titular novel. Instead, we get mad tangents, typewriter-shaped cockroaches and a whole catalogue of disturbing images to match. And, in true Cronenberg fashion, it’s all strangely beautiful.

Monty Python And The Holy Grail – 1975

Silliness is a science, and by that standard, Monty Python deserve a Nobel prize. Their epic Life Of Brian is arguably a better film, but you have to admire how they made every penny count on their first feature, using coconuts (and subtitles and farm animals and a number of other things) in a way nobody else could have imagined.