6. Alejandro Jodorowsky’s El Topo (1970) to The Holy Mountain (1973)
Similar to Reservoir Dogs and its director, Jodorowsky’s style created a more prominent profile enabling the later effort to achieve more success and notoriety than its predecessor. But unlike Tarantino’s film, even the most dedicated fans of cinematic violence and gore might find themselves at odds with Jodorowsky’s curious understanding of what constitutes coherency .
Whatever the opinion of the unique El Topo, masterpiece or cinematic by-product of the embrace countercultural zeitgeist , the film has very obvious boundaries. The imposing hand of the narrative made sure that El Topo’s content never extended beyond its placement in the world of a weird, existential western. A viewer without prior integration into surrealist or psychedelic cinema might still identify within El Topo a beginning, middle, and an end.
The viewer might also be thoroughly confused at the abundance of strange, possibly religious, iconography, moments of oddball spiritual profundity, excessive brutal violence, the presence of Jodorowsky’s testicles and the unexplained appearance of a second female companion at a certain point of the film with none of it guaranteeing an overshadowing of plain plot structure.
The Holy Mountain, the director’s next film, makes a point to attack each and every single one of its viewers.If the viewer is inclined to accept its morally depraved imagery, violence and assorted gratuitous material,Jodorowsky’s bullets find a use in assorted ways.
Whether strictly adhering to a religion, a proud staunch capitalist, or art Jodorowsky finds a reason to diminish the validity of human existence. Stylistically, this is done through what o might be noted as an aggression, towards every objectionable element celebrated within El Topo.
A notable, important, difference between the two would be El Topo’s ultimate optimism and faith in leadership figures (albeit skepticism when the leadership arises from a religious position), while The Holy Mountain offers the most unique and astounding cinematic experience imaginable, but, amazingly, one that also determines itself and any messages ultimately pointless with the inclusion of one climatic final pan.
7. Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory (1957) and Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Thanks to Stanley Kubrick’s innovative visual storytelling, Paths of Glory was bound to be more than a vehicle for producer-star Kirk Douglas. Instead, it is one of the few pre-Vietnam anti-war films and serves to remain as one of the very finest war films ever crafted, certainly in regard to the First World War.
Over thirty years later, the can be deemed an entry in a legendary director’s filmography whose themes in some major respects find fulfillment in a later work.
Full Metal Jacket, in contrast to Paths of Glory, contains a different method of criticizing contemporary warfare. Whereas Paths of Glory was wholly upfront in pointing out the blatant injustices of commanding officers, the futility of trench warfare and the abundance of psychological detriment in such situations, Full Metal Jacket sees fit to merely detail an average private’s experience in Vietnam.
Full Metal Jacket contains little melodrama. It is by no means the ‘Paths of Glory’ of Vietnam films. Jacket was a new breed of war films entirely. A realistic breed of the machinations that engulfed M*A*S*H, the Altman film and its long-running sitcom, ithe film shows that regardless of which facet of American modern warfare a filmmaker chooses to focus upon, such as the casual lives of the troops in this case, it is still a truly realistic war picture,and always finds a way to turn back to tragedy.
It helps to analyze how Kubrick’s career progressed over the course of three decades. Initially steeping his films in traditional often melodramatic, cinematic depictions of gritty events (The Killing, Spartacus and, to an extent, Lolita,for example), the director attained auteur status by the close of the 1960s.
By this point in his career, Kubrick envisioned all the content of all of his films through the lens of his own perspective,and vision, of how these elements should be seen. Perhaps more than any other filmmaker , he fulfilled this goal, primarily due to effectively communicating significance and poignancy and by channeling artistic impact through unconventional methods which might be deemed valid depictions of what the typical content of a film narrative might contain.
The proof of this idea may be ascertained by a comparison between Paths of Glory and Full Metal Jacket.
8. Park Chan Wook’s Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance (2002) and Oldboy (2003)
Park Chan Wook undertook two journeys into the lower depths of the human psychological unconscious which were highly instrumental in establishing South Korean cinema as a vital player in the international cinematic circuit. In both films, he chose to employ two facets, of iconic Eastern cinema traits.
First the idea may be advanced that when Asian cinema wants to be uncompromising and gritty, this may be thoroughly accomplished. Ranging from Ozu’s unwillingness to let audience accessibility compromise his depictions of contemporary human existence, to Woo’s The Killer in balancing both a kinetic stylish fervently celebrating a distinctive breed of action cinema while maintaining an unapologetic stance toward consequences in situations permitting mortal extreme violence.
Eastern nations are prolific in the cinematic art, naturally accepting the more visceral of young film makers. Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance put the world on notice of how Park Chan Wook, and his peers were ready to be acknowledged as the contemporary kings of the international Asian movie markets.
Mr. Vengeance brings together characters and themes marked by misery and unpleasantness, writhing in a showcase of human activity which delves deeply into areas of rampant shock and horror. However, at no point does this film give an impression of being exploitative or provocative.
Instead, as opposed to films which are light hearted, and riddled with light hearted happenings, seemingly without a care in the world in depicting with accuracy a depiction of human beings, Mr. Vengeance takes the opposite path. The film stands as one of the definitive unpleasant titles.
However is the quality of the earlier film significant in and of itself or due to the fact that it stands as a prototype for Oldboy? It is the tonal cage employed in the use of heavily graphic violence, and how that may not have inspired Wook to implement certain stylistic decisions in creating Oldboy.
Oldboy is based upon a manga, and its basic premise very much resembles that of a Hollywood revenge narrative. In depicting violence in such a specific manner as in Mr. Vengeance, Wook had little choice but to remain tonally consistent for his eventual Vengeance Trilogy. The violence seen in Oldboy is not meant to be exciting, stylish nor satisfying, but, instead, meant to be honest.
9. Guillermo del Toro’s The Devil’s Backbone (2001) and Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
Aside from causing Guillermo del Toro to start translating the subtitles of his into English himself , The Devil’s Backbone offers some strikingly thematic similarities to Del Toro’s acclaimed 2006 spiritual successor.
As early as his debut 1993 Cronos, Guillermo had explored an ability to reveal the mystical in through an impacted, haunting lens while gifting viewers with a point of view shared with a child protagonist. Not only does this grant the film a distinct charm and tonal style, it opens up an entire wealth of emotional mutuality to be felt in conjunction, which is shared with an individual whose naivety, may be perceived as a one note existence.
Through both features, del Toro has , uncovered worlds of which many are unaware of, inviting the viewer to experience magical, supernatural, occurrences through the perspective of a character who might feasibly be affected the most, and who might accept events with blind gullibility.
Conversely taking a more realistic stance when decreeing the nature of the film’s content, the limited perspective may be preventing an emotional reaction to certain pockets of history and culture often unexplored in del Toro’s cinema. The Devil’s Backbone presents a new slant on the Spanish Civil War, to a public that may only be aware of the event artistically through popular artistic references.
Employing this time frame opens windows of historical and thematic exploration. Pan’s Labyrinth also while providing an analysis of the, brutal Franco era as a backdrop of a young girl’s mystical journey, examines how psychological detriment may result from awful actions and activities visited upon a young human’s psyche.
A striking difference may be noted in the films’ basic genre classification. The Devil’s Backbone might be termed a ‘horror film’, albeit one in the familiar vein, where accessible engagement overshadows the morbidity and the grotesqueness which defines many horror genre pieces. Pan’s Labyrinth ,though certainly horrific is, by way of contrast, an exercise in perfecting the gothic fairy-tale.
10. Danny Boyle’s Shallow Grave (1994) and Trainspotting (1996)
At the time of his emergence on the international cinema scene, Britain’s Danny Boyle appeared to many to be a successor to U.S director Quentin Tarantino. However, Boyle spoke with a voice of his own.
Similar to Reservoir Dogs, Boyle’s debut feature is a smaller, more character driven narrative as opposed to a narrative driven one and constructs a ladder with which a ,more ambitious, more in depth feature could successfully aspire.
The ambitious title in question was an attempt to make a film about heroin that wasn’t preachy, nor any sort of glorification of this illicit substance, while capturing the vibrancy of its characters against the backdrop of a gritty, ground level environment of Scottish misery. It wouldn’t have been difficult for Trainspotting to emerge as a complete tonal catastrophe. Could it be argued that Boyle’s most memorable, iconic, film is anything but Trainspotting?
Though there are many admirable elements contained in Trainspotting, one of the most vital is the casting a the then young and little known Ewan McGregor. An unusual point concerning these performance is that McGregor f at the end of the day, he is merely playing ‘a guy’.
In this case ‘a guy’ involves being accurate as a representation of the average human: he claims to have select values, which are quashed in the wake of overshadowing scenarios, and therefore command his decisions until he can ultimately convince himself he did the right thing. The early Boyle features appear to rely on this fundamental pattern for most of their players regardless of gender.
McGregor’s ability to turns this into, not just another depiction of a breathing upright being, but one which persuade a viewer to find traits akin to the viewer’s own inside this generalized depiction of the modern societal dweller and has assisted Boyle immensely in producing what have become rightly renowned as some of the most notably distinct English-speaking films of its decade.
Author Bio: Charles Barnes graduated highschool determined to leave the world of faux-intellectuals behind him, absorbing himself into an excessive gorging of cinema, determined to develop an individual, distinctive, voice in the world of film analysis and criticism. Working at a video shop, watching and writing about film in his spare time, the Australian teen is determined to put his name firmly in the history of Australian film criticism and theory.