What makes a film original? Its script? The way it looks? The way it was edited? Its soundtrack? It can be all of them or none. There is no correct answer. However, we think that most of all an original film is one which will make its viewer go through an experience different to any other he’s gone through before. And this is the case with the 10 films we’ve listed below.
Yet, there is a difference between a film being original and a film being good. But when a film is both original and good, we’re in for a treat. With these being said, we believe that the films on this list are great.
Let us know in the comments if you agree with our choices and what other movies you would have included on this list.
10. The Duke of Burgundy (2014)
Peter Strickland’s follow-up to “Berberian Film Studio” is a love letter to the 1970’s European exploitation cinema in which two female lepidopterists (moths and butterflies studiers) share an intense relationship revolving around games of dominance and submission, sadomasochism, and strange erotic rituals.
While having been critically acclaimed at the time of its release, with many critics even including it in their top best films of the year, “The Duke of Burgundy” remains somewhat of a hidden gem.
If some of you might not enjoy so much the slow-burn, slightly repetitive nature of the film, “The Duke of Burgundy” is still one of the most unique films of the last five years, worth seeing even if only for its distinct visual style, psychedelic soundtrack, and its fable-like all-women universe.
9. Get Out (2017)
With his 2017 directorial debut, actor and comedian Jordan Peele succeeded in making a film that few would manage to pull off. “Get Out” was not only a box-office hit but also a great film and that is due to Peele’s masterful mix of horror with comedy and – on top of it – the smart social commentary he made on racism and the American society on the verge of the Trump era.
The film’s plot is simple yet very effective. Chris Washington, an Afro-American man (played by Daniel Kaluuya) is going to meet his white girlfriend’s family for the first time. However, the atmosphere gets least to say uncomfortable for Chris and, as time passes, he starts to get the impression that something is off with the entire situation.
In an era where most horror screenwriters and directors resort to disturbing imagery, jumpscares and all kinds of twisted ideas in order to frighten their audiences, Jordan Peele managed to make a film which, on paper, sounds more like an Alfred Hitchcock flick from the ‘60s or a Twilight Zone episode, but has something more to offer.
While the level of tension and the film’s plot are Hitchcockian, Peele’s attention to detail lives up to the standards of Kubrick. The result is a truly original and very rewatchable film, the kind of horror movie which we rarely get nowadays and one which will surely become a classic in the years to come.
8. Mother! (2017)
Back in 2017, Darren Aronofsky’s “Mother!” was released to very divisive reactions and gave birth to countless discussions and interpretations . While some critics panned it for being messy, pretentious and confusing, others called it a riveting, visionary film that’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before and praised its allegory of the Bible and creation, environment destruction and climate change.
“Mother!” stars Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem as a nameless couple whose quiet life in their remote country home is disrupted with the arrival of a series of uninvited guests. The film starts as an invasion thriller but quickly escalates to something much unsettling after the intruders starts destroying the couple’s house.
While it is understandable that this is a movie that not everyone can like, there’s no denying that Aronofsky is a bold director who’s always tried to push his boundaries and reinvent cinema by making films like no other director is making nowadays. This is also the case with “Mother!”, a film which once you’ve seen you’ll never forget.
7. Swiss Army Man (2016)
“Swiss Army Man” is crazy and chances are you will either love it or to hate it, but it is hard to deny that this is a one of a kind film.
The film starts with Hank Thompson (played by Paul Dano), a castaway who is just about to take his own life when he is suddenly interrupted by the sight of a corpse (Daniel Radcliffe) washing up on the nearby shores.
Then, the crazy stuff starts to happen as he finds out that the corpse is the equivalent of a Swiss army knife and by that we mean capable of doing all sorts of things from propelling itself like a jet ski by using farts to spitting unlimited amounts of water and working as an erection-based compass (we’ll leave it up to you to find out what that means). So, riding the fart-fueled corpse jet ski, Hank goes on an insane adventure to find his way back home.
“Swiss Army Man” is sometimes hilarious, other times meditative or plainly awkward, it features some great performances and has a script like no other and a perfect direction which sets itself apart as one of the most original films of the last five – or even more – years.
6. Kaili Blues (2015)
Bi Gan’s mysterious debut feature film “Kaili Blues”, in which a doctor travels the Chinese countryside in search of his abandoned nephew, features a 41 minutes long dreamlike scene which was filmed in one tracking long-take.
The Tarkovskian scene features a car and motorcycle ride through the villages and misty mountains of Southern China and is one of the most entrancing and unique sequences we’ve ever seen in a movie. Equally entrancing are the film’s cinematography and the beautiful Chinese nature landscapes captured on screen.
Plotwise, “Kaili Blues” is a simple film and one could say there’s not much happening during its nearly two hours running time. However, this is such an authentic, raw and visually stunning piece of cinema that it is hard not to fall in love with it.