6. The Perfect Human (1968)
This Danish short movie from 1968 is one of the most iconic Scandinavian films. Director Jørgen Leth examines two human beings, the perfect humans, in an anthropological and curious way. We are seeing two people, a human male and a human female, doing different things as the narrator (Leth himself) comments on their actions and asks us why and how they’re doing it.
“Look at the man falling,” Leth asks, “This is how he falls,” and the human male falls in a very staged, quiet, and kind of humorous way. We are seeing their body parts; we see them dancing, dressing down, touching their own faces, eat and jump.
We are seeing us, homo sapiens, from a different, curious perspective, and we are dragged into it all by watching the actors do things we normally do, but in a staged and almost alien way.
It is both funny and beautiful at the same time; it has a quietness in its artistic approach to the silly and wonderful things humans can do.
7. Zazie dans le métro (1960)
If you ever grew up watching “Pippi Långströmp” (“Pippi Longstocking”) or the movies of Tati, this might be the movie for you.
Directed by Louis Malle, who also directed “My Dinner with André,” this movie follows the 10-year old girl Zazie, whose mother is taking some private time with her new beau. Zazie is stuck with her uncle, while wanting nothing more than to try the Parisian metro. Unfortunately, it seems that the metro is closed, so instead Zazie manages to escape her uncle’s custody several times to explore Paris on her own.
The movie is almost like a fairy tale, with everything told from Zazie’s point of view in a childish and adventurous tone. It’s colourful and sometimes seems to be on speed, often by literally speeding up the movie, with chase scenes and Zazie hiding from her uncle. It also features a bunch of cartoon-like characters that Zazie almost plays around with as if the whole city and population of Paris is her dollhouse.
8. Monday (2000)
This insane adventure of a movie was directed by Sabu, and it’s about a seemingly normal Japanese man who wakes up in a hotel room, but with no recollection of how he got there or what had happened the night before. Slowly he recalls, and we’re shown everything, and the more he recalls, the more this Monday seems to be truly the worst and most difficult Monday in man’s memory.
If you are a fan of the types of early movies of Tarantino, then this movie might be just the thing for you. Or maybe you don’t like Tarantino, but still want a bogus adventure of an everyday Japanese man who gets drunk on strong liquor and, among other things, getting dangerously familiar with the yakuza.
It’s still worth a watch, with the story becoming more and more insane and dangerous for any everyday man, and with a type of humour and satire that seems to only fit Japanese cinema, and especially from such a director as Sabu.
9. Performance (1970)
This one also has a short but intriguing description from IMDb: “A violent gangster seeks refuge from the mob in the bohemian home of a former rock star.” This kind of description just opens up for endless possibilities! In the role of our gangster, Chas, is James Fox, and our bohemian rock star (such a fitting combination of titles) is none other than the real rock star Mick Jagger, here playing the exotic Turner.
The two characters are like day and night, completely different lifestyles and a view of life. Still, Chas is fascinated by Turner and his free lifestyle and free view of love. And it doesn’t take too much time until he’s dragged into Turner’s world.
What makes this movie fit the list is surely the odd plot, though we’ve seen the kind of dynamic where two (usually) men who doesn’t like each other that much, start talking to each other and learning from each other and develop a weird friendship. There are other things going on here, though.
The cuts sometimes acts like a curious child, looking everywhere really fast, or associating one thing with another while trying to pay attention to one thing at a time. The story also naturally becomes more and more psychedelic as we are dragged into Turner’s bohemian rock ‘n roll world and his search for his “lost demon,” as he calls his musical virtuosis.
10. The Doom Generation (1995)
This is a story containing transgressive sexuality, Satanic imagery, foul language, and is a part of Gregg Araki’s Teen Apocalypse Trilogy. It’s “a heterosexual movie” that features homoeroticism (as well as heteroeroticism!). It’s a movie for lovers of the chaotic, for random and passionate violence and punks on a mission for mayhem.
There’s not much else to say about this movie, other than it’s filled with small Easter eggs and details here and there, with three perfectly cast main characters, namely James Duval, Rose McGowan and Johnathon Schaech playing the colour-coded Jordan White, Amy Blue and Xavier Red. The movie moves away from a regular linear story of redemption and focuses more on the aspect of the messy minds of angry and sexually confused teens. It’s hard to miss out on if one loves these kind of gritty ‘90s movies.