Breaking The Waves, dir. Lars Von Trier
This film totally blew me away when I first watched it. I was fascinated by the character of Bess who believes she makes a deal with God to save her husband. The styling and locations are unique and inspiring - a window into a world I’ve not seen on screen before.
Un Prophéte, dir. Jacques Audiard
A beautiful film about a young man who hits rock bottom and, with no one to turn to, has to cut a path for himself by siding with the bad guys. I loved the film’s subtle mysticism which is so unusual in what is, on the surface, a crime/prison story. There is much to learn here about the prison system, and how hard it is for disadvantaged young men to make their way in the world.
Shame, dir. Steve McQueen
Favourite line: “We’re not bad people, we just come from a bad place.” A breathtaking film which says so much with an almost total absence of backstory. The performances of Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan are incredible, and their relationship opens up so many questions which the viewer is left to answer. Skillful, trusting and intelligent storytelling.
Dead Man's Shoes, dir. Shane Meadows
What struck me about the characters in this film is how real they are. Gangsters and drug dealers are so often depicted as slick and enigmatic, but these guys are just plain old suburban. Favourite scene: when two of the dealers are high and they tidy the kitchen with fastidious attention. Hilarious and tragic.
Blood Simple, dir. Joel and Ethan Coen
There are so many Coen’s films I could have chosen, but what I love about Blood Simple is the pared down but relentless menace as the characters get deeper into inescapable trouble. The soundtrack is incredible too - spare, evocative and terrifying.