Thursday, July 28, 2016

My Favorite Films I Watched At School

I recently graduated with a BA in film studies. While studying film, I was able to see a lot of films that I have probably never seen on my own time or even have never heard of a lot of films. Ironically all of my favorite films I saw are all foreign and most of them were made by female directors. Proof we need more female directors.  I saw a lot of films at school, mostly bad ones, but some amazing. Maybe you have never heard of the films I picked, I didn't know of them until school, so hopefully I will be suggesting films you didn't know existed!

Cache (2005, Michael Haneke)

I just briefly wrote about this film here, but since that contained spoilers, I will write a spoiler free summary. A French couple keeps receiving videotapes of the front of their house. It is a mystery on who records them and why they exist. Eventually the setting of the videos change, leading the protagonist to his next clue on why these tapes exist. I did not understand it the fist time watching it and that's the fun part! It's a great psychological thriller that leaves you with more questions than answers. 

Beau Travail (1999, Claire Denis)

This is the most beautiful film I saw at school. The cinematography is amazing, I love how the mise-en-scene tells more about the story rather than the dialogue, and I love the final two scenes. I will admit I didn't enjoy watching it nor understood it at first, but after I did my readings regarding the film, it all made sense and I saw it's beauty. 

Festen (1998, Thomas Vinterberg)

This film is an odd choice to be a favorite of mine, being about a son accusing his father of child molestation. I watched this film while taking a film on Scandinavian cinema, my professor enlightened us how this film comments on how Danish people celebrate, ignore controversial topics, and can be racist. In that class I wrote about this film and Vinterberg's other film Jagten (The Hunt), which I plan on posting soon. Both films handle the issue of accusation of child molestation, and it's odd to say both films are good, but they actually really are. 

Wuthering Heights (2011, Andrea Arnold)

It is kind of odd for me to put this on my list because I'm not telling you guys to watch this a soon as you can or that its the best movie ever, but this film really moved me. I watched this film learning about how films can portray senses, and with the close ups, I felt as if I could feel the wind blowing and the connection the two characters had. I'm not going to lie, I cried a lot during this film and if I watched it alone, I'm sure I would have cried much more. I haven't read the book, but I think the director made an emotional and moving film.

Les glaneurs et la glaneuse (2000, Anges Varda)

It's quite hard to say what my favorite Anges Varda film is. I really enjoyed most of the ones I saw in my class that was solely about this amazing French director. I wrote a guide to my favorite and essential films by Agnes Varda here, so check out which ones I recommend the most. But perhaps Gleaners is my favorite since it was the film that peaked my interest in the director, and it's a great documentary too. 

Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels (1975, Chantal Akerman)

This is by no means an easy film to watch. The film is 3 hours and 45 mins of what seems to be Jeanne doing such mundane tasks, but it's actually very important to see Jeanne do these things. If you can handle slow burning films, watch this! And the last scene is quite unexpected so avoid spoilers of this film. I'm very glad I saw this at school, because I probably wouldn't have watch it all the way through.

Crimson Gold (2003, Jafar Panahi)

Before watching this in class, I joked calling it the pizza driver version of Taxi Driver, which ironically we watched in that class prior to watching this. What was my professor getting at? Anyway, this was my favorite film I saw at school for a while. To be honest, I don't think I can say I have a number one favorite because the films I liked are different from one another. What I loved about this film is that I really felt for the main character, Hussein. The director lingered on Hussein to show us moments of how he struggled and how he was a part of the lower class. A very sad film and well-made, way better than Taxi Driver in my opinion.


  1. The only film I've seen here is Cache, which I loved and I'm glad someone recommended it to me online.

    I've heard of Wuthering Heights, but I never knew it was remade by the same director who did Fish Tank. I think I'll check that out now.

    Festen also sounds interesting, but It's not on Netflix :( Off to youtube.

    Great post!

    1. Thanks Brittani! I haven't seen Fish Tank, but I heard great things about the director and I think she did really good in Wuthering, though I thought the second act didn't compare to the first. I think you'd like Festen, hopefully you can find it somewhere!

  2. I haven't seen any of these but I've heard of Beau Travail and Festen. They already are on my watchlist and I hope I'll be able to watch them soon. Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels sounds like a film I'd love.

    1. I highly recommend Beau Travail ! If you see Jeanne Dielman, let me know your thoughts since it's not easy to sit through, but I think it was worth it.

  3. I have not seen any of these films. I don't think I would watch Festen but Cache sounds interesting and so does Crimson Gold. I have seen a few Withering Heights films and I really liked the one with Ralph Fiennes.

    1. Ooh I didn't know Ralph Fiennes was in a Wuthering Heights, I'll have to check that out!