Films are an important part of my life. I am sucker for suspension of disblief, sotrytelling, and that unique feeling when the lights go out and the screen starts flickering. That’s why I see at least a film a week (though lately there weren’t so many good ones)

I was asked by my students to prepare a list of recommended films. So this is the first batch of films that I love. In this batch I concentrated on the ones with somewhat darker themes, the next batches will include additional angles…

Abre Los Ojos – an amazing Spanish film from 1997 by Alejandro Amenbar, tells the story of a handsome guy wounded in a car accident, who tries to rebuild his life, but believe that he is losing his mind. Beyond philosophical aspects in the tale of a man haunted by his past, this film tells his story in an appealing and intriguing way. You feel that you are loosing it with the lead actor. Do yourself a favor and skip the American version of this film – Vanilla Sky (not linking to it so you won’t be tempted to go and see it). This is a great example why some films should not be touched.

Tesis – made by the same director, this psychological horror film tells the story of a film student doing a thesis on violence and media, that stumble upon a snuff film. What’s so special about this film is its use of soundtrack and audio in general. In one of the scariest scenes I’ve seen till now in a horror film, there are no visuals, just the soundtrack of the snuff film. Scary as hell. This is an early film of Amenbar, and you can feel that it is not as polished as later ones. But the raw quality is there. The cast is pretty much the same as in Abre, and Amenbar stated that the plots are connected. Watch for yourself and try to find the links.

The Conversation – a masterpiece by Coppola. A story of a surveillance expert who feels uneasy about his last assignment, and slowly starting to feel that he is being followed. Two very unique elements in this film are the strong feeling of being watched, even as a viewer, and the last scene, when the life of the lead role crumble.

Lost Highway – Lynch made many amazing films, but this is my favorite. A story of two men who face their deepest emotions and fears in LA, filled with gangsters, porn stars, and other dark figures. This is one of those films you can watch over and over again, and get a new perspective and insight about the characters and what they mean (Lynch, you know….). My favorite scene is the one at the party early in the movie where the white faced gangaster tells Fred Medisson that he is in his house – and that he can call and find out. You don’t want to know what happens next.

WatchmenYes, it isn’t as good as the original comics, and it lost some of the layers in the original masterpiece. But still, it gets you thinking about the limitations of power. Some strong scenes, and probably one of the best opening sequences I’ve ever seen. Read the original, a true multilayered story with many storytelling tricks that makes you think.

RepulsionPolanski tells a story of a young beautiful woman, left alone in her sister’s apartment, slowly losing touch with reality and forced to face her deepest fears – or fantasies. one of the most disturbing I’ve ever seen. Watch out for the rabbit.

Chinatown – a true masterpiece, also by Polanki. Story of a PI getting way too much involved in a case of a young woman hiring his services. He wasn’t perepared for the level of perversion he would face by the end of his journey.

8 MMprobably the only Nicolas Cage film worth watching. Cage is a PI asked by an elderly woman to find a girl filmed in a snuff film found in a safety deposit box of her late, rich husband. Cage is drawn to the siddy world of underground porn to find the girl, while losing himself in the process.

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