When it comes to auteur movies, many people immediately imagine canvases full of highbrow boredom, which is very unfair. These films can be as great and easy to understand as 20bet.com or Netflix series. So, take a look at films that are as difficult to call intellectual snobbery as they are mainstream nonsense. Here’s a hit-parade of films that deserve the closest attention from lovers of truly extraordinary cinema.
The Duke of Burgundy, 2014
Director and screenwriter Peter Strickland’s third film is in the spirit of the erotic sexploitation films of the 1970s, paying homage to the masters of old-school slapstick mass unpretentious provocative cinema in the person of Jean Rollin and Jesus Franco. That said, the film itself proves to be far from simple, providing the viewer with an aesthetic to the point of magic as the action unfolds on the screen. The patterns, otherworldly sounds and symbols disturb, excite, confuse.
The vicious mistress-slave bond, between the overbearing Cynthia and the timid Evelyn, is the linchpin of the plot, on which the dark, understated peripeteia begins to coil. The film’s utter timelessness is confusing. Everything that happens can be both contemporary and visionary, a projection into the past.
The film balances on the edge of reality and unreality, like a conscious dream. It is absolutely unclear where the real world begins and where the fantasies of its characters end, as if trapped in a glass ball which they are unable to leave, where instead of snowflakes there is the fluttering of hundreds of butterflies.
What We Do in the Shadows, 2014
This picture, which made its authors famous and propelled them into the top directors of Hollywood, needs no special introduction. After all, not so long ago, a TV series based on the original film made a lot of noise. This parody comedy, full of witty jokes and memorable scenes, tells the story of the undead community in the spirit of reality TV. The viewer is invited to observe how vampire life could hypothetically look like in the real world: how the hunt for humans would actually look, devoid of tragic pathos, how the undead would get along, how they would communicate with their possible human food, how they would fight against the ubiquitous daylight or even wash the dishes.
The viewer is facilitated by the mockumentary-style filming, which blurs the fourth wall and consequently the boundaries between reality and fiction. That’s why, at times, the film can suddenly turn from a dark, smelly comedy into a tragicomedy, showing vampires not as masters of life, but as hostages to their position, when the top of the food chain doesn’t seem to be such a desirable goal.
Wet Hot American Summer, 2001
From the beginning, the movie seems like a regular summer teen comedy. Bright sunshine, bright girls, age-related problems, humor on the edge. In fact, the film soaks up all the classic stamps, but that in no way makes it worse. Quintessential is the right word. Wet Hot American Summer clearly deserves to be a successor to David Zucker or even the Monty Python’s comedies, inheriting them not in form but in spirit. The spirit of freedom. Equally fortunate is the brilliant cast, with Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, and others shining. All this brought the film a cult status and gave birth to a number of prequels, sequels and serial adaptations of different degrees of success.
The film is set on the last day of the last shift at a Jewish summer camp. Children and counselors, forgetting about the rules and order, are getting ready to go to the last break, to get what they did not have time to get earlier. The powerful parody, the explosive absurdist humor, and the dizzying, sitcom-like twists and turns make this film a must-see for anyone who has been to summer camp at least once.