Thursday May 18 - Thursday May 25
Text William Tattersall
Every week, we're going to put out a list of the best movies to accompany you on a Friday night in, to medicate your Sunday-afternoon hangover, or take your mind off the day-to-day drag of the work week. This week we have a variety of films featuring heroin-addicted kids in West-Berlin to a wandering father who returns home after 4 years lost in the desert and tries to reconnect with his estranged family; check out our recommendations below.
Christiane F.: Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo (1981)
My favourite movie of all time, the German film based on the true story of the teen-girl-turned-homeless-heroin-addict/prostitute is a cult classic among tumblr users and David Bowie fans alike. I was first shown Christiane F. in my grade 11 anthropology class, and instantly it resonated with me. From the heroin-chic 1970's German style, with flare pants and Christiane's now-infamous red Bowie jacket, to the dyed haired, smoke-breathing, vein-popping Berlin youth, the gritty cinematography and the charged soundtrack by David Bowie himself, I was struck by the film that can be seen referenced anywhere from Raf Simons' Riot, Riot, Riot A/W 01-02 collection, to a skateboard from Eli Reed.
Paris, Texas (1984)
A film centring around the premise of familial reunification, Paris, Texas is a story about how a man named Travis Henderson, who has been lost in the desert for years, remarkably and inexplicably finds his way home to his estranged son, who has been under the care of Travis' brother, Walt. Travis and his son, Hunter, must spend some time reconnecting, as Hunter looks at Walt as his father, having been brought up by him during his formative years. Together, Travis and Hunter set off in search of Hunter's mother, whom they end up locating in the most unexpected of places. It's an odd film, just enough to get you thinking.
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)
I've been watching this movie for as long as I can remember. The first feature film from Batman: The Animated Series (the only good adaptation of Batman as a series to date) and the only theatrically-released animated Batman movie, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm always confused me when I was younger. The film focuses on a back-and-forth storyline, both detailing Bruce Wayne's time before Batman with his former love, Andrea Beaumont, and the happenings now, as Batman, when a new vigilante figure has been single-handedly picking off prominent mob figures. It can be very difficult to differentiate between the two if you aren't paying attention. Batman must figure out how to stop the new masked individual in Gotham, while Andrea returns to open some old wounds. Mix in Batman's greatest foe, The Joker, and it makes for a complex, dark film, suitable for all ages including adult audiences. In its' essence, this is an origin film, which delves deep into the becoming of Batman, arguably done better than any other Batman origin film, live-action renditions included. Voice casting (featuring Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill) and animation-style are second to none.
Julien Donkey-Boy (1999)
Harmony Korine's second feature-length film, Julien Donkey-Boy is a look into the effects of schizophrenia on family life. Transferred onto 8 mm stock film and subsequently being blown up onto 35 mm gave the film its' unique look, the film is inspired by Korine's schizophrenic uncle, whom the main character Julien is based upon. Also featuring acclaimed German director Werner Herzog and Kids star Chloe Sevigny, it was unique for its' script: the dialogue for the entire film was improvised on-set by the actors, aside from a single telephone conversation. Korine's film has a voyeuristic nature to it, shot as though the viewer is watching home videos, glimpsing into Julien's family's life. This one's definitely not for all, but it's easily one of the best art films I have ever sat down and watched, and it is also an interesting look into the world of mental illness and familial conflict.