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Friday, June 16, 2006

Controversial films

The AFI did a pretty good job with thier latest list, but EW recently released their list of the most controversial films of all-time, with The Passion of the Christ at the top, which was a pretty bland list. Here are the films they left off:
  • Salo(1975) A film so controversial many believe it led to the filmmakers own murder shortly after it’s release. A dark comedy about children being tortured by fascists in WWII Italy. Banned in more countries than any other film.
  • Pink Flamingos (1972) Appropriately described by one reviewer as “beyond porn,” this early John Waters film aimed to push the envelope, and made the most tasteless film ever made in the process, a title Waters would relish.
  • Irreversible (2002) No filmmaker in recent memory has been as antagonistic towards his audeinces as Gasper Noe (for instance the first 30 minutes of the film has a background noise with a frequency of 28Hz that causes nausea, and vertigo). His film about a woman being raped (shown in real time) and who then gets violent revenge should have caused more controversy than it did, perphaps because at it's premeire in Cannes 10% of the audience walked out.
  • Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) A violent, nihilistic, naturalistic account of a serial killer. Based on Henry Lee Lucas, it wasn't released for 3 years because the MPAA wouldn't approve it's "moral tone." I really appreciated this film, it's not something you can like, but it's very underrated.
  • The Rules of the Game (1939Banned in France on initial release, and until the end of WWII because of it's critical tone of the upper classes. During it’s first showing one attendee tried to burn down the theatre. Considered by many to be the best film ever.
  • Blue Velvet (1986) David Lynch’s film about the seedy underworld of a logging town. Most people saw it as pornographic, while the film itself is actually a critique on 1980's America. A massively unappreciated masterpeice.
  • Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979) A comedy about Jesus...sort of. Hugely controversial in the UK, but not so much in the US. The best Python film, and named the best comedy ever in a recent poll.
  • Guinea Pig: Flower of Flesh and Blood (1985) The plot is simple, a man in a samurai mask cuts a woman up. Charlie Sheen called the FBI after seeing it at a party, and for a while they thought it was a genuine snuff film, until it was proven otherwise, however, the film did influence one of Japan’s worst serial killers.
  • Faces of Death (1979) Video compilation of “real” deaths, though all but 1 are staged, or taken out of context by tricky editing. Still probably the king of the early home video pseudo-film market.
  • Brokeback Mountain (2005) I don't need to remind everyone about this one.
  • Punishment Park (1971) One of the few films essentially banned in the US because no one wants anything to do with it, even today. A fictional documentary about the Gov’t rounding up dissidents during a prolonged, unpopular war. Shown once in NY where it was harshly attacked, and not shown in Europe until 1974. Like Do the Right thing, it is essential viewing for Americans in the 21st century.
  • Man Behind the Sun (1987) Graphic film about the Japanese equivalent of the Holocaust in China during WWII, is a horrific mix of highly sophisticated movie violence, as well as actual use of dead bodies. The film also led to it being exposed that the US knew some of what was going on.
  • The Last House on the Left (1970) Very smart, angry, violent, film about the murder of a teenage girl and her parent’s who get revenge. Most people wrote it off as exploitation, but it is a brilliant, angry horror classic, though a brutal attack against its audience. At it's time the most violent film released to US audiences, partially because Wes Craven didn't get MPAA approval but stole a "X" rating sticker and put it on the film.
  • Citizen Kane (1941) Considered the best film ever made, Hearst offered Welles $1 million to burn all the prints. It was also booed at the Oscars.

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