Staff Picks: Visionary Pictures
Make a cappuccino and enjoy these arthouse films.
At Fandor we believe movies are movies, across the board. We’ll watch the latest action film in an IMAX theater and compare it (with gusto) to Italian neorealism. Cinema for us means everything and we have fond memories of discovering this mammoth passion in small theaters where our shoes stuck to the floor as we watched the latest foreign, independent, or classic arthouse films. Okay, maybe that’s just us, but if it’s you too, then whether you are a cinephile or novice movie lover, pop some popcorn, make a cappuccino and enjoy this Spotlight full of arthouse films.
Top 5 Staff Picks
- Delicatessen (Only on Fandor for the month of January)
From the director of Amelie, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and the director of The City of Lost Children, Marc Caro, comes a deliciously dark comedy set in post-apocalyptic France. With food in scarce supply and grain being used as currency, the butcher begins selling the only meat source he can find to the tenants of his building: human flesh. When the new building handyman becomes romantically involved with the butcher’s daughter, the supply comes into question. Gorgeously shot, with a sepia tint and impeccable details. If you have wondered what goes on in the apartments in your building, like Amelie, Delicatessen visualizes each tenant’s story with comedic and artistic specificity.
- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Only on Fandor for the month of January)
Artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel won Best Director at Cannes, the Golden Globes, and the Cesar Awards in 2008, among other festival awards and Academy Award® nominations. The life of Elle France editor, Jean-Dominique Bauby, is examined in this biopic adapted from his memoir, Le Scaphandre et le papillon (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly). Following a massive stroke that left him completely paralyzed with the exception of his left eye, Jean-Dominique Bauby describes his life and state of being to a speech therapist letter by letter, blink by blink. Flashbacks and dream sequences intercut between pov shots of Bauby as his thoughts are narrated. Schnabel depicts Bauby’s state with gorgeously abstract cinematography that emphasizes the isolation of being completely mentally aware yet physically trapped.
Carlos Vermut’s Magical Girl is a Spanish drama that interweaves two narratives: Barbara, an extremely depressed former S&M call girl, with that of Luis, whose daughter is suffering from leukemia. After he accidentally meets Barbara, Luis extorts her in order to purchase a dying gift for his daughter, a dress worn by “Magical Girl Yukiko,” her favorite anime character. Winner of Best Director and Golden Seashell at the 2014 San Sebastian Film Festival, Magical Girl is an untapped suspense film that’s magic is in what it omits and in it’s manipulation of the viewer.
"Astonishing first film about a geography of the soul. Delineated by time, trains and regret... Contains a 40 minute single shot that traces a map of Kaili with poetic prodigious filmic chops. Why? Cinema. Why? Life." -Guillermo del Toro
Beginning with a quote from the Diamond Sutra about the “Tathagata,” a term which is thought to mean one who has thus gone or one who has thus come, Kaili Blues is just that: A road movie of the self and of others. It's the sort of movie that you lose yourself in; it's the sort of movie that moves through you. Each shot is crafted with incredible intention; the subtle reflection in the side mirror of a motorcycle, forcing the viewer to see beauty in the banal. Gorgeous imagery is paired with poetic stories, streams of consciousness, and poetry read in voice-over. Bi Gan’s debut feature is an absolute must see at Fandor.
An iconic German silent science-fiction film by Fritz Lang. This expressionist film juxtaposes a pampered aristocratic city of skyscrapers with an underground world of exploited workers. This dystopian epic is a great precursor to binge-watching the Margaret Atwood adaptation, The Handmaid’s Tale, that has caught everyone’s attention. Set in 2026 and made in 1927, the stylized black and white cinematography creates compelling imagery that will floor you. Considered one of the greatest silent films in history, Metropolis is available to stream on Fandor now!
Want more indie and foreign? Watch the full Spotlight: Visionary Pictures.