Tag Archives: surrealist films
Under The Skin (2013)
Directed by Jonathan Glazer
Screenplay by Jonathan Glazer & Walter Campbell
Based on a novel by Michel Faber
While waiting in line for the bathroom, I couldn’t help but overhear two women talking about the movie we had all just come from.
“Totally pointless. What was that even about?”
I guess on the surface I can see how this film could seem like that. I mean, I get it—long silences, abstract cinematography, and alien invaders just don’t really do it for some people. However, I couldn’t help but think that maybe the reason they didn’t understand the movie was because they weren’t looking in the right place—this isn’t actually a movie about an “alien seductress [that] preys upon the population of Scotland” as its IMDB tagline says. It’s a movie about women and their place in modern society.
If there’s one thing I love, it’s being lost, scared, and perplexed.
Okay, not really, but I do love me some surrealist movies. Any movie that forces me to constantly pay attention, actively find connections, and really work at interpreting pictures, sound, and dialogue is typically a good time for me.
A good surrealist movie always has a point. Sometimes the point is that it doesn’t have a point, but that can be enjoyable too—so long as it’s not just random nonsense, or completely abstract bullshit.
I went to see a talk with David Lynch at BAM a couple months back and he actually brought up this exact point, to my delight. He was responding to a question on why exactly he refuses to give any solid interpretation of his work. His answer was that he thought it was important for art to be analyzed from all angles—to give one ‘definitive’ interpretation is to stifle all other paths of growth. He went on to say that if the director’s intent is presented well then it will open up to deeper interpretation from other sources, meanings that even the author themselves may not have realized.
A good film is absolutely that, and a good surrealist film takes it a step further—its constant twists and turns eventually culminate to a beautiful larger picture.
This year has been a pretty good one for new surrealist movies—we’re only half way through and I’ve already seen four new ones in theaters! Even better, I absolutely loved all of them: