Strange Art Club?
August 3, 2015 3:09 PM - Subscribe

Hey everyone! I've been flirting with the idea of getting together a Strange Art Club on Fanfare.

I'm using this post to gauge interest. It's my favorite kind of cinema, and maybe there are others who want to see this sort of thing on this fine subsite. It's exactly as the name suggests - strange & sublime, bizarre & beautiful, arthouse-leaning, unclassifiable. It can be a pure mind melt, or just delightfully not-quite-right. Emphasis is on "stuff we actually like" rather than "so bad it's good," though exceptions are inevitable (I'm dying to watch The Visitor, for example, and I have no idea which category that would fall under.) I've put together an initial list of 40 candidate films to give an idea of what we might be going for here, though of course more suggestions are welcome and encouraged. What do you think? Is this something that would generate interest and discussion? (Additional questions: is biweekly a good pace? And is there a more suitable name for the club?)
posted by naju (51 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Your list of candidate films is a great mix of things I've loved, things I've been meaning to see, and things I haven't even heard of. I'm in!
posted by jessypie at 4:14 PM on August 3, 2015 [4 favorites]

I would be up for this, although regarding the Letterboxd list it will be literally impossible for people to get a copy of It Is Fine! Everything Is Fine. Glover doesn't even send out screeners for it, the only way to see it at all is to attend one of his appearances/performances.
posted by tomorrowromance at 6:00 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Emphasizing "stuff we actually like" over "so bad it's good" is the way to go, for sure. Biweekly would probably be good, as it might be hard to track down some of these, and that would give people time to find it and watch it and what not.

(It Is Fine! Everything Is Fine. might be hard to do, as I don't think Crispin Glover allows it to be viewed if he isn't physically present at the screening, so as far as I know he has not released it on DVD or anything else.)
posted by Timmoy Daen at 6:02 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

On preview, yeah, exactly what tomorrowromance just said
posted by Timmoy Daen at 6:03 PM on August 3, 2015

But yeah, that's a whiz bang list to work off of, for sure!
posted by Timmoy Daen at 6:05 PM on August 3, 2015

I don't watch a lot of movies, but this looks like a really good list. I've liked the few I've seen and the ones I've only heard of come highly recommended. Color me interested!
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:34 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Sorry to dominate the thread, but felt like throwing out a few movie ideas:
Last Year at Marienbad or Je t'aime je t'aime
Eden and After (or anything directed by Alain Robbe-Grillet)
something by Tarkovsky maybe
posted by Timmoy Daen at 7:02 PM on August 3, 2015 [3 favorites]

Those look like good suggestions!
posted by naju at 7:38 PM on August 3, 2015

I've seen 53% of these according to Letterboxd, but own the majority. I'm in. (And clearly have lots of weird ass movies I love to throw on the list.)
posted by Gucky at 7:43 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm in on this, this is a whole bunch of stuff I keep meaning to watch.
posted by hobgadling at 7:46 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

And IT'S FINE! EVERYTHING IS FINE. is the thing on this list I've seen that I *wouldn't* want to see again, so lack of availability is fine!
posted by Gucky at 8:06 PM on August 3, 2015

Because more people should see them:
posted by Gucky at 9:32 PM on August 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

yes please.
posted by JimBennett at 11:22 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm down. Loved seeing Survive Style 5+ on that list, it's my favorite weird comedy.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 12:09 AM on August 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

This list looks an awful lot like my personal streaming queue these days, but on my own it's sometimes hard to get in the mood. I might have to join up just for the group experience, and get back in the habit of watching crazy esoterica.

Speaking of Japanese films, how about Funky Forest: The First Contact, which also happens to be available in full on YouTube. I've seen chunks of it, and it's like the Cremaster Cycle of weird Japanese comedies.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:37 AM on August 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

The first two titles that popped into my mind when reading the post were Possession and Sweet Movie, glad to see those on the list already.

I just watched Valerie and Her Week of Wonders based on a friend's recommendation, there was a brief retrospective doc on the DVD that mentioned other Czech New Wave films -- some of which I'd heard of, none of which I've seen -- that all look similarly out-there. In fact while I knew tangentially that Milos Forman had been involved in politically "dangerous" Czech cinema in the 60s and 70s, I hadn't known that there was a whole movement of surreal Czech filmmaking.

In the other direction (more toward off-the-wall, "how is this a thing" incompetence), my favorite WTF movie is Night Train to Terror. It is so bad it's good, but it's such a crazy mess that, like The Visitor, it's really hard to define until you've seen it.
posted by doctornecessiter at 9:11 AM on August 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

Oh, another horror movie that I never hear anyone talk about, but it's so strange that I try to hock it onto anyone who will listen: The Carrier. It's not about being poorly made, it's just...Not at all conventional as far as the details of the premise.

The problem is that it's likely not available anywhere except maybe for YouTube. I got a VHS copy on a whim sight unseen years ago from a Hollywood Video fire sale, and it's been worth every penny of those $2.
posted by doctornecessiter at 9:48 AM on August 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

Hey! I like this club!

I probably won't be signing up for DVD service or anything, but I am in for just about anything that's available streaming.
posted by ernielundquist at 11:59 AM on August 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

It looks like there's some interest in this. Awesome!

What would be the best way to choose movies? I'm up for whatever's easiest. Once we pool our collective movie ideas, I could pick out 5 and then we could use SurveyMonkey to figure out the choices.

I'm going to go ahead and update that Letterboxd link above with everyone's ideas, so keep em coming.

Availability/streaming is a good point, it's probably good to keep an eye on that so people can actually get a hold of these titles.
posted by naju at 12:35 PM on August 4, 2015

Also I'm not entirely sure on the name. "Strange Club" might be catchier!
posted by naju at 12:37 PM on August 4, 2015

I have a stupidly long list of movies I love or really want to see that nobody else will watch with me, and a lot of them would fit into this club's theme, I think.

However, I am not too picky, so I'd just as soon go along with what you guys want to watch.

One thing I might suggest is that some of those options might have more accessible alternatives for streaming. Dogtooth is only available on a la carte services right now, looks like, but another distinctively odd Yorgos Lanthimos movie,* Alps, is available on both Netflix and Fandor streaming free for subscribers. And similarly with Duke of Burgundy, which just finished the US theater run, but another Peter Strickland movie, Berberian Sound Studio, which is also appropriately strange, is on Netflix as well.

* And his latest, The Lobster, is at the very tip-top of my queue of movies I am waiting to see when it gets to a theater anywhere remotely near me. That one looks amazing.
posted by ernielundquist at 12:52 PM on August 4, 2015 [3 favorites]

Oh, plop. I knew I was forgetting one. Tropical Malady doesn't look like it's streaming, either, but Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, also directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, is on Netflix streaming, and that one, too, is strange and beautiful (and I'm pretty much in love with it).
posted by ernielundquist at 1:17 PM on August 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oh cool, I really want to see that one! And Alps. (I'm also so excited for The Lobster.) Berberian Sound Studio was already a MeFi Horror Club pick, so we might wanna skip that one. Can I Stream It? is a useful resource here.
posted by naju at 1:22 PM on August 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Disclaimer: I am only multi-posting so that Timmoy Daen doesn't feel like he's dominating the thread. It is a personal sacrifice I am making here.

I totally forgot to check if any of these were already on FanFare somewhere! Sorry about that.

But I also want to recommend in addition to In my experience, it seems to be a little more accurate, but my favorite thing is that you can search for movies for things other than just title. I use it a lot to search by director.
posted by ernielundquist at 1:38 PM on August 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

I am eternally grateful, ernielundquist.

We could call it Suicide Club, like, you know, that movie, but that's stupid so let's don't do that. I'm fine with Strange Art Club or Strange Club or Fucked Up Movies Club or whatever.
posted by Timmoy Daen at 3:20 PM on August 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

Oh, Hard To Be a God is streaming on Netflix, so that could go on the list, maybe.
posted by Timmoy Daen at 7:42 AM on August 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

Here we go:

Join the club

Vote for the first viewing
posted by naju at 12:24 PM on August 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

posted by naju at 12:37 PM on August 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

Some suggestions, trying to keep it to stuff that's available on VOD/streaming:

The American Soldier (1970, dir. Rainer Werner Fassbinder) - Gowatchit (only available on Hulu)
The Animal (1976, dir. Walter Ungerer) - Gowatchit (only available on Fandor)
Keoma (1976, dir. Enzo G. Castellari) - Gowatchit
Lisa and the Devil (1973, dir. Mario Bava) - Gowatchit
My Winnipeg (2007, dir. Guy Maddin) - Gowatchit
Runaway Nightmare (1982, dir. Mike Cartel) - Gowatchit (only available on Fandor)
Safe (1995, dir. Todd Haynes) - Gowatchit (only available on Netflix)
Sans Soleil (1983, dir. Chris Marker) - Gowatchit (only available on Hulu)
Short Night of Glass Dolls (1971, dir. Aldo Lado) - Gowatchit
Stoker (2013, dir. Park Chan-wook) - Gowatchit
The Trial (1962, dir. Orson Welles) - Gowatchit
Vampire (2011, dir. Shunji Iwai) - Gowatchit
Vanishing Waves (aka Aurora, 2012, dir. Kristina Buozyte) - Gowatchit
posted by tomorrowromance at 1:35 PM on August 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

Fantastic! Added all of those to the master list.
posted by naju at 2:33 PM on August 5, 2015

Oh! I just thought of one. Symbiopsychotaxiplasm

It's not really surreal or fantastical, but it is all meta and experimental and stuff. I don't know if that counts. I am going to have to rewatch it at some point regardless, but it'd be pretty great if anyone else wanted to also.
posted by ernielundquist at 7:35 PM on August 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

i have this weird thing with symbiopsychotaxiplasm where i'm fairly certain i saw it in a college class and ADORED it, but i can not remember any details about it at all. would love an excuse to rewatch that one.

some personal favorites that may fit the list, some may be a little too "normal," but hey:

-syencdoche, new york (d. charlie kaufman)
-inherent vice (d. paul thomas anderson)
-bellflower (d. even glodell)
-it's such a beautiful day (d. don hertzfeld)
-rubber (d. quentin dupieux)
-the double (2013, d. richard ayoade)
-any lars von trier. antichrist, melancholia, and nymphomaniac are all on netflix, all superb.

i'm sure there's many more that will come to me later but this feels like a good start.
posted by JimBennett at 8:02 PM on August 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yes! I've really been dying to see this one too.

it's such a beautiful day (d. don hertzfeld)

And this one.
posted by naju at 8:26 PM on August 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

-any lars von trier. antichrist, melancholia, and nymphomaniac are all on netflix, all superb.

Oh, yes! Count me in for anything von Trier. (Which reminds me: Also any Guy Maddin.)

BTW, for those with Hulu, it thinks that Lars Trier and Lars von Trier are two different guys, so if you are searching for his movies there, try both versions.
posted by ernielundquist at 9:27 AM on August 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

This is an amazing list! Films I love, films I want to see as soon as possible, and beautiful-looking things I've never heard of...

Some stuff that people might find useful/interesting:

There's a kickstarter going on now to release It's Such a Beautiful Day, the even more critically adored World of Tomorrow, and (thanks to a lot of stretch goals) a kind of "best of Hertzfeldt" on blu-ray. He's said that the existing Bitter Films DVDs will be going out of print soonish in favor of moving entirely to streaming and VOD, and the blu-ray will be for Kickstarter backers only, so it's definitely worth jumping on board if you're at all curious.

Second, The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears has just gotten an alternate soundtrack (itunes link), assembled by Blanck Mass (half of Fuck Buttons). I kind of want to see if I can rip a DVD of the film and replace the audio with the appropriate queues- I'll let you know if I'm able to get this off the ground.

And finally, some suggestions for further viewing:

  • Anything by Walerian Borowczyk! The most complete issue of his work is in a UK-only box set, but the distributors responsible (Arrow Video) have been slowly catching up with their new US branch. The easiest place to start (in terms of weirdness, general availability and novelty, thanks to the decades it spent out of print) is probably The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne.
  • Peter Greenaway's The Falls
  • Fassbinder's sci-fi miniseries World on a Wire
  • Larry Cohen's God Told Me To
  • The Hellstrom Chronicle
  • Jerzy Skolimowski's The Shout- it's on DVD in the UK, and free to stream for Amazon Prime subscribers in the US.
  • Donald Cammell's White of the Eye- on DVD and blu-ray in the UK; last I checked, on Youtube everywhere
  • Juraj Herz's The Cremator- on DVD in the UK, streaming in the Criterion section of Hulu
  • The Perfume of the Lady in Black- one of the most wonderful surprises I've ever had watching a movie; it's commonly sold as a giallo, and stars Mimsy Farmer (a very familiar face), but its DNA is at least half Polanski thriller (Repulsion, The Tenant [which it predates!], etc). A brilliant movie, and easy to find on DVD in the neighborhood of $5.
  • The President's Analyst
  • Sins of the Fleshapoids

    Okay, this is getting ridiculous; I'll leave it there. So excited you guys :D

  • posted by Merzbau at 6:51 PM on August 6, 2015 [5 favorites]

    I thought of a few more after a quick glance at my shelves:
    Mr. Freedom
    Tears of the Black Tiger
    A Field in England
    Liquid Sky
    Mickey One
    The Hired Hand
    The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes
    Death and the Compass
    posted by Merzbau at 9:32 AM on August 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

    Oh, and re: Zardoz:

    posted by Merzbau at 9:34 AM on August 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

    I'd be interested in seeing The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye, a 2011 documentary about Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge, and their pandrogyny project.
    posted by Going To Maine at 1:33 PM on August 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

    I'd like to suggest The Fall.
    posted by notaninja at 6:07 PM on August 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

    Also, many -if not all- of the movies released by Drafthouse Films would fit on this list, as they are specifically chosen based on the idea that they don’t fit the mainstream. Why Don’t You Play In Hell? and The Visitor were released and re-released (respectively) by Drafthouse.
    posted by Going To Maine at 9:11 PM on August 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

    Also, many -if not all- of the movies released by Drafthouse Films would fit on this list

    Except please not The FP dear god
    posted by tofu_crouton at 7:10 PM on August 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

    Cross-posting from the Metatalk thread...

    Judging from the votes I've received for the first viewing (which I'll close up tomorrow), there's an interesting quandary. The votes are very much in favor of the two movies that are available on Netflix Instant - 70%. So as long as we have movies up for vote that can be viewed on Netflix, I imagine those will end up being the winners. Do we want to limit this club to Netflix only? That limits options of a TON of great movies that I'd love to do - most of the movies on our formidable list would be out of the running entirely. I initially imagined that people would just be willing to torrent things that are a bit more obscure, but that was wrong of me to assume!

    (I should add that it makes perfect sense for people to vote for things that are easy for them to watch. Not a problem in most scenarios, but we'll be dealing with non-mainsteam films as a matter of course here, so things could get limited quickly.)
    posted by naju at 7:44 PM on August 8, 2015

    I'm going to say that expecting people to torrent stuff is an uncool expectation. However, expecting people to pay apple /amazon / Google five bucks to rent a movie seems fine.
    posted by Going To Maine at 11:12 PM on August 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

    That sounds reasonable. I just don't want to be too hung up on streaming. There are many options out there. It's funny, lately I'm almost nostalgic for the days when I got those little red Netflix envelopes in the mail. Which was only about 5 years ago!
    posted by naju at 11:24 PM on August 8, 2015

    If something I want to see isn't available for streaming, then I'm pretty ok with just torrenting it. I'm not especially interested in having Netflix be the gatekeeper that decides what movies I watch.
    posted by ryanrs at 12:31 AM on August 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

    Other possible films:
    posted by Going To Maine at 11:44 AM on August 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

    The first viewing has been chosen!

    We'll be watching Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010, written/directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul.) Available for streaming on Netflix and Fandor, and digital rental on Amazon or Apple for 3.99. Or hit up ryanrs on memail, and he'll get you sorted out. We're going with Monday, August 17 for the post, which gives us a week.

    Thanks to ernielundquist for suggesting this movie. I'm excited to see it!
    posted by naju at 1:40 PM on August 9, 2015 [4 favorites]

    As naju mentioned, if you have trouble finding any of the movies we've mentioned, just send me a memail. We are watching weird films, and weird isn't always on Netflix.

    (Don't worry, we won't send you to bittorrent or a sketchy file locker site.)
    posted by ryanrs at 6:28 PM on August 9, 2015 [2 favorites]

    This is a super-late suggestion, but reading an article on After Last Season, which was new to me, reminded me of Fateful Findings. It's another in that subgenre of genuinely uncanny one-man-band outsider cinema, and a local fixture here in Philly, where PhilaMOCA shows it regularly (and I've somehow failed to see it for years :p).

    Availability might be tricky, though, since it looks like the only way to get it on disc is to buy straight from the writer/director/editor/producer/star/best boy and there's no digital option.
    posted by Merzbau at 1:11 AM on August 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

    Two final loosely connected recommendations, neither of which I have seen, since it's 4 AM and I can't think of anything better to do with my time:

    Jack & Diane, an allegorical werewolf lesbian coming-of-age drama with animated interstitials by the Quay Brothers;
    Der Samurai (not to be confused with Le Samourai), an allegorical werewolf trans police procedural I seriously have no idea
    posted by Merzbau at 1:33 AM on August 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

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