The Devils – 1971 (Ken Russell)
The film is a dramatised historical account of the rise and fall of Urbain Grandier, a 17th-century Roman Catholic priest executed for witchcraft following the supposed possessions in Loudun, France. Reed plays Grandier in the film and Vanessa Redgrave plays a hunchbacked sexually repressed nun who finds herself inadvertently responsible for the accusations.
Enter The Void – 2009 (Gaspar Noé)
The film is a psychedelic trip with an air of voyeurism. A view of the rotten and demented side of human beings. Set in the neon-lit nightclub environments of Tokyo, the story follows Oscar, a young American drug dealer who gets shot by the police, but continues to watch subsequent events during an out-of-body experience. The film is shot from a first-person viewpoint, which often floats above the city streets, and occasionally features Oscar staring over his own shoulder as he recalls moments from his past. Noé labels the film a “psychedelic melodrama”.
Lilya 4-ever – 2002 (Lukas Moodysson)
Lilja 4-ever is a story of the downward spiral of Lilja, a girl in the former Soviet Union whose mother abandons her to move to the United States. The story is loosely based on the true case of Danguolė Rasalaitė, and examines the issue of human trafficking and sexual slavery.
Eraeserhead – 1977 (David Lynch)
Eraeserhead tells the story of Henry Spencer (Nance), who is left to care for his grossly deformed child in a desolate industrial landscape. Throughout the film, Spencer experiences dreams or hallucinations, featuring his child and the Lady in the Radiator (Near).
The Human Centipede tells the story of a German surgeon who kidnaps three tourists and joins them surgically, mouth to anus, forming a “human centipede”, a conjoined triplet.
Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom – 1975 (Pier Paolo Pasolini)
Salo depicts youths subjected to intensely graphic violence, relentless sadism, sexual deviance, and brutal murder, the film was extremely controversial upon its release, and remains banned in several countries. For instance, it was only in the year 2000 that it was granted an uncut release in the UK.
Antichrist – 2009 (Lars Von Trier)
Antichrist immediately caused controversy, with critics generally praising the film’s artistic execution but strongly divided regarding its substantive merit. Politiken called it “a grotesque masterpiece,” giving it a perfect score of 6 out of 6, and praised it for being completely unconventional while at the same time being “a profoundly serious, very personal … piece of art about small things like sorrow, death, sex and the meaninglessness of everything.
Cannibal Holocaust – 1980 (Ruggero Deodato)
Cannibal Holocaust achieved notoriety as its graphic violence aroused a great deal of controversy. After its premiere in Italy, it was ordered to be seized by a local magistrate, and Deodato was arrested on obscenity charges. He was later charged with making a snuff film due to rumors that claimed some actors were killed on camera. Although Deodato was later cleared, the film was banned in Italy, Australia, and several other countries due to its portrayal of graphic brutality, sexual assault, and violence toward animals. Some nations have since revoked the ban, but the film is still banned in several countries. Critics have suggested that the film is a commentary about civilized versus uncivilized society.
Un Chien Andalou – 1929 ( Luis BunuelSalvador Dalí)
The film has no plot in the conventional sense of the word. The chronology of the film is disjointed, jumping from the initial “once upon a time” to “eight years later” without the events or characters changing very much. It uses dream logic in narrative flow that can be described in terms of then-popular Freudian free association, presenting a series of tenuously related scenes.
Repulsion – 1965 (Roman Polanski)
The plot focuses on a young woman who is left alone by her vacationing sister at their apartment, and begins reliving traumas of her past in horrific ways.
A Serbian Film – 2010 (Srđan Spasojević)
Upon its debut on the art film circuit, the film received substantial attention for its graphic depictions of rape, necrophilia, and child sexual abuse. The Serbian state investigated the film for crime against sexual morals and crime related to the protection of minors. The film has been banned in Spain, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Norway, and temporarily banned from screening in Brazil.
Caligula – 1979 (Tinto Brass)
The film’s release was controversial; it was met with legal issues and controversies over its violent and sexual content. Although reviews were overwhelmingly negative (though McDowell’s performance as the title character was praised), Caligula is considered to be a cult classic and its political content was considered to have significant merit.
I Spit On Your Grave (Day of the Woman) – 1978 (Meir Zarchi)
A controversial 1978 cult classic rape and revenge film. The film received a limited release, with a wider release in 1980. Prominent film critics condemned the film for its graphic violence, nudity, obscene language, and lengthy depictions of gang rape, and the motion picture remains controversial to this day. The film was named in 2010 one of Time’s Top 10 Ridiculously Violent Movies.
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