Amiel Courtin-Wilson: The Films That Changed My Life

November 29, 2016
Amiel Courtin-Wilson, co-director of the excellent Ruin, takes us through the cinematic experiences that shaped his aesthetic.

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COME AND SEE

Elem Klimov, Russia / 1985

A surreal, nightmarish portrait of the Nazi extermination of Russian peasants in World War Two. The most punishing yet beautifully nuanced war film of all time.

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LA VIE NOUVELLE

Philippe Grandrieux, France / 2002

Philippe Grandrieux is the most exciting director working in the world today. La Vie Nouvelle is his portrayal of a Europe in a state of psychotic decline – part Francis Bacon and part pure punk filmmaking.

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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST MATTHEW

Pier Paolo Pasolini, Italy / 1964

The director of Salo re-imagines the story of Christ in BW and with a series of non actors and a Billy Holiday soundtrack – compassionate, sublime filmmaking.

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THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE

Tobe Hooper, US / 1974

Tobe Hooper is an underrated genius and the sheer visceral anguish he captured on such a micro budget altered the horror genre entirely. You can taste the head cheese, blood and sweating rust in this film – an American masterpiece.

woman-1A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE

John Cassavetes, US / 1974

A painfully moving, hilarious love story about a construction worker and his wife who is just a little bit mad trying to stay together in mid-’70s in Los Angeles. With unbelievable performances from Peter Falk and Gena Rowlands. The director, John Cassavetes is the godfather of American independent cinema.

jisoeJISOE

Eddie Martin, Australia / 2005

My favourite Australian documentary – a brilliant, unflinching portrait of a graffiti artist living in the western suburbs of Melbourne who is not only facing fatherhood but also jail time for his work painting trains.

trashTRASH

Paul Morrissey, US / 1970

Andy Warhol presents this slice of NY bohemia starring the infamous Joe Dallesandro as an impotent heroin addict. The best of the Morrissey Heat/ Flesh/Trash trilogy and featuring the remarkable transvestite Holly Woodlawn as Joe’s girlfriend.

the-act-of-seeing-with-ones-own-eyes-stan-brakhage-1971-short-film-1THE ACT OF SEEING WITH ONE’S OWN EYES

Stan Brakhage, US / 1971

A silent 32 minute film comprised of 16mm footage of autopsies being conducted in an American hospital. Brakhage delivers this shocking material with such transcendent dignity and curiosity that it becomes a profound meditation on life and death.

shock-nymphocircleSHOCK CORRIDOR

Samuel Fuller, US / 1963

Sam Fuller is a fucking madman and his films are filled with unwieldy static electricity that is totally addictive. Shock Corridor tells the story of a journalist who goes undercover in an insane asylum – an amazing indictment of America in the middle of the McCarthy era.

facesFACES

John Cassavetes, US / 1968

Faces is the first Cassavetes film I ever saw and it changed my life. Shot over two years in the late 1960s in Cassavetes’ house and starring his wife, it was an amazing example of the kind of searing intimacy you can achieve if you work outside the box and with people you love.

nowNOW

Santiago Alvarez, Cuba / 1965

A short documentary film comprised entirely of found footage from the black civil rights protests in the 1960s. Alvarez once said “Give me two photographs and a piece of music and I’ll give you a film.” Angry, emotive filmmaking – this film made me want to make documentaries.

two-laneTWO LANE BLACKTOP

Monte Hellman, US / 1971

Monte Hellman’s Americana road movie masterpiece. A Chevrolet, a Pontiac, three men and a young girl ride the existential highway. Starring James Taylor, Dennis Wilson (drummer for The Beach Boys), Warren Oates and Laurie Bird, one of the most beautiful underrated actresses of the 1960s.

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SHIVERS

David Cronenberg, Canada / 1975

Cronenberg’s first full length feature film is a claustrophobic portrait of a parasite slug that infects people and turns them into insane nymphomaniacs. Stripped back relentless and nightmarishly set in a single spartan apartment building with amazing production design and one of my favourite apocalyptic slow motion endings ever.

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MOUCHETTE

Robert Bresson, France / 1967

Bresson is one of the greatest filmmakers of all time and his work possesses a unique energy, compassion and tone that is revelatory. A simple story of a lonely teenage girl in a small french village who just wants to be liked. Mouchette has an amazing dodgem car sequence and the ending will destroy you.

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OUT OF THE BLUE

Dennis Hopper, Canada / 1980

Dennis Hopper directs the genius Linda Manz (Days of Heaven, Gummo) in a story about an Elvis loving teenage girl who reunites with her alcoholic father played by Dennis Hopper only to run away and discover the punk scene. Misshapen but truly alive filmmaking.

 

Michael Cody and Amiel Courtin-Wilson’s RUIN screens in one-off events in Melbourne (December 3) and Brisbane (December 4). To keep up to date with the film, head to its Facebook page.

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