By Craig Anderson


BACK TO THE FUTURE (1985) “The way that the plot works like an onion, the themes of incest and subversion of power, and the fanciful desires of a child to heal his parents. I saw this as a 10-year-old and then grew up with the sequels. I loved the time machine, but as a teen, it became an edgy sex comedy, and now I love it for the plotting and its use of humour.”


THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991) “Released when I was a teenager, it was one of the first ‘adult’ thrillers that I was allowed to watch. At the time, I was obsessed with serial killers, and I connected to this film and really associated with its dual villainy. It taught me the awesomeness of Jodie Foster and introduced me to strong female protagonists (a staple of great horror films).”


DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978) “I saw this when I was studying comedy at university, and I realised that horror can also work as satire. People like to rationalise ‘Horror’ as twee morality tales, but those people are jerks. Horror can be powerfully satirical. Show me a better allegory of commercialism than George A. Romero’s zombies in the mall, and Savini’s over-sensorial spectacle of gore. Saw 6 and Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth also taught me that Horror could be satire.”


THIS SPORTING LIFE (1963) “Before the internet, I found this movie late one night on ABC. It shocked me to the core. I had no idea that a film that looked so old – shot in B&W and gritty British realism – could resonate with me. Its themes of masculinity and restraint, frustration, and undying solemness made me sad for days. It stuck with me, and I finally found it on VHS ten years later.”


BORAT (2006) “I saw this in my late twenties and it invigorated me. So funny, so well-paced, so raw. Offensive on many levels, but authored to expose the hypocrisy of its targets. This is clowning. This is jester. This is a lone joker globally communicating to the world the foibles of the US. It’s sometimes saddening to see people take away the basic, first level of subversion (mankinis, funny accents, anti-Semitism), but it also points to the effectiveness and strength of Coen’s Clown.”


THE SWIMMER (1968) “A few years back, I decided to become a filmmaker. Not a parent, or a house owner, but a filmmaker. I sleep on the floor of a warehouse, and time is segmented into projects that can last years. Traditional life is a childhood memory. When I saw The Swimmer, it reminded me of that horrible tension between normal and abnormal living. Between the memory of how things are supposed to work and the realities that we find ourselves in. Also, a young Joan Rivers as a polite party guest is jolting.”

Red Christmas screens at The Sydney Film Festival, which runs from June 8-19. To buy tickets to Red Christmas, click here. For more on Red Christmas, visit the official website.


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