140. PROSPERO’S BOOKS (1991)

“This is as strange a maze as e’er men trod And there is in this business more than nature Was ever conduct of: some oracle Must rectify our knowledge.”–Alonso, “The Tempest” [V,I]

DIRECTED BY: Peter Greenaway

FEATURING: John Gielgud

PLOT: Prospero, a magician trapped on an island with his daughter and native spirits, conjures . . . → Read More: 140. PROSPERO’S BOOKS (1991)


Lech Majewski’s Glass Lips (2007) debuted as an instillation piece at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It’s original title was Blood of a Poet, paying homage to Jean Cocteau’s 1930 film. Surreal, kaleidoscopic, and predominantly silent, Glass Lips feels like a series of interrelated shorts literally forming a “motion picture.” Sebastien (Patrick Czajka) is the poet . . . → Read More: GLASS LIPS (2007)


DIRECTED BY: Alain Escalle

FEATURING: Yûko Nakamura, Ryôya Kobayashi, Kakuya Ohashi

PLOT: A surrealistic montage set in motion by a tidal wave and incorporating a samurai battle.

WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: Simply put, length. Floating World is a tidal wave of creativity, but at a little less 1/3 the running . . . → Read More: CAPSULE: THE TALE OF THE FLOATING WORLD (2001)


DIRECTED BY: Vincent Ward

FEATURING: Robin Williams, Annabella Sciorra, Cuba Gooding Jr., Max von Sydow

PLOT: A pediatrician dies and goes to paradise, but he’s willing to throw away an eternity of

bliss to find his wife, who’s trapped in a far less pleasant afterlife. WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST:  Majestic visuals make . . . → Read More: CAPSULE: WHAT DREAMS MAY COME (1998)

88. THE PILLOW BOOK (1996)

“I am certain that there are two things in life which are dependable: the delights of the flesh, and the delights of literature.  I have had the good fortune to enjoy them both equally.”–Sei Shōnagon, “The Pillow Book,” Section 172.

DIRECTED BY: Peter Greenaway

FEATURING: Vivian Wu, Ewan McGregor, Yoshi Oida

PLOT:  Every birthday, Nagiko’s . . . → Read More: 88. THE PILLOW BOOK (1996)

77. SONGS FROM THE SECOND FLOOR [Sånger från andra våningen] (2000)

“Beloved be those who sit down.” –César Vallejo

“People have wondered how to classify my film.  Absurdism or surrealism?  What the hell is it?… This film introduces a style that I’d like to call  ‘trivialism.’  Life is portrayed as a series of trivial components.  My intention is to touch on bigger, more philosophical issues at . . . → Read More: 77. SONGS FROM THE SECOND FLOOR [Sånger från andra våningen] (2000)


DIRECTED BY: Pipilotti Rist

FEATURING: Ewelina Guzik, Sven Pippig, Sabine Timoteo, Elisabeth Orth

PLOT: A whimsical young woman brimming with optimism moves breezily through her hometown in Switzerland, picking up new friends Werwen (Sven Pippig)—a sickly momma’s boy—and Edna (Sabine Timoteo)—a cross-dressing gardener—along the way.  The trio’s mission is to teach others to live . . . → Read More: LIST CANDIDATE: PEPPERMINTA [2009]

61. KWAIDAN (1964)

AKA Kaidan; Ghost Stories

“A hundred thoughts suggested by the book might be written down, but most of them would begin and end with this fact of strangeness… many of the stories are about women and children,–the lovely materials from which the best fairy tales of the world have been woven. They too are strange, . . . → Read More: 61. KWAIDAN (1964)


“I’m more interested in truth than in reality.”—Guillermo del Toro, Time Out interview

DIRECTED BY:  Guillermo del Toro

FEATURING: Ivana Baquero, Sergi López, Maribel Verdú, Doug Jones, Álex Angulo

PLOT:  While blood trickles backwards from the ground into a prone girl’s nostril, a voiceover tells of a princess of the Underworld who escaped to . . . → Read More: 40. PAN’S LABYRINTH [EL LABERINTO DEL FAUNO] (2006)

34. STALKER (1979)

“My dear, our world is hopelessly boring.  Therefore, there can be no telepathy, or apparitions, or flying saucers, nothing like that.  The world is ruled by cast-iron laws, and it’s insufferably boring.  Alas, those laws are never violated.  They don’t know how to be violated…. To live in the Middle Ages was interesting.  Every home . . . → Read More: 34. STALKER (1979)

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