Surreal Films

Looking for some suggestions of films to check out… anything similar to Alejandro Jodorowsky’s work- particularly anything with occult influences like The Holy Mountain, although all of his work would be a proper example


One that’s been suggested to me, but I’ve never heard of it, is Performance by Donald Cammell & Nic Roeg

Sweet movie - Dusan Makavejev

Jesus of Motnreal - Denys Arcand (well kind of)

Most of Bunuel films of course and L’age d’or co directed with Salvador Dali

Spirit of the Behieve from Victor Erice (one of my favourite movies, a must see)

I don’t know so many

Peter greenaway films

Viva la Muerte from Arrabal

I could make a big list indeed

Spirit of the Beehive is an excellent film, I second it.
Excalibur (Surreal Fantasy)
In the mouth of madness

I also recommend Limits of Control by Jarmusch, it has hints of surrealism.

check out Bunuel of course, Fellini maybe, Kubrick, Nicolas Roeg.

Several of the here mentioned films are bizarre or dreamlike but not surreal.

Bunuel was an official member of the surrealists, and he is the surrealist filmmaker per se. An Andalusian Dog and The Golden Age are surrealist classics. Later he let surrealist images drop in into basically realistic films for alienating purposes, and in the 60s he returned to an often surrealistic filmmaking style with The Terminating Angel or Belle de Jour or The Discrete Charme of the Bourgeosie.

I don’t remember Performance to be a surrealist film, nor any other of Roeg’s films. Kubrick is surely no surrealist filmmaker, he is more of the opposite of a surrealist.

And I wouldn’t call Greenaway a surrealist either. Fellini uses dreams, but for me quite different from the way a surrealist would use them.

But David Lynch’s films are filled with surrealist images.

Stanton got a point there, and very true about Kubrick

Sweet Movie even if I saw it a long time ago it’s more on the Bizarre side of things (disgusting side to be honest) like Pink Flamingos and other John Waters type of films.
But about Greenaway, I do think there’s some surrealism in films like The thief the cook his wife and her lover, drawing by numbers, in all of his films in general. but yes not surrealistic movies just per si

Good call Stanton… I was not thinking when I used the term Surreal, and forgot that it actually signifies a specific movement of art/film making.

I am definitely interested in actual surrealist films, and also simply bizarre films. Mostly what I’m looking for here are movies with strong & interesting visual images. Lynch is a great example, and I still have a couple of his films I have not seen yet.

Thanks for the suggestions everyone and I will look into those mentioned…

I believe Performance was recommended because it is supposedly filled with occult references, although maybe not as overtly as Jodorowsky’s films. I don’t know if that’s accurate or not, as I’ve never seen it. I am very interested in films that present visual representations of occult/mystical teachings, like The Holy Mountain and Kenneth Anger’s short films.

In some of my searches last night, I came across a film called Decasia, a 2002 film composed of footage from deteriorating, old silent films. I’m sure many of you have probably heard of this one, but what I’ve watched from it so far is pretty interesting

Also been taking a look at Stan Brakhage & Ed Emshwiller’s short films.

All of these would fall into experimental/video art

I would check out dome other South and Latin American stuff, I think the kind of El Topo surrealism is quite typically South and Latin American. And maybe South European as well.

I’d recommend some Andrej Zulawski’s films, Possession or Third Part of the Night.

Some of Ivan Zuccon’s Lovecraft inspired horror movies are pretty surreal:

The Darkness Beyond (2000)
Unknown Beyond (2001)
The Shunned House (2003)

necronomicon: book of the dead 1994
hellraiser 2 1988
from beyond 1986

Dog Star Man (Not sure if this qualifies here)

I suppose of you want pure surrealist try

David Lynch, Luis Bunuel, Alejandro Jodorowsky, I hear Jean Cocteau was a surrealist filmmaker too.

Louis Malle made a surrealist film called Black Moon.

Yeah this is a cool one… I… Dreaming is another of Stan Brakhage’s that’s really interesting

& nobody’s mentioned Werner Herzog yet?

I just watched “Even Dwarfs Started Small”. Madder than a bag of spiders, & very reminiscent of David Lynch (especially Eraserhead).

As with Lynch, even Herzog’s more narrative films (Aguirre, Fitzcarraldo, Woyzeck, Stroszek, etc.) contain a lot of very surreal imagery as well as characters behaving & talking in weird dreamlike ways.

Terry Gilliam has been mention before but only the Brazil title I think.

Films like :

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

own a lot to surrealism mainly the last (a pretty good film)

I don’t know if it was mention before Tinto Brass Action (a horible film)

Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch

And one film I remember that fits in the surrealistic category The swimmer with Burt Lencaster

The French filmsCity of lost Children and Delicatessen can fit in the category as well

And some animated pictures that I just can’t remember the titles

Definately the early Bunuel silents. I’m not sure if El angel exterminador counts but it does have surreal elements to it, other than that my favourite has to be The Phantom of Liberty, it’s pure surrealism.

Check out Daisies and Valerie and Her Week of Wonders if you haven’t already, two of the strangest and most unique films I’ve ever seen.

[quote=“El Topo, post:18, topic:2579”]Terry Gilliam has been mention before but only the Brazil title I think.

Films like :

…The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch

Oh man how did I forget about Naked Lunch… I saw it in college and man was that ever a mind f**k.

Gilliam’s Baron Munchausen is one of my favorites and definitely a surreal journey into the fantastic. Only part I was not too happy with was Robin Williams hamming it up in his usual way.