So it’s Monday again and here is another dosage of Wake Up Your Inner Hipster section. For those who missed it last week, I reviewed one of the first New Wave films- 400 Blows which also is one of the cinematic classics. This week I have decided to do something slightly different and instead of presenting you with another review of another difficult film, I am going to show you how you can watch the mainstream themes and stories, but in the slightly more
pretentious ambitious way.
It is a known fact that in cinema, and in art and literature alike, certain themes and stories repeat themselves. It is not the topic itself, but rather the way it is presented that makes a film unique. Of course there are filmmakers like Harmony Korine, who are so unique that it would be almost impossible to find anything similar, but I will argue that even Harmony Korine is basing his
fucked up challenging movie on familiar issues. So, my dear hidden hipsters, here is the list of films to watch instead of their mainstream version. Next time someone tells you they watched Smallville, you can just take out your copy of Donnie Darko. Next time they show you the tickets they’ve just got for Journey 2, just join them, ’cause it’s a jolly good film.
1. The 6th Day vs Solaris
So, your friend just came back blushing with excitement after seeing the 6th Day. It is a sci-fi action movie about the man who cloned himself and finds out about the conspiracy about clones taking over the world. So it’s a pretty bad movie, but has lots of good Arnold. But there must be a little more to this clone genre, is there?
What Would Hipster Do: There are two films to start off with your hipster science fiction journey. The first one is Moon by Duncan Jones. Because this film blew my mind, I won’t tell you what exactly happens in it. The only problem is…Moon is also topically similar to another film called Solaris.
Solaris is based on Stanislaw Lem’s book of the same title. It is about psychologist who is sent to a research station only to find out that there is something very disturbing about the remaining crew. More than the 6th Day, Solaris resembles 2001 Space Odyssey when it comes to the atmosphere and Blade Runner, if we think about the concepts and ideas it proposes. It is a slow movie and not necessarily the most entertaining one, but it will definitely leave you thinking. A lot.
Uber Hipster: George Clooney’s version of Solaris is an ok movie. In order to appeal to the wider audience, it did not cover all the issues Lem’s novel portrays. For the real indie experience, try Russian version of Solyaris by Andrey Tarkovskiy. After that, no film about cloning will ever be the same.
2. The Island vs Metropolis
After you watched and loved Matrix, your video rental (my dear hipster) recommends you the Island getting excited about the twist in the movie and how the perfect society it presents it’s not that utopian in reality. So you watch this one big advertisement of all sponsoring companies and you think you want to see something topically similar…but just without microsoft product placement.
What Would Hipster Do: The distopian movies (anti-utopia) are almost as old as the first film ever made. The first one (now in the restored version which is really pleasurable to the eye) to watch is obviously Metropolis by Fritz Lang and I promise, even if you are allergic to black and white, silent movies, this one is so universal, you probably won’t even feel the difference (apart from the fact that Metropolis is much better than the majority distopian movies of modern times).
Uber Hipster: I guess, Metropolis is hipster enough. Not only is it an old movie (1927), but also it is black and white. For many people, this is a big challenge already. However, Metropolis being the first sci-fi movie ever made and being the first one raising up the topic of distopian society is easy to understand and enjoy. It is beautifully directed and will definitely leave us thinking about the social issues, but if you want to go hardcore, I suggest Aphaville by Jean-Luc Goddard. It is a combination of distopian science fiction and film noir and tells a story about the undercover secret agent whose mission is to find a missing person in the futuristic city of Alphaville. It follows the ideas presented in Metropolis and if you enjoyed the game of shadows and lights in Lang’s film, this one will definitely enchant you.
3. Elizabeth vs Queen Margot
This critically acclaimed historical drama with Cate Blanchett playing Queen Elizabeth is definitely one of my favourite films of the genre. Not only is it beautifully directed, but through the story of a monarch it tells a story of a girl who turns into a woman. So how could we add spice to that…
What Would Hipster Do: Add subtitles. Like Elizabeth, Queen Margot tells a story of a female ruler. After thinking it through many times, I still am not able to choose the film that I like more- I believe they are both painfully realistic and universal in message. However, Queen Margot always feels fresh and lacking modern cliches. It is probably more brutal than Elizabeth, more sexually liberal and closer to a European heart. Both films will steal your musical side of soul.
Uber Hipster: If after watching these two films you crave to broader your knowledge of historical dramas in general, there is one more film I would recommend you watch. This is a true cinematic gem and it is so unique that it feels like there is still long time to wait until films like that can be appreciated. It is the treasure of Russian cinema and the jewel of modern times. Russian Arc.
4. Moulin Rouge vs Across the Universe
So you watched Moulin Rouge and you loved it. You loved especially the new interpretations of famous classics and the colours and the aesthetic values it provides and the bohemian atmosphere and the love story. It is a wonderful, almost dream like musical. But how about we go a little step further…
What Would Hipster Do: What if the Beatles songs’ characters were actual people and their lyrics were stories they lived? This is exactly what Across the Universe is. Although personally I didn’t fall in love with it, I completely admire the visual part of it as well as the interpretations of the songs. Colour explosion.
Uber Hipster: Not every love story has a happy ending and not every love story has time to even bloom. Dancer in the Dark is a beautiful, yet extremely depressing story of a mother (in this role absolutely incredible Bjork) who in order to protect the money she saves on the blinding son surgery, kills a man who attempts stealing it. The heroin is obsessed with musicals and turns every event of her life into a musical number. Breathtaking, Lars von Trier at his best.