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Added by Mr. Saturn on 31 Jul 2012 03:37
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Disheartening Films and TV Series

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People who added this item 307 Average listal rating (111 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 7.9
Greed (1924)

But it is most of all Stroheim who rejects photographic expressionism and the tricks of montage. In his films reality lays itself bare like a suspect confessing under the relentless examination of the commissioner of police. He has one simple rule for direction. Take a close look at the world, keep on doing so, and in the end it will lay bare for you all its cruelty and its ugliness. One could easily imagine as a matter of fact a film by Stroheim composed of a single shot as long-lasting and as close-up as you like. - Andre Bazin, What is Cinema?

My favorite film.

GOLD - GOLD - GOLD - GOLD. Bright and Yellow, Hard and Cold, Molten, Graven, Hammered, Rolled, Hard to Get and Light to Hold; Stolen, Borrowed, Squandered - Doled.
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People who added this item 210 Average listal rating (95 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 7.8
Mouchette (1967)

The darkest coming of age film I've seen. When Mouchette rolls through the grass I hoped she was embracing what joy she had left in life. The only way for Mouchette to experience joy is through escape; Bresson, I learned, makes no facile endings.
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People who added this item 345 Average listal rating (212 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.9

Old times? Not a bit. There aren't any old times. When times are gone, they’re not old, they’re dead. There aren't any times but new times.
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People who added this item 2618 Average listal rating (1523 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.4
Citizen Kane (1941)

Citzen Kane is a very poignant film, especially when Rosebud burns; Roger Ebert said "we find out the secret, that really explains nothing at all." It may have been Ebert that aptly noted the smoke was symbolic of how we can't regain our childhoods.
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People who added this item 1142 Average listal rating (685 ratings) 8.4 IMDB Rating 8.3

Antonio Ricci: You live and you suffer.

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People who added this item 4539 Average listal rating (2800 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.3
Taxi Driver (1976)

When I first saw Taxi Driver, I sympathized with the protagonist because I felt a lot of hate and self-pity. Travis Bickle is a pathetic and misanthropic character.
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People who added this item 471 Average listal rating (238 ratings) 8.8 IMDB Rating 8.7
Harakiri (1962)


Harakiri is one of the most powerful attacks on dogma. It's poor consolation the samurai was able to destroy their ancestor's suit; the suit, like Bushido during WWII, is hallow.
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People who added this item 576 Average listal rating (270 ratings) 8.5 IMDB Rating 8.3
Andrei Rublev (1966)
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People who added this item 159 Average listal rating (86 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8
Shoeshine (1946)

For if people cannot feel Shoeshine, what can they feel?... - Pauline Kael
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People who added this item 1404 Average listal rating (749 ratings) 8.5 IMDB Rating 8.4
M (1931)

Who knows what it's like to be me?

The ending exposes the terrible nature of the crowd of people. The killer may have been biologically determined to kill children, but the crowd chose to give into hate, something the Nazis exploited a few years after M.
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People who added this item 1130 Average listal rating (670 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 8.1
The 400 Blows (1959)

Psychiatrist: Your parents say you're always lying.
Antoine Doinel: Oh, I lie now and then, I suppose. Sometimes I'd tell them the truth and they still wouldn't believe me, so I prefer to lie.

It's screwed up how willing the adults are to peg Antoine as a troublemaker and antagonize him. They're really exploiting Antoine in the name of helping him.
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People who added this item 992 Average listal rating (512 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.2
Ran (1985)
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People who added this item 2065 Average listal rating (1264 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.2
Raging Bull (1980)

Raging Bull is about a man only capable of truly expressing himself through violence. His domineering behavior destroys his life. With age his force dwindles, and his failures are mostly his fault, but unlike Barry Lyndon or Alex from a A Clockwork Orange, I felt sympathy for him because he tried to be a good person.
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People who added this item 697 Average listal rating (399 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 8.1
La Strada (1954)


La Strada affected me because I'm like Zampanò and Gelsomina. I related to their inner conflicts and the conflict they have with each other.
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People who added this item 676 Average listal rating (359 ratings) 8.8 IMDB Rating 8.2

Nothing in the world can be compared to the human face. It is a land one can never tire of exploring. There is no greater experience in a studio than to witness the expression of a sensitive face under the mysterious power of inspiration. To see it animated from inside, and turning into poetry. - Carl Dreyer, Thoughts on My Craft, Sight & Sound

The Passion of Joan of Arc is the most harrowing non-documentary film experience.
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People who added this item 197 Average listal rating (98 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.5
L'argent (1983)

Bresson insightfully films the evil resulting from something so seemingly insignificant as faked bank notes.
I think in the whole world things are going very badly. People are becoming more and more materialistic and cruel, but cruel in another way than the middle ages. Cruel by laziness, by indifference, egotism, because they think only about themselves and not at all about what is happening around them, so that they let everything around them grow ugly, stupid. They are all interested in money only. Money is becoming their God. God doesn’t exist anymore for many. Money is becoming something you must live for. - Robert Bresson to Paul Schrader, “Robert Bresson, Probably,” Film Comment, Sept./Oct. 1977

The murderer may think he's rescuing the family from a dull life, but his killing is arbitrary and selfish, and not an act of mercy.

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People who added this item 2444 Average listal rating (1382 ratings) 8.8 IMDB Rating 9.5
Breaking Bad (2008)
Possibly the greatest TV show (it's tied with The Decalogue and The Wire for me) and probably the most entertaining. What's dark about this show unlike a show like Dexter is Walt is an everyday guy who becomes what some would call evil through his choices, circumstances, and delusional belief he's right to do these things because he's a family man.
Bryan Cranston has said in many interviews that he discovered everyone is capable of being dangerous.
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People who added this item 4253 Average listal rating (2725 ratings) 8.5 IMDB Rating 8.7

My argument with so much of psychoanalysis, is the preconception that suffering is a mistake, or a sign of weakness, or a sign even of illness, when in fact, possibly the greatest truths we know have come out of people's suffering; that the problem is not to undo suffering or to wipe it off the face of the earth but to make it inform our lives, instead of trying to cure ourselves of it constantly and avoid it, and avoid anything but that lobotomized sense of what they call "happiness." There's too much of an attempt, it seems to me, to think in terms of controlling man, rather than freeing him. Of defining him rather than letting him go. It's part of the whole ideology of this age, which is power-mad. - Arthur Miller
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People who added this item 354 Average listal rating (172 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 8
Intolerance (1916)

Each story shoes how hatred and intolerance, through all the ages, have battled against love and charity.
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People who added this item 77 Average listal rating (25 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.5

If you grew up feeling ashamed for being gay, this film is essential viewing.
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People who added this item 111 Average listal rating (49 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.3
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People who added this item 823 Average listal rating (487 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.8
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People who added this item 380 Average listal rating (203 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8.1
Winter Light (1963)

If there is no God, would it really make any difference? Life would become understandable. What a relief.

Bergman called Winter Light his bravest film.
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People who added this item 799 Average listal rating (481 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8
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People who added this item 560 Average listal rating (303 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8.1
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People who added this item 2056 Average listal rating (1212 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.2
Chinatown (1974)

Polanski's ending is allegorically realistic. His ending with the bystanders ignoring the powerful man may have been influenced by childhood as a Jew in Nazi occupied Poland.
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People who added this item 364 Average listal rating (166 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 7.9
Kes (1969)
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People who added this item 134 Average listal rating (64 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8
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People who added this item 386 Average listal rating (191 ratings) 8.4 IMDB Rating 8.6
Night and Fog (1956)

Possibly the most depressing film ever made.
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People who added this item 563 Average listal rating (247 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 7.9
Naked (1993)

Jonny's pessimistic self-pity and misanthropic feelings are 'in itself a cliché'.
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This is one of the most profoundly unsettling films. You see an old man who assaults people and find out he's become an enraged pacifist after his comrades have been eaten by their superiors during WWII. Even as a pacifist, I seriously reconsidered the maxim 'the end justifies the means', but realized changing my ethics out of an emotional, not rational, response could be a form of military worship.
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People who added this item 1901 Average listal rating (1060 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 8
Dogville (2003)

I feel badly about thinking that Dogville, which in my eyes is one of my most successful films, should have been a kind of script for [the person who massacred people, and thought of Dogville as one of his favorite films] ... It's horrific. My intention with Dogville was totally opposite. Namely, to ask whether we can accept a protagonist who takes revenge on the entire village. And here I take the absolute distance from revenge. It's a way to nuance the protagonist and our feelings and perhaps even uncover it, so it just is not black and white. - Lars von Trier (interview)
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People who added this item 371 Average listal rating (178 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 7.8
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People who added this item 635 Average listal rating (291 ratings) 8.5 IMDB Rating 8.2
Come and See (1985)
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People who added this item 1893 Average listal rating (1088 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 8.5
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People who added this item 374 Average listal rating (179 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 7.8
The Trial (1962)

The prologue is pretty bleak.
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People who added this item 389 Average listal rating (232 ratings) 8.4 IMDB Rating 8.2
Umberto D. (1952)

If you've ever had a pet you loved, this film will probably make you cry.
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People who added this item 43 Average listal rating (17 ratings) 8.5 IMDB Rating 9
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People who added this item 108 Average listal rating (52 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8

Kon Ichikawa demolishes the heroic and persevering qualities present even in many antiwar films, to show war is an evil and only destructive force.
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People who added this item 436 Average listal rating (245 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.1
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People who added this item 550 Average listal rating (303 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8
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People who added this item 171 Average listal rating (73 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 8.3
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People who added this item 846 Average listal rating (483 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.7
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People who added this item 3064 Average listal rating (1929 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.4
Oldboy (2003)
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People who added this item 162 Average listal rating (68 ratings) 8.5 IMDB Rating 8.1
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People who added this item 909 Average listal rating (481 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.8
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People who added this item 206 Average listal rating (100 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8
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People who added this item 322 Average listal rating (173 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8
Stroszek (1977)
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People who added this item 475 Average listal rating (260 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.8
Withnail & I (1987)
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Films that left me with less faith in humanity, or feeling depressed, hopeless, or despairing, and my watchlist. This is the opposite of my list life-affirming films.

Recommended Filmographies

Robert Bresson
Michael Haneke
Most of the videos contain spoilers.

Recommendations are welcome.

The most depressing movies I've seen:
Night and Fog
The Emperor's Naked Army Marches on
The Long Day Closes
The Devil Probably
The Passion of Joan of Arc
The Seventh Continent
Mouchette

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Comments

Posted: 5 years, 4 months ago at Jul 31 21:21
Great list.

Have you seen Days of Wine and Roses? May be the most harrowing film I've ever seen.
Posted: 5 years, 4 months ago at Aug 1 13:23
Great list! Great choices. How about Godfather 2?
Posted: 5 years, 4 months ago at Aug 1 15:15
I might add the Godfather Part 2 when I rewatch it.
Posted: 5 years, 4 months ago at Aug 1 19:10
Excellent list, if I do say so! I must seek out Greed, even the stills seem mesmerizing. Have you seen Songs from the Second Floor?
Posted: 5 years, 4 months ago at Aug 13 7:04
Rush is pretty depressing.
Posted: 5 years, 4 months ago at Aug 13 12:15
I'm depressed after looking through this list, but I'm voting for it based on the dedication to see so many movies and organize this list based on a theme. I would have to add "Platoon" as a particularly harrowing and depressing film.
Posted: 5 years, 4 months ago at Aug 13 14:57
my favorite kind of movie...

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