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Added by GreenCine on 24 Jul 2009 09:15
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List: The 8 Most Disturbing Films of The New Wave

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People who added this item 81 Average listal rating (29 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 0
Irreversible (2003)
Irreversible. Simply put, the granddaddy of disturbing films, American or French. Gaspar Noé's second film moves in reverse chronological order to recount the devastating effects of a night that includes a rape and an act of misguided revenge. Events are set up by a philosophical rap session in a seedy hotel room involving the butcher character from I Stand Alone - which alone will make you want to take a shower. Soon we travel into the Dante-like depths of the sado-masochistic gay bar The Rectum, in which Marcus (another electric performance by Vincent Cassel), followed by his friend Pierre (Albert Dupontel), pursues the man who just beat and sodomized his girlfriend Alex (Cassel's real life wife, Monica Bellucci). Noé creates a technological marvel, combining inventive, swirling camerawork and a grinding soundtrack into an experience that is designed to have maximum visceral impact. He literally wants to assault the audience, (and at one point uses a strobe effect that has been known to induce strokes in some viewers!).

In these scenes Cassel builds an emotional hysteria frightening to behold, and it culminates in savage murder with a fire extinguisher to the face that renders a man into a grasping, pulpy creature - the reduction of something human to an object of flesh. The nine-minute rape scene, filmed in real time and enhanced with digital effects (including a CGI penis), is, I dare say without hyperbole, the most upsetting thing to appear in the history of film. It is one of the only scenes of sexual violence in a horror film not intended to titillate but to make the viewer sober up with the grim realization of the actual effects of violence. In this moment we move from mere exploitation to emotional revelation. After these two scenes, the rest of the film is in danger of falling by the wayside, as we simply want to get through the ordeal. Noé caps it all off, in fine French fashion, by provocatively justifying the shocks with a philosophical notion that "time destroys all things,"and then traces that conceit all the way back to the beginning of the universe.

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People who added this item 16 Average listal rating (6 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 0
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People who added this item 27 Average listal rating (11 ratings) 8.6 IMDB Rating 0
A l'interieur (Inside). Sarah, who has just lost her husband in a car crash, finds herself terrorized by a mysterious woman on Christmas Eve. The first appearances of the stranger are startling and effectively creepy in a quiet way, but once she starts to attack, the film bursts into a cataclysm of violence that few films can match in their ferocity. It soon becomes apparent that the intruder wants the woman's baby, and will stop at nothing to get it. Much of the action occurs in the narrow confines of the apartment's bathroom, as "inside" refers simultaneously to this claustrophobic context and the confines of Sarah's womb, where we witness the baby reacting to the turmoil inflicted on his mother. Although sometimes the gore threatens to become self-parody, the finale includes a pair of scissors and an unusual method of baby delivery that is unforgettable.
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High Tension. College student Marie (Cécile De France) is invited by her friend Alexa (Maïwenn Le Besco) to (once again!) a remote country house for holiday. During the first night there, a murderer (another chilling appearance by Philippe Nahon) invades and massacres the family, committing a particularly nasty decapitation of the father on a staircase. Alexa is kidnapped and Marie, who managed to evade the initial attack, trails after her and the captor. The chase that ensues moves along familiar lines of the American slasher film, but the ending holds a twist cleverly questioning conventional takes on narrative and identity. The fact that some critics have accused the conclusion as being homophobic makes it even more interesting. High Tension contains all the elements that seem to frequently characterize the new French horror: an isolated setting, a mysterious and ruthless psycho who appears out of nowhere, an irony-free murder spree, and the embrace of issues unusually complex for the genre, often involving repressed sexuality and its relation to the forms of persona and violence. Ironically, director Alexandre Aja went on to helm an American remake of Wes Craven's The Hills Have Eyes, the only recent remake of a 70's horror classic that has any bite.
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I Stand Alone. Gaspar Noé's first film centers on a lonely and disturbed butcher played by Philippe Nahon, whose bulbous face is emblematic of the tone of the new French wave - a mixture of cynicism, menace, and grotesquerie. He lives in almost complete psychological isolation, and the Boogeyman chasing him is the emptiness of life itself. In unrelentingly somber fashion, the smothering awareness of alienation closes in, embodied by a technique that Noe uses repeatedly throughout the film in which the camera aggressively moves toward Nahon's grim visage in a series of jarring jump cuts. No violence happens in these moments, but the magic trick is that they are as suspenseful as most scenes in which blood is spilled. There is no mistaking the implication of Noé's atmospherics, a bold cinematic play on the phenomenology of existentialism: it is reality itself that is frightening. The butcher's psychological torture chamber finds a tragic catharsis in the finale, when overwhelmed by incestuous lust and guilt, he commits a horrible act against his own institutionalized daughter. One of the most upsetting things I had ever seen until Noé's second film (see bottom of the list).
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People who added this item 20 Average listal rating (8 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 0
I Stand Alone (2001)
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People who added this item 2 Average listal rating (0 ratings) 0 IMDB Rating 0
Calvaire (The Ordeal). Marc (Laurent Lucas), a small time entertainer, makes an appearance at an old folks home, where he awkwardly fends off the advances of an older woman (a cameo by the most famous French porn star of the 70's, Brigitte Lahaie). Back out on the road, beset by a suspicious set of circumstances, he finds himself stranded in a small town, where he winds up at a hotel with no other residents (always a bad sign!). Like Sheitan (without any of the lightheartedness), the film is a paranoid nightmare about being trapped in an otherworldly conspiracy, set out in the country where the world has been allowed to go mad. Marc's own anxiety about sex, hinted at in the first scenes, becomes manifest in his increasingly surreal and threatening situation: it soon becomes apparent that the hotel-keeper, who really misses his departed wife, has deranged plans and affections for his guest, while the other male townsfolk spend their time trying to screw pigs, and eventually turn their attention to Marc. The entire place seems to be under the sway of some hypnotic torpor, in which suppressed (homo)sexual urges fester. This dynamic is brought to life most powerfully in an amazing bar scene when the men dance together as if possessed by a secret backwoods ritual.
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People who added this item 19 Average listal rating (7 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 0
Them (2008)
Ils (Them). A couple vacationing at an elegant and isolated manse find themselves terrorized by faceless, seemingly purposeless hooded killers (roughly the same plot is found in the just-released American film The Strangers). The film is an exercise in sustained suspense, as the sanctity and safety of home is slowly encroached upon with eerie precision. The attack is made more unnerving because of its anonymity. In the end, daylight comes, sweeping away all the tension of the proceeding night, and the identity of "them" is revealed. And a mysterious auditory cue for their menacing presence that appears throughout the film is explained by the most innocent of objects, adding to the creepy surprise.
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Frontier(s). As in Sheitan and Calvaire, Frontier(s) involves the journey of the urban dweller into the dark heart of the country. A group of young activists escape a violent protest of a right-wing politician, and after one of them dies, they rendezvous in a dilapidated hotel far beyond the outskirts of the city. The family hosting them turns out to be right wing also, but a tad more extreme - that is, of the crazed neo-Nazi variety, who want to propagate their pure genes and shackle you to the floor of pig-pens. The set-up borrows heavily from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, from the deranged family lead by a grandfather to scenes where victims are held captive at the dinner table, to the juxtaposition of both humans and animals being butchered. The dehumanizing imagery reminiscent of the Holocaust may seem excessive, but there is no question they make events even more uncomfortable.

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People who added this item 4 Average listal rating (1 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 0
Sheitan (2006)
8. Sheitan (Satan). A racially diverse and hip group of teenagers end a rambunctious night out in the city by traveling to the rural home of a beautiful girl they meet in a disco. It turns out the place is inhabited by her strange country-bumpkin family, lead by a grinning, delirious, and slightly menacing housekeeper, played with over the top relish by Vincent Cassel (one of France's leading actors). As the city kids realize trouble may be in store, Sheitan builds an impending sense of dread that is offset, and made more unsettling, by a quirky, jittery sense of humor. The house is an effectively creepy funhouse filled with strange artifacts and odd angles, and the film plays like a French version of The Twilight Zone: we know something is dreadfully wrong but we are not sure what. It is intriguing fun to find out the answer, a combination of satanic ritual, family secrets, and unholy birth - even if by the end we are still not completely clear what exactly has happened. The last shot is a bizarre visual joke that is both memorable and very French.
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People who added this item 2 Average listal rating (0 ratings) 0 IMDB Rating 0
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By Simon Augustine - Original Post at GreenCine Central

...."Essentially, what the French have done is up the ante in terms of bloodletting, bringing fresh kineticism and a sense of obscenity to the usual acts of brutality, while still maintaining at least a modicum of existential weight and emotion amidst the proceedings."

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Comments

Posted: 7 years, 3 months ago at Jul 20 20:42
So why do you have the several films more than once in the list? Makes no sense.
Posted: 7 years ago at Oct 3 11:37
So is Martyrs French or French-Canadian? I've heard both. Or was it just not disturbing enough to you? Because somehow I doubt that's possible...
Posted: 7 years ago at Oct 3 11:49
yup martyrs
Posted: 7 years ago at Oct 5 22:17
@La Menthe, it is because Listal has different region DVD versions of the same film; we wanted to list all versions in case the person viewing the list wants to purchase their region DVD from amazon. Thanks for commenting!

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