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Added by Nusch on 11 May 2016 10:16
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Great Nihilistic Movies

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People who added this item 3438 Average listal rating (2309 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 8.1
Fargo (1996)
Imagine a film whose plot involves two crazy killers hired by a man with money problems, whose idea for resolving this problem is to kidnap his own wife. Imagine also that his wealthy father-in-law loves his daughter as much as his money. This sets the stage for a lot of blood, craziness and cynicism.

Fargo is not completely nihilistic, but it features a truly nihilistic character, one of the two killers, Gaer (played by Peter Stormare). At the end of the film, there’s no clear victory for justice, so the viewer will be left with the sensation of a no redemption ending due to the complete absence of values embodied by the killer. Fargo is a bit harsh and cynical, more than nihilistic. However, this film is one of the masterpieces of two nihilistic cinema makers: the Coen brothers.

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People who added this item 1966 Average listal rating (1129 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 8
Dogville (2003)
Lars Von Trier is surely one of the top nihilist directors to have worked in cinema. In his films it’s easy to spot antisocial traits. His idea of nihilism is particular: his main characters are rarely nihilists. On the contrary, they are virtuous people. The problem is that the entire world which surrounds them is a cruel, unfair void.

Dogville is the story of a mafia’s boss daughter who takes refuge in a little country village where she will try to construct a new life in this isolated social structure. Apparently the village is isolated from the cruelty present in big cities. The irony of this idea will be revealed in a most hypocritical way.

Von Trier creates a complex psychological storyline and in order to focus on it, he doesn’t even create a realistic mise-in-sene since the village is created by some black rows in a light background. The director wants to show the omnipresent unfairness of men which is present in every society and which hypocrisy doesn’t deserve any salvation.

Dogville presents a world too cruel for any redemption and also inherent wickedness which is connected to men only. Nihilism and misanthropy here are married perfectly.

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People who added this item 908 Average listal rating (538 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 5.9
If Funny Games shows the dark side, pure sadism without any mediation, Salò or The 120 Days of Sodom enlarges that context. Sadism is only a face of fascism at its extreme: that’s director Pasolini’s explanation for it. Four fascist officials (simply called the President, the Bishop, the Duke and the Magistrate) captures a group of young boys and girls and bring them to a big country house. In this residence exist a lot of rules created by the officials.

The film is influenced by the geography of Dante’s Inferno and the film is divided into chapters. The officials represent power (The President represents economics, the Bishop the church, the Duke the nobility and the Magistrate the judiciary), all of which completely annihilates their humanity. Helped by military force of SS, the sadists commence a series of incredibly cruel acts towards the young people.

The film details the most extreme acts of gruesomeness, where the darkest side of nihilism reaches an appalling level. Pasolini equates absolute fascism with absolute sadism through the corruption of bourgeois power. Hierarchy not only denies every value but also humanity itself by completely humiliating human beings. Marx’s visions and the ideas of other philosophers such as Klossowski and Blanchot, influenced Pasolini as he strained to the limit of observation.

This acclaimed director was able to combine cultural influences with monstrosity and the result is disturbing. If this film is considered completely disgusting due to coprophagy, rape, sadistic, gore, but also takes in a psychological stance towards the nihilistic hierarchs, which negate to humanity its dignity.

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People who added this item 6687 Average listal rating (4592 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 8.3
As people reach their middle years of 40 to 50 or so, they start to become fearful of passing time. This is a comprehensible feeling. Problems often start when someone refuses to act their age and tries to appear and act like a younger person. Fear of the passage of time is deeply connected to a fear of nothingness,or a fear of weakness.

One may try to handle the problem but when the problem is fought, it’s an already lost battle; the fighter will fall in the abyss of nihilism. Man is nothing compared to death. American Beauty is a film based on fear more than nihilism, but a second element of the film is the secret motivation of the main character Lester Burnham (amazingly played by Kevin Spacey). He wants something that he knows he cannot have anymore: youth.

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Hunter Thompson, godfather of Gonzo journalism, joined forces with director Terry Gilliam with amazing results. This film is a psychedelic trip to Las Vegas, which ends up an abyss of drugs and delirium.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas perfectly illustrates the failure of an entire generation, or better yet, an entire revolution: the hippie revolution of the 1960s. Hunter Thompson, documenting with his delirious writing style, decides to ingest all the possible (and impossible) drugs of this earth along with his lawyer in a hotel room in Las Vegas.

Terry Gilliam does a fine job of replicating the book’s nihilism. Johnny Depp, portraying Thompson, gives one of his best performances. On first viewing, a lot of people could not understand the message of this film. This is not just a delirious film about drugs but something more besides. In the view of this film the entire American dream ended in drugs and nothingness.

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People who added this item 5278 Average listal rating (3634 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.3
Six criminals are involved in a diamond robbery, one of them is an undercover policeman. This film is a famous Quentin Tarantino effort. What is the message of this film? This thought: blood begets blood. Death recalls death. No one can stop this endless spiral of violence. Justice and goodness are annihilated. This is a very crude form of nihilism but it’s so effective and clear-cut as to be clearly understandable.

There are several themes in this film and nihilism is not a visible philosophy in film history. Rarely is nihilism a central quest. This film presents a different circumstance; it is evident that nihilism constitutes a transparent basis of the plot. Except for Mr.Blonde (Michael Madsen), the characters are not openly nihilistic but they routinely accept the evil side of the world, because they’re criminals.

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People who added this item 4296 Average listal rating (2832 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.6
A wealthy 1980s Wall Street businessman, Patrick Bateman, has a problem: he kills anyone who bothers him in any way. The plot is so simple that it’s also impossible not to show nihilism in any clearer way. This is the first movie on this list which focuses on the pure sadism of the main character (played by Christian Bale).

In particular it perfectly shows the impossibility of redeeming the crazed serial killing main character. Nihilism is represented in a classical spiral form, which absorbs everything surrounding it. Mary Harron also inserts an ironic quality which gives a special touch to the complex, almost nietzschean tale.

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People who added this item 6255 Average listal rating (4252 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.3
This film is an iconic classic which truly manifest a nihilistic spirit. This is particularly true in the first part of the film which is centered on the “ultra-violence” brought on by a gang of “droogs” (slang of this future world). This dystopic reality could be labeled with a subtitle: the story of a nihilist in society.

The main character, Alex, apart from good musical taste, is a pure nihilist. In the second half there is a sort of redemption orchestrated by the Minister of Interior via the new Ludovico cure technique for criminals. Kubrick (and by extension, Anthony Burgess, the novel’s writer) focuses his attention on the false cure trumpeted by the ministerial organization.

In reality there’s no cure, ultra-violence will return whatever is done to prevent it. In an unconscious way, misanthropy was present in American Psycho, but in this film it is openly manifest. Logically, misanthropy is connected to nihilism and in this picture the two merge. Not only has Kubrick created a nihilist character but also has placed him in a nihilist society. There need to be no more explanations for there is no cure and no moral, only “ultra-violence”. Is this an aspect of nihilism or not?

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People who added this item 4854 Average listal rating (3104 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8.3
In this film the viewer is not situated with nihilistic characters but with a nihilistic milieu. The story revolves around drug addiction in several aspects from start to finish. The way this manifests itself could result in the film becoming a thriller but the theme is handled in another way entirely.

Aronofsky has created a series of short edits in order to evoke a sort of hallucination effect on the viewer. What will hit home for many is the absolute devastation brought about by this situation. There is no mercy for any of the film’s character. Nihilism will reach its zenith in destroying the characters’ lives. The film is divided in three seasonal sections and it is clearly metaphor in the fact that there’s no spring for them: there will be no redemption. Nihil is the only possible result for these sad characters.

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People who added this item 2805 Average listal rating (1767 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.2
Director P.T. Anderson is not new to creating nihilistic tinged films (such as Magnolia), but he reached his magnum opus in this regard with this film. The story concerns a prospector who is trying to expand his wealth, but during his trials he will encounter a lot of problems such as a crazed minister, financial manipulation, and a troubled adopted son.

Where’s the nihilism? The main character, who is played by the incredible Daniel Day Lewis, is one of the most nihilistic on this list. He has no morals, he denies everything spiritual in his life until the end and he is strong and disturbed enough to be a killer. P.T.Anderson has created a philosophically evil character who ranges from cynical to utilitarian in his thoughts,and from evil to good in his actions. No one with any values could behave like that.

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People who added this item 2688 Average listal rating (1692 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.6
Match Point (2005)
Virtually all of Woody Allen’s films feature nihilistic stories or nihilistic characters. With this dramatic film, Allen reached the pinnacle of nihilism. Imagine someone killing someone else with no justice coming to render punishment. This is not a happy world vision. Allen brilliantly creates a psychological drama without any redemption as is present in other of his films.

Match Point shows the cruelty of man in its purist form. Allen not only show how evil can subvert justice but also how the sustainers of justice can end up being far from “winners”. This film cites Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky, but Allen mocks him by inverting the destiny of his Crime and Punishment character Raskolnikov: no prison, a “happy” ending for the killer and no triumph of love.

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People who added this item 4144 Average listal rating (2766 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8.2
Nihilism is always present in Coen’s cinema, but here it reaches its apotheosis, likely due to the fact that this film is based on a novel written by a nihilist writer: Cormac McCarthy. A man finds a large amount of money after a criminal shootout and tries to secrete it for himself. The problem is that someone else knows that money was there. In the meantime the sheriff is trying to find the first man in order to prevent his death.

Apart from an intriguing plot, the film presents a nihilist world of assassins and thieves who are, obviously, nihilist people. The situation is akin to a black hole which will absorb everything. In particular a serial killer (like the one in Fargo), played by an amazing Javier Bardem, is a perfect representation of pure nihilism.

On the other side is the sheriff who is a weak counterpart. The policeman is surrounded by monsterous individuals, ready to kill for financial reasons. If justice is helpless in the face of this, what can remain? Surprisingly there’s no clear conclusion for this movie, only an inconclusive one which shows a complete suspension of all moral imperatives . Here is perhaps the Coen’s brother best film, or at least their most representative one.

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People who added this item 1761 Average listal rating (990 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 8
Here are a number of elements which perfectly represent nihilism in everyday manifestation.

The film is based on the story of a Czechoslovakian woman raising her son in the US. This woman loves music but she has to renounce to her musical dreams for her child. Since music is a powerful influence in her life, her dreams are presented like American musicals. Unfortunately she’s going blind and her condition is hereditary.

In order to prevent her son from the same fate she saves money in order to pay for a cure. The woman crosses paths with a desperate policeman, who creates a terrible dilemma for her. Selma, the main character played by singer Bjork, not only has to face her blindness but she has to fight for both legal justice and justice of a higher sort. Her fate might seem like a sacrifice but the last scenes of this film denies this interpretation.

Where’s the real justice? Society permits to a morally upright women such as Selma to fall into the horrible trap set by the policeman. Von Trier shows that nihilism is a cause and effect process, a reaction. This movie delivers a good picture of the nothingness of good in the face of, not evil, but nihilism. Since nihilism denies the difference between good and evil, everything ends up becoming gray.

Von Trier creates a cosmic nihilism in its most credible form: what’s the point of goodness in the world if there’s no one to appreciate it? Von Trier replaces Pasolini’s wickedness as related to fascism for a complete “fade to black”.

Balanced between lyrical and disturbing tones, this strange musical shows nihilism surfacing without becoming too harsh visually. Selma oscillates between her bright musical world and dark reality. Psychologically thrilling and philosophically deep, this is the best of nihilistic cinema.

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People who added this item 1434 Average listal rating (833 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.5
Funny Games (1997)
This sick film was made by the Austrian director Michael Haneke. In fact, these are two movies shot ten-years apart, with one a shot-for-shot remake of the other (Version two is shot in English.)

A family of three goes on vacation to a country house, unluckily for them a couple of golf players decide to bother them in every possible way. The pair become more vicious with each encounter up until the moment where they decide to humiliate the parents No one is spared from the cynical sadism of the two madmen, not even the son or the dog!

There’s a scene where the family has the potential for rescue but the director negates it with a rewind effect. In this film the innocents are completely dominated by the wicked. This is a very nihilist film, which denies any form of goodness, salvation or revenge. The enemies have no values except a certain regard for words. They speak correctly but they behave horribly.

In this film Haneke has likely found the extreme limit of ethical void in film representation. He wants to show the complete impotence of goodness towards the immense cruelty brought by nihilism. This is a simplification but perhaps only a reflection of the harshness of nihilism itself. Nihilism denies the entire concept of style (except the Nietzschean revaluation of all values) and simple harshness is a possible reaction towards everyday life.

People who added this item 250 Average listal rating (118 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.1
The Big Feast (1973)
Marco Ferreri is another masterful director of nihilist films and characters. In this movie he creates one of his best films. Four rich bourgeois decide to meet together in a villa. What is their purpose? Death by eating and other indulgent vices is the plan. This deceptively simple plot renders a pearl in the cinematic ocean and will give much more to the viewer after rethinking the film carefully.

The first half of the movie is openly comic, almost grotesque, while the second half becomes decidedly absurd and sad. When the time comes in which someone decides to die, the choice ends in a strange way to die, that of a healthy, reasonable person participating in facing death. Marco Ferreri has shown the way in which wealth can bring false happiness. The best part of the film concerns the way Ferreri switches from the comic tone of the first part to the melancholy tone of the second part seamlessly.

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15 Great Nihilistic Movies That Are Worth Your Time

Read more: www.tasteofcinema.com/2015/15-great-nihilistic-movies-that-are-worth-your-time/2/#ixzz48O9YisLB

Author: Luca Badaloni

"The word Nihil is Latin root of nihilism. Nihil means nothingness. Commonly nihilism is employed in the expression of Nietzschean philosophy, connected with Übermensch or eternal return theories.

Sometimes it is forgotten that Nietzsche promoted a “good” nihilism, as a starting point for new values; on the other side of the coin is the “bad” nihilism, embodied by the Marquis De Sade’s philosophy. So by connecting three key words, Nihilism, Sadism and Willful Nothingness, key influences relative to several filmmakers are achieved.

The Nihilistic world view is the expression of a pure void, ethically speaking, and cinema is a prime method of expressing this philosophy. There are a number of films which could fit into this category. Nihilism is a “behind the scenes” motivator and it is not seemingly uncommon to find movies based on this point of view.

At times this worldview is depicted as a status more than a purpose, or it is reduced to particular characters within the film. Nihilism is pure negation, of philosophy itself (and cinema as well), and theoretically speaking it is impossible to show the quality perfectly through the camera’s eye (to better understand this statement one might consider Carmelo Bene’s standpoints).

Often spectators misunderstand nihilism and confuse it with cynicism, skepticism or relativism. All of these words are related and have a common root, Nihil. To summarize: a Nihilist character will often be cynical, skeptical, relativist or any and all of these qualities; on the other side of this equation, a cynical character is not always a nihilist.

Once this is understood, it is easy to understand that cinema is full of various examples of nihilism. Sometimes directors clearly take on nihilistic-misanthropic viewpoints where nihilism is the central topic or the final aim of the film. Here is a guide to nihilistic films worth watching."

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