Its new Babylon has polarized audiences and critics, but there’s no denying Damien Chazelle’s ability to get people talking with his unique and bold style inspired by classic Hollywood. Here are ten films recommended directly by him.
Few directors are as fascinated by the creative process and the lives of artists as Damien Chazelle, author of the brand new Babylon.
The young film-maker, exploded with Whiplash, over the years he has often spoken about the films that have influenced his vision of cinema. Here, then, are ten titles not to be missed according to the director of La La Land.
America Today (1993)
America today (Short Cuts) is a 1993 film directed by Robert Altman, winner of the Golden Lion for best film at the 50th Venice Film Festival ex aequo with Three Colors – Blue Film by Krzysztof Kieslowski.
Altman expands, intertwines and mixes the stories of the American writer Raymond Carver, giving life to a complex fresco and a swing of tones and emotions that have as a background a teeming and at times oppressive Los Angeles in the early nineties.
Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003)
A film between documentary and video essay that examines the way the city of Los Angeles has been represented in cinema and television. Using clips from dozens of different films, director Thom Andersen juxtaposes the film location of The Big Sleep, Rebel Without And Causes And Clueless with the actual city where he grew up.
My Night with Maud (1969)
Presented in competition at the 22nd Cannes Film Festival and nominated for an Oscar for best foreign film, My night with Maud is the third chapter (in the order of the series, but the fourth in chronological order) of the cycle of Six moral tales (Six contes moraux) directed by the French master Éric Rohmer, one of the greatest exponents of the Nouvelle Vague.
The Vampires (1945)
A brilliant proto-noir analysis of the vampire as a biological archetype. Supported by an elegant soundtrack by Duke Ellington (great passion of Chazelle himself, a fine jazz enthusiast), the film by Jean Painleve is a gleefully morbid allegory of Nazism.
Menilmontant is a silent short film directed by Dimitri Kirsanoff, French-Russian director. Dark and experimental, it is made up of a series of scenes involving two sisters, Lena (Nadia Sibirskaïa) and Paula (Yolande Beaulieu), who are left alone after their parents are murdered.
The two struggle to come to terms with their loss and find their place in the world.
Comment je me suis dispute… ma vie sexuelle (1996)
Directed by Arnaud Desplechin, the film follows a young graduate (Mathieu Amalric) through a series of relationships, entering the heads of his partners and other characters as they search for the deeper meaning of their love. The absolutely innovative and anti-conventional narrative style has prompted some critics to define it as a small example of the post-Nouvelle Vague.
A policeman, Pharaoh DeWinter, investigates the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl in rural northern France. The difficult relationship with the neighbor overlaps the investigation, Domino, engaged to his friend Joseph and with whom Pharaon is secretly in love.
The film, famous for its enigmatic and surprising ending, won the Special Jury Grand Prix and both performance awards at the 52nd Cannes Film Festival.
The Eclipse (2009)
Directed by the Irish playwright and director Conor McPhersonwho recently co-wrote the adaptation of Artemis Fowl of 2020, the film is a meditation on loss, held together by its nuanced performances and atmospheric setting in a small Irish town. Chazelle and Hinds, star of the film, found each other on the set of First Man nine years later.
The Big Deception (1990)
The big deception (The Two Jakes) is the latest work behind the camera of Jack Nicholson, as well as sequel to the famous Chinatown of 1974.
The film was not a box office success and received mixed reviews, but found more success in the home media market, where it has carved out a small slice of fans (including Damien Chazelle).
Full Time (2001)
Directed by Laurent Cantet, this French neo-noir is loosely based on the case of the criminal Jean-Claude Romand. After being fired, Jean-Claude created a parallel secret life, which tragically ended in 1993, after 18 years of lies.