Picking films from the same Openculture list that was used in the previous article, here’s another set of flicks that you could find interesting. Last time, I saw people get a little bit upset about my using of the word “rare” – what I meant was, “movies you can’t really find easily everywhere,” and not, “movies I’m absolutely positive you’ve never heard of.” It was supposed to be a list of five films, but I ended up with only four since the one I thought was an adaptation of one of my favorite books, Waiting for Godot, was in fact just a filmed play. So we’re stuck with a horror film, an animated short film and two documentaries.
Spider Baby by Jack Hill (made in 1964, released in 1968)
Let’s start our journey with a famous one: Spider Baby, or the maddest story ever told. It has elements of horror, but is mostly known to be a dark comedy and a cult classic. We follow the last survivors of an inbred family, victims of a serious disease that makes them regress mentally from the age of 10. Also they kill people for fun.
The Hobbit by Gene Deitch (1966)
If I’m being totally honest, I didn’t really enjoy Peter Jackson’s Hobbit. It wasn’t horrible, but it lacked the amazement of the first trilogy. So here we are, 50 years ago, the first ever adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Hobbit by Gene Deitch, a short animation film rushed into production. It’s only twelve minutes, barely animated and with a voice over all along. It’s ridiculously trippy but it was the start of something.
A Journey Into The Mind of P by Donatello & Fosco Dubini (2002)
Earlier this year, P.T. Anderson brought on screen the novel Inherent Vice by famous post modern author Thomas Pynchon. To celebrate that fact, here’s a documentary about the elusive T. Pynchon, that made nearly no public appearances throughout his many years as a novelist (he even appeared on The Simpsons with a craft bag over his cartoon head). This documentary obviously does not feature Pynchon himself, otherwise the mystery surrounding him would be over, but is based on testimonies and speculations about the mind of this peculiar author that you should someday probably read.
Fellini: A Director’s Notebook by Federico Fellini (1969)
One of the most famous directors of all time, Federico Fellini created a world full of surrealist masterpieces that helped to build European cinema. Amongst his most famous films, you surely heard of La Dolce Vita, Otto e mezzo, Satyricon or La Strada. In 1968, he was asked to film an hour-long movie about his own work, which he did in his own style. What you can see is really just in the title, it’s a visual representation of a notebook, mixing ideas and envies, exploration of shooting places etc… An interesting take on the development of a movie from the point of view of a very unique artist.