Disturbing cinema

We have challenged film aficionados to be brave enough to expose their soft side: they were invited to share the title of a movie that spoke to them, but troubled them so much that they rather not rewatch:


I do not want/ I do not dare to watch Puiu's "Aurora" ever again. I don't know if I enyoed it, but it did something to my stomach. I can not exactly define what it did and I do not really want to investigate it closely. It's an annoying film, but there are many kinds of annoyances in life, and some take you further. I am affraid to watch it again, also because I would not want to stop being bothered by it. Sometimes life grinds our sensibilities, attenuates our reactions to shock and I do not want to discover that this happened to me. Anyway, I needed some time to learn how to be friends (by far, through public events, not in private) with Puiu, the man. For a while, I was affraid of him. Sometimes, it takes time and patience to learn how to understand another human being.

Răzvan Penescu
Founder of LiterNet

One of the greatest European filmmakers of the last quarter century has to be Michael Haneke.
His films dissect the human nature and its tendencies to violence and sometimes antisocial behavior in striking stories and often haunting images. Some of his most powerful films (like “Das Weisse Band” or “Funny Games”) have been key parables of the European human psyche, but I cannot say I look forward to seeing them again (and again). I do look forward tremendously (in a distressing way) to his next feature though. It is sure to be compelling in many ways.

Bero Beyer
Festival director, International Film Festival Rotterdam

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1974)
Fassbinder's timeless masterpiece shows it all: the vulnerability that comes with following one's true desires, the fear of love, the power of envy and the easy solution of hate and contempt. Even though set in Germany in the 70s, the story of this film can still be seen in cities and villages all over Europe, frighteningly so. For me, this film shows European cinema at its best: it puts its finger on the sore spot, and makes me feel that what our common future will look like is decided every day, even in our own private lives.

Matthijs Wouter Knol
European Film Market Director, Berlin International Film Festival
My first thought goes out to Spectres are haunting Europe (2016).
The most accurate and necessary portrait regarding the need to reshape our way of thinking and perceiving politics.

The second, on a lighter tone, an Italian film... They Call Me Jeeg (2015).
It is possible to have our very own brand of European superheroes without renouncing fun, action and acute and astute social commentaries.
Giona A. Nazzaro
General Delegate of the Venice Film Festival's Critics' Week
Safari, Ulrich Seidl, 2016
Discomfort can be both positive and negative. In cinema, the frontier between the two is very thin, although of course different for everyone. There is so much a spectator can take in before feeling like the filmmaker is imposing an unnecessary violence on her/him. For me, Ulrich Seidl is a very interesting and quite impressive example of a director who manages to create deep and legitimate discomfort through the subjects he chooses and the way he stages them, both in fiction and documentary formats, without seeming to do it for the wrong purposes. SAFARI, his last opus, is not an exception. Following different groups of hunters in South Africa and Namibia, the film shows its subjects front on, as is often the case in his work. The rigorous frame and the very construction of the film allow Seidl to exacerbate, without any further comments or narrative strategies, the horror of a barbarous activity, which is absurd in many regards – first and foremost ecologically – and echoes not long forgotten neocolonial relations. But perhaps, what Safari succeeds best is putting us, potentially reminding of Frederick Wiseman’s PRIMATE, in the position of the animal, who has to suffer under the name of human unworthiness and mediocrity. If one might reach the conclusion that the filmmaker is not so fond of his fellows – in every sense and meaning the word can embrace – it also feels like he might slowly end up convincing us.
Emilie Bujes
Visions du Réel, Festival international de Cinéma Nyon
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