Looking for truly one-of-a-kind films and TV shows
May 15, 2016 12:33 AM   Subscribe

And I mean one-of-a-kind—and good!—films and TV shows. (I've included film and TV examples in the 'Extended Explanation' portion of my thread.)

Most films and TV shows I come across these days are versions of many other films and shows I've seen before. And I'm not liking it. At all.

I'm wanting to be wowed again like I was upon watching for the first time amazingly unique films like Werner Herzog's Heart of Glass, Stroszek and Aguirre, René Laloux's Fantastic Planet, Jan Svankmajer's Alice, Krzysztof Kieslowski's The Decalogue, Dario Argento's Suspiria, Godfrey Reggio's Koyaanisqatsi, Georges Méliès' A Trip to the Moon, Nicolas Roeg's Walkabout, Fritz Lang's Metropolis, Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Samourai, David Cronenberg's Videodrome, Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs, Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver, Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (the film which, by the way, made me actually start truly caring about films) and A Clockwork Orange, Paul Feig's Freaks and Geeks and David Lynch's Twin Peaks.

So, yeah . . . do recommend super original (good) films and TV shows that are not at all derivative of films or TV shows that came before them.
posted by GlassHeart to Media & Arts (92 answers total) 116 users marked this as a favorite
Hedwig and the Angry Inch is definitely one of a kind. It's kind of a cult classic.
posted by gt2 at 12:47 AM on May 15, 2016 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Mr. Robot is the most unique show I've watched in a long time and is on Amazon Prime.
posted by fullerine at 12:58 AM on May 15, 2016 [17 favorites]

Rake. (I mean the Australian TV series, not the US remake.)
posted by Coaticass at 1:07 AM on May 15, 2016 [4 favorites]

Anything by Jodorowsky or the Quay Brothers (very like Svankmajer!). Also Wax, or the Discovery of Television Among the Bees. If you haven't seen the Cremaster Cycle, try to find of much of it as you can.
posted by ananci at 1:07 AM on May 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

Twitch City is deliciously odd and completely unique. Many subsequent shows have been influenced by it, but none have succeeded in recapturing ts marvellousness.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 1:18 AM on May 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

"It is a film which comes from another planet where they make films differently. Playtime is perhaps Europe of 1968 filmed by the first Martian filmmaker."
François Truffaut, describing PlayTime
posted by Paragon at 1:33 AM on May 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

You didn't mention Last Year at Marienbad.

I'd also throw in Robinson in Space. Engaging, fascinating film and yet it is essentially narration over images of industrial landscapes.
posted by vacapinta at 1:53 AM on May 15, 2016

Some random stuff that popped up in my head you might like:

Kill List
White Lightnin'
Kin Dza Dza
The Chaser
Dead Man's Shoes

In response to other answers:
-I couldn't finish Mr. Robot because it was too derivative IMO. I couldn't stand the heavy handed borrowing from Pi (also recommended btw) and Fight Club for instance. YMMV etc etc
-I'd first go for El Topo or Holy Mountain if you want to check out Jodorowsky
posted by Kosmob0t at 2:09 AM on May 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

Take a look at Canadian film for some innovative stuff you've likely never heard of. French-Canadian cinema is often particularly good, if you steer clear of the obviously commercial crowd-pleasers.

Sarah Polley's documentary Stories We Tell. Don't read too much about it before you watch it--it's not that it's gimmicky, just better unspoiled.

Xavier Dolan's Mommy. Knocked my socks off, and Dolan was only 24 when he made it. (It won the Jury Prize in the main competition at Cannes in 2014, and he's got one in competition this year too--It's Just the End of the World.)

I also particularly liked Jean-Marc Vallee's C.R.A.Z.Y.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:49 AM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Horace and Pete
posted by Mchelly at 3:26 AM on May 15, 2016 [4 favorites]

Under the Skin
Yellow Sea
seconding: Kill List
posted by bluecore at 3:32 AM on May 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

Not sure if others will agree, but I loved Ascension. It's a space opera... with a major twist!
posted by tango! at 4:07 AM on May 15, 2016

Rubber. It's about a car tyre that kills people.
posted by my-username at 4:28 AM on May 15, 2016 [7 favorites]

Orphan Black
posted by Room 641-A at 4:39 AM on May 15, 2016 [5 favorites]

Three films from Singapore that I think are very different from anything outside by being deeply local: Ilo Ilo which got a Cannes award, Eating Air (which feels like the texture of my adolescence) and 15 which just hurts.

Rev is a bittersweet comedy that went to bleak and beautiful places by making faith and theology a huge central struggle. Amazing acting by a small group of very talented actors.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 6:11 AM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Irreversible by Gaspar Noe would fit into your list very well. So would Salo, actually, but in both cases be aware that the content is deliberately graphic and shocking.

Less graphic but also identifiably unique are Eric Rohmer's films. I have seen most but not all and love his gentle style. Back towards graphic and confrontational are the films of Catherine Briellat, such as Fat Girl, which definitely fit you list but again mostly come with content warnings.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:12 AM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

posted by WalkerWestridge at 6:24 AM on May 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

Holy Motors
F for Fake
Hiroshima Mon Amour
Night of the Hunter
My Neighbor Totoro

are some that strike me, off the top of my head, as entirely singular viewing experiences.
posted by .kobayashi. at 6:26 AM on May 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

I came in to suggest, now nthing, Horace and Pete.
posted by jamaal at 6:32 AM on May 15, 2016

Harold and Maude
posted by sammyo at 6:40 AM on May 15, 2016 [6 favorites]

Off the top of my head ...
The Fall
Heart of a Dog
posted by gudrun at 6:47 AM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

On the TV side of things, Rectify is pretty unique and very much worth watching.
posted by Johnny Assay at 7:05 AM on May 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

I second Primer.
(I'd add Brazil, but I'm not such a film buff to know if that reflects anything earlier.)
posted by pompomtom at 7:13 AM on May 15, 2016

Although Peter Greenaway's films have a lot in common with each other, they are sufficiently diverse that a few of them are like nothing else - His breakthrough film, the baroque whodunnit The Draughtsman's Contract; Prospero's Books, his version of The Tempest, with John Gielgud and a lot of 1990 computer graphics; The Falls - a three-hour set of 92 case histories of survivors of the Violent Unknown Event, the extent of their injuries and an inquiry into the responsibility of birds; Water Wrackets, an incomprehensible history.

They're all idiosyncratic, in any case.

You could also try Lisztomania. The usual response to watching it is to go "What, exactly, the fuck was that?"
posted by Grangousier at 7:16 AM on May 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

The Fountain
The Fall
Run Lola Run
No Country for Old Men
posted by The Deej at 7:19 AM on May 15, 2016

Oh, and perhaps Koreeda's After Life, as I don't think there is anything else quite like it.
posted by Grangousier at 7:20 AM on May 15, 2016

Best answer: Being John Malkovich
posted by Dolley at 7:34 AM on May 15, 2016 [7 favorites]

Oh, yes, I meant to add Harold and Maude! It's just a simple love story, very different than a lot of things mentioned.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:40 AM on May 15, 2016

for non-sci-fi stuff -

Metropolitan (Whit Stillman)
Tell Me You Love Me (HBO tv series)

(I actually find Girls to be one of a kind in its treatment of the (young/straight/cis/mostly white) female body and sexuality...it's not original otherwise, but that one aspect of it was revelatory for me.)
posted by sallybrown at 7:47 AM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Hannibal! (The TV show; I can't vouch for the books/movies.)

It is such an amazing and unique and well done TV show, and it really is one of a kind. It's streaming on Amazon Prime too!
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:06 AM on May 15, 2016 [5 favorites]

Pushing Daisies!!
posted by littlesq at 8:10 AM on May 15, 2016 [4 favorites]

I'll third Primer, it's what I was coming in to add.

I also agree with other posters that Mr. Robot, while I think it's great, is just a tech-themed remake of Fight Club (and I see the Pi comparison too). Fight Club, might make it onto your list though.

You have a lot of classics listed, but no Buñuel. Viridiana is my favorite, but there are a lot of good choices.
posted by snaw at 8:13 AM on May 15, 2016

Look into Raoul Ruiz. There's a surprising amount of stuff on YouTube. Specifically City of Pirates, my favorite film.

Dusan Makavejev. Everything he's done up to Sweet Movie is good and worth watching. I haven't seen anything of the films he's made since.

Fernando Arrabal. Somewhat connected to Jodorwosky, I believe. A little more extreme in some of his imager.

Pier Paolo Pasolini. Although put off seeing Salo if you have not seen the rest. It's his most controversial that gets shrouded in a lot of hyperbole about how brutal it is. I personally think it's one of his weakest but is made much more interesting after its placed in the larger context of the rest of his work.

Chantal Akerman. Requires some patience but worth the effort.

Larissa Shepitko's The Ascent. A good companion piece to her husband, Elem Klimnov's Come and See, which you should also see if you haven't.

George Kuchar. My favorite stuff are the video diaries, especially Weather Diary 1.

Um, I'm sure there's a ton more. I noticed you didnt mention Rainer Werner Fassbinder. I'd look into his stuff if you're unfamiliar, and the rest of the German New Wave while you're at it.

And you also didn't mention Godard. He's still around and making very interesting work. The most recent, Goodbye to Language, was incredible. He's only gotten bolder and more experimental with age. He moved pretty far from his 60s work by the late 70s.

For other French directors: Jacques Rivette, Out 1 recently got released on DVD/Blu-Ray and is definitely worth the cost. And Alain Resnais, Life is a Bed of Roses has been my favorite, but I need to see more.

Michael Snow.

Apitchatpong Weerasethakul. Miguel Gomes.

Chick Strand.

I should stop.
posted by AtoBtoA at 8:41 AM on May 15, 2016 [5 favorites]

You like auteur cinema is what you like. The term can be a bit offputting, but there isn't a synonym that I know of. They're movies in which the director has creative control of their project and can make the movie they want to make without running everything past committees and focus groups.

Generally, what I'd suggest is that you start going through lists like the Criterion Collection and Roger Ebert's Great Movies, and I always recommend everyone watch Marc Cousins' series Story of Film and just start working your way through the movies that catch your eye.

Some will fall flat. There will be plenty of acclaimed auteur films that don't do much for you, but there will be some that really really pay off. It's hard to predict which are which sometimes, because the thing about really great film is that it's like transporting yourself into someone else's head for a couple of hours, and some people you just don't click with.

And that's why it's hard to predict what you will and won't like, but those are good places to start.

Also, you've mentioned some of my favorite movies up there, so for specific recommendations that I don't think have been mentioned yet:

Since you like Herzog's early stuff, watch some more of those. Fata Morgana is a good, if divisive, one. I was in a showing once where like half the audience walked out, but at least a couple of us loved it like crazy.

I think you might really like Bela Tarr. Probably start with Damnation and/or Werckmeister Harmonies, and let me know if and when you're ready for Satantango. I haven't seen it yet, but I'm gearing up to.

Have you watched any Guy Maddin movies yet? Go to YouTube and look up some of his short films, including Heart of the World and Sombra Dolorosa, for a general idea of his aesthetic. If you like that, start on his full length movies (they're all good, but The Saddest Music in the World, My Winnipeg, and The Forbidden Room are probably the three most popular). He also did a miniseries called Tales from the Gimli Hospital.

I also get a feeling you'll like Lars von Trier. He's done several themed trilogies of films that I recommend watching together as series to really get the best effect. And like Guy Maddin, he also did a hospital themed miniseries earlyish in his career, called Riget, or The Kingdom. Be careful! There's an American remake that shows up in search results sometimes.

And a tip: It's the 30th anniversary of David Lynch's Blue Velvet and it's currently doing a limited run in theaters, so if you get a chance, try to get out to see it. Lynch's classic films are always amazing on the big screen. They're great on a small screen, but just mind blowing on a big one.

(Sorry for the novel, but really well done filmmaking is one of my favorite things in the world, and I get sort of vicariously excited for people who seem to be heading down that path too.)
posted by ernielundquist at 8:51 AM on May 15, 2016 [6 favorites]

Several mentions of Primer, which is great, but I think Shane Carruth's next film, Upstream Color, would be even more what you're after.
posted by isthmus at 8:56 AM on May 15, 2016 [11 favorites]

I often come into TV rec threads and recommend the criminally underwatched Hannibal, but seriously - you, in particular, should definitely watch Hannibal.

For starters, just check out this trippy kaleidoscopic sex scene.

You're probably thinking it sounds stupid, I know.
But read what critics have to say about it. The show has been compared to Twin Peaks by multiple reviewers, and for very good reasons:

By midway through Season 2, “Hannibal” felt less like a blood-soaked ordeal than like a macabre masterpiece, pure pleasure and audacity. With hints of David Cronenberg and Michael Mann, David Lynch and Stanley Kubrick, it has a formal ambition that is rare for television. It reflexively turns the ordinary into the alien and vice versa. Corpses pile onto a nightmarish totem pole; bees pour out of eye sockets; men swallow songbirds whole. Over time, patterns emerge, revealing an uneasy meditation on intimacy, the vulnerability of the human body, and the power of art—its ability to make us crave something we thought we’d find disgusting.


So much of Hannibal’s look and feel is what critics who prize linear, foursquare iterations of plot and character would term “excessive” or “pretentious” or, God forbid, “arty.” [...] In fact, there are moments when it seems to be channeling German expressionist dream films like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Nosferatu and The Hands of Orlac or The Last Laugh, or Surrealist features such as Jean Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast and Orpheus and Luis Bunuel’s L’Age D’Or and The Exterminating Angel, and the dream sequence that Salvador Dalí created for Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound, and the animated psychotic break that Saul Bass cooked up for Hitchcock in Vertigo. Everything is exaggerated, distorted, reframed so that it feels at once figurative and real.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:03 AM on May 15, 2016 [5 favorites]

The top of my list in this category is the Swedish director Roy Andersson.

Watch the films in his "Living" trilogy:
A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence
You, the Living
Songs from the Second Floor (my all-time favorite film)
posted by perhapses at 9:39 AM on May 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

The Leftovers, maybe? Some people really hate it, but a lot of other people really love it (myself included).

Les Revenants/The Returned -- French version only, not the U.S. remake or the other recent series with a similar premise.
posted by Pryde at 10:24 AM on May 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

Punch Drunk Love
posted by jillithd at 10:42 AM on May 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

Sans Soleil, a semi-fictionalized collection of home footage assembled into a weird, surreal essay on the nature of memory.
posted by Rinku at 10:46 AM on May 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

posted by maggiemaggie at 11:14 AM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

This is in no way an art or auteur film, but Clifford is truly bizarre (and one of the funniest movies ever).
posted by sallybrown at 11:27 AM on May 15, 2016

I love The Leftovers mentioned above.

Also, Borgen. A Danish political series that is intelligent and binge worthy.
posted by futz at 12:37 PM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

It's easier to suggest directors, and thus, indirectly, themes. People above have mentioned: Godard, Fassbinder, Roy Andersson, Pasolini, Herzog. Fellini, have you watched? From your list I would think you're knowledgeable about film so apologies if this is obvious, but you could do worse than browse your way through lists of European and Japanese filmmakers by country. Just to start with.

An American film that's quite odd is Buffalo 66 tho apparently Gallo wasn't acting, he really is like that. On that note, I was reminded of the plain oddness of New Zealand film by an article in the Guardian about Sam Neill yesterday. The comments have a lot of suggestions for interesting films. Peter Jackson's Braindead and Bad Taste; and his Heavenly Creatures, which is unlike anything else I've seen, and funnily enough pretty insightful about the inner world of an adolescent girl. You wouldn't think Jackson would have got to where he is, from where he's been. I started watching another of the suggestions, The Hunter (2011 - there are lots of films called The Hunter, this one is set in NZ) yesterday. I had to stop, it got too tense. Not scary, but the context is so different from usual I found it a bit overpowering - will finish it this evening. Sam Neill also starred in Dean Spanley, another film not like anything else. Jane Campion is a New Zealander as well of course.

Some personal favorites. Rashomon; Twilight Samurai(do not even bother with the IMDB plot summary, it will give you the wrong idea); An Actor's Revenge (styled to an extent on Kabuki Theatre, worth reading about for the suggestion of shenanegans with the casting.)
A Touch of Zen (whole passages of Fighting Tiger Flying Dragon are a really beautiful, subtle homage to this film.) The Prodigal Son - harsh sensibility and rough humour, beautiful visuals, excellent wing chun and directed by Sammo Hung. It's an interesting piece to compare with An Actors Revenge above.
Ooh, The Beat That My Heart Skipped - young man tries to retain the promise of his youth. Exiles - going against the tide, two first-generation young French people return to Algeria. Mid-August Lunch - a man finds himself looking after his mother and three other elderly ladies over the holidays. Play the drinking game with this one.
As far as Roy Andersson is concerned, Songs From the Second Floor is, uh, unsettling. You the Living much less so, but my family complained so hard when I watched it. God, what else? Favorite Herzog, Nosferatu. Also that memoir where he's talking about Klaus Kinski. Favorite Pasolini, Pigsty. Favorite Fellini, La Strada (some people find it hackneyed, just a warning.) Then, 8 1/2. Then, Satyricon, oh my goodness with a glimpse of Donyale Luna.
Oh dear lord, Almodavar. Talk to Her. Bad Education. There's just so much. It's a lot to explore and recs will always be a bit random. Sorry for the wall of text. I think a person could find it very gratifying to devise a method that would let them explore non-standard film systematically.
posted by glasseyes at 2:33 PM on May 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

I nominate What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, Peter Sellers' Being There and Dr Strangelove and, of course, Breaking Bad. Major WTFs that blossomed into love forever.
posted by maggieb at 2:36 PM on May 15, 2016

The Prisoner (the 1967 original, not the remake). Definitely one of a kind, remake notwithstanding. Some episodes have aged less well than others but on the whole it's crazy and amazing (or weird and tedious, depending on the viewer). Kind of astounding that it actually got made and was huge hit on its original run, a lot like the phenomenon of Twin Peaks, though very different in content.
posted by rodlymight at 4:18 PM on May 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

Also, Andrei Tartakovsy's Stalker and Solaris fit the bill, if you haven't seen them already.
posted by rodlymight at 4:46 PM on May 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

Pier Paolo Pasolini is often mentioned in connection with his more provocative works, but his unvarnished Christian film The Gospel According to St. Matthew won him approval from the Vatican's List of Films. (I personally approve of the Vatican's List of Films, and the 95% or so that I've seen are mostly fascinating and profound. So I could recommend using their list as a reference.)

Andrei Tarkovsky, Ingmar Bergman, and Akira Kurosawa are my old cinema studies seminar icons; they all made excellent films, often B&W/subtitles/deliberate-pacing, but also with odd plot twists and unconventional ideas. Tarkovsky's 'Solaris' was rather loosely described by some as the Soviet version of '2001', but that's another discussion. 'Stalker' is a slow moving art-film with a cult following, but they're all good if you're not in a big hurry. 'The Seventh Seal' is quintessential Bergman. 'The Seven Samurai' is Kurosawa's big hit, but my personal favourite is the under-rated psychological fantasy essay Dreams.

'Lisztomania' was directed by Ken Russell, who made other interesting films: 'The Music Lovers', 'The Devils', 'The Boy Friend', etc...

Mentioned above, 'Holy Motors' and 'Being John Malkovitch' stand out for outlandish plots.

John Boorman is an interesting director, and in my opinion Zardoz is a classic film, despite all of the frequent skepticism and derision that it attracts. There's lots to discuss.
posted by ovvl at 5:58 PM on May 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

Dogtooth is pretty widely praised as well as fairly idiosyncratic. In terms of following the films of a certain writer or director, I'll throw out Charlie Kaufman.
posted by mmascolino at 6:05 PM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Synecdoche, New York is the ne plus ultra of Charlie Kaufman films, imo.
posted by Bron at 6:18 PM on May 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

The Quiet Earth (1985)
Proof (1991)
posted by therealshell at 6:22 PM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Pulp Fiction

is obviously not like the others here but was unique in being a show about nothing.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:02 PM on May 15, 2016

The Celebration
Breaking the Waves
Caro Diario
Heavenly Creatures
Anything by Kusturica

(Love this thread!)
posted by Dragonness at 8:53 PM on May 15, 2016

TV shows:

1. Bodies by the BBC
2. The Kingdom by Lars von Trier
posted by Dragonness at 8:57 PM on May 15, 2016

Adding votes for for The Fall, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and the Pushing Daisies series. Pushing Daisies pretends it is a procedural detective show but it is much much more and incredibly beautiful and unique.

Also Spring Breakers by Harmony Korine is incredible. It had a super polarizing effect on audiences, and I absolutely loved it. When I saw it in theaters my friends and I and the people in the row behind us spent the whole time freaking out. After I was like "That was amazing" and the people in the row behind me were like "what a load of garbage." Either way we both freaked out. I have never seen anything like it, in terms of story, cinematography, and overall filmmaking. It exists in its own universe.
posted by sweetjane at 10:35 PM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

The Magician (2005 Australian film); hard to find but totally worth it.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:45 PM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

L'Hypothèse du tableau volé It's a pair of guys talking conspiracy theories about a series of paintings as they saunter through tableaux vivants re-enacting the scenes in those paintings. Predates, but has some similarities to Greenaway's documentary Rembrandt's J'accuse?
posted by juv3nal at 11:18 PM on May 15, 2016

Oh heck, while on the topic of Ruiz, the rest of his ouvre is probably worth checking out. Genealogies of a Crime is an interesting psychological thriller. Mysteries of Lisbon is a lavishly shot miniseries/4.5 hour long film (released in both formats I believe) kind of Dickens/Dumas-ian pastiche.
posted by juv3nal at 11:31 PM on May 15, 2016

It could be that I just don't know enough about film, but I have never ever seen anything like Tampopo.
posted by joshuaconner at 11:34 PM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Popped in to say you'll love anything by

Guy Maddin
Lars Von Trier (even if you disagree or are annoyed with Von Trier, his movies are always worth watching).
Michael Haneke
Peter Greenaway
Krzysztof Kieslowski
posted by Dressed to Kill at 5:43 AM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Goodness yes, The Fall (the movie).
posted by Dolley at 6:21 AM on May 16, 2016

"INK" and "Tulpan".
posted by pushing paper and bottoming chairs at 9:57 AM on May 16, 2016

Repo Man (the one made in the 80s with Harry Dean Stanton in it).
posted by pushing paper and bottoming chairs at 12:21 PM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Here are three scattershot recommendations that I have watched again and again:

Spirit of the Beehive - This is like a fever dream. In the time of the Spanish Civil War, a little girl is obsessed with Frankenstein.
Stalker - Russian film by Tarkovsky. Ambiguous and minimalist sci-fi with a Stalker leading people through The Zone, a post-apocalyptic, reality-bending wasteland.
35 Shots of Rum - Unique character study by Claire Denis. A French train driver and his relationship with his daughter. Inspired by Ozu.
posted by Kafkaesque at 12:26 PM on May 16, 2016

2nding The Singing Detective, but you want the British TV series and not the American movie remake.
posted by QuakerMel at 12:44 PM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

See if you can find anything by Sergei Parajanov.

This question has made me think about how come I've seen some interesting films, and one of the answers (apart from art college) is Channel 4, who used to have themed seasons of film you might not otherwise come across.

*much regret for times past*

Btw, have you seen any Derek Jarman? 5 Essential Films, BFI. Celebrating Jarman, The Guardian. Sebastiane, which is like really clunky and mannered but worth a look. Trivia: for added realism, the script was taken to a classics scholar, who translated the script's erotic language into common Latin. Which is how come they translated 'motherfucker' as 'yaa, Oedipus.'

All written down, looks like I've a thing for queer film. So have a look at Cocteau while you're at it. La Belle et le Bete, Sang d'un Poet, the Orpheus films.

Two more random favourites, both French language. The Hairdresser's Husband, laugh-out-loud funny and very sad (Twelve-year-old Antoine falls profoundly in love with a voluptuous but suicidal hairdresser, a formative experience he never forgets; Beau Travail d. Claire Denis, imo a vanishingly rare example of the female gaze in cinema. Claire Denis' Beau travail, alongside Bruno Dumont's L'Humanité, is a French film I wouldn't suggest to those who get easily bored in a movie theater. But if one is willing to forget the conventions of narrative cinema and accept the sometimes documentarian, sometimes corporeally poetic way Beau travail approaches it's subject, this should be a true treat for both the eyes and the mind.
posted by glasseyes at 3:56 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

I just saw "The Lobster" and it is unlike anything I've ever seen before
posted by raw sugar at 12:07 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
posted by Crystalinne at 3:13 PM on May 17, 2016

Other things you're unlikely to see anything like:

Sir Henry at Rawlinson End

(If you need a trigger warning of any kind, that's probably not for you.)

Inside Victor Lewis Smith

Dean Spanley - A surprisingly moving story about canine reincarnation, starring Peter O'Toole and Sam Neill.
posted by Grangousier at 5:08 PM on May 17, 2016

Oh, OK, I forgot you asked for movies too. I'm enthusiastically seconding The Quiet Earth, Also The Last Wave, Siesta , and Closet Land.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 7:45 AM on May 22, 2016

Most of the ones that came immediately to mind have already been mentioned, but no one has yet mentioned the british TV show Utopia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utopia_(UK_TV_series)) which is one of my favorites. And since you listed Twin Peaks, Videodrome, Metropolis and Hertzog and Kubrik I can pretty much guarantee you will love both the subject matter/plot and the beautiful cinematography.
posted by Infracanophile at 5:47 PM on June 14, 2016

Lord Love A Duck
Four Friends

From Herzog: The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser
Lina Wertmueller: Swept Away by an Unusual Destiny in the Blue Sea of August; Seven Beauties
Juzo Itami: Tampopo, A Taxing Woman
posted by bonefish at 8:19 PM on June 14, 2016

Unique, amazing dramedies..
My life as a Dog
[Great thread!]
posted by peacay at 12:35 AM on June 15, 2016

"Clean, Shaven" (1993) starring Peter Greene as a schizophrenic man is very, very odd and unlike anything else.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 7:47 AM on June 15, 2016

Maria Bamford's new show Lady Dynamite.
posted by saladin at 10:19 AM on June 15, 2016

Werckmeister Harmonies by Bela Tarr stunned me with its impressive (and impressionistic), gorgeous black and white imagery.

A Tale of Two Sisters is a horror movie that manages to have no dialogue at all (or at least none that I remember). It tells its story almost exclusively through its images and does so to great effect.

Valhalla Rising by Nicolas Winding Refn. A movie that manages to tell its story without much dialogue, has beautiful cinematography and is rather violent. I also very much like Refns other movies and recommend them - beware of some drastic and graphic violence, though.

Michael Haneke's films. They are very physical in a way and at times gut churning. They always had a great impact on me and feel like nothing else. I have avoided "Funny Games" so far since I really fear it is too jarring.

And so many of the above to second!
posted by Glow Bucket at 2:19 PM on June 15, 2016

A series probably unfamiliar to American viewers would be Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes. Both are BBC tv dramas with a bit of a science fiction twist. They involve a modern detective being sent back to the 70's(Life on Mars) or the 80's(Ashes to Ashes). The drama involves them trying to solve crimes in the new time period using their modern knowledge but also the uncertainty if they are time travelers or delusional or just dreaming in a coma.

The period music, fashion, and methods are thoroughly entertaining. Don't watch the US remake of Life on Mars it wasn't well done.
posted by ShakeyJake at 3:34 PM on June 15, 2016

Sound of Noise

Midnight Special

Nthing the recommendations for Snowpiercer, Upstream Color, and Mr. Robot.
posted by esoterrica at 3:57 PM on June 15, 2016

Good news if you haven't discovered Powell & Pressburger you have got quite a few films that would be a great fit for what you might want.

My personal favourite is A Matter of Life and Death, great juxtaposition of black and white with colour, thoughtful, magical, romantic, excellent.

The Red Shoes is not on of my favourites but is championed by Scorsese for its use of colour.

Peeping Tom is a forerunner of many later films concerned with the audience's complicity in onscreen violence, it torpedoed Powell's career.

Black Narcissus
and others may also be worth a look.
posted by biffa at 1:09 AM on June 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Certainly not for everyone but one of the more singular works of abstract film I have ever seen was José Antonio Sistiaga's Ere erera baleibu icik subua aruaren a hand-painted experimental silent film.

Possibly further testing the endurance of viewers but no less memorable for me was Ulrike Ottinger's Taiga, an 8 hour+ largely narrative free documentary on life in Mongolia.
posted by Ashwagandha at 5:53 PM on June 16, 2016

I feel like Takashi Miike might have something to offer you - for example, Visitor Q, Ichi the Killer or The Happiness of the Katakuris.
posted by knapah at 4:38 PM on June 17, 2016

Bojack Horseman
posted by Room 641-A at 9:18 PM on June 17, 2016

Seconding Almodóvar. Women on the Verge... is my first and still favorite, but all his films, particularly the early, lower-budget films up to Women..., have, to me, a very distinctive and engaging sensibility. Plus, you get to see actors such as Antonio Banderas, Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Gael Garcia Bernal and the always-awesome Carmen Maura in some of their best (and, in some cases, earliest )work. If you speak Spanish, getting the dialogue in the original is best, but a lot of the enjoyment is just the camera and the actor.
posted by the sobsister at 4:57 PM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

It is my sworn duty to come to AskMe to recommend films of Jacques Tati at least once a year. Playtime, his masterpiece, is unique for formalistic reasons: hardly any plot (beyond, as has been noted, "straight lines become curves"), hardly any dialogue, no closeups, and a huge set that is as much a star as any actor. Tati put a lot of trust in his audiences; the jokes are understated and you have to be a careful observer* or you'll miss them (and yet there is no shortage of slapstick.) There's so much to see that it gets better with repeated viewings.

*Tati even inserted a few lookalikes to his well-known Monsieur Hulot character to trip you up.
posted by hydrophonic at 7:18 PM on June 20, 2016

Jim Jarmusch: Down By Law, Dead Man
related TV: Fishing with John
Killer of Sheep
Russian Ark
posted by hydrophonic at 7:35 PM on June 20, 2016

Kings - NBC took a swing at doing a modern fantasy re-telling of the Bible story of Saul versus David. It was like nothing I'd ever seen on TV before, maybe not as well-executed as it could have been, but Lord did it have promise. Available on Amazon Video.
posted by magstheaxe at 2:12 PM on June 30, 2016

The Return
News From Home
Movern Caller
Seven Beauties
King Kelly
Chuck and Buck
posted by xammerboy at 12:34 PM on July 4, 2016

I can't believe no one has mentioned Todd Solondz. He's so underrated.

Do you like the darkest blackest (yeah - think darker....daaaarker.....) comedy?
Do you love outsiders and underdogs?
Do you like feeling uncomfortable in a theatre?
Do you like walking out of a theatre and then spending more time talking about the movie than you did watching it?
Do you enjoy the feeling of full-body wincing from awkward? Because his films will make you wince.
Do you have a good sense of humor?
Do you believe humanity is essentially absurd but also good?

I love movies that register around 50% rotten on Rotten Tomatoes because you either love or hate the filmmaker. So: Von Trier and Solondz are always good bets there.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 12:04 PM on July 5, 2016

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