When Neil LaBute isn’t making films, he’s seeing them. The director of the just-released The Wicker Man (Warner Brothers), a remake of the British cult classic, starring Nicholas Cage, Ellen Burstyn, and Leelee Sobieski—including In The Company of Men, Your Friends & Neighbors, and The Shape of Things—LaBute's work is known for its biting view of the war between the sexes, where nothing is ever quite what it seems. Judging from this list, LaBute’s taste in movies is just as idiosyncratic—a bit off the beaten track but well worth the time and effort to hunt them down.

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1. Eric Rohmer’s Moral Tales, a six film box that sets the standard for intelligent French cinema. There’s even a video ‘afterword’ by me (to keep you awake at night!) Criterion Collection.

2. I Am Cuba by Mikhail Kalatozov, shot in Cuba by a Russian filmmaker who makes the most of his freedom to film in this turbulent, beautiful country. Image Ent.

3. Even Dwarves Started Small by the endlessly fascinating filmmaker Werner Herzog. This brilliant allegory about imprisonment and rebellion is played by (yes) a cast of little people. Released by Anchor Bay Ent.

4. The boxed set edition of Errol Morris’s classics, Gates
of Heaven, The Thin Blue Line, and Vernon, Florida. Nobody does weird like Mr. Morris. IFC Films.

5. There’s nothing like a five film set of Ingmar Bergman films including Persona, Hour of the Wolf, Shame, The Passion of Anna and The Serpent’s Egg to collectively take your breath away.

6. Piero Schivazappa’s The Frightened Woman—a great guilty pleasure. One of the most fabulously over-designed films of the 1960’s. Like James Bond on acid, a battle royale between the sexes. First Run Features.

7. The Sanguinaires by Larent Cantet. A short feature that stays with you long after you see it together. As mysterious as it is simple, stark, and brief. Winstar Video.

8. Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Katzelmacher, a simple tale of the slow alienation of an outsider, played by the director himself. Gorgeous and brutal, a perfect double feature with In a Year of 13 Moons. Wellspring Video.

9. Benny’s Video by the masterful Austrian director, Michael Haneke. A bone-chilling look at a young man’s first murder.

10. Sergio Corbucci’s The Great Silence. One of the great Spaghetti Western filmmakers of the 1960’s, this film features a nasty turn by one Klaus Kinski. And the ending is a real knockout. Fantoma Films.

 

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