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Nihilistic Cinema

by Jason K.

Created 03/25/13

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Nihilism - no meaning or purpose to life. No morals. Awesome Cinema. I wanted this list to include films with little to no happiness or bright spots. Every character is either immoral or is at least in the shadows. A good example would be Detour (1945) or pretty much any other noir for that matter. Please recommend any films that may apply that I've skipped over.

33 comments

  • By mdeapo
    May 10, 2013
    03:40 PM

    Why haven't you seen Salo yet?
    Reply
    • By Jason K.
      May 11, 2013
      11:48 AM

      idk watching people eating feces sounds...unpleasant. Also I didn't really like the only Pasolini film I've seen Teorema that much. But I will definitely watch it eventually.
  • By Brock Pace
    May 11, 2013
    02:52 AM

    You should put Jubilee on the list. It's very similar to A Clockwork Orange, and is another dystopian future movie without morals.
    Reply
    • By Eric Edelin
      May 13, 2013
      06:24 PM

      Definitely, "Jubilee"
  • By Chet E.
    May 12, 2013
    09:38 AM

    Great list - be ready to follow each of these with a comedy. I would add THE FRIEND'S OF EDDIE COYLE to this grim line up.
    Reply
  • By Robotocles
    May 14, 2013
    07:34 PM

    MAN BITES DOG
    Reply
  • By Brock Pace
    May 20, 2013
    09:48 AM

    Is "Virgin Spring" really nihilistic? The whole purpose of the story was to emphasize redemption. In the end when (spoiler) the water spurts out of the hole behind her head, that was supposed to symbolize baptism or a cleansing of his sins. If anything I'd say that's quite the opposite of having no purpose. But thanks again for a great list and including my recommendation in there. I actually haven't seen "Jubilee" yet, despite the fact that it sits in my collection. I only watched the trailer and read the synopsis and thought that it seemed nihilistic and reminded me of "A Clockwork Orange".
    Reply
  • By Anthony Stevens
    May 22, 2013
    02:23 PM

    Amoral or immoral characters tend to be the most interesting. You may want to include Sword of Doom in this as well. Great samurai flick and not just because Toshiro Mifune happens to show in it around the middle.
    Reply
    • By David M.
      May 26, 2013
      12:33 AM

      Yes, Sword of Doom would be a perfect addition to this list.
  • By EDWARD RODRIGUEZ
    July 09, 2013
    03:14 PM

    Great list Amanda!
    Reply
  • By Kris Carrillo
    July 22, 2013
    02:31 AM

    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was very nihilistic.
    Reply
  • By TeeWhy Li
    August 26, 2013
    11:54 PM

    Decent list...You shouldn't of excluded breathless though, the very basis of that movie is the critique of nihilism in french modern society.
    Reply
  • By Adam Piercy
    October 01, 2013
    02:58 PM

    I found Dazed and Confused to be a rather bleak film.
    Reply
  • By Andrew_Boone
    November 14, 2013
    01:22 AM

    "Europa" by Von Trier.
    Reply
  • By Peter---
    January 05, 2014
    08:34 PM

    Wow, great list! -- -- Check out some of mine if you find the time.
    Reply
  • By Peter---
    January 11, 2014
    10:16 AM

    Jason K. I've got a list Your Favorite Criterion Edition, which is a compilation of members favorite criterion edition. Feel free to participate.
    Reply
  • By Peter---
    February 10, 2014
    10:31 PM

    Kurosawa's "Dodes'ka-den" and "The Lower Depths" are a couple of nice ones. The ending of the later is nihilism to the core.
    Reply
  • By wray
    August 12, 2014
    09:10 PM

    I fully believe Au hasard Balthazar should be on this list. Every single character in that film is disgusting and awful.
    Reply
  • By hendrick
    June 15, 2015
    10:51 AM

    Ran
    Reply
  • By Quinn
    June 22, 2015
    12:43 AM

    I'd recommend The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant. All six characters have baggage, and the viewer gets to see a lot of depressing stuff, to put it lightly.
    Reply
  • By Jake W.
    October 18, 2015
    11:09 PM

    A Clockwork Orange has to be one of the top titles that really should be in the collection- but the 2012 blu ray book release is still quite fantastic.
    Reply
  • By 2plus2
    March 21, 2017
    04:49 PM

    I would add: Le Samouraï by Jean-Pierre Melville Thief by Michael Mann Belle de jour by Luis Buñuel La haine by Mathieu Kassovitz Stranger Than Paradise by Jim Jarmusch The Vanishing by George Sluizer
    Reply
  • By LyleG
    April 06, 2017
    02:10 AM

    La haine (1995) - All the characters live in a rioting slum, one of them spends the whole movie fantasizing about killing a cop all the while they have nothing but disregard for rules, authority or other people's property. Repo Man (1984) - A punk joins a car repossession agency who break into cars, destroy personal property and have no qualms about doing anything for a quick buck. Eating Raoul (1982) - A married couple kill swingers and rob their bodies all the while selling them to their hispanic cohort who intern sells the corpses for dog meat. Gleefully amoral comedy. Videodrome (1983) - A sleazy broadcaster chooses to show snuff tapes on TV in order to branch out his network only to find that the signal literally corrupts the viewer's mind.
    Reply