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With the idealism of the Sixties in the rear view, filmmakers sought out darker and darker subject matter throughout the subsequent decade. Here's a selection of those disturbing visions courtesy of the Criterion Collection.
That's showbiz, kid.
You can search far and wide, but you'll be hard-pressed to find more vicious backbiting than there is in this bitter tale of a film crew going to seed.
A two-fer from Costa-Gavras, who had his finger on the pulse of political activism and civil unrest in the early '70s.
It's often said that the Sixties died at Altamont. Watching this film, it's pretty hard to disagree with that assessment.
A pitch-black comedy with a tangy political undertaste.
It must be said that Valerie's week of wonders includes more than a few macabre side trips.
Polanski goes about as dark as you can imagine with his grim retelling of Shakespeare's supreme tragedy.
Probably Peckinpah's most nihilistic work -- and that's saying something.
The tears are bitter indeed, as Fassbinder plumbs the depths of romantic obsession.
The late, great Peter O'Toole stars as a paranoid schizophrenic earl who believes he's the God of Love. When he's disabused of that delusion, though, he decides he's Jack the Ripper instead. Definitely a case where the cure is worse than the disease.
Don't look now, but Nicholas Roeg's darkest cinematic vision has finally assumed its rightful place in the Criterion Collection.
It's a bit of a cliché, but with friends like these...
A two-fer from Morrissey, the dark prince of depravity.
A two-fer from Schroeder. The first is a fascinating portrait of a man who was clearly off his rocker and in a position where absolutely no one could tell him so. The second is a film that declines to judge its sadists and masochists, but still ventures into some pretty dark territory.
The story of a love affair that would be doomed even without the specter of Naziism hanging over the proceedings.
An unsettling depiction of a Germany that is just as haunted by its present as it is by its past.
This one takes a bit longer to reveal its seamy underbelly, but once it does there's no turning back.
In a way, it feels like this could have been a one-film list -- and this would have been that film.
A two-fer from Oshima, who knew how to put the "sadism" in sadomasochism.
I can't believe I never thought to add this film to this list until now. Rest in Peace, Mr. Bowie. Thanks for gracing us with your presence as long as you did.
With friends like Tom Ripley, who needs enemies?
A nightmare captured on film.
Unsettling from the first wave to the last.
An apocalyptic vision of Britannia that amply illustrates why it no longer Rules as it once did.
David Cronenberg has some thoughts about his first marriage, and you are there.
Take a trip to the dark underbelly of Japanese society with master Imamura.
Nazis again. I hate those guys.