Andy Hart AKA Fandango Groover has done it again, created another great Lamb Blogathon. This time he challenges us to bring back the mixtape: compile a collection of six movies that fit together, they are not expected to be definitive personal lists, they are just small expressions of creativity in linking the movies. Pick five movies within a chosen theme that compliment each other and one wild card that stands out as different but still maintains the theme.
"These children, they're not really bad most of them, just products of rotten neighbourhoods and bad family situations." - Sixteen by No DoubtI enjoyed making A Tiny Flame to Cup One’s Hand Around and Protect From the Wind so much that I couldn't stop thinking about new ways to share groups of films with people who are in need of my education and so several more mixtapes were recorded to my long play VHS tapes. First up is Home Sweet Home, a movie mixtape title that recalls one of my favourite music mixtapes that I ever made and an early blogging attempt.
The phrase Home Sweet Home conjures up images of family dinners, cross-stitched sofa covers and a cat to sit on your feet whilst you watch TV but I can't say I've ever cared much for movies about warm, loving parents, hot dinners, family holidays and other such movie cliche. Perhaps because I had never experienced it in real life, when I think of families in cinema I think of the damage that they inflict upon each other without even trying and sometimes when they do.
In keeping with the previous theme of making a mixtape to educate or impress another human being I picked six films that demonstrate my cinematic taste, my "wide" knowledge of world cinema and my cynical outlook on life and family. If you were to watch one of these a day for a week and still want to hang out with me come Sunday then I think we're gonna be good friends.
Festen (1998) Dir. Thomas Vinterberg
A nice easy Dogme '95 movie about buggering your young son to start things off. Without making light of the scenario Vinterberg demonstrates the conflict within a group of adult siblings desperate for parental approval. Material that Arrested Development would mine frequently to great effect.
L'Enfant d'en Haut (2009) Dir. Ursula Meier
Either of Ursula Meier's acclaimed films could have found a home on this mixtape, but it is the more recent Sister that I eventually landed on due to the honest reality presented as opposed to the slightly surreal nature of Home. The familial relationship here whilst bleak also offers real hope that "modern family structures" can provide warmth and support for their young children.
The War Zone (1999) Dir. Tim Roth
I wouldn't be a true cinephile or mixtape impresario if I didn't include something obscure and in desperate need of being seen by more people. Tim Roth's The War Zone is exactly that movie in this instance. It's a film with a scene that made Ray Winstone cry during production and holds a mirror up to a Broken Britain that isn't getting fixed any time soon.
Dogtooth (2010) Dir. Giorgos Lanthimos
Considering some of the dark material included in this mixtape the unusual family situation presented in Dogtooth becomes a remarkably light watch for the most part. This choice allows you to ponder the bliss of not knowing that you are suffering abuse at the hands of your parents whilst thinking that you live in paradise.
Tillsammans (2000) Dir. Lukas Moodysson
I debated on the positioning of this one on the tape, whether to end with something slightly lighter or not. Tillsammans presents a Swedish comic alternative to the traditional family unit, a young boy is moved in to a hippy commune with his mother and all that that entails. Quirky yet serious, a social reevalutation with interesting characters.
There Will Be Blood (2007) Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson
My wild card is my choice to end the mixtape with. It doesn't fit with the whole in that it isn't solely about families but it does feature a relationship that is worth highlighting and any excuse to get somebody experiencing this masterpiece is good enough for me. There Will Be Blood is many things, including a not very pleasant portrait of Daniel Plainview, father. It had to be the last track, how do you follow this film other than a cup of coffee with your new friend who made you this mixtape?
What do you think? I'm bound to have left out some great films on similar subjects, what would you have included? Leave some comments here or on twitter @bbbgtoby with #moviemixtape. Did you make a mixtape I haven't seen yet? Leave a link. If you want to join in head over to Fandango Groovers for the full instructions and for more movie mixtapes check out the complete database here (after 22nd June.)