Guest Column: Three Movies You Need To See By Agiel’s James Taylor

Guest ColumnGuest Column

Guest Column

After Dustin Boltjes of Skeletonwitch contributed a column on must-see horror flicks, we decided to open the topic up to the members of other bands. Why? Well, in addition to music and literature, we’re huge movie buffs and feel maybe your life could benefit from a big screen broadening.

So here for you now is a new column from Agiel’s James Taylor.

There are some movies that leave an indelible impression on you, that influence your sense of style and others that challenge you to uncover their hidden meaning. I confess to being a complete movie junkie; science fiction and surrealism being my drugs of choice. Most of my favorites tend to be older films simply because of the incredible craftsmanship evident on the screen. I’m also extremely fond of the scores on many of the films that came out of the 40’s and 50’s; especially noir films. The orchestral arrangements heard on these films have had a direct influence on the keyboards heard in Agiel releases. Here are three films that I consider a must watch.

“Metropolis,” directed by Fritz Lang
Regarded as a pioneering work of science fiction, this movie was filmed in 1925 and is just plain gorgeous. The film I set in a futuristic dystopia with a strict separation between classes. Set in fictional city of Metropolis, a ruling class of industrialists maintain tight control of the toiling mass of workers. The plot follows two main protagonists as they attempt to free the working class from the control of their overlords. In the course of the film a women named Hel is resurrected as the iconic Maschinenmensch, or Machine-Human; an easily recognizable icon of this early age of science fiction.

The film that we see today is a restored edition created from the surviving pieces of the original film. I could recommend this purely for the eye candy, but it also stands on equal merit as an incredible science fiction story as well.

“La Planète Sauvage,” directed by René Laloux
This is one of the strangest and most surreal movies that I have ever had the pleasure of viewing. Produced using stop motion cutout animation in 1973, it’s the strange tale of a world in which humans are treaded as pests and pets by giant blue beings called “Traags.” The movie depicts the struggles of the humans, known as “Oms,” as they try to survive the Traags attempt to eradicate them. The direction of the film is a surrealists dream come true and at times it seems like you’re watching a 1970’s cartoon version of a Salvador Dali painting.

This is one of those movies that fall under the category of “it’s so strange you have to watch it to appreciate how strange it is.” The reason that I recommend it as a must-watch movie is because, once you let yourself become absorbed in the movie’s surrealistic world, it starts to alter the way in which you perceive your relationship with other forms of life. It starts to create a sense within you that human beings don’t have exclusive domain over conscious awareness. The film is extremely unsettling and essential viewing for anyone interested in altering their consciousness.

“La Montaña Sagrada,” directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky
This 1973 film follows a protagonist introduced as representing the Fool from the tarot as he embarks on a spiritual journey and transformation into an enlighten man aided by an alchemist who accompanies him for most of the film. The film took inspiration from a 16th century Spanish book which details a spiritual path resulting in a union with god. Distinct surrealist imagery is used to great effect as the Fool makes his way through an extensive journey; meeting many spiritual companions along the way. At the end of the film the alchemist breaks the “fourth wall” of cinema and shatters the illusion of the movies reality.

Like “La Planète Sauvage” I recommend this movie for the unsettling effect it has on the viewer’s grasp of reality. Despite its intended surrealism, I found the imagery in the movie exceptionally appropriate and able to perfectly evoke the feelings often encountered on a spiritual journey of the kind seen in this movie. The movie is completely outrageous and I loved every moment of its unrestrained absurdity.

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