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Ludwig (1973)

Within the opulent palaces of 19th century Bavaria, Luchino Visconti’s operatic staging exquisitely details King Ludwig II’s decadent dreams and gradual deterioration, seeking to understand the legacy of this historical empire through the strange mix of sexual insecurities, mental illnesses, and artistic obsessions which roil around in his lonely, troubled mind.

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Atonement (2007)

Whether Briony could ever find genuine redemption after irreparably destroying the lives of two lovers is the provocative question that she may never get an answer to, and in Joe Wright’s impressionistic camerawork and ever-shifting structure, we too find it eerily winding its way through Atonement’s formal puzzle of lies, truths, and alternate perspectives.

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The Wonder (2022)

It is an unexpectedly self-aware period drama that Sebastián Lelio composes in The Wonder, deconstructing its own form to examine the purpose it holds as a piece of metafiction, but it is through such profound introspection over one girl’s miraculous fast in 19th century Ireland that he paradoxically draws us even deeper into its richly designed world of believers and sceptics.

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The Black Cat (1934)

Edgar G. Ulmer savours every demented moment of conflict between Bela Lugosi’s creepy psychiatrist and Boris Karloff’s prowling Satanist in The Black Cat, painting over its uneven narrative pacing with a macabre expressionism that makes for a darkly mesmerising occult horror.

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Copenhagen Cowboy (2023)

Nicolas Winding Refn’s enigmatic odyssey through a criminal underworld of sex traffickers, drug lords, and vampires demands a patient willingness to fall under its neon-soaked trance, as Copenhagen Cowboy invites us to traverse the psychological terrain of its stoic, otherworldly protagonist through a mesmerisingly surreal quest for vengeance.

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