Directed by Tom SixNetherlands, United Kingdom | 2011
If you’re a passive moviegoer, there’s probably no reason to watch The Human Centipede 2. You’re likely right in assuming it will be the sickest, most unconscionable thing you’ve ever seen in your life—precisely because you don’t watch enough movies to know better. But if you’re really into movies, why not watch this one? Yeah, I know there are thousands of other Important Films that “deserve your attention”, but I promise that most of them will not challenge your expectations and notions of what constitutes a solid film the way this one will. Tom Six isn’t just a cheap, freak-show huckster. He’s a genuine artist pushing the boundaries of taste while making great-looking, thought-provoking movies.
Directed by Henri-Georges ClouzotFrance, Italy | 1953
These themes are telescoped in the film’s opening shot (a lesson in film economy, this takes all of 20 seconds), which features cockroaches, loosely twined together, being tortured wantonly by a half-naked child. An ice-cream vendor passes, distracting the child away; the child returns to the captive playthings, but a vulture has taken their place. It’s sleight-of-pan; Clouzot does this with a single shot. Cruelty, shortsightedness, opportunism—all succinctly addressed in the opening seconds. Of course, that’s what you think about afterward. For Clouzot’s purposes, it serves the moment, sets the tone. This place of vultures, he’s convincing us from the start, is not a place you want to be, and it only gets worse.