Valentine’s Day: fifty shades greyer, darker and freer

With Valentine’s Day almost around the corner and with Fifty Shades Darker about to hit the theatres, I decided to make an alternative list of films for all of us who don’t celebrate this annual “holiday” that is, let’s face it, the embodiment of everything that is wrong with contemporary consumerist society.

Before you start jumping to conclusions – no, I don’t have anything against a holiday that celebrates love. But I do have everything against a holiday that makes corporations earn billions by selling meaningless greeting cards, chocolates and flowers, that makes disastrous films such as Fifty Shades of Grey break records and that makes all single people feel like they are somehow failing at life.

If you’re here for films such as Nicolas Sparks’s clichéd romantic dramas, young adult love stories such as The Spectacular Now or Paper Towns, British tear-jerkers such as Me Before Youultimate crying out loud classics such as Titanic or feminist (but not really) films about “female empowerment” such as Trainwreck, this list probably won’t be for you. But if you’re up for something different, real, at times depressing and edgy… then there’s no doubt that you’ll find something perfect for February 14th below.

And for all of you who would like to explore cinematic world of unusual, messed up and/or not meant to be romantic relationships even further, there’s an extended Letterboxd list that I made just for the occasion.

The classics

  1. Brief Encounter (David Lean, 1945)
  2. Amour (Michael Haneke, 2012)
  3. City Lights (Charles Chaplin, 1931)
  4. Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
  5. Scenes from a Marriage (Ingmar Bergman, 1973)
  6. Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942)
  7. L’eclisse (Michelangelo Antonioni)
  8. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1974)
  9. Wings of Desire (Wim Wenders, 1987)
  10. Beauty and the Beast (Jean Cocteau, 1946)
  11. Last Year at Marienbad (Alain Resnais, 1961)
  12. The Shop Around the Corner (Ernst Lubitsch, 1940)
  13. Love in the Afternoon (Eric Rohmer, 1972)
  14. Chungking Express (Wong Kar-Wai, 1994)
  15. Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight (Richard Linklater, 1995/04/13)
  16. Open Hearts (Susanne Bier, 2002)
  17. Contempt (Jean-Luc Godard, 1963)
  18. Loves of a Blonde (Miloš Forman, 1965)
  19. Manhattan (Woody Allen, 1979)
  20. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)
  21. A Matter of Life and Death (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1946)
  22. It Happened One Night (Frank Capra, 1934)
  23. The Graduate (Mike Nichols, 1967)
  24. Design for Living (Ernst Lubitsch, 1933)
  25. The Philadelphia Story (George Cukor, 1940)

Let’s get weird

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  1. Belle de jour (Luis Buñuel, 1967)
  2. That Obscure Object of Desire (Luis Buñuel, 1977)
  3. Blue Velvet (David Lynch, 1986)
  4. Teorema (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1968)
  5. Woman in the Dunes (Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1964)
  6. Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors (Sang-soo Hong, 2000)
  7. The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (Peter Greenaway, 1989)
  8. Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick, 1999)
  9. The Dreamers (Bernardo Bertolucci, 2003)
  10. Last Tango in Paris (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1972)
  11. Wild at Heart (David Lynch, 1990)
  12. Maškarada (Boštjan Hladnik, 1971)

Only for the bravest

  1. The Piano Teacher (Michael Haneke, 2001)
  2. In the Realm of the Senses (Nagisa Oshima, 1976) – one of the most controversial films in the history of cinema; don’t say I didn’t warn you!
  3. Nymphomaniac (Lars von Trier, 2013)

Not happily ever afters

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  1. In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-Wai, 2000)
  2. Pierrot le fou (Jean-Luc Godard, 1965)
  3. Jules and Jim (François Truffaut, 1962)
  4. Love Affair or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator (Dušan Makavejev, 1967)
  5. Chocolat (Claire Denis, 1988)
  6. Le bonheur (Agnes Varda, 1965)
  7. Deep End (Jerzy Skolimowski, 1970)
  8. Amour fou (Jessica Hausner, 2014)
  9. Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977)
  10. A Short Film About Love (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1988)

Outlaw love

  1. Breathless (Jean-Luc Godard, 1960)
  2. Badlands (Terrence Malick, 1973)
  3. Bonnie and Clyde (Arthur Penn, 1967)

LGBTQ

  1. Blue is the Warmest Color (Abdellatif Kechiche, 2013)
  2. Handmaiden (Chan-wook Park, 2016)
  3. Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015)
  4. Weekend (Andrew Haigh, 2011)
  5. The Duke of Burgundy (Peter Strickland, 2014)
  6. Maurice (James Ivory, 1987)
  7. Love is Strange (Ira Sachs, 2014)
  8. Happy Together (Wong Kar-Wai, 1997)
  9. Stranger by the Lake (Alain Guiraudie, 2013)
  10. Show Me Love (Lukas Moodysson, 1998)

Anti-Valentine’s 

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  1. 45 Years (Andrew Haigh, 2015)
  2. The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2015)
  3. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Mike Nichols, 1966)
  4. Breaking the Waves (Lars von Trier, 1996)
  5. Shame (Steve McQueen, 2011)
  6. Appropriate Behavior (Desiree Akhavan, 2014)

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