Ari Aster, the American filmmaker and screenwriter whose work has risen to prominence in recent years, has selected handful of his favourite films of all time.
The 33-year-old director, who solidified his creative vision with the release of 2011 short film The Strange Thing About the Johnsons, has earned critical acclaim more recently with back-to-back success with horror films Hereditary (2018) and, in 2019, Midsommar.
With what appears to be a prolific partnership in the brewing with famed independent entertainment company A24, film fans are waiting patiently to see what the next step is for Aster’s tense, slow-building feature film approach.
Now, however, as the cinematic industry remains on hold amid a strict social distancing lockdown, we are exploring some of the films that have helped shape Aster’s vision in a bid to brighten up our period of self-isolation. Aster, sitting down with Rotten Tomatoes shortly after the release of his first feature-length film, detailed the likes of Ingmar Bergman, Martin Scorsese and more as influences.
“Mike Leigh might be my favourite living filmmaker,” Aster says when introducing 1993 film Naked. “A lot has been said about his working method, you know. He spends about six months with his actors basically finding the characters and improvising and building these relationships. Then after that, he’ll go off and write a script based on the improvisations that took place over those six months. It results in some of the most vivid character work I’ve ever seen. The relationships in his films are so rich, and you just feel so much history there. That’s because the history has really been built. It really exists.”
With the likes of Roy Andersson and Federico Fellini also mentioned, see the full list of Aster’s top five, below.
Ari Aster’s 5 favourite films:
- Songs from the Second Floor – Roy Andersson, 2000.
- Fanny and Alexander – Ingmar Bergman, 1982.
- 8½ – Federico Fellini, 1963.
- Naked – Mike Leigh, 1993.
- Taxi Driver – Martin Scorsese, 1976.
“My final choice. This is really tough, Aster said before choosing Martin Scorsese masterpiece Taxi Driver. “Part of me wanted to say Dogville. Part of me wanted to say The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. And then part of me wanted to say Rosemary’s Baby. But I realised that I had to put an early Scorsese in there. I had a hard time choosing between Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, but I think it’s got to be Taxi Driver.”
He added: “I mean, from Bernard Hermann’s score to what Scorsese does with the camera with Michael Chapman. Yeah, it’s just like this sickly fever dream that captures a New York that I never got to see, but it just feels like New York to me. You know, the way that he kind of wrangled all of these very important influences that have nothing to do with one another. Like, there’s a lot of Bresson in there, but then there’s also Max Ophüls and there’s Fellini and there’s Cassavetes.
“I could put any number of Scorsese films in here. I could put Raging Bull, Goodfellas, The Age of Innocence, The King of Comedy, but right now this strikes me as like his toughest and most perfect film.”
(Via: Rotten Tomatoes)