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(Credit: Tore Sætre)

Music

Father John Misty’s favourite films of all time

Josh Tillman, better known by his stage name Father John Misty, is arguably one of the biggest jokers that the world of contemporary music has seen in some time. When I went to see Tillman perform in London in 2015 as part of the I Love You, Honeybear tour, Tillman proceeded to offer a ridiculous Q&A session during the performance, batting back questions as though he were a stand-up comedian in their prime.

Clearly, Tillman’s persona had drawn a swathe of fans who were taken by his ironic stance on romantic relationships and the politics of the 21st Century, including fellow satirist Chris Morris, who was also in the crowd that night.

However, like all great comedy, Tillman’s take on his subjects is borne from the truth. He has regularly taken aims at the social conventions and paradigms that just about keep society glued together whilst simultaneously threatening to pull it apart at the seams. This is particularly evident on much of 2017’s Pure Comedy, as well as tracks like ‘Bored in the USA’ and ‘Holy Shit’ from I Love You, Honeybear.

A genuinely effortless musician, Tillman is evidently well versed in the world of culture. He has gone on record to state that his favourite film is Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York. It’s a film that toys with the conventions of art, post-modernism, psychology and the world of meta-fiction. Meta-fiction is something that Tillman himself has a deep kinship with, especially considering that, for starters, Tillman goes by the pseudonym and alter-ego Father John Misty. Then there’s also the fact that his songs are often incredibly self-referential.

Of the film, Tillman said, “It didn’t occur to me that that was a huge… that Kaufman thinks of that as like, a huge failure. Like his career never recovered from that movie when you hear him tell it. Like no one will give him money to make a movie now. And you just think like, ‘That’s like my favourite movie! Like, what the fuck? Did no one else see this movie? Did I not see the same movie as people?’ So it’s something like, if that’s my favourite movie and those are my instincts, then it stands to reason that my instincts are gonna take me to a similar place eventually, you know?”

Elsewhere Tillman has expressed a profound love for the work of British documentarian Adam Curtis. Curtis’ work explores the social impact of various sociological events, including the history of particular nations’ rise to power, the advent of mobile technology and the psychology and philosophy of Sigmund Freud. This is unsurprising given the political rants that Tillman seemingly goes off on during Pure Comedy.

Here we have compiled a list of some of Tillman’s other favourite films and directors.

Father John Misty’s favourite films of all time:

  • 8 1/2 (Federico Fellini, 1963)
  • Synecdoche, New York (Charlie Kaufman, 2008)
  • Burn After Reading (The Coen Brothers, 2008)
  • Network – (Sidney Lumet, 1976)
  • The Holy Mountain (Alejandro Jodorowsky, 1973)
  • I Heart Huckabees (David O. Russell, 2004)
  • HyperNormalisation (Adam Curtis, 2016)
  • Stardust Memories (Woody Allen, 1980)
  • The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke, 2009)
  • Magnolia (Paul Thomas Anderson, 1999)
  • Dr Strangelove (Stanley Kubrick, 1964)
  • The Game (David Fincher, 1997)

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