For this edition of film club, we reached out to none other than 2021 Skater of the Year and all-round legend, Mr Mark Suciu.
Now you might think Mark’s more of a book guy, considering he has a degree in literature and runs an account entitled @nightsofreading. But truth is Mark’s an arts guy. Books, films, music, culture. Anything and everything that helps broaden the mind.
Quite the educated man, who if he wasn’t so bloody good on a skateboard, would probably be some kind of profound writer, teacher or philosopher by now.
Anyway, since Halloween is around the corner, Mark decided to bless us with a theme of sorts. Not all out horror. Just some moments spent with ghosts.
“This list is less geared toward Halloween than it is to Samhain—the Gaelic festival that’s celebrated October 31 to November 1, when the border is thinnest between this world and the spirit world. Without jump scares and the other elements of Halloween horror, the movies I chose are points on a map of that boundary, some just on our side of it, some on the line itself, and others beyond it. They offer a chance to sit down and spend time with ghosts.”
1) Donnie Darko, Richard Kelly, 2001
The (cult) classic. I first watched this movie when I was about 12. For me, all the movies on this list trace back to it—it introduced a feeling that I looked for and found in these others.
2) Wristcutters: A Love Story, Goran Dukić, 2006
Late teenage years I got a little bleak and found this movie. Its exploration of purgatory has a metaphorical ring of exploring life as a lonely adolescent. An inventive, imaginative dark comedy with a meaningful core.
3) Last Year at Marienbad, Alain Resnais, 1961
It’s hard to iron out the order of events in this story. Its chronology is so tangled and confusing that everything seems to be happening in a world without time. Pair that with the eerie organ music, stock-still characters and closed-circuit setting, and what you have feels like another view of purgatory. Sacha Pitoëff is incredible in this.
4) Carnival of Souls, Herk Harvey, 1962
More creepy organ music, the year after Marienbad. Candace Hilligoss is a strong female lead in this classically structured ghost story about a woman haunted by patriarchal violence. “Let’s have no more nights,” she requests. Her wish is granted, but she loses more than just nights.
5) Yella, Christian Petzold, 2007
I picked this one before I knew it was a retelling of Carnival of Souls. It’s the German neoliberal version starring the great Nina Hoss. Petzold is one of my all-time favorite directors.
6) Atlantics, Mati Diop, 2019
Donnie Darko, Carnival and Yella are all first-person takes of a similar story. Atlantics does it in the third person: we aren’t in the mind of the character undergoing the otherworldly experience, but we witness it from afar via another, unaffected character. A love story within a story about the supernatural rebellion of a group of construction workers.
7) A Ghost Story, David Lowery, 2017
An unexpectedly gut-wrenching movie, deeply interested in time and mortality. I’m not a fan of Casey Affleck but his character is killed off a few scenes in. Gorgeous cinematography with a hauntingly beautiful score. Leaving the theater, I felt like a ghost in my own life, by which I mean I viscerally felt my eventual absence emanating from the objects around me.