“What do you wanna watch?”
“I don’t know, you pick”
Does this sound familiar? Don’t let the paradox of choice kill the vibe on your date night at home, Rom-coms, tearjerkers, or maybe something a little more indecent. Whatever your taste let Ohlala set the mood for your late night rendezvous. Just dim the lights and settle in.. you weren’t planning on making it through the whole film were you?
500 Days of Summer
“Nobody loves Ringo Starr!”
“That’s what I love about him”
The perfect anti-romance film. The minefield that is defining relationships is covered wonderfully in 500 Days of Summer, which shows us that love isn’t always the answer, because let’s face it: sometimes we just don’t want it.
In the Mood For Love (2000)
“Feelings can creep up just like that. I thought I was in control”
Soulful. Delicate. Restrained. This is romance at it’s most essential. Forbidden. The relationship that unfurls on screen against the backdrop of 1960’s Hong Kong is the perfect metaphor for love’s rebelliousness in the face of a repressive society.
The Notebook (2004)
“We fell in love, despite our differences, and something rare and beautiful was created”
The Notebook. Of course. Gooey and undeniably over the top, and spurring its own Urban Dictionary entry. The charm is undeniable and will render you an emotional mess, if that’s what you’re after.
Kill Bill: Vol I (2003)
“Here comes The Bride”
If hell hath no fury like a woman scorned then Uma Thurman is Lucifer incarnate. A botched wedding day assassination sparks two hours of delicious carnage. Four if you include Volume II.
“The extreme always seems to make an impression”
Winona Ryder and Christian Slater make suicide popular in this blackest of black comedy about high school social hierarchies and the danger of following trends. Bleak. Acerbic. Wonderful. Fuck me with a chainsaw.
Harold and Maude (1971)
“A lot of people enjoy being dead. But they are not dead really. They’re just backing away from life”
Harold and Maude provide the perfect foils to one another in this eccentric romantic comedy. Navigating taboo relationships, the meaning of life, and proving once and for all that age really is just a number, Harold and Maude is one of a kind.
American Beauty (1999)
“I feel like I’ve been in a coma for the past twenty years, and I’m just now waking up”
The tragically uplifting story of Lester Burnham. Awakened by an infatuation with his daughter’s friend (Mena Suvari), Lester shirks his banal, suburban existence and seeks to take back control of his life, reminding us that what we want is always within reach.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
“Are we like those bored couples you feel sorry for in restaurants? Are we the dining dead?”
Two characters locked in endless cyclical tale of Sisyphean proportions. A film that instructs us in the perils of forming relationships over scorched earth, but ultimately that the time you share is fleeting, so make the most of it – before you’d rather forget.
Blue Valentine (2010)
“You think you can love somebody just by looking at them?”
Blue Valentine. Where to begin. If you thought The Notebook was too sentimental, recalibrate yourself with this complete horror show. I suppose at the very least, no matter how bad things get, it can’t be worse than Dean and Cindy’s unstoppable downward spiral. Watch it once, and never again.
Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013)
“Nothing happens by chance”
A cataclysmically sensual, sexual and impactful cinematographic experience. The film burns at both ends, brilliant and incandescent, matching the intensity of the relationship realised on screen.
Breaking the Waves (1966)
“Sometimes I don’t even have to tell him about it. Jan and me, we have a spiritual contact”
Lars Von Trier’s Breaking the Waves is an unmistakable study of devotion, love and spirituality. Hovering between disturbing and beautiful, Breaking the Waves demonstrates how close fidelity and sexual deviance run parallel. A truly great exercise in the power of cognitive dissonance.
“Do you know William Faulkner?”
“No, who’s he? Have you slept with him?”
French films. Ohlala. Nothing screams taste like French New Wave cinema. Beautifully shot and wonderfully acted, this film will leave you À bout de soufflé. Just don’t go shooting policemen.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
“We’ll spend the weekend. I mean, I’ll show you around the city, and we’ll eat well. We’ll drink good wine. We’ll make love.”
“Yeah, who exactly is going to make love?”
“Hopefully, the three of us.”
Woody Allen’s aptitude and experience as a perceptive and penetrative examiner of the human heart is wildly apparent in this portrait of finding something you were never sure you were looking for.
Pierrot Le Fou (1965)
“What about you? Do you know what you are?”
“I am a sexual being”
Dissatisfied and stagnant, Ferdinand leaves his wife and bourgeois life behind and embarks on an affair cum crime spree with his ex-lover Marianne. Colorful, formless and meandering. If you liked Breathless you’ll love Godard’s final pre-radical offering.
The Dreamers (2003)
“The first time I saw a movie at the cinématèque française I thought, only the French… only the French would house a cinema inside a palace”
Three hedonistic film-lovers withdraw into the fantasy world of their Paris apartment. Only the outside world threatens to burst the bubble of excess that has formed around the threesome.
Belle De Jour (1967)
“I have an idea. Would you like to be called ‘Belle De Jour’”?
“Belle De Jour?”
Another repressed bourgeois tale of awakened sexuality. What is it with French cinema’s obsession with separating love and sex? Do they know something we don’t?
“I can see it that you think.. you think I’m a fucking idiot, because I want a fucking relationship”
Presenting romance and intimacy as faithfully as it occurs in real life is a difficult task, but Andrew Haigh’s Weekend captures it beautifully. Endearingly candid and never, ever facile.Weekend is an honest portrayal of how connections can only be forged in the right time and space.
“So my little Amélie, you don’t have bones of glass. If you let this chance pass, eventually, your heart will become as dry and brittle as my skeleton, so go get him for pete’s sake!”
If the previous French offerings were a little heavy, Amélie provides some much needed whimsy to our list. Through the acts of helping others, our protagonist and titular character finds herself in love. Gorgeous, peculiar and undeniably French. Amélie is a joy.
Lost in Translation (2001)
“Let’s never come here again because it would never be as much fun”
Two kindred spirits finding each other against a backdrop of loneliness and dislocation has been a bit of a theme in this list, so sorry about that.
“I had a mad impulse to throw you down on the lunar surface and commit interstellar perversion”
Woody Allen. A living tribute to malapropos delivers a love letter to NYC, a constant cycle between comedy and romance bundled with his trademark neuroticism makes Manhattan this author’s favorite film on the list.