Our first #Top10 guest is Chris Elena, a filmmaker from Sydney who is still trying his best to shoot on 16mm film. He has written for An Online Universe and Stash Everything and is currently working on his next short film whilst his most recent, The Limited just made its festival debut at Queensland Film Festival in July. He admits that he is obsessed with the topics of gender and sexuality in film, having studied feminism, film and creative writing at the University of Wollongong and the most common threads you'll see in his film taste and in the list below are: Feminism, sexuality, queer and gender representation.
Here is Chris' #Top10.....
1. The Master (2012)
2. 35 Shots of Rum (2008)
3. Magnolia (1999)
4. There Will Be Blood (2007)
5. The Assassination of Jesse James by The Coward Robert Ford (2007)
6. Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005)
7. Boogie Nights (1997)
My favourite era of music, fashion and movies is the 1970's. My obsession with that decade, I never understood until I saw Boogie Nights for the first time. The ultimate metaphor of an era that has a fun, inviting and judgement free representation through music and movies that was essentially an attempt to avoid how corrupt and broken the world had become. A collection of mistreated, misunderstood and abandoned people who find love and validation in one another and that all collaborate in the adult film industry. The movie that made me assess how destructive sexuality can be in film and how representation is everything and the fallacy of fantasy through representation, whether it be in sex on screen or by a moment in time. After Boogie Nights I questioned my understanding of what is neglected or ignored when one fantasizes or praises.
8. In The Cut (2003)
The first movie I ever saw that reversed tired gender driven caricatures. The contemplative and lonely protagonist driven by curiosity and obsession and the femme fatale. Meg Ryan is the protagonist and Mark Ruffalo is the femme fatale. A movie about female sexuality with every sex scene establishing character progression and development. A movie that questions why female sexuality and domestic violence is ignored in film, how women are beaten and murdered in films to advance plot whereas In The Cut looks at why misogyny in film is often represented as sexy instead of toxic. This is the movie that got me to acknowledge the relationship between sex and violence in a very honest way with the emphasis on the way films over sensationalise and sexualize female suffering and often biased, dishonest representation of female sexuality in film and the insistence on ignoring the violence men are capable of toward women through insecurity and entitlement.
9. Do The Right Thing (1989)
Racism from the perspective of an angry and flabbergasted voice that is still unsure why racism is ingrained in us and the double standards in place of a social infrastructure that still supports it. Do The Right Thing taught me the importance of challenging social injustice in film through style and a sense of community and keeping that community together despite being forced to take sides through fear and distrust. From its opening scene till its very final moments, movies don't get much more perceptive, opinionated and challenging.
10. Shortbus (2006)
The greatest example of sex and intimacy I’ve ever seen on film. The emphasis on female sexuality, the focus on sexuality that’s often feared and ignored in most mainstream cinema and how characters can be defined by sex scenes which in an opening sequence reveals through sex the grief, confusion, sadness and suffering they're all experiencing in a world that will never be the same after 9/11. The film that says above all else, we have each other, even if we're unsure of what happened and if we'll ever be happy again. It's what taught me about unbiased sexuality on screen and how sex can often define, save and bring people together in an honest and open way.