The Hourglass Sanatorium (Jerzy Makisymiuk, dir.;1973, Polish, 02:04) Surrealism fuels the visual fever dream, when a young man wanders a sanatorium seeking his father. A masterpiece of dislocation.
The Kid Who Would Be King (Joe Cornish, dir.; 2019, UK, 02:00) Regular kid Alex somehow finds Excalibur, putting the 20th century 12-year-old directly in Morgana’s crosshairs.
The Book of The Dead (Kihachiro Kawamoto, dir.; 2006. Japan, 01:10) Exquisite stop-action animation presents the space between the earthly and spiritual realms, as a young noblewoman translates the Amida Sutra only to spy Buddha shining over Mt. Futakami.
Memories of Murder (Bong Joon-ho, dir.; 2003, Korea, 02:12) Director gets interested in unsolved serial murders, makes film about investigating said murders, leading to said murders being solved.
Black Orpheus (Marcel Camus, dir.; 1959, Brazil, 01:47) Young lovers dance the bossa nova, trying to outrun death and jealousy though Rio’s Carnaval streets.
The Cell (Tarsem Singh, dir.; 2000, US, 01:49) Jenny from the Block takes a mind-trip with Vince Vaughn in this visual stunner of a debut.
Cloud Atlas (Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, dirs.; 2012, US, 02:52) Six stories, pasts, futures, and moments meld in an imperfect beast of a fascinating film.
The Fabulous Baron Munchausen (Karel Zeman, dir.; 1964) The Baron Prášil’s over-the-top fantastic adventures in space and under the sea are brought to life with live action, stop-animation, wit, and whimsy.
Waking Life (Richard Linklater, dir.; 2001, US, 01:41) Is life really but a dream? Or a bunch of bull…
The Apple (Menahem Golan, dir.; 1980, Canada, 01:32) Canadian singers Alphie and Bibi hope for the best when they enter Worldvision Song Fest in this wacky sci-fi rock’n’roll extravaganza, with music by George Clinton.
Star Trek lV: The Voyage Home (Leonard Nimoy, dir.; 1986, US, 01:59) The Enterprise crew goes green rogue, steals a starship, and time-travels to 80s Earth to save the whales. Featuring Oconomowoc, WI’s own Jane Wiedlin as Trillya.
The Fountain (Darren Aronofsky, dir.; 2006, US, 01:36) Hugh Jackman lives through reincarnations as a conquistador, cancer scientist, and guy in a magic space bubble in this meditation on life beginnings and endings.
The Color of Pomegranates (Sergei Parajanov, dire.; 1969, Armenia, 01:13) Eye-popping graphics underscore this avante-garde depiction of poet Sayat-Nova (aka King of Song) and his muses.
Until the End of the World (Wim Wenders, dir.; 02:38, director’s cut) A far-out road movie with a fantastic soundtrack and beautiful visuals.
A Wrinkle in Time (Ava DuVernay, dir.; 2018, US, 02:00) Meg and brother Charles Wallace take a leap via tesseract travel to rescue dad with help from astral travelers Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which.
Safety Not Guaranteed (Colin Trevorrow, dir.; 2012, US, 01:26) Aubrey Plaza and Mark Duplass go time-tripping via the classifieds. “This is not a joke….Must bring your own weapons. I have only done this once before.”
Crystal Fairy and the Magic Cactus (Sebastian Silva, dir.; 2013, 01:40) Annoying hipster seeker invites self-assured, free-spirit on a psychedelic San Pedro cactus quest for true, less-douchey self-revelations. Gabby Hoffman, Michael Cera.
Teen Witch (Dorian Walker, dir.; 1989, US, 01:34) High-school nerd Louise discovers that turning 16 will release her powers – which she uses to become popular. Duh.
And a whole lotta Alices in Wonderlands, from 1933 (with Cary Grant and W.C. Fields), 1972 (Dudley Moore and Peter Sellers), Disney’s 1951, and 1988’s Svankmejer.