Remember all those mornings that began with you having to coax the snooze button on your alarm clock only to arrive at the 9 am meeting with a horrendous bed-head ALL because you had not been able to stop yourself from finishing that perfect thriller or the most sensuous erotica you had ever started watching. With this quarantine, for a lot of us, all those prayers have been answered. This is the perfect time to bring all your to-watch lists back from the dead and actually start striking them out. For all those who don’t have a list yet, we got the perfect film-insider to draw you one.
Film-writer and director Sonam Nair (if you loved Gippy! (2013) and The Trip, you now know whom to thank for) grew up in a small town near Kolkata reading books and watching films and so when it came to building her career, she dived into film-writing and directing and education at Ithaca University in Upstate New York helped her deep dive into the mechanics of filmmaking.
For the first day of our HG Film Club, she chose psychological thrillers for anyone who wants to feel better about this self-quarantine. Sonam is someone who breathes and lives filmmaking and she has the perfect list of films for you to immerse yourself into. Sonam talks about how most of the films on the list are placed in one location and how most of the characters don’t really move out of the house but their brilliance lies in how a lot of drama can be housed in one location. “When you see other people go through the cabin fever, you kind of start relating. So, it’s a nice time to watch these films. Most of these films are older but are very juicy,” she continues.
Years after her aunt was murdered in her home, a young woman moves back into the house with her new husband. However, he has a secret that he will do anything to protect, even if it means driving his wife insane. When she starts feeling that the house could be haunted, her feelings are brushed aside by her husband. The term ‘gaslighting’ originated from the 1938 play Gas Light and its film adaptations (both titled Gaslight). The term has been used in clinical psychological literature as well as in political commentary, philosophy, and popular culture. You can find it here.
The Shining (1980)
Stanley Kubrick’s brilliant The Shining talks about a family that heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where a sinister presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from both past and future. Netflix it here.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
“Another amazing example of how very few locations, words and even very few overt scares can be used to make the viewer feel eerie,” says Sonam. Directed by Roman Polanski, this film is about a young couple that moves into a fancy apartment surrounded by peculiar neighbours.When the timid and passive wife becomes mysteriously pregnant while the actor husband becomes successful, the safety of her foetus begins to control her life. “The viewer keeps wondering if the pregnant woman is going through whatever is happening because of the physical and hormonal changes inside her or if there’s actually something going around her,” she adds. Watch it here.
Rear Window (1954)
Alfred Hitchcock’s brilliant film follows a wheelchair-bound photographer spies on his neighbours from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder. Watch the trailer here.
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962)
“Two ageing sisters stuck together and wanting to kill each other ... literally!” Sonam chuckles. The film is about a former child star who torments her paraplegic sister in their decaying Hollywood mansion. Sonam thinks that we can relate to these films because we ourselves may feel trapped in our houses. Catch the trailer here.
All movie descriptions sourced from IMDB.
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