List Film

Apocalypse archives: Lynn Shelton

The Director of Your Sister's Sister shares her five films to save in an apocalypse

Apocalypse archives: Lynn Shelton

The Passion of Joan of Arc

Carl Dreyer, 1928
‘It’s completely exhilarating to watch how Dreyer experiments with the still nascent cinematic art form in this film. Canted camera angles, abstract imagery, and graphic lighting, combine with mesmerising performances leaping directly out of extreme close ups – especially of the stunningly shorn, naked-faced Maria Falconetti – to create one of the most viscerally affecting filmic experiences of all time.’

Dog Day Afternoon

Sidney Lumet, 1975
‘The first time I saw this film, my jaw dropped to the floor. It is unexpected yet believable at every turn, with breakthrough performances, especially from Al Pacino, John Cazale and Chris Sarandon, each of whom breathe remarkable life into their heartbreakingly desperate, utterly human characters.’

This Is Spinal Tap

Rob Reiner, 1984
‘I have probably seen this film more than any other and would (will?) happily watch it another 1000 times. It just makes me excessively happy. Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer and Michael McKean are raucously funny yet I never feel that they (or their director) knew they were in a comedy; everything is played straight as an arrow, which is why it works so damned well. This granddaddy of the now extremely familiar "mockumentary" genre, still reigns supreme among its many, many descendants.’

Hannah and Her Sisters

Woody Allen, 1986
‘I had to include a Woody Allen movie on this list because he was the one who showed me that simple, believable, conversations between human beings could form the basis of entire, engaging, feature films. Which movie of his to save from the apocalypse however? Had you caught me on a different day, I might have said Annie Hall, Manhattan, Stardust Memories, Broadway Danny Rose … But I have, of late, been completely obsessed with Hannah; the way entire scenes play out in one or two shots, with actors elegantly exiting and re-entering the frame; the way Allen juggles several, disparate points of views and storylines, without demonising nor canonising any of the characters. It’s a supremely satisfying tale, adeptly told by one of the most humanistic of filmmakers.’

Y Tu Mama Tambien

Alfonso Cuaron, 2001
‘This is a great example of how film can transport you to completely unfamiliar worlds. I have never been to Mexico and I have never been a teenage boy, but, remarkably, seeing this film made me feel as though I had had both of these experiences. I also love how this movie is totally sexy, and yet contains some of the worst sex ever portrayed on film. Brilliant.’

Lynn Shelton’s Your Sister’s Sister is on selected release from Fri 29 Jun.

The Passion of Jeanne d Arc - Carl Dreyer - 1928

Dog Day Afternoon Trailer

This Is Spinal Tap - Trailer - HQ

HANNAH AND HER SISTERS - Trailer ( 1986 )

Y Tu Mama Tambien Trailer

Your Sister's Sister - Official Trailer (HD)

Your Sister's Sister

  • 4 stars
  • 2011
  • USA
  • 90 min
  • Directed by: Lynn Shelton
  • Cast: Emily Blunt, Mark Duplass, Rosemarie DeWitt, Tom Birbiglia

Iris (Blunt) invites her best friend Jack (Duplass) to stay with her and her sister Hannah (DeWitt) in a remote cabin on an island off America’s Northwest coast. There’s joy to be found in the naturalistic performances, funny and believable (and largely improvised) dialogue, and smart observations about modern…

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