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The Exterminating Angel
D: Luis Buñuel (1962) 95m


It may be hard to find a copy in any language of Buñuel's original take on the faults of the bourgeoisie, but well worth the effort for the dedicated. Guests at a lavish dinner party mysteriously find themselves compelled to stay in the room. After a few days social graces well and truly crumble as they start living like animals.





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The Birds
D: Alfred Hitchcock (1963) 119m


Although basically a horror/suspense film, Hitchcock's The Birds has just enough of the unexplained to qualify as a fantasy of sorts. A small town in the San Francisco Bay area is subjected to several days of mysteriously violent bird attacks. The master of suspense is in fine form, with the film beginning relatively innocuously before building to a particularly fateful children's party.





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Brazil
D: Terry Gilliam (1985) 142m


Surrealistic science fantasy with healthy doses of biting social satire and dark humour. Director Gilliam pushed for the more Orwellian title of 1984½ for this tale of a bleak society dominated by a typically incompetent and brutally authoritarian bureaucracy. A records clerk meets the woman of his dreams through a fatal mix-up.





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Akira Kurosawa's Dreams
D: Akira Kurosawa (1990) 119m


Legendary Japanese director teams with the likes of Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Martin Scorsese to produce eight magical vignettes chronicling various aspects of Kurosawa's take on the world. Subjects examined include the ravages of war, the dangers of nuclear power and the need to get in touch with nature.





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Edward Scissorhands
D: Tim Burton (1990) 105m


With Tim Burton at the helm, Johnny Depp's first big-screen success and one of Vincent Price's last roles on offer it is little wonder that this film is surreal feast of fantasy. An inventor dies before making a pair of hands for his creation, Edward Scissorhands. The local Avon lady gets him out of the castle and into surreal-suburbia.





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The City Of Lost Children
D: Caro & Jeunet (1995) 112m


A masterpiece of surrealism from Belgian directors Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. A city in perpetual twilight is the setting for this tale of an evil scientist who kidnaps children and steals their dreams. Bizarre characters are commonplace throughout this visual smorgasbord, which is sure to delight fans of the offbeat.





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Big Fish
D: Tim Burton (2003) 125m


While dying of cancer Edward Bloom relates tall tales of his adventurous life to his son Will (Billy Crudup). Believing that his father's penchant for the fantastic has always kept them apart, Will impatiently tries to piece things together. Ewan McGregor stars as the younger Edward in a series of mesmerising flashbacks through a transcendent version of the South. A Tim Burton masterpiece.





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Pan's Labyrinth
D: Guillermo del Toro (2006) 119m


When her sickly mother marries one of Franco's sadistic officers a fairy introduces Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) to a faun who tells her she is a princess. To escape her nightmare she is given three treacherous tasks to complete before she can see her father, the king, again. Del Toro revisits fascist Spain after Devil's Backbone and Hellboy brought him significant international recognition.


Arthouse Fantasy
Fantasy that is frequently quirky and always offbeat
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