One of my friends said that cinema is at its most powerful when it disturbs, terrifies and frightens you. Provocative cinema is the most divisive form of cinematic art and often teeters on the edges of being pretentious or daring, experimental art reflective of the darkest sides of the human nature. I, for one, believe that provocateurs can be extremely powerful and affecting and their cinema stretches out and questions the limitations of the medium with unflinching boldness and honesty. Violence in cinema has taken different forms and while filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino makes graphic use of it to entertain his audience, there is a whole other section of provocateurs who explore the emotional, psychological and philosophical facets of violence through their cinema. This article attempts to dissect the work of such provocateurs and other filmmakers whose fascination with emotionally harrowing and brutal subjects put them in a league of their own. With everything said now, here is a list of famous directors who make the most disturbing movies:
10. Cristian Mungiu
No, Cristian Mungiu is not a provocateur and neither has violence been a major aspect in his films. But Mungiu’s films are emotionally draining experiences that disturb you with its truth like a sharp-edged scalpel penetrating on to you. Mungiu’s films are characterised by astute focus on his characters and well-observed, tight, calculated camera placements that pulls you right into his films.Having made his debut back in 2002 with the tragicomedy ‘Occident’, Mungiu’s greatest success would only come 5 years later with the Palme d’Or winning ‘4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days’ that depicts the disturbing tale of a young girl who struggles to arrange an illegal abortion for her friend in set in Communist Romania in 1987. His 2012 drama chronicles the lives of two young women who grew up in the same orphanage. The film touches on the themes of exorcism, female friendship, lesbianism and is a brutal gaze at the grim realities of a society amidst flailing emotions in the darkest times.
9. David Fincher
This man needs no introduction. A generation of cinephiles grew up, enthralled by the mad, ingenuity of ‘Fight Club’, the raw edginess of ‘Se7en’ and the deft, clinical approach that culminated in the magnum opus of ‘Zodiac’. With his Hitchcockian genius and mastery of building tension, David Fincher carved his own niche in the industry with films that depict the cruel side in human beings. Fincher’s characters aren’t the most likeable ones and it is their constant trouble in understanding the world around them that makes for such fascinating stories in his films. Fincher’s overly clinical approach often ends up distancing his characters from the viewers but his ability to disturb you even with the most minimal amount of graphic violence could hardly ever be matched. With his last film ‘Gone Girl’, Fincher continues to push himself beyond the conventionality of mainstream cinema and explore the unhinged human minds veiled under the masks of civilisation.