The Other Side of New Year's Eve:
Pera Film's Alternative New Year's Watchlist

06 December 2023

As the New Year approaches, Pera Film presents an alternative watchlist of 10 movies, ranging from Hollywood's timeless classics to memorable examples of modern cinema.

The New Year's concept, often associated with warm family gatherings, cliché romantic comedy stories, or cheerful animated movies, also occasionally appears on the big screen as a backdrop for more profound, thought-provoking, and disturbing narratives.

In the list that tackles New Year's and Winter holiday themes from unusual perspectives and includes examples from genres ranging from horror to science fiction and crime, loves under the New Year lights languish with sorrow; in the dark corridors of science fiction, the fate of the world is reshaped; an ordinary man becomes his family's worst nightmare.

 

Carol (2015)


Renowned director Todd Haynes's adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novel 'The Price of Salt', Carol, follows a sad love story set in the 1950s in New York. Therese, a talented photographer in her early twenties, works as a sales clerk in a Manhattan store and dreams of a more fulfilling life. Carol, an older, wealthy, and attractive woman, is trapped in the comfortable yet loveless marriage routines. The interaction between them at their first meeting gradually transforms into a passionate bond.

 

Phantom Thread (2017)


Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, the film is set in post-war London in the 1950s. Reynolds Woodcock, a distinguished and obsessive fashion designer at the peak of his career, meets the young and strong-willed Alma. Unexpectedly, Alma's involvement turns Reynolds' orderly and controlled life upside down. Woodcock's perfectionism and need for control clash with Alma's independent spirit, altering their power dynamics. The film, marked by extraordinary performances by leads Daniel Day-Lewis and Vicky Krieps, also stands out with its stunning art and costume designs.

 

 

The Gold Rush (1925)


The silent film classic, starring and directed by Charlie Chaplin, is set during the Klondike Gold Rush of the 1890s. In the film, Chaplin portrays his lovable and clumsy character, The Tramp, who journeys to the freezing deserts of Alaska in search of wealth and happiness. The film masterfully blends comedy and drama, depicting the character's struggles with harsh conditions, hunger, and other gold prospectors.

 

Strange Days (1995)


In the future, during the final days of 1999, this science fiction film is set in a dystopian world, and it explores the effects of a technology that allows people to record and then experience others' real-life experiences. Lenny Nero, a former police officer, sells memories using this technology. However, when he uncovers a conspiracy involving a series of murders and corruption, he finds himself amid a dangerous criminal web. As New Year's Eve approaches and violence and chaos escalate, Lenny delves deeper into this dark world with the help of an ex-lover and a friend.

 

Edward Scissorhands (1990)


After years of tinkering with various machines and strange mechanisms and living in a castle on a high hill, the Inventor finally creates Edward but passes away before completing Edward's hands. Following his creator's death, Edward, left as an unfinished being, starts using metal scissors for his hands, living a lonely and isolated life. One day, Peg, a local saleswoman, finds him and brings him to her town. As Edward tries to find his place in Peg's colorful and ordinary suburban world, the townsfolk approach his uniqueness with admiration and suspicion.

 

The Shining (1980)


Stanley Kubrick's acclaimed adaptation of Stephen King's novel, the horror classic The Shining, tells the story of Jack Torrance, who starts working as a winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado. Jack, his wife Wendy, and son Danny, who possess psychic powers, settle in the hotel as it closes for the season. However, the hotel's past and supernatural events begin to affect Jack's mental state, turning him into a violent threat against his family. Danny's unique abilities, which are called 'the shining,' unveil the hotel's dark secrets, while Jack becomes increasingly dangerous and unstable

 

Groundhog Day (1993)


The story, set in the snow-covered town of Punxsutawney, follows the arrogant weatherman Phil Connors, who is sent to cover the traditional Groundhog Day event. In this small town, Phil strangely finds himself trapped in a time loop, reliving the same day repeatedly. He wakes up on the morning of Groundhog Day each day, and the same events repeat. Initially, Phil uses this situation for personal gain. Still, as time passes, he becomes increasingly despondent due to his predicament and dedicates this process to improving his relationships with the townspeople, primarily his producer, Rita.

 

Ma nuit chez Maud (1969)


A film by Éric Rohmer, one of the significant works of the French New Wave movement, focuses on Jean-Louis, a devout Catholic who dreams of an ideal spouse as a pure and pious woman. One day, Jean-Louis unexpectedly meets Maud, a divorced woman who is a free-thinking and free-spirited atheist. Throughout a night spent with Maud, Jean-Louis deeply contemplates his beliefs and lifestyle. The film explores Jean-Louis's relationship with Maud and his internal conflicts, enriched with profound dialogues on moral and religious topics.

 

In Bruges (2008)


The film, blending crime and dark comedy, follows two Irish hitmen exiled to the medieval city of Bruges in Belgium by their boss after a mission fails. The young and inexperienced hitman, Ray, has accidentally killed an innocent person on his last job. Following this incident, he and his experienced partner Ken are instructed to go to Bruges to await further instructions from their boss. While Ray struggles with guilt and regret, Ken explores the historic city's beauty under the Christmas lights.

 

8 femmes (2003)


This colorful and intrigue-filled musical, directed by François Ozon, follows a mysterious murder during a Christmas holiday at a remote country house. The story is set in 1950s France and begins with a wealthy man found dead in his home on a snowy winter morning. This tragic event places eight women in the house - the man's wife, two daughters, mother-in-law, sister, maid, a family friend, and sister-in-law - under suspicion. While each tries to hide their secrets and motivations, they also seek to unravel the truth behind the murder.

Turquerie

Turquerie

Having penetrated the Balkans in the fourteenth century, conquered Constantinople in the fifteenth, and reached the gates of Vienna in the sixteenth, the Ottoman Empire long struck fear into European hearts. 

Il Cavallo di Leonardo

Il Cavallo di Leonardo

In 1493, exactly 500 years ago, Leonardo da Vinci was finishing the preparations for casting the equestrian monument (4 times life size), which Ludovico il Moro, Duke of Milan commissioned in memory of his father some 12 years earlier. 

Giorgio de Chirico

Giorgio de Chirico

Giorgio de Chirico was born on July 10, 1888, in Volos, Greece, to an Italian family. His mother, Gemma Cervetto, was from a family of Genoa origin, but most likely she was born in Izmir. His father, Evaristo, was born on June 21, 1841 in the Büyükdere district of Istanbul.