Desert Island Films #87 – Film Jive

Desert Island Films

Zach from Film Jive has kindly submitted his Desert Island Films. Please read on for his choices and reasons, and be sure to check out his site.

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Desert Island Films is about choosing 8 films you would take if you were going to be stranded on a desert island and explaining your choices. They don’t necessarily have to be your favourites, just 8 films, no more or no less! You are also permitted to take one book and one novelty item which must be inanimate and of no use in escaping the island or allowing communication from outside.

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Desert Island Films #87 – Film Jive


Ever since encountering the Head In A Vice – Desert Island films, I’ve pondered what 8 films, if I had to choose would I ultimately bring along with me. I decided they would have to be films that together, would create a great collective experience, allowing me entrance into immerse cinematic worlds, helping me forget the bleak reality I’d be existing in. However, I’d most likely love being stranded on a desert island. I love solitude and I love new environments, therefore watching movies might be the last thing I’d want to do. With that said, here’s 8? films I’d love to take along for the swim. 

1.) “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me” (Dir. David Lynch) 


My appreciation and passion and cinema and film-making is defined by the work of David Lynch. This entire list could be composed of eight Lynch films, but that would be uninteresting for everyone else. Therefore, if I’m only granted a single Lynchian masterpiece, I’m selecting “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me”. It’s the only film that is constantly meandering within my subconscious. The experience that I have when watching “FWWM” is subliminal, it’s like listening to a great piece of music, something indescribable, cosmic occurs that infects your soul with raw power. Sheryl Lee delivers an operatic performance that is a stunningly beautiful yet deeply complex “Laura Palmer”. Lynch creates a world like no other, ripe with subtext and abstractions that intoxicate the mind and soul. 

2.) “2001: A Space Odyssey” (Dir. Stanley Kubrick)


Once in a great while, a film enters your life and grants you with an experience that is like nothing you’ve undergone before. Anxiety emerges, your perception is altered, an overpowering sense of atmosphere festers, your body temperature changes, and everything prior to that moment feels insignificant. You have entered another world and there is no escape. It’s challenged your perception of reality, of time, of space. Stanley Kubrick’s seminal masterpiece, “2001: A Space Odyssey” distills this experience with every re-watch and remains both visually and scientifically relevant today.

3.) “Paris, Texas” (Dir. Wim Wenders)


If there is a film that defines “perfection”, “Paris, Texas” from filmmaker Wim Wenders fits the bill. A truly euphoric yet heart-breaking experience, that is painfully difficult to put into words and explain precisely what makes it so special. Harry Dean Stanton’s central performance is beautifully nuanced and emotionally devastating, depicting a character that feels so genuine and so truthful, you forget that its fiction. On a personal level, ever re-watch feels like a typhoon of emotion rip through me in the best possible way. If there is one film that I am constantly recommending to others, it’s “Paris, Texas”.

4.) “Playtime” (Dir. Jacques Tati)


I’ll never forget at the age of nine, clasping a worn and sepia-colored VHS cover of Jacques Tati’s “Playtime” at my local Star-lite video. “Playtime” is the purist form of movie magic that my eyes have ever witnessed. An almost wordless, sincere comedy that’s visual splendor is just as immerse as anything else on this list, “Playtime” follows a collection of characters who wander through the austere and mechanical Paris that surrounds them. Intricately choreographed comedic set pieces along with a painstaking attention to detail, and Tati’s enigmatic and endearing portrayal as the lovable, “Monsieur Hulot”, all contribute to creating a cinematic world like no other where pure euphoric emotion is elicited at the snap of a finger. Whether it be the first viewing or the one-hundredth, the “Playtime” experience remains rich, refreshing, and forever remembered.

5.) “The Thin Blue Line” (Dir. Errol Morris)


“The Thin Blue Line” is perhaps the best true crime film ever put to screen. Errol Morris’ transgressive storytelling approach and visual presentation along with the pro-pulsing score provided by Phillip Glass, all perfectly coagulate and create a tense and engrossing experience that blurs the line between reality and fiction. Morris’ unconventional, repetitive editing approach distills a cinematic energy into the smallest of details, such as a flying milkshake. A compelling murder mystery with remarkably candid interviews, “The Thin Blue Line” re-defined the conventions of documentary film-making and is a film that I think about frequently and fondly. 

6.) “The Thing” (Dir. John Carpenter)


Taking a tip from Mr. Carpenter, I’ll keep this nice and terse. There are few films that manage to maintain the level of pure adrenaline and suspense like John Carpenter’s classic sci-fi horror film, “The Thing”. Each scene builds its suspense organically and fluidly, raising its stakes with each composition. With an incredible cast and brilliant special effects that I believe still hold up today, “The Thing” is an expertly crafted horror film that is easily the most watchable film on this list. 

7.) “I Am Cuba” (Dir. Mikhail Kalatozov)


Perhaps a perfect double bill along with Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity”, “I Am Cuba” gives the “long take” a whole new meaning. Aesthetically, one of the most accomplished and breath-taking works I’ve ever seen, director Mikhail Kalatozov presents a staggering depiction of a nation’s quandary across four emotionally devastating stories. Seamlessly blurring the line between cinema and reality, “I Am Cuba” addresses the ugly history of Cuba with remarkable visual beauty and narrative grace. Regardless of your reservations relating to the politics depicted, which is easy to look past due to its raw power and technical innovation, “I Am Cuba” is horribly under-seen and depicts the type of film-going experience I am always looking for. 

8.) “Leviathan” (Dir. Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Verena Paravel)


The most recent film to make this list, “Leviathan” is a portrait of commercial fishing in the North Atlantic. Its relentless, repetitive, and audacious nature left me feeling as though I had drown and somehow survived. The marriage of audio and visual is dream-like, where every moment and sound becomes preciously vital, and yet, it is a dream without serenity. I began drifting in and out of reality, I felt hypothermia. The ground beneath my feet was no longer safe, shifting from left and right, up and down. Nothing was secure, and nothing was sacred. Abnormality became the normality. Darkness had consumed the light. And while this sounds incredibly bleak, it wasn’t. Instead, these anxieties and fears presented themselves in the most beautiful of ways. The dark oceanic waters and the vessels within “Leviathan” will haunt my dreams for years to come. And I am forever grateful.

(I must cheat and mention several other films that are impossible not to include: “Freaks”, “Children of Men”, “Burden of Dreams”, “Stroszek”, “A Woman Under the Influence”, “Rashomon”, “Apocalypto”, “Badlands” and “Nosferatu”.)


“The Warren Commission Report: The Official Report of the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy” (Author. The United States Government) 


Perhaps the greatest true crime story of the 20th century? It’s probably time to read this.

Luxury Item:

Toothpaste. I like the “clean teeth” feeling.

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Thanks again to Zach for taking the time to join the prestigious castaway list. If you would like to submit your choices and add your name to THIS LIST, please drop me an email to –

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  1. See, when I get a list like this it makes me feel like I really should broaden my film horizons, as I haven’t heard of most of your choices. I’m sure I’m missing out, and need to improve my collection!

    Thanks again for doing this Zach, pleasure to have you onboard :)


    1. Thanks for putting this up on the blog! It’s a great honor. I’ve been meaning to do this for awhile, so it’s great to finally have this together.

      And like Thomas has been urging the comments below, you really should check out “Playtime” as well as Tati’s other films.


    1. LOL – when I was putting this list together, I honestly thought it was Thomas in disguise. I knew you’d approve of these choices (or have heard of them!). I’m here to promote unknown horror films, but these lists make me realise I’m an amateur and need educating on quality films :)


        1. Yeah, and it had some pretty awful writing. For a start, there’s no way the main character would be allowed to go back down there again. And the old police guy had a problem with her (for no reason) from the start.

          The first one is brilliant though


  2. Anyone who has “2001: A Space Odyssey” on their list(my favorite film) is a friend of mine :)

    “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me” is an interesting pick, I love Lynch, but mainly like that film for the soundtrack.

    I’ve never heard of “I Am Cuba” before, you’ve got me curious about checking it out. What you wrote about “Seamlessly blurring the line between cinema and reality” reminds me of Chilean drama No (2012) I recently watched. Great list!


    1. Hi Chris, if you are a fan of Kubrick then I think you would really enjoy “I Am Cuba”. They aren’t necessarily similar but “I Am Cuba” really does some innovative things with the camera that I’m not sure another film has attempted since. It’s just a very inspiring watch. Also, I’ve been keen to check out “No” because I like films that incorporate different formats. I’ve heard good things as well.


    1. I’m always happy to find another lover of “Fire Walk With Me”. However, I do feel like this film is slowly being re-evaluated. It was critically maligned during its initial release, which is completely baffling to me. I know many dislike because it’s tonally different from the series, but I still think it captures that world perfectly.


  3. Good list even though I am not familiar with some of the titles; someone recommended I see “Paris, Texas” but I never got around to it. I need to see “2001” one of these days. I did see “The Thing” and honestly I hated it; I thought it was boring as hell. But I see a ton of people love it, so I guess it’s just me. :)


      1. Oh, you don’t watch sports??

        The NFL (american football) plays a game a season over in London at Wembley Stadium; and we shipped over our shittiest team! lol.

        They were down like 28-0 in the first quarter! lol.


        1. I watch real sports. Like football. Not the american version ;)

          I saw Wembley was hosting a game though, funny as our presenters all pretend like they are super into it and know whats going on. Just not a game played over here really. Or anywhere in the world except USA. Thats why you’re world champions of a ridiculous sport ;)


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