Here’s another one to really kill your spirits. Lukas Moodysson’s Lilya 4-Ever is about a girl who is abandoned by her mother in a run-down Estonian neighborhood. Hey, this is the second movie on this list about kids with deadbeat parents. Stop being deadbeats, parents! It’s goddamn depressing!
After spending most of the film scraping by, without much hope, our young heroine, played by Oksana Akinshina, finally sees some light at the end of the tunnel in the guise of a young man who claims to want to take her away to a better life in Sweden. But he’s a liar, and instead, he takes her away to a much worse life in which he sells her into the brutally sadistic sex slave trade. I don’t want to think about this movie anymore. Geez, and we still have two more to go.
This list wouldn’t be complete without a Holocaust film. Were you expecting Schindler’s List? Maybe, if you are a total p*ssy. Even if it had been made in the last nine years, that silly movie barely made me tear up. The Grey Zone, on the other hand, a superbly casted Tim Blake Nelson film, had me balling like a damn baby. This isn’t just some glossed over beautiful photography set to somber John Williams music. It’s actually about the choices made at the individual level by concentration camp prisoners and SS officers alike. This is riveting stuff.
A group of Jewish prisoners are given special treatment at Birkenau because of their willingness to help the Nazis lead their fellow prisoners to their deaths. When they discover a young girl who survived one of the notorious mass-gassings, they are faced with a moral quandary. Is saving one life worth risking all of their own? The Grey Zone does not simply present to us the horrors of the Holocaust onscreen, but it goes even deeper by getting us involved and forcing self-reflection. What would we honestly do when faced with such seemingly unimaginable choices? And all the while, the ghastly sound of the furnaces humming in the background is a constant reminder of the prisoners’ ultimate fate.
Rape and violent revenge make a perfect recipe for a depressing film. Enter Irreversible. This film, with each scene played in reverse chronological order, contains two of the most disturbing scenes I have ever witnessed. Here we have Monica Bellucci’s character being assaulted in what has to be the most brutal rape scene ever captured on film. It is even more difficult to watch than the seemingly never-ending scene from I Spit On Your Grave, because of the unflinching realism.
The content is made that much more depressing due to the film’s format, which insists that this horrific chain of events could never have possibly been avoided. Shall we say it was, tah-dah, irreversible? And to top it all off, Bellucci’s character has a tender moment at the end of the film (the chronological beginning), which makes the whole thing all the more gut-wrenching, given our knowledge of what her character will face later in the evening.