Noveller’s Top 5 Criterion Collection DVDs Worth Keeping

January 29, 2015 Guides + Lists

Words SARAH LIPSTATE

I recently cancelled my Netflix account. It’s not that I don’t love watching movies or TV; I just got tired of settling on whatever was available for streaming as my viewing options. I ended up watching way too much junk and wasting a lot of time. I still have HBO Go and keep up with my favorite TV series, but when it comes to movies I turn to the Criterion Collection. I love revisiting a favorite film when I’m looking for inspiration or watching it with a friend who is seeing it for the first time. Criterion has a lot of their collection available for streaming on Hulu Plus but in a world of constant buffering and unreliable Time Warner service, I always find myself snatching up my favorites on DVD every time Criterion has one of their big 50-percent off sales.

In my 8 years of bouncing from apartment to apartment in NYC, I’ve learned that keeping possessions to a well-curated minimum is a must, so here are my five Criterion Collection DVDs that are worth packing:

1. By Brakhage: An Anthology, Volume One(dir. Stan Brakhage)
I studied avant-garde filmmaking in college and watching Stan Brakhage’s work always inspires me to keep experimenting. His work reminds me to be patient and to give the creation the time it needs to become fully formed.

2. Picnic at Hanging Rock (dir. Peter Weir)
This is my favorite Valentine’s Day movie. It’s such a creepy and beautiful film, with a great soundtrack that in my opinion features the best use of pan flute in any score ever.

3. Down by Law (dir. Jim Jarmusch)
I love Jim Jarmusch’s films. I also love Tom Waits. Throw in the beautiful bayou backdrop of my home state of Louisiana and I’m sold. This movie is brilliant and hilarious and I never get tired of watching it.

4. Woman in the Dunes (dir. Hiroshi Teshigahara)
The first time I saw this film I was horribly sick with the flu. I was completely mesmerized by the story of this woman who lived in a crumbling sand dune and had to capture a man to help her with the endless task of digging up sand. I fell so hard for this film that I had to watch it again as soon as I was over my sickness to see if it was as good as I had remembered in my feverish state. I think I actually like it more each time I see it. The score by Toru Takemitsu is the perfect accompaniment to the story.

5. Persona (dir. Ingmar Bergman)
I can’t say that I fully understand Persona but I love watching it and re-watching it and picking up on new themes each time. It’s grim and beautiful and disturbing all at once.

Sarah Lipstate’s latest Noveller LP—the guitar-guided, synth-laced ‘Fantastic Planet’—is now available through Fire Records. Check out her release show tonight in Brooklyn or sample her new songs below…