1. WALTZ WITH BASHIR (2008).
An Israeli filmmaker begins to interview veterans of the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, a conflict in which the filmmaker had also served, to recapture the memories of his own term of service. The winner of the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Ari Folman’s Waltz With Bashir is an evocative, painstakingly honest look at his own experience as a soldier in the Lebanon War, eliciting feelings of poignancy and harrowing imagery while simultaneously presenting a beautifully animated picture with vivid colours and tremendous detail.
2. ANOMALISA (2015).
The monotonous, tiresome existence of a motivational speaker (David Thewlis) is rejuvenated when he meets a cheerful, albeit somewhat different, lady named Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh). From the unique, ingenious mind of Charlie Kaufman, who brought the world such mind-benders as Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, and Adaptation, comes another existentialist crisis in the form of inspirational yet downright depressing Anomalisa, a film which will beget laughter but, at the same time, have the viewer feeling awfully contemplative of his or her own life.
3. METROPIA (2009).
A Stockholm-based man named Roger (Vincent Gallo) begins to uncover a conspiracy involving the European underground train network after hearing voices in his head whenever in close proximity. Inspired by the dystopian, surrealist vision of Terry Gilliam (Brazil, Twelve Monkeys), Tarik Saleh’s Metropia is a film which blends highly stylised photo manipulation and animation to create a totalitarian nightmare of mind control and insanity.
4. PERSEPOLIS (2007).
Based on Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical novel of the same name, Persepolis traces Satrapi’s life from pre- and post-revolutionary Iran to Europe. Set against the backdrop of a politically tense, volatile Iran of the 1970s, we follow her journey from a warm-loving childhood of innocence to being a punk-listening, defiant teenager. As tensions rise and the Iran–Iraq War ensues, things begin to escalate, particularly to the detriment of her family. Directors Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud manage effortlessly to juxtapose the haunting, heavy-hearted climate at the time with artistic finesse and subtle beauty, subsequently taking home the Jury Prize at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.
5. GHOST IN THE SHELL (1995).
A cyborg federal agent, Motoko Kusanagi, and her partner attempt to hunt down an extremely powerful, albeit mysterious, hacker called The Puppet Master, whose exploits see him illegally hack into the minds of human–cyborg hybrids. Widely considered one of the greatest anime films of all time, not least for its visuals and cutting-edge CG animation, Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost In The Shell has served as inspiration for the likes of The Wachowskis’ science-fiction blockbuster The Matrix.