Sometimes I wish I could live in a cabin in the middle of nowhere of a Scandinavian country during the autumn reading books by a fire, accompanied by dogs and drinking coffee. But since I don’t have this, I have to stuck with beautiful and incredible movies that somehow makes me feel like I’m in these beautiful, wet and rustic places. Because of that, I’ve decided to make a list of films that I could call “rustic movies”, that are about rustic places, rustic culture or simply rustic imagery. Here they are:
Babette’s Feast (1987) by Gabriel Axel
At first sight, Babette’s Feast seems to be a movie about food. However, Gabriel Axel’s film is about tradition. The story involves a group of sisters who devote their lives to pass the traditions of a local religion that their father created on a small community of Denmark. This tradition brings a foreigner woman from France to their home, where she spends several years with the sisters learning their language, culture, and traditions. When the French woman ends up winning the lottery, she decides to make a feast for the sisters who took so good care of her. This feast, however, will have great significance for each character from the village.
Everlasting Moments (2008) by Jan Troell
Jan Troell is a Swedish director with very similar thematics on his films: the countryside, the early 20th-century lifestyle and one’s sense of identity. In Everlasting Moments, the director studies the same tropes, but now using the image language as a means of escape. The story focuses on the real life of Maria Lawson, an immigrant from Finland who wins a camera and starts to document her life. The story is told by Maria Lawson’s daughter, who helped Jan Troell to build the script based on her memories as a child. Maria Lawson was extremely poor and suffered from her abusive and alcoholic husband while she exercised her profession in the beginning of the 20th century, and Jan Troell transmits this in a beautiful and poetic way.
McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971) by Robert Altman
Warren Beatty riding a horse under the songs of Leonard Cohen. That’s how Robert Altman’s anti-western McCabe & Mrs. Miller starts, a beautiful and striking film about a gambler who decides to open a brothel in a mining community on the country-side with the help of the prostitute Constance Miller, played by the amazing Julie Christie. The result is a stylish, gangsterish and sexy drama that will make you feel like you want to be Warren Beatty himself.
Lawless (2012) by John Hillcoat
Lawless is that kind of movie that didn’t make a lot of noise when it came out in 2012, and even though it was never a bad film, the feature seems to get better each year. With an amazing cast formed by Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Jessica Chastain, Guy Pearce, Mia Wasikowska, Dane DeHaan, and Shia LaBeouf, Lawless follows the story of three brothers who runs a bootlegging business during the prohibition in the 1920s. Things start to get tricky when a new Marshall comes to town and will do everything on his power to arrest the brotherhood, in a mixture of McCabe & Mrs. Miller with Boardwalk Empire.
The Witch (2015) by Robert Eggers
Inspired by true English folk-tales from the 1600s, The Witch is a beautiful modern film that plays within the boundaries of horror and fantastical genre, creating a twisted homage of classic fairy tales. After resenting the religion of a local village, a family moves to a new household in a forest where they find unfortunate events, from lack of harvest to the disappearance of one of the children. As the events get more serious, the psychological state from the family is tested, resulting in a surprising and violent ending.
The Others (2001) by Alejandro Amenábar
The Others is one of those brilliant films that we somehow forget it exists. Anyhow, I ended up remembering it when I was thinking about this list. Is there something more isolated, cold and dark than the house of this film? What about the cinematography, how the director builds tension and Nicole Kidman’s performance? Defiantly a 21st-century classic. Inspired by the film The Innocents (1961) by Jack Clayton, the film tells the story of a mother who lives in a huge house with her two children while her husband is fighting in the war. However, noises and visions start to indicate that they are not alone in the house.
Days of Heaven (1978) by Terrence Malick
And for last but not least, one of the most beautiful movies ever made: Days of Heaven. With an outstanding cinematography shot entirely with natural light, Terrence Malick had already shown his style on this masterpiece about two lovers who go to work on a harvest. When the employer gets interested in the woman, her boyfriend tells her to marry him so she can have a better life. She accepts the offer, hoping that he will soon die because of a heart diseases, resulting in a beautiful and touching ending.