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Emerald Fennell’s Favorite Movies: 13 Films the ‘Saltburn’ Director Wants You to See

Emerald Fennell is sharing her love of Gothic horror movies and twisted erotic thrillers courtesy of her favorite films list.

The “Promising Young Woman” Oscar winner and “Saltburn” director revealed her top movies, ranging from “The Shining” to “Cruel Intentions” and “Jurassic Park.” As Fennell told IndieWire, all modern films inherently draw from cinematic history, with her latest dark comedy “Saltburn” directly inspired by “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” “Rebecca,” and “Atonement.”

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“Partly it’s that you can’t make a movie like this without it naturally kind of existing in that world. But the only thing that’s useful about that truly is the familiarity it gives the audience, because you can only really make something uncanny if somebody’s familiar with something,” Fennell said. “You are using those things carefully so that people think they know what they’re getting.”

Fennell previously said during IndieWire’s Filmmaker Toolkit podcast that she incorporates her own tastes into her cinematic aesthetics onscreen.

“What do I want to see, what do I like, what do I respond to? But also why shouldn’t we make films that look like this?,” the “Promising Young Woman” writer-director said. “I hope things will start to change. Not that everything will necessarily look this way, but I do think with more diverse voices telling stories you naturally will end up — it’s not just the storytelling, it’s the craft of the film, and [movies are] going to look and sound different, and that’s exciting.”

Fennell added in another IndieWire interview, “I’d been thinking a lot at the time about the way that rage and anger manifests itself, particularly in women when we don’t traditionally, in spite of what most revenge movies tell us, resort to violence. It was looking at the different ways in which women act on those feelings, if they do. During one of the scenes, a fight started between two audience members. My producer told me afterwards it was that one person was very angry about a scene, and the other person was saying, ‘Well, if you don’t like it, you don’t have to watch it,’ or ‘If you don’t like it, you can leave’ or ‘If you didn’t like it, you can sit down.’ It was quite visceral and that was quite shocking because obviously I wanted to make a film that was thought-provoking that people talk about, but I wasn’t expecting that.” 

Fennell added that her own filmmaking motivation is to “connect deeply with people, and you can only do that if you make something a bit tricky.”

See all of Fennell’s favorite “tricky” films below.

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