“I’m always interested in movies that scar.” David Fincher

The Hitman’s Cookbook is provocative in the tradition of films by Chan-wook Park (Oldboy), Gaspar Noé (Irreversible), Lars von Trier (Antichrist), Michael Haneke (Funny Games), Todd Solondz (Happiness), Rolf de Heer (Bad Boy Bubby), Nicolas Winding Refn (Pusher), Steven Soderbergh (Sex Lies and Videotape), Larry Clark (Kids), Alejandro González Iñárritu (Amores perros), Quentin Tarantino (Reservoir Dogs) and Takeshi Kitano (Brother).

Obviously some of these filmmakers and their films are more risqué than others. Some of their films have been critically acclaimed. Some have not. Some of their films have been commercially successful. Some have not.


There’s no point in shocking audiences for the sake of it. However, the storylines of the above films are rarely gratuitous. Rather, these films are intended to challenge the status quo for a particular reason. Most of these filmmakers took a chance to explore violence and/or sexuality from an intelligent and cinematic perspective. Whatever the result, it’s difficult to disagree that these filmmakers were courageous. What do you think? Which provocateurs have I left off the shortlist?

5 Replies to “Provocateurs”

  1. Abel Ferrara – Bad Lieutenant
    Darren Aranofsky – Requium For A Dream
    Russ Meyer??!!

  2. I think you could also add:

    David Cronenberg (Crash, Videodrome), Greg Araki (Mysterious Skin, Kaboom), Takeshi Miike (Audition, Ichi The Killer), John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig & The Angry Inch, Shortbus), Catherine Breillat (Fat Girl), Vincent Gallo (Brown Bunny, Buffalo 66), Ruggero Deodato (Cannibal Holocaust), Abel Ferrara (Bad Lieutenant, Driller Killer), Peter Greenaway (The Cook the Thief His Wife & Her Lover), Olivier Assayas (Irma Vep, Demonlover) Harmony Korine (Gummo, Mister Lonely), Eli Roth (Hostel 1, 2), Pedro Almodóvar (Dark Habits, Live Flesh), Lucio Fulci (Don’t Torture a Duckling, Zombie Flesh Eaters) Pier Paolo Pasolini (Salo), Brian De Palma (Dressed to Kill, Body Double), John Waters (Pink Flamingos, Cecil B. DeMented), Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter, Where the Truth Lies), Rainer Werner Fassbinder (Beware of a Holy Whore) and Jim Jarmusch (Ghost Dog, The Limits of Control).

  3. Great suggestions! Some filmmakers I’d previously thought of and forgotten (Atom Egoyan, Harmony Korine, Gregg Araki) and some filmmakers I hadn’t even considered (Ruggero Deodato, Russ Meyer, John Cameron Mitchell). I now want to hit the DVD store and to order a few titles that I’ve always wanted to see but haven’t. Extra motivation!