If you liked (or not) Babylon, here are 11 equally electric behind

Dusk Boulevard (1950), by Billy Wilder

babylon is a film about the rise and fall of a certain era in Hollywood. Dusk Boulevard is its perfect black counterpart, playing on the decadence and oblivion of a former star who has become paranoid, embittered and diabolical. Billy Wilder signs here one of his greatest films and he only has great films. A perfect very dark read of post-war Hollywood that has many connections to babylonin particular its main actress Gloria Swanson, quoted many times by the character played by Brad Pitt, also representing the forgotten actress with the end of the mute.

Gatsby the magnificent (1974), by Jack Clayton

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babylon is also a superb portrait of the Roaring Twenties when unreason, partying and excess were at their peak, just before the fall. To continue in this continuous festive atmosphere which brings us closer to the edge of the abyss, we are of course thinking of gatsby as well as all the writings of Francis Scott Fitzgerald. The parties are endless, grandiloquent and excessive, Redford is tumultuous, secretive and ravaged. A great film about the end of an era. Special mention to the version by Baz Luhrmann released in 2013 whose party scenes seem to have inspired Chazelle quite a bit for the start of his film. But he made the excess even crazier.

Airman (2004), by Martin Scorsese

Among the slightly crazy and megalomaniac producers of the time of babylon, Howard Hughes is clearly one of the most outstanding. The very good biopic signed Scorsese with DiCaprio in the title role (little link with the gatsby de Luhrmann) is a good gateway to understanding all the innovation, the money and the success represented by the beginnings of the cinema industry and also the links with a lot of other technical innovations of the time such as the aviation for Hughes. Another story of greatness until the decline which completes the subject of babylon.

The Last Madness (1976), by Mel Brooks

After the huge successes of The Sheriff is in jail and Frankenstein Junior, Mel Brooks clearly became the king of parody in the cinema of the 1970s. Just after, in 1976, he decided to tackle silent films filled with stunts and special effects, those of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton or Harold Lloyd. It’s another success that comes very close to the beginning of Babylon. The story is simple and meta at the same time: a producer seeks to edit a silent film in the 1970s. Well, exactly what Mel Brooks is doing with this film. Vitriol criticism of the film world while declaring an unconditional love for films of the 1920s and 1920s, The Last Madness is an oft-forgotten gem of American comedy. Another gateway to understanding the strength of cinema without synchronized lyrics, the very essence of babylon.

Mulholland Drive (2001), by David Lynch

There is also a whole mystical and disturbing dimension in babylon where Damien Chazelle flirts with the cinema of David Lynch, especially in this crazy and limitless scene with Tobey Maguire (another link with the gatsby of Luhrmann). Lynch’s film, which comes closest to this labyrinthine and dangerous subject around Los Angeles and Hollywood, is of course Mulholland Drive where everything is simulacrum, mystery and rubber ball. Lost Highway could also have been a good accompanist just like, more recently, Under the Silver Lake by David Robert Mitchell, when everything becomes a plot and the truth is right between fiction and reality. This part of babylon is extremely intoxicating.

The Party (1968), by Blake Edwards

Yes, this film is problematic for its main character, who is very cartoonish and shocking. But it remains one of the best films of the duo Peter Sellers and Blake Edwards with all this madness, this nonsense constant and this party that never stops. Also the first battle scene filmed where Peter Sellers is an incredibly lousy actor. In truth, there are obvious similarities with the way of filming, the derision and the humor of Babylon. And then, well, there’s an elephant that shows up in the middle of a party. It couldn’t be more obvious.

Dalton Trumbo (2015), by Jay Roach

One of the great counterparts of babylon is also to dissect the different eclectic and electric facets of the conception of a film before the Second World War. Among these facets, there is that of the screenwriter who writes in the middle of filming, completely inhabited, with Brad Pitt who prompts him with the lines, completely drunk. Among the films that deal with the writing of a film and the trajectory of an author, we find the excellent and vertiginous Barton Fink of the Coen brothers in 1991 where writing is brought to its climax. But, more recently and based on a true story, we have this biopic of Dalton Trumbo, committed screenwriter and quasi-punk of 1950s Hollywood. Brilliantly interpreted by Bryan Cranston, after Malcolm and breaking Bad, Dalton Trumbo is truly a film with strong images and a well-told story. Dealing in particular with the witch hunt of McCarthyism and the aberrations of the cinema world, this film is a perfect step aside after seeing babylon. Hollywood is still just as incandescent, cowardly and violent. It’s jazz, it’s punk, it’s Trumbo.

Ed Wood (1994), by Tim Burton

On the other side of the slightly crazy characters of the cinema, we find Ed Wood and this love letter signed Tim Burton. Ed Wood is reputed to be bad, incompetent and completely unsuited to the cinema world. However, he never let go and released several films riddled with errors, crappy special effects and a huge amount of archive footage. We will give him the title of worst director in the history of cinema when he almost invented a genre in itself. This devouring passion, this limitless vision approaches the follies of babylon where everything is experimentation and arrangement. Ed Wood is a sublime film where Johnny Depp bursts the screen, a real declaration of passion by Tim Burton for bizarre independent cinema, the lugubrious and crazy genre. The cinema, what.

Panic on Florida Beach (1993), by Joe Dante

A sort of second reading of the genre film universe à la Ed Wood, Panic on Florida Beach is one of the most important films of its director Joe Dante (Gremlins, The Commuters). In this film, John Goodman arrives in a small town to offer a revolutionary attraction: an attack by giant ants in the cinema with multiple interventions, noises, costumes, movements, the dynamic 4D Imax cinema of the time. Returning to the cinema as a strong attraction is really the point of babylon. We find in Panic on Florida Beach this crazy side, between spectacle and scam, this passion for entertainment at all costs and the fascination of the image. This film also has a parodic side, as in all Joe Dante’s films, which is close to the unbridled humor of babylon. Another era, another cinema but the same vision. To (re) see absolutely.

Being The Ricardos (2021), by Aaron Sorkin

After Dalton Trumbo, we stay in the bosses of the script with Aaron Sorkin, the genius behind The West Wing, The Social Network, The Strategist or men of honor. In his latest film, the screenwriter-director once again tackles a true story, that of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, the stars of the television series I Love Lucy in the 1950s. Through this excellently paced biopic with succulent dialogues, Sorkin’s specialty, we see a lot of film sets, production stories, directing, when fiction mixes with reality. What we see in babylon on the first film sets here takes on a whole new dimension. A rather minor film in its realization but made extremely endearing thanks to the interpretation of Nicole Kidman, always impeccable alongside an explosive Javier Bardem. A very nice surprise. And Sorkin’s words, really…

The Player (1992) by Robert Altman

Another film to see the underside of Hollywood, this time from the crooked and shameless producer side. Robert Altman’s highly stylized film oscillates between a study of characters, an almost parodic film noir and a very meta discourse on creation, failure and ambition. Tim Robbins is hypnotic there and the dangerousness of each situation brings him closer to the end of babylon where everything becomes more complicated. A perfect film to end this selection around Hollywood, the underside of cinema and the profound changes that have left huge stars on the floor. Ambition, failure and creation.

If you liked (or not) Babylon, here are 11 equally electric behind-the-scenes films