A blagger’s guide to Arctic Monkeys’ favourite films

Their mini film festival begins on May 11 in support of new album 'Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino'

Not content with releasing one of the most anticipated albums of the year this Friday, Arctic Monkeys are going two steps further: on Friday there’ll be pop-up Arctic Monkeys shops all over the world, and a mini film festival in Sydney screening five classic films chosen by the band. All these films are either taken from the ’60s and ’70s, or are set in that era. Together they might function as a sort of moodboard for the louche sounds of ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ and, unless you’re a film buff, it’s possible you’ve never heard of them, let alone seen them – so here’s the scoop.

1. Le Cercle Rouge

Released: 1970
Director: Jean-Pierre Mellville
What’s it about? This French-Italian crime film, whose title translates as ‘The Red Circle’, centres on a man called Corey (Alain Delon) just as he’s released from prison. Returning to Paris’ criminal underbelly, he encounters a couple of other criminals and starts planning a heist. The majority of the film is the awesome, largely wordless heist sequence that ensues.
Why’s it a big deal? It’s said to have inspired loads of big-name film-makers including Quentin Tarantino and John Woo.

2. The Conversation

Released: 1974
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
What’s it about? In Ford Coppola’s first film after The Godfather, Gene Hackman stars as Harry Caul, a surveillance expert whose obsession with privacy is only heightened by his work. After he’s commissioned to record a conversation in a crowd, his paranoid choice to withhold information from his clients (Harrison Ford & Robert Duvall) results in a cloying, tragic suspense thriller.
Why’s it a big deal? The legendary film critic Roger Ebert gave this four out of four stars and put it on his Great Films list, calling Hackman’s performance a career peak. It’s also been considered “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” by The United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, who deemed it worthy of preservation alongside films such as 12 Angry Men and Ben-Hur.

3. L’Eclisse

Released: 1962
Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
What’s it about? The final part of a trilogy, it follows Vittoria (Monica Vitti) on a journey through love, loss and alienation in Rome and Verona.
Why’s it a big deal? Here’s where Arctic Monkeys’ film picks start to connect. Like Le Cercle Rouge, this film stars French heartthrob Alain Delon, and its director’s 1966 film Blow-Up inspired Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation. The film’s aesthetics are also considered pioneering, and it won the Special Jury Prize at Cannes in 1962. Famous fans include Stanley Kubrick, Ingmar Bergman and Akira Kurosawa.

4. The Last Waltz

Released: 1978
Director: Martin Scorsese
What’s it about? This concert documentary is about the November 1976 gig staged by The Band and marketed as The Last Waltz. It features Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, Joni Mitchell and tons more guests. Primarily a chronological film of the concert, it also features Scorsese interviewing The Band’s members, plus sound-stage footage.
Why’s it a big deal? It’s one of the most famous and highly rated concert documentaries ever. Plus – it features more than a dozen music legends at the top of their game.

5. Inherent Vice

Released: 2014
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
What’s it about? In this adaptation of the 2009 neo-noir novel of the same name set in ’70s LA, Joaquin Phoenix’s stoner PI, Larry Sportello, is at the centre of three diverging and deeply mysterious storylines.
Why’s it a big deal? Apart from the enormous critical acclaim it continues to receive, the movie’s also got a stellar team behind it. Director Paul Thomas Anderson won many fans with There Will Be Blood and The Master, and the cast includes Katherine Waterston, Josh Brolin, Reese Witherspoon, Jena Malone, Owen Wilson, Maya Rudolph, Benicio del Toro and even Joanna Newsom. Also, the soundtrack is by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood.