Fun Fridays – Director’s Favourite Films – Double Bill: Richard Ayoade and Darren Aronofsky

Hello Film Doctor friends.

Today we have a “double bill” Fun Friday , with two different, yet equally anticipated, movies gracing the UK screens this weekend –  a doppelganger comedy starring Jesse Eisenberg, “The Double”  and Russell Crowe-led biblical blockbuster  “Noah”.

By Philkon Phil Konstantin (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Philkon Phil Konstantin (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

First up is “Noah’s Director, Darren Aronofsky (“Black Swan”, “Requiem for a Dream”, “The Wrestler”) – the Film Doctor team came across the following picks:

  • Fighter/boxing movies – “I am a fan of those movies. I used to love the Van Damme and Steven Seagal films when they came out. They were fun. They’re not making those kinds of movies in America any more; they prefer legitimate superheroes: middle-class, medium-build guys who become these pumped-up superheroes like Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Van Damme and Seagal from the 1980s. We don’t have many of those guys any more. Maybe Gerard Butler or Jason Statham, but it’s different. Then it was about body, now it’s about costumes.”


And Aronofsky is not the only creative mind behind “Noah” that we enjoyed looking through – we interviewed his long-standing collaborator, sound designer Coll Anderson in our most recent “In Conversation” – take a look!

Richard Ayoade at Soho Hotel
By Yusuf Laher (dudephotography) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

“The Double” leads us to Actor & Director Richard Ayoade (“Submarine” , “The Watch”, “The IT Crowd”) and his rather extensive list of favourites:

  • Zazie dans le métro (dir. Louis Malle, 1960) –  just have great fondness for that film. Zazie on the Metro is sort of interesting in that, in a way, you know there are other Louis Malle films that are probably better and/or more constructed or profound, or whatever you might say, but Zazie on the Metro’s probably the first film I watched a lot, and may watch 20 times. I don’t know why; there’s just something very interesting about the way it was — the color of it; and the opening credits, it’s just got this train with this sort of sad, melancholic music, but the rest of the film is very anarchic. And the plot doesn’t really go anywhere particularly — it’s almost like, “And then this and then this and then this…” I don’t know. I just have a very fond feeling for it.” (R. Ayoade for Rotten Tomatoes, 2011)
  • Crimes and Misdemeanors ” (dir. Woody Allen, 1989) – It’s difficult to pick a Woody Allen film. In terms of my favorite person who’s been in a film it would be Woody Allen, so therefore it feels that I’ve got to pick a Woody Allen film. I think he’s the best performer that’s ever been in films, in a way; certainly sound-era films. Just his voice is the best voice that has ever been recorded, I think. Even if he had just been a writer of comic prose, he would have been one of the best writers of comic prose. His best films have so much life to them, and they’re funny. I know he often has a low self-estimation of them publicly, but Crimes and Misdemeanors, in terms of his feeling that he hasn’t made a film as good as Rashōmon or Bicycle Thieves — I think it’s definitely a film that could be held up with those films, really. It’s just very brutal, but funny as well. […] And such a good cast: everyone’s really suited to his style. Not every actor is suited to being in a Woody Allen film. Seems like Owen Wilson is really suited to it [in Midnight in Paris], from what I’ve seen, in the same way that John Cusack was so good in Bullets Over Broadway. For me it’s just infinitely re-watchable.” (R. Ayoade for Rotten Tomatoes, 2011)
  • “Persona” (dir. Ingmar Bergman, 1966) – “It’s almost like a detective story: you try to work out why this person hasn’t spoken. The logic of it is so strange, you know — you sort of go, “Where does it start?” It’s something in a sense that could have existed without those bookends, without that kind of prologue to it, but it adds a strangeness to it, in its awareness of its form. […] Everything’s so condensed. It’s clearly someone who’s made so many great films already — just a remarkable series of films. And it’s odd, because it’s very rare that I like someone with no humor to them, and he has no humor. I mean, Smiles of a Summer Night is not a hoot, you know? It’s odd that something can be so great without humor; it’s strange. Most great directors have a bit of humor in their films. Kubrick’s hilarious; Malick’s really funny…” (R. Ayoade for Rotten Tomatoes, 2011)
  • “Days Of Heaven” (Dir. Terrence Malick, 1978)  – I think he is funny. Badlands is funny. The voice-over in Days of Heaven has all sorts of humor. I watched both with my mum, and I really like Badlands but I was slightly frightened of watching it with her because I thought, “Oh, it’s violent,” but Badlands is so exciting. She really liked Badlands, and Days of Heaven she was kind of “hmm,” you know; she liked it, but it’s not as pulpy. There’s just something about the atmosphere of Days of Heaven and the end-of-days feel of it; and Sam Shephard’s performance, there’s something so great about it.” (R. Ayoade for Rotten Tomatoes, 2011)
  • “Taxi Driver” (dir. Martin Scorsese, 1976) – It’s a really good film to like if you’re interested in directing, ’cause it’s full of so many brilliant directorial flourishes: it’s like an Italian horror film, but really funny. There are sort of Mike Nichols scenes in there, with all the Bava camerawork and the Godard stuff. And just [De Niro] — his performance. And how subjective it is — how it channels all that Hitchcock stuff with something that’s more documentary and more real. I know [Scorsese] always talks about The Wrong Man in relation to it and it would have been interesting to see what Hitchcock had done if he’d done more stuff on location.” (R. Ayoade for Rotten Tomatoes, 2011)
  • “The Bakery Girl of Monceau” (dir. Eric Rohmer, 1963) and Eric Rohmer in the 1960s (“Suzanne’s Career”, “Claire’s Knee”, “La collectionneuse”, etc.) – It’s fascinating to see how Eric Rohmer translates his own short stories into these films. His work with Nestor Almendros is so beautiful and simple, and the films are such profound and witty examinations of self-deception. ” (R. Ayoade for The
  • “F for Fake” (dir. Orson Welles, 1973) – So innovative and playful. Orson Welles makes it look like the easiest thing in the world, but this is such an amazing feat of engineering.” (R. Ayoade for The
    • “Metropolitan” (dir. Whit Stillman, 1990) – Perhaps the first film I truly fell in love with. One of the most brilliant scripts ever. I can’t wait for Whit Stillman’s latest.” (R. Ayoade for The


“The Double” and “Noah” are on general release in the UK from today, 04th April 2014.

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The Film Doctor Team
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One thought on “Fun Fridays – Director’s Favourite Films – Double Bill: Richard Ayoade and Darren Aronofsky

  • April 4, 2014 at 10:52 am

    After watching Ayoade’s “Submarine” I would have been certain one of his favourite directors would have been Wes Anderson.

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