6 Movies Like The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)

Staff & contributors

A relevant and deeply entertaining movie that only has the appearance of being about politics. In reality, it is about television, and one brilliant journalist’s pursuit of the perfect interview.  Richard Nixon stepped away from the public eye after the Watergate scandal, and was counting on a series of interviews three years later to redeem himself. His team assigns an unlikely reporter to sit in front of him, a British reality TV host named David Frost. Both men have everything to gain from this interview by going against each other, as Frost tries to extract a confession of wrongdoing in Watergate that Nixon never gave.  Who will win? The master manipulator or the up-and-coming journalist? Frost / Nixon was originally a play, and this adaptation is full of drama and boosts great dialogue.

Genre: Drama, History

Actor: Andy Milder, Clint Howard, Eloy Casados, Frank Langella, Gabriel Jarret, Gavin Grazer, Geoffrey Blake, Jenn Gotzon Chandler, Jim Meskimen, Kate Jennings Grant, Keith MacKechnie, Kevin Bacon, Mark Simich, Matthew Macfadyen, Max Elliott Slade, Michael Sheen, Oliver Platt, Patty McCormack, Penny L. Moore, Rance Howard, Rebecca Hall, Sam Rockwell, Simon James, Toby Jones, Wil Albert, Yvette Rachelle

Director: Ron Howard

Rating: R

This mortifying stop-motion fairy-tale is inspired by the very real horrors of Chile’s Colonia Dignidad: a cult colony turned torture camp under the Pinochet regime. Presented as colony propaganda, the tale tells the story of Maria, a girl who runs away from the safety of the colony into the forest and takes refuge in a house with two pigs. What transpires is a gut-wrenching allegory for the rise of fascism, colonialism, and white supremacy. 

The staggering animation which seamlessly shifts mediums from paper mâché to painted walls is a bewildering sight to witness. But it’s the synthesis of this boundary-pushing art and the underlying horrors it depicts, that make this stand as an unmissable cinematic event.

Genre: Animation, Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Actor: Amalia Kassai, Natalia Geisse

Director: Cristóbal León, Joaquín Cociña

On par with the best documentaries of the 21st Century thus far, “Requiem for the American Dream” is an essential viewing for the discerning viewer in search of a more complete understanding of how American society has evolved to such a dramatic point of polarization, and how both politics and big business have played a role in this process. In his introductory remarks to the film, celebrated intellectual and linguistics professor Noam Chomsky expounds: “Inequality has highly negative consequences on society as a whole, because the very fact of inequality has a corrosive, harmful effect on democracy.” Chomsky spells out his perspective regarding the modern political machine and the downfall of democracy, with a keen eye to the historical decisions and influences that have sabotaged the “common good” and shaped America’s current political, financial and social landscape.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: Noam Chomsky

Director: Jared P. Scott, Kelly Nyks, Peter D. Hutchison

Rating: Not Rated

Like its governor having many wives, The Last Wife has too many elements left unsatisfied. To its credit, it has lovely scenery, costumes, and set design that matches the era. With Linh forced into a marriage to pay off her father’s debts, reuniting with a childhood love, the film also had the erotic potential of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, with a thrilling second act twist that occurs when they get discovered. However, the film gets dragged down by the slow pace and random comedic scenes that don’t add to the thematic stakes, sometimes even distracting the viewer from the dismal conditions the titular wife is forced into.

Genre: Drama, Romance

Actor: De Ly Luu, Kaity Nguyễn, Ngọc Diệp, Quốc Huy, Thuan Nguyen

Director: Victor Vũ

There have been plenty of excellent films that tackle plenty of themes all at once, but Saindhav feels like a bunch of unrelated ideas strung together as an excuse for cool action set pieces. We’re first presented with the idea that violent video games are being used to recruit children for terrorist groups, but in response to this is a pretty violent protagonist that does over-the-top killings complete with explosions. His justification is that he’s doing it for money for his sick daughter, whose treatment is exorbitantly expensive. Both of these ideas should be discussed, and the cast tries to make the best of it, but Saindhav just combines these ideas to justify the glorified violence they’re supposedly critiquing.

Genre: Action, Crime

Actor: Andrea Jeremiah, Arya, Baby Sara, Getup Srinu, Jayaprakash, Jisshu Sengupta, Mukesh Rishi, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Ramajogayya Sastry, Ravi Varma, Ruhani Sharma, Sailesh Kolanu, Shraddha Srinath, Venkatesh

Director: Sailesh Kolanu

, 2023

If nothing else, Chris Moukarbel's Tribeca Film Festival-winning narrative feature really forces us to think about the form of the documentary and the layers of interpretation through which we're shown an ostensibly factual account. Cypher begins as a music doc, before taking on true-crime qualities, then turning into a full-blown found footage thriller—the movie itself practically being brainwashed into its own conspiracy. Unfortunately, this is all much less interesting in execution, as the film goes long stretches without keeping up the momentum of its eerier moments. Its eventual twists are particularly uninspired, coming up with a vision of the music industry that doesn't say anything all that meaningful.

Genre: Documentary, Drama, Music, Mystery

Actor: Brian Jordan Alvarez, Chris Anthony, Chris Moukarbel, Jamila Curry, Johnny Montina, Kenete Simms, Nick Canonica, Tierra Whack, Vanya Asher

Director: Chris Moukarbel

Rating: R