2 Movies Like The Rules of the Game (1939)

Staff & contributors

, 2022

Vortex, Gaspar Noé’s haunting exploration of death and dementia, begins with a dedication: “to all those whose brains will decompose before their hearts.” The statement sets the heartwrenching tone of the film, which follows an elderly couple—one with dementia and the other with a heart ailment—during their last days together. Noé cleverly depicts all this in a split-screen design, which evokes the fractured pattern of old-age thought. 

Noé’s mother struggled with dementia, and Noé’ himself suffered from a brain hemorrhage that nearly killed him, so Vortex is clearly a personal film. But even without knowing this, Vortex feels effortlessly dear and deeply intimate, like it could've only been done by a person with a first-hand experience of this tragedy. At once personal and universal, Vortex is a haunting and inventive ode to love, death, and everything in between.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Alex Lutz, Corinne Bruand, Dario Argento, Françoise Lebrun, Jean-Baptiste Thoret, Nathalie Roubaud, Stephane Derderian

Director: Gaspar Noé

Coming-of-age films are usually optimistic, but sometimes, growing up isn’t as rosy as portrayed to be, as kids start to learn the failings of the adults that should know better and the tension that lies between sexes. Typhoon Club is like an anti-Breakfast Club, with the kids stuck in school overnight, not just one morning, due to a natural typhoon instead of randomly assigned detentions, and with the kids returning home traumatized instead of triumphant. Director Shinji Sōmai crafts a raw, turbulent experience, alternating between before, during, and after their stay that steadily heightens the uneasy, sometimes dangerous, experiences where these teenagers directly confront the disappointment that is adulthood. It’s a challenging film to watch, but Typhoon Club’s early exploration of teen ennui made it to be considered one of the best Japanese films ever made.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Kaori Kobayashi, Makoto Satō, Minori Terada, Saburo Date, Tomiko Ishii, Tomokazu Miura, Toshinori Omi, Youki Kudoh, Yuichi Mikami, Yuka Ônishi, Yuriko Fuchizaki

Director: Shinji Sōmai