Director Dimitri Basil On His Most Influential Films

Sydney/LA-based director Dimitri Basil is one to watch.

Dropping out of school at the age of 13, he moved to Australia with a forged high school certificate to pursue a career in music, instead created a fake production company, told a lot of lies, and somehow managed to land his first big budget project.

Fast forward a couple of years and that production company is real. The Cult creates highly stylised quirky videos including the video clip for Vance Joy’s ‘Rip Tide’ that reached over 33 million views and Flight Facilities ‘Foreign Language’.

There’s an absurd quirky energy to Dimitri’s storytelling, he has the ability to transport you to a time you probably weren’t born to see and make you get lost in a mish-mash of cleverly curated imagery that he’s known for. The young visionary is set for big things; Roman Coppola recently selected Dimitri’s film “Tangerine” as the top short in his one-minute film competition.

We asked Dimitri what his top seven influential films were, and you probably haven’t heard of any of them. Get educated below.


In Jean-Luc Godard’s subversive Contempt, Michel Piccoli is a screenwriter torn between the demands of a proud European director, a crude and arrogant American producer, and his disillusioned wife, Camille as he attempts to doctor the script for a new film version of The Odyssey. – MUBI

Dimitri: “I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen this film. I love everything about it: the cinematography/art direction, subtle dialogue, meta-cinema concepts, a film within a film, etc.”


A man walks out of the desert with no memories of his past life and it is only with the help of his brother that he realises that he walked out on his wife and young son four years before. -MUBI

Dimitri: “Americana seen through the lens of one the best contemporary German filmmakers (Wim Wenders). Robby Muller’s cinematography is great!”


In Rohmer’s first color film, a bombastic, womanizing art dealer and his painter friend go to a seventeenth-century villa on the Riviera for a relaxing summer getaway. But their idyll is disturbed by the presence of the bohemian Haydée, accused of being a “collector” of men. -MUBI

Dimitri: “Eric Rohmer creates my favourite kind of atmospheres… the colours, the cast, it’s all so carefully balanced.”


A London fashion photographer, out on a stroll, takes some casual shots of people in a park. When he blows up his prints he realizes he’s stumbled upon a murder. He begins to pursue the intriguing mystery that haunts him, with answers and the truth just out of reach…-MUBI

Dimitri: “Every Antonioni film is so carefully framed. My dad showed me this film when I was 13 and it has stayed with me ever since.”


Two adolescents meet and cautiously fall in love at the peak of an idyllic Swedish summer. Oblivious to social boundaries, they innocently create their own milieu in contrast to the distorted relationships and disillusionment of the adult world around them. -MUBI

Dimitri: “I love how daring this film is… it feels to me like an adaptation of an adult story into a childhood set up, I find that genius! The colourful yet low contrast cinematography is something I keep coming back to in my own work.”


In Seijun Suzuki’s free-jazz gangster film, reformed killer “Phoenix” Tetsu drifts around Japan, awaiting his own execution until he’s called back to Tokyo to help battle a rival gang. -MUBI

Dimitri: “I love this film! A hybrid of art house meets B cinema.”


Toshiro Mifune is unforgettable as Kingo Gondo, a wealthy industrialist whose family becomes the target of a cold-blooded kidnapper in Akira Kurosawa’s highly influential High and Low, a compelling race-against-time thriller and a penetrating portrait of contemporary Japanese society. -MUBI

Dimitri: “This black and white film is incredible! Script, cinematography, art direction, it’s all so minimal in the perfect way.”

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