The List: Katherine E. Scharhon


Guy Maddin’s “Brand Upon the Brain!” is an abyss of frayed memories and curled echoes. A film where sight and sound, when being rapped against one another like chalkboard erasers, create enigmatic plumes of mystery. And in this world where each frame is smudged with charcoal fingerprints and squid-like ink, Katherine E. Scharhon holds onto a monochrome flame and leads the way. More recently, “God of Love”, a project that Scharhon was a part of, won Best Live Action Short Film at last year’s Academy Awards. In keeping with the “best of” tagline, we asked Scharhon what films, in their opinion, are pictures that everyone should see. The following are the actor and the director’s answers:


Directed by Kelly Reichardt (2008)

Wendy (Michelle Williams) and her dog Lucy must travel from Oregon to Alaska with no money and high stakes in this brilliantly adapted film.  Small moments are everything to Reichardt and Williams in this both charming and devastating story.


Directed by David Lynch (1977)

David Lynch spent over five years filming ERASERHEAD, and literally lived on the set during production.  Both the intense imagery and sounds of this uniquely told story create an unforgettable experience.  The film marks Lynch’s first feature.


Directed by Victor Erice (1973)

The quietly stunning performance of its young star Ana Torrent and the compellingly beautiful art direction makes THE SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE a haunting and breathtaking depiction of what it’s like to experience things from an imaginative child’s point of view


Directed by Vincent Gallo (1998)

Vincent Gallo directs and stars in this 1998 feature telling the story of Billy Brown, a recently released felon, and Layla (played by the skilled Christina Ricci) the woman he kidnaps and forces to pretend to be his girlfriend.


Directed by Martin Bell (1984)

In 1983 Cheryl McCall and Mary Ellen Mark took photos and wrote an article for Life magazine about homeless children living on the streets of Seattle, Washington.  The experience left such and impression on Mary Ellen Mark that she and her husband Martin Bell returned to Seattle to continue documenting the lives of these young runaways.


Directed by Matthew Robbins (1985)

Using the framework of a typical American teen movie from the 1980’s, THE LEGEND OF BILLIE JEAN surpasses them all with the strong female character of Billie Jean, who is forced to become an outlaw and a voice for all girls of her generation.


Directed by Jacques Tati  (1958)

Impeccable comedic timing sets this Tati feature apart from nearly anything else.  This enjoyable film about a clown-like, oblivious uncle is visually stunning, incredibly acted, and edited with flawless precision.


Directed by Todd Solondz  (1995)

Everything is painfully awkward for young Dawn Wiener in Todd Solondz’s critically acclaimed second feature film.  This extremely well crafted film is the master of the uncomfortable moment and paved the way for indie stars Heather Matarazzo and Brendan Sexton.


Directed by Dario Argento (1977)

When Suzy Bannion arrives as a new student to an impressive ballet academy, things begin to prove not what they seem in Dario Argento’s classic horror film.  The colors and overall style put the world of this film in a category all its own.


Directed by Buster Keaton  (1924)

Buster Keaton both directs and stars in this forty-five minute silent film about a poor film projectionist who is framed for stealing a pocket watch.  Keaton did all of his own stunts, and the special effects and camera work prove nothing short of groundbreaking.


For more information on Katherine E. Scharhon, please visit her always extraordinary website.

Author: Rob Patrick

The program director of the Olympia Film Society, Rob is also a former San Diego Film Critics Society member. He has written for The East County Californian, The Alpine Sun, The East County Herald, The San Diego Entertainer, and the San Diego Reader. When he isn't curating a film festival, he is drinking rosé out of a plastic cup in Seattle or getting tattoos from Jenn Champion.

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