This is the first volume of what I am going to call “The Vault” series. From time to time I will be selecting a handful of films which I think are important and are a “must see” for anyone who loves cinema. I will not rank these films, however. I know that top 10 lists are all the rage, but it is really difficult to rank films. Film is art and art is subjective as hell. Instead, I’ll list them alphabetically in each post. I will be writing new additions to this series indefinitely, so be sure to check back from time to time for a new selection of films!
What makes a film a “must see”? I will be selecting films which I think exemplify strong filmmaking technique, films which changed the course of cinema as we know it, and sometimes films which I think are great examples of how to make a film entertaining. I hope you are able to see some of these films if you haven’t already. Now, let’s begin!
- 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
- Directed by Stanley Kubrick, this 1968 science fiction film is a must see for any fan of cinema. It is a difficult film to get into on the first try, I will admit, but there is much more to this film than meets the eye. The cinematography is breathtaking, as is the use of classical music in a lot of the scenes. This is not your regular science fiction film either. It is slowly paced and has a very abstract ending sequence, but it is still a classic that must be seen at least once.
- Amour (2012)
- Directed by Michael Haneke, this 2012 film explores the relationship between an elderly couple when the woman (Anne) has a stroke and her husband has to take care of her. The film is slowly paced, but it is a combination of the slow pacing and the story that creates a truly moving film.
- Goodfellas (1990)
- Directed by Martin Scorsese, this 1990 film explores life in the mafia from the 1960s to the end of the 1980s. It is based on a true story and has some of the most memorable characters in cinema history. It is not only a very intelligent film, it is also a very entertaining one as well. Like any Scorsese film, film theory and mise-en-scene runs rampant in this film, which is part of the reason it is so good. There also some long takes that are choreographed so precisely you wonder sometimes how they pulled it all off. Definitely a must see.
- Wild Strawberries (1957)
- Directed by Ingmar Bergman, this 1957 film was one of the first of Bergman’s films that I viewed. It got me so intrigued by his writing and style of filmmaking that I ended up watching a Bergman film, or two, a day for a couple of weeks and became a huge fan. The movie is beautifully filmed and plays around with dreams and memories. These dreams and memories of a time gone by in the life of an old man are woven into the film’s central storyline. It is a great example of how you can get inside the head of a main character visually.