Welcome to 2016! What better way to kick off the New Year than to release another volume of The Vault! I have selected four films for inclusion in this edition. They each are unique in their own way. I think that anyone who is a lover of film should make it a point to see these films at least once. There are three films in this edition that are among my most favorite films ever. In volume three I talked about my absolute favorite film of all time, but now it’s time to look at a few others in my top ten. They each are important in their own way, and I hope you get a chance to see some or all of them at some point! On to the list!
- The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)
This is one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen. Even though we know what will happen because of the title, doesn’t mean this film doesn’t thrill and excite us. It’s the journey that is important here. It is also a great commentary on fame vs. reality. Have you ever been enamored with a celebrity only to find out that in reality they aren’t the same person you idolized? Robert Ford found that out about Jesse James. This film will leave you speechless in all the right ways.
- Shame (2011)
Sex addiction isn’t a topic that is often discussed. This is surprising since the media seem to be all about sex these days. Regardless, Steve McQueen’s “Shame” is a graphic depiction of sex addiction and the negative effect it has on people. It is a very powerful film exploring a topic that is not talked about nearly enough. This film is NC-17, so expect some explicit scenes of sexuality/nudity, but it is never done gratuitously, there is always a reason for everything you see as you delve deeper into the main character’s addiction.
- Solaris (1972)
Andrei Tarkovsky is never an easy filmmaker to get into. His films are filled with long takes, sequences of silence, and highly symbolic imagery. Once you take a closer look, however, you’ll see how powerful his films are. There is a certain spirituality that is infused in all his films, “Solaris” is no different. I’m not sure what it is, but this film captivated me from beginning to end. I am not usually a science-fiction viewer, but this film (along with 2001: A Space Odyssey”) are notable exceptions. The film plays around with memories as a plot device in an exceptional way. The end of the film will certainly leave you with a multitude of questions which will only necessitate more viewings of the film.
- Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
In my personal opinion this is the best silent film ever made. Granted, there are still a lot of silent films I have not yet seen, but this is one of a handful that have not aged at all. I can think of a few others that would fit in this category, (The General, The Immigrant, and Modern Times), but I guess I just enjoy this one the most. F.W. Murnau uses innovative techniques that were ahead of their time. This film contains some very impressive tracking shots. The camera movement in this film is literally quite amazing. There are so many great scenes in this film, it is hard to speak of just one. I always have a fun time watching this film and I always leave feeling satisfied with what I just watched. This film won the first (and only) Academy Award for Best Unique and Artistic Picture, which in 1928 was just as prestigious as the Best Production (Best Picture) Academy Award. If it was up to me it would have won both! Trust me when I say that this is a must see for any lover of film!