10 Underrated First Films You Still Haven’t Seen Yet
Great director debut films are never strange to us. Orson Welles’ groundbreaking first film Citizen Kane has been the greatest films of all time for decades until being topped by Hitchcock’s masterpiece Vertigo last year. Jean Luc Gordard’s Breathles and Francois Truffaut’s 400 Blows helped launch the exciting French New Wave. Even as movie buffs of the younger generation, we are no strangers to such classic first films like Following(Christopher Nolan), Reservoir Dogs(Quentin Tarantino), Hunger(Steve MacQueen) and Pi(Darren Aronofsky).
First films are often not as mature as directors’ later works, but the incredible creative energy and the motivation of making a film to shock the world are something that made these debut movies so great. Movie fans love to find the roots of a director’s filmmaking style, but some underappreciated gems still haven’t gained the exposure they deserve, here’s 10 of the greatest of the lot.
The Director: Guillermo del Toro
Most Famous Movies: Devil’s Backbone, Pan’s Labyrinth
The Debut: Guillermo del Toro made an auspicious and audacious feature debut with Cronos, a highly unorthodox tale about the seductiveness of the idea of immortality. Kindly antiques dealer Jesus Gris (Federico Luppi) happens upon an ancient golden device in the shape of a scarab, and soon finds himself the possessor and victim of its sinister, addictive powers, as well as the target of a mysterious American named Angel (a delightfully crude and deranged Ron Perlman).
Featuring marvelous special makeup effects and the haunting imagery for which del Toro has become world-renowned, Cronos is a dark, visually rich, and emotionally captivating fantasy.
The Director: Whit Stillman
Most Famous Movies: Metropolitan, Barcelona.
The Debut: One of the great American independent films of the 1990s, the surprise hit Metropolitan, by writer-director Whit Stillman, is a sparkling comedic chronicle of a young man’s romantic misadventures while trying to fit in to New York City’s debutante society.
Stillman’s deft, literate dialogue and hilariously highbrow observations earned this first film an Academy Award nomination for best original screenplay. Beneath the wit and sophistication, though, lies a tender tale of adolescent anxiety.