4. West Side Story (1961) (Watch on Netflix)
The Plot: Modern musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” (as if you didn’t already know…).
Why It’s Beautiful: “West Side Story” is an American classic for many reasons. One that is most memorable is the stunning choreography. The actors were trained in a variety of dance styles including Ballet and Jazz. The opening dance sequence is mesmerizing as the audience is introduced the the Sharks and Jets. The film incorporated the culture of the early 1960’s into it’s choreography and music along with more classic styles as well.
We see the angelic Natalie Wood looking beautiful as always (it has been said that Wood “didn’t have a bad angle on her” – the camera truly loved her). The vibrant sets and costumes also add to this magnificent masterpiece.
3. Dead Man (1995) (Watch on Netflix)
The Plot: Following fugitive accountant William Blake who is on the run for murdering a man. A Western for people who may not typically like the “Western” genre.
Why It’s Beautiful: Jim Jarmusch’s direction proves to be beautiful in it’s simplicity. Dead Man was shot in black and white across the west and southwest including Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. These locations and their natural allure accentuate the ornate costumes and tribal makeup.
Minimal dialogue and long, steady shots allow the viewer to be immersed in the film’s comely atmosphere. Neil Young composed the score for the film and as the story goes, Young stood in front of a projection of the film and wrote the score on his guitar as he watched the movie.
2. Antichrist (2009) (Watch on Netflix)
The Plot: A couple grieves the sudden and unexpected death of their child. The first film in Lars Von Trier’s “Trilogy of Depression”.
Why It’s Beautiful: The film’s introduction is shot in black and white as we are graphically introduced to the couple and witness the death of their child. After this, the rest of the movie is presented in color as we see how the husband and wife mourn separately and together. Pain and agony perseverate throughout the movie both in the emotional and physical sense for the characters.
Von Trier’s exploration of depression challenges the viewer and gives us an intimate insight into this agony. Surreal at times, yet a persistent reminder of all things painful in the world, “Antichrist” is an underrated masterpiece.
1. The Virgin Suicides (1999) (Watch on Netflix)
The Plot: Five sisters and their life growing up in 1970’s Detroit. Based on a novel bearing the same title, this film is a charming adaptation.
Why It’s Beautiful: Sofia Coppola’s work began strong but the progression of her filmography is unintentionally proving to be a satire of her own artistic style.
“The Virgin Suicides”, Coppola’s breakout film, is pure in its artistic concept. With a cool soundtrack, beautiful cast, 1970’s attire and soft filters “The Virgin Suicides” was a remarkable achievement for Coppola. Visually the film was acclaimed for its long, clean shots and surreal accents.
Author Bio: Madeline Scott was raised in Memphis, Tennessee but came to Baltimore in 2005 to study at Maryland Institute College of Art. Baltimore is now home to here where she currently works at a non profit assisting people with developmental disabilities. Whenever she can, Madeline goes to the Charles Theater to watch their weekly revival series.