21. The Lovers on the Bridge (Leos Carax, 1991)
Leos Carax is one of the few directors who’s always made great films. “Pola X” can be seen as little weak, an exception of his oeuvre. “Holy Motors” says that he is still mastering his idiosyncratic style. “The Lovers on the Bridge” is one of his beautiful masterpieces.
It is very poetic, immensely beautiful, romantic, poignant and mesmerizing. The selection of music, stunning cinematography and camera movements, and performances from both the male and female leads (Denis Levante and Juliette Binoche, respectively) are the best things about this film.
Levante and Binoche both are vagrants here who fall in love with each other. Levante actually has more romantic feelings. But Binoche has a tortured past, where she failed in her relationship with her ex-boyfriend. That was her first love, her only serious love of her life. She used to paint for her ex-boyfriend and he used to compose only for her. But how does their relationship end? That’s the mystery.
Anyway, that very break-up is the reason why she comes n the street, becoming very perverted. Her past makes Levante afraid that she will leave him, so there are a lot of appalling and intriguing twists.
22. Bitter Moon (Roman Polanski, 1992)
This film is very underrated and under-appreciated. The major criticism and annoyance may be that Polanski cast his own wife in all the sexual and erotic scenes. But, we have to concentrate mainly on the film, which is a great work, probably Polanski’s finest work. This film can be said as erotic as well as romantic, much like Oshima’s “In the Realm of the Senses”.
It tells the story of a couple whose romantic relationship and its series of deterioration are main subjects that are based on the themes like sadomasochism, voyeurism, sex, jealousy and love. At first they fall in love with each other especially physically. Then comes euphoria and then all the tortures and painful situations that jealousy, love and lust bring.
At first, the husband is dominant man who humiliates and hurts his wife, but a time comes when the wife becomes more dominant and hurts her husband at the maximum level; not physically, but psychologically, like making him jealous.
23. A Heart in Winter (Claude Sautet, 1992)
This film is about an unrequited love; a woman (played by Emmanuelle Beart) falls in love with her boyfriend’s musical partner (played by Daniel Auteuil), but he doesn’t return her love. She tries so hard to achieve him. She even leaves her boyfriend, which ultimately creates tension between the two partners. They even have had a fight over her. But in the end, she remains alone.
This film, which shows mainly a one-sided love, is romantic and poignant. Spoiling that much about this film doesn’t hamper the curiosity of audiences since the protagonists’ character is the main part of this film. The performances from Beart and Auteuil are very touching in this film.
24. Three Colors: Red (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1994)
Many film buffs may find it amazing as well as amusing to see this film on this romantic list, but it’s not ridiculous to include it. There is infidelity everywhere in this film, but if you tear up all the events and understand the core point of this film, then you’ll know it is about love. A love that is felt by a man at a wrong time but for the right woman.
The whole film is about a romantic relationship obsession of a single man (played by Jean-Louis Trintignant) who doesn’t believe anyone in this world, because he had been betrayed by his girlfriend during his youth. Then he remains single for his whole life. He only sees infidelity everywhere, in each relationship. He spends his time spying on his neighbor’s telephone conversations, which are full of unfaithfulness in their relationship. Everyone is deceiving everyone.
But when he meets a girl (played by Irene Jacob), he starts to change. He starts to feel like there can be a faithful person in this world. He realizes that she is the very woman who is right for him. But what in the world can he do? He is very old, who seems to be waiting for death.
25. Chungking Express (Wong Kar-wai, 1994)
The best parts of this famous film are the selection of songs, Christopher Doyle’s handheld camera movements, and Wong’s typical style. One can learn so much about love from this great romantic director. It wouldn’t be hyperbole if one says that he is the godfather of romantic cinema.
The second part has actually made it one of the greatest films of the history. Almost everything about it is perfect and great in this part. A snack bar worker girl falls in love with a police officer who just had a sort of break-up with his girlfriend. Then she (worker girl) frequently breaks into his apartment and spends time decorating and doing certain things. He finds it surprising and starts to become aware of someone in his room when he isn’t there. Then what happens? Just watch it.
Many scenes are so romantic and lovely that hundreds of other so-called romantic films can’t arouse the romantic feelings in our heart that these scenes can.
26. Fucking Amal (Lukas Moodysson, 1998)
A very reclusive and depressive girl falls in love with a wild, confident, boyish and I-don’t-give-a-damn type of girl. This love is so heavy and difficult for her since she is lesbian and so lonely. She is notorious for her homosexuality. Almost all the students make fun of her and nobody is there to protect her.
The time comes when her crush learns about her homosexuality, but nothing about the fact that she secretly loves her. Her crush casually kisses her just to make fun. After feeling guilty, the crush feels sorry for her and starts a friendship. Then come many romantic twists.
This film is intensely romantic. Ingmar Bergman had said it’s “the young master’s first masterpiece.”
27. The Road Home (Zhang Yimou, 1999)
This is the ultimate example of a platonic love of a girl who waits for her crush for a long time. It is one of the most beautiful films ever made, which is not very appreciated. Zhang Yimou has used beautiful imageries and the repressed love of a girl so touchingly and realistically.
A young teacher comes to the village for his father’s funeral and then ends up teaching in the village’s school. A girl falls in love with him but can’t express it. She can’t even speak with him. That is simple in remote villages, especially of Asia. It is a matter of culture. Body language is more efficient than verbal words in this type of situation. This girl always makes lunch for the teacher, but when it gets mixed with other many lunches, it is unsure whether he gets that very lunch made by her. Either way, she continues to make it.
They never speak with each other. Some activities and body language are the only means to express her love towards him. When he has to go to city for an uncertain time frame, she waits for him. She doesn’t care about social backbiting, weather, or health. She just waits for him. Wait, wait and wait.
28. In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai, 2000)
Any romantic list would be incomplete without this romantic masterpiece from the romantic master of world cinema. This highly famous film may not need much explanation. Almost all cinephiles must have seen this one, a highly stylized and beautified film that is about a love affair.
In this film, Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung find out that their spouses are in relationship with each other. Then Tony and Maggie start to meet and, ultimately, fall in love with each other. Thanks to Wong, who hasn’t shown even the face of their wife and husband. He is just focused on Tony and Maggie and their romantic relationship. But the fact that they both are married and may have children in the future, and more especially due to the possible social backbiting, they can’t live with each other.
They love each other their entire lives, and they are continuously obsessed about each other every time. But still, they can’t run away and cross the “forbidden lines” at that earlier time in China.
29. Birth (Jonathan Glazer, 2004)
Only after Glazer made the beautiful masterpiece “Under the Skin”, did his earlier masterpiece “Birth” start to get enough notice. Many readers may be amazed seeing this film on this list, but this film is all about love. To show the value that man gives to his love, Glazer has chosen this absurd, weird and unconventional story. Yet it is still romantic and mysterious.
A 10-year-old boy almost intrudes into a family, meets a woman (played by Nicole Kidman) and claims he is her deceased husband. Now, does it matter that she believes in reincarnation? Does it even matter that there is the existence of reincarnation? Does it matter whether he is really her husband or not? What actually matters? Love, of course. She believes him because she wants to believe him and more especially, she wants her lover back. She again wants to live with her lover. She still has deep love toward her husband (lover).
“Birth” is one of the greatest films about love. Due to its impenetrable nature, many critics and cinephiles didn’t quite understand it, so it doesn’t get much appreciation. But as time passes, it is getting favorable reviews. Don’t miss it.
30. Tabu (Miguel Gomes, 2012)
What an immensely beautiful and hauntingly beautiful film this is! Miguel Gomes is one of the most important and promising directors of this era. His typical style has been perfected masterfully in this beautiful masterpiece. Its style can be compared to Alain Resnais’ masterpiece “Hiroshima mon amour”.
There are three parts here: the prologue, the 1st part (named Paradise Lost) and the 2nd part (named Paradise). The prologue helps us understand that this film is about a platonic but unsuccessful love.
The 1st part is mainly concerned with a slightly perverted old woman who talks too much about strange things. No one can fully comprehend what actually she talks about. They just think that she is little insane, especially due to her age.
The 2nd part, which is entirely told in voiceover, tells you why she talked like that and why she became like that. She had actually fallen in love with a man very deeply and she could never forget him. She was married but she fell in love with another man, a singer. They have had a secret relationship which couldn’t continue. They just had to love them secretly and continue their life somehow.