Three acts. Beginning, middle, end. Shot reverse shot. Do all stories need to be told this way?
Cinema is one of the most complex forms of art. The number of elements this art form uses to compose a piece of work are truly vast and the possibilities tend to be infinite.
Sometimes we watch a movie that is able to change the way we view cinema. For the way it uses images, or sounds, or editing or any of the many elements cinema has, some films simply show us a path we may not have imagined before. And some films that do exactly that are the theme of this article.
First of all, it is never too late to remember that the choice of the titles on this list is something very personal. Normally, the main factors that interfere with these choices are memory and personal preference, but this time there’s also the fact that the movies chosen were especially the ones that changed the way this writer used to view cinema before watching them.
So, here are 10 movies that will (probably) change your view on cinema.
10. Irma Vep (1996; dir. Olivier Assayas)
Starring Maggie Cheung and Jean-Pierre Léaud, “Irma Vep” is one of the best movies in Olivier Assayas’ career.
Exploring the clashing of egos during the production of a remake of the movie “The Vampires” (1915; dir. Louis Feuillade), the movie has great writing by Assayas and an amazing performance by Cheung that surely can be considered among the best of her career.
Following the story of a Chinese actress who travels to France to make a movie with a director that was once renowned and now is dealing with personal issues while trying to get his career back on track, “Irma Vep” is great for exploring behind the scenes of the filmmaking process, and also bringing up important questions about the film industry.
“Irma Vep” might have its problems with its rhythm, but can indeed be considered among the best in Assayas’ career, and should definitely be watched by any cinephile.
9. Day for Night (1973; dir. François Truffaut)
The Oscar-winning film directed by French legend François Truffaut follows the story of a filmmaker who has to overcome many obstacles to complete his feature.
“Day for Night” was received well by critics and won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1974. Also, Valentina Cortese was nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and Truffaut was nominated for Best Director.
This movie is about everybody involved in the process of making the film “Je Vous Présente Pamela.” The film, the story, the personal lives of the cast and crew are all approached in “Day for Night,” a movie that is definitely among the best films directed by Truffaut.
Mixing drama, romance and comedy, “Day for Night” invites us to a journey through the filmmaking process and how complicated making a film can be. For its great humor and inventive approach on this craft, this is truly a François Truffaut film you can’t miss.
8. Breathless (1960; dir. Jean-Luc Godard)
Cinema can probably be divided into two parts: before “Breathless” and after “Breathless.”
A landmark in the Nouvelle Vague movement and one of the most influential films of all time, this masterpiece directed by Jean-Luc Godard truly changed cinema forever.
Its fast cuts and sequences allied with the powerful performances by Jean Seberg and Jean-Paul Belmondo and the great script by François Truffaut are some of the elements that make this film not only one of the most important movies in history, but one of the greatest films of all time.
“Breathless” is a movie that not only will change your view on cinema, but a movie that genuinely changed cinema forever.
7. Koyaanisqatsi (1982; dir. Godfrey Reggio)
One of the best films from the 1980s, the start of the Qatsi Trilogy (one of the best in history) and one of the best directorial debuts of all time, “Koyaanisqatsi” is a movie that needs to be seen.
Directed by Godfrey Reggio with astonishing cinematography from Ron Fricke and the mesmerizing soundtrack by Philip Glass, “Koyaanisqatsi” is a mandatory film from the 1980s.
With a hypnotizing collection of imagery, from clouds in the sky to arcade games to factories to restaurants and to clouds reflected on a mirrored glass building, “Koyaanisqatsi” has an intense rhythm that truly delivers a narrative that becomes even more intense with Glass’ music.
This masterpiece directed by Reggio should definitely be watched by any cinephile and will certainly change your view on cinema.
6. Satantango (1994; dir. Béla Tarr)
Hungarian filmmaker Béla Tarr is known for his long takes and for the philosophical themes his works carry. With amazing films in his career such as “Almanac of Fall” (1984), “Damnation” (1988), “Werckmeister Harmonies” (2000) and “The Turin Horse” (2011), “Satantango” (1994) is still the best work in his filmography.
In its 432 minutes of running time (7 hours and 12 minutes), “Satantango” has all the unique traces of Tarr’s filmography, and can surely be considered among the best films of all time.
The slow-paced rhythm of the film, especially because of its long takes, makes it an even more introspective work of art, creating an atmosphere that is truly exceptional.
“Satantango” is a masterpiece by Tarr that should be watched by every cinephile. But above all, “Satantango” is a masterpiece that will change the way you view cinema.