10 Great Movies That Meditate On Time

5. Boyhood (2014; dir. Richard Linklater)


Filmed over 12 years, “Boyhood” is the most ambitious Richard Linklater project to date.

From 2002 to 2014, Linklater made a movie about growing up. It follows the story of Mason (Ellar Coltrane) through 12 years of his life, from his childhood until the time he goes to college.

In “Boyhood,” we are able to see every actor getting older on the screen as the characters do as well. A truly intriguing experience, while telling the story of Mason and his family through the years, Linklater definitely delivered one of the most amazing films made in this century and without a doubt a marvelous meditation on time.

The movie won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlin International Film Festival and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Patricia Arquette, among many other awards.

One of the best coming-of-age movies in history.


4. Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels (1975; dir. Chantal Akerman)

Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)

This 201-minute film directed by Chantal Akerman follows three days in the life of Jeanne Dielman (Delphine Seyrig), a young widow who lives with her son in her apartment. While the boy is at school, she does her chores and receives clients in the afternoon. But, one day, when she overcooks potatoes and drops a spoon that has been just washed, everything changes.

This film is truly Akerman’s masterpiece. While approaching the story of a character who has her routine shaken up by what seems to be a very small incident, Akerman is able to deliver a film that can absolutely make the audience meditate about time.

“Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels” is not the easiest movie to watch due to its rhythm, but is without a doubt a masterpiece that every cinephile should check out.


3. Last Year at Marienbad (1961; dir. Alain Resnais)

Last Year at Marienbad (1961)

One of the best films directed by Alain Resnais, “Last Year in Marienbad” has a very intriguing and difficult narrative to follow, where time and space are not fixed.

In this film, we follow the story of a man and a woman who meet in a luxury hotel, and the man tries to convince this woman to run away with him. Even though she does not remember who he is, they had an affair the year before in Marienbad. Or maybe they did not…

With a very strong mise en scène, the powerful photography by Sacha Vierny allied with the enigmatic script by Alain Robbe-Grillet makes this a film that approached time in a truly unique way.

“Last Year in Marienbad” is a difficult movie, but definitely a masterpiece that should be watched.


2. Eternity and a Day (1998; dir. Theodoros Angelopoulos)

Eternity and a Day (1998)

Starred by Bruno Ganz, “Eternity and a Day” is one of Theodoros Angelopoulos’ most fascinating movies.

The story follows Alexander (Ganz), a writer who is approaching his death due to an illness and who remembers his life from years before. During the film, he saves a kid who is an illegal immigrant from being arrested and, later in the same day, sees the same kid being abducted and tries to help him.

“Eternity and a Day” has a very unique approach on time, memory and the relationship between this writer and death. With a very powerful performance by Ganz and great screenwriting, this is definitely a a masterpiece that should be watched.


1. The Mirror (1975; dir. Andrei Tarkovsky)


When talking about meditating about time in cinema, it is necessary to talk about Andrei Tarkovsky.

“The Mirror” follows the story of a dying man who starts to remember his life. Through the movie, we see many memories. His childhood, the war, and his family are some of the themes that are approached in this film.

With astonishing visuals that mix color, black and white, and sepia cinematography, this is one of the most complex movies in Tarkovsky’s filmography.

Full of powerful imagery and amazing slow paced shots, the many metaphors present in this film make it a meditation not only about time, but about life, history, hope and many, many other themes.

“The Mirror” is one of Tarkovsky’s most powerful masterpieces, is definitely one of the best movies that meditates on time, and without a doubt is a movie that every cinephile should watch.

Author Bio: Vítor Guima is a filmmaker, writer and musician. Every day he watches a movie, reads a few pages from a book, listens to an album and freaks out with the feeling of not having enough time to see everything. You can follow him on Instagram on @ovitorguima.