Treasure of the Sierra Madre
This is the perfect choice if you want to narrate a movie as a kid’s bedtime story. Told in the style of a western, the movie’s all about man’s greed and how money can corrupt the soul. It is a story of gold prospectors and how their quest brings up their human frailties. The ironic ending is brilliant. Humphrey Bogart and Walter Huston deliver excellent performances.
Le salaire de la peur
Henri Georges Clouzot
Translated as “The Wages of Fear”, this movie is the quintessential edge-of-the-seat thriller. One has to watch it to see why a convoluted plot isn’t essential for a thriller. It’s the story of a few out of work men taking on the highly risky task of transferring dynamite on trucks over a dangerous terrain. The element of fear and how it percolates to the viewer is the most admirable aspect of this film. The film is a brilliant narrative by Clouzot who sure has a fetish for fire, having also made Inferno.
A brilliant political satire from Stanley Kubrick — a comedy made out of a movie about war — now that’s truly special. You can compare it to Catch-22, which is its approximate equivalent in books, though the styles of humour in both are totally different. Eccentric characters, brilliant dialogues, ridiculous situations all make it a treat to watch. Peter Sellers dazzles in three roles in this movie.
Trois Couleurs Rouge
This is the last movie in the ‘Three colours’ trilogy of Blue, White, Red. This series of films by Krzysztof Kieœlowski is a must-watch for its themes, narrative style and amazing soundtrack. The three colours are those in the French flag and symbolise liberty, equality and fraternity. This particular movie is about an intense encounter between a student and a retired judge who have nothing in common, but are connected by chance.
La Meglio Gioventu
Marco Tullio Giordana
A gem of a movie, following the lives of two brothers and their families over a period of 40 years, it was given the “must-watch” award at Cannes. Though the entire cast is fabulous, the characters of Matteo and Giorgia stand out. Some sequences are just perfect (like the jukebox scene), and some are quite moving.
Those that almost made it
Double Indemnity: Billy Wilder
Fargo: Coen Brothers
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?: Mike Nichols
Mulholland Drive: David Lynch
Laura: Otto Preminger
Sriganesh Murthi is a consultant based in Bangalore.