Arguably the most beautiful film ever made, this Stanley Kubrick directed period drama is based on William Thackeray's novel The Luck of Barry Lyndon. The film follows the journey of a young Irishman, aptly portrayed by Ryan O' Neal, who sets out to make his own destiny. What follows is a series of adventures and mishaps that depict the dramatic rise and fall of Barry through the ranks of British aristocracy. With each frame meticulously composed and shot using only natural light, John Alcott's stunning cinematography gives the film the look of an 18th Century oil painting, making this three-hour long costume epic a fascinating piece.
Hal Ashby's Being There is a comedy drama that makes you laugh and ponder over the meaning of life at the same time. The film tells the story of a completely naive gardener, Chance who is forced into the outside world for the first time in his life. Having spent all his life attending to only two things, gardening and television, his limited knowledge and simple views on society are misinterpreted. Peter Sellers portrayal of Chance is subtle and he brings a certain calmness to the character. Hal Ashby's brilliant ending makes you view the protagonist in a new light. In Chance's words this is a movie ‘I like to watch'.
David Lynch's Mulholland Drive stands tall in a staggering career replete with surrealist films. This is as weird as movies can get. Set against the backdrop of Hollywood, California, the film revolves around an aspiring actress (Naomi Watts) and her amnesiac friend (Laura Elena Harring) who set out to solve a mystery that defies our very perception of dreams and reality. Lynch's highly idiosyncratic style of direction got him the Best Director Award at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival. The non linear narrative combined with the film's dreamlike visuals delivers an experience so visceral that makes you want to watch the movie all over again.
There Will Be Blood
Paul Thomas Anderson
Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood delves deep into the human psyche with this sweeping epic about a ruthless atheistic oilman's quest for wealth. Set against the early 20th Century oil boom, the insanely competitive protagonist Daniel Plainview goes on to become a rich businessman in Texas. Daniel Day Lewis' magnificent portrayal of the protagonist is one of the best examples of method acting. The film explores the concepts of greed, faith and family relations by pitting Plainview against a young man claiming to be a preacher, played by Paul Dano.
No film list is complete without the inclusion of the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo. The film garnered a tepid response upon its initial release, but its now widely hailed as the one of the greatest films ever. James Stewart plays an acrophobic retired police detective who sets out to solve the mystery behind the peculiar behaviour of an old friend's wife (Kim Novak). What starts as an attraction towards her grows into a morbid obsession, only for him to realise later, that he has been tricked into a situation which ends as a tragedy of sorts. The film is shot richly in the breathtaking locales of San Fransisco. The haunting background score by the legendary Bernard Hermann and the now famous ‘dream sequence' will literally take the audience into a state of vertigo.
Those that almost made it
Lawrence of Arabia: David Lean
Magnolia: Paul Thomas Anderson
Closer: Mike Nichol
Pulp Fiction: Quentin Tarantino
The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford: Andrew Dominik
Atonement: Joe Wright
25th Hour: Spike Lee
Synecdoche, New York: Charlie Kaufman
Rajashekhar Chowhan is a Government employee living in Bangalore. A film enthusiast he loves watching serious dramas.
Keywords: world cinema