Akira Kurosawa

Rashomon (1950) pioneered Akira Kurosawa's dream tryst with success and paved the way for the Japanese master to become one of the most influential moviemakers of his time. The sole purpose of Rashomon is to accentuate the subjectivity of truth vis-à-vis its absoluteness — an incident is described from the perspective of four different persons, wherein each person comes up with a completely different version of the incident. The concept of Rashomon, though well ahead of its time, sowed the seeds for creative innovation in the world of cinema.

The Seventh Seal

Ingmar Bergman

In The Seventh Seal (1957) Bergman is at his most imaginative and insightful in portraying the battle of life versus death. The Swedish movie is a metaphorical account of a knight returning home from the Crusades. He is haplessly pitted against the grim-reaper (personification of death), who lets the knight decide his fate through a game of chess. Bergman brilliantly complements the tones of melancholy and pessimism with those of euphoria and optimism. The Seventh Seal is strongly indicative of the human ability to rise after a fall, which allows him to snatch victory even from the jaws of defeat.


Andrei Tarkovsky

Directed by the Russian moviemaker, Andrei Tarkovsky, Stalker (1979) is regarded by many as a prototype in the sci-fi genre and presents cinema at its most enigmatic. The synergy of its hypnotic background score and picturesque cinematography makes the movie poignant as well as visually stunning. The movie had been shot on an experimental film and couldn't be developed. The incident nearly destroyed Tarkovsky, who eventually reshot it with a highly reduced budget. The movie presents a deep insight into the complexities associated with life, while simultaneously questioning some of the established beliefs.

Un chien andalou

Luis Bunuel

French moviemaker, Luis Bunuel is regarded by many as the pioneer of surrealism in cinema. Un chien andalou (An Andalusian Dog), a silent movie is a sequence of bizarre and surreal images: a straight razor seems to be placed by a woman's eye; a cow's eye is slit open, a woman pokes at a severed hand in the street with her cane; and a man's hand has a hole in the palm from which ants emerge. An Andalusian Dog (1929) was Bunuel's maiden attempt at surrealism, through which he not only opened the doors for the irrational and the inconceivable on the celluloid, but also added a new dimension to the hitherto stereotypical cinema.

Eyes Wide Shut

Stanley Kubrick

Regarded by Kubrick as his very best, Eyes Wide Shut (1999) is incredibly brilliant and sui generis. It's an elixir for sore eyes; a panacea for perturbed souls; a true psychedelic pleasure. Like most of his avant-garde works, Eyes Wide Shut is open to speculation and can be interpreted in a number of ways.

Eyes Wide Shut is snubbed by many on the account of eroticism, but on the contrary, the movie is aesthetic as well as thought-provoking. The cinematography is awe-inspiring to say the least and is well complemented by the haunting background score. Those that almost made it:

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Sergio Leone

12 Angry Men: Sidney Lumet

Rear Window: Alfred Hitchcock

The Treasure of Sierra Madre: John Huston

La Dolce Vita: Federico Fellini

Aparajito: Satyajit Ray

The Prestige: Christopher Nolan

The Godfather: Francis Ford Coppola

There Will Be Blood: P.T. Anderson

Mohammad Murtaza Ali is an assistant systems engineer from Delhi. He is a diehard lover of cinema.

Keywords: World cinema