I keep a long list (400+) of films that I consider to be my favourites. You may see that as lengthy or idiotic that I may have that many films I consider ‘favourites’ but it’s more that, being the sad person that I am, like to rank films I’ve seen, and these are all those that I’ve ranked 4/5 and up. When it gets to the top 100, I consider those films to be special to me. Despite that, some of them I have only seen once for one reason or another. These are the Top 10 that fall into that category.
10. The Lives of Others
The knowledge that events in The Lives of Others occurred is still as interesting as this story for me. Despite that, the detail of the story with all its intricacies and subtleties is powerful stuff, yet at the same time highly unsettling. Despite my love for it, I have no reason why I have yet to watch it again, with this list maybe the remainder I needed to crack open the DVD again.
9. L.A Confidential
A film I haven’t seen for so long, one that single handedly launched the careers of Russel Crowe and Guy Pearce. It’s a perfect modern take on the film noir with a greater depth of character, with the city of Los Angeles playing the lead role. Definitely in need of a rewatch.
8. Goodbye Lenin!
When I get round to it, Goodbye Lenin! will be an easy rewatch. Its story of a mother coming out a coma after the Berlin wall has fallen and her son cushioning the shock by pretending they still live in communist Berlin is hilarious through and through. The moment to look out for, or to even watch on Youtube, is a great scene in which a statue of Lenin comes flying through the streets of Alexanderplatz to the amusement of me and bemusement of the characters.
7. The Deer Hunter
I may have only seen the film once, but I’ve watched ‘that’ scene many times. It has been many years now since I watched Deer Hunter and so I wonder if it’ll live up to my old rating, as little of it sticks in mind. Despite that, I will never deny its ever lasting legacy and poignant portrayal of the inner destruction the Vietnam war had on American troops.
6. Chungking Express
Chungking Express ranks highly on my favourite films list, but for the life of me I can’t remember much about it. The first thing that pops into my head is the Mamas and the Papas track ‘California Dreamin’. I think that comes from a lot of the sentiment of Roger Ebert, who says if you go with Chungking Express for the plot, you’ll probably be frustrated. Instead, focus on the energy and style of Kar Wai Wong and with that you’ll be pleased.
5. La Grande Illusion
One of the best war films there has ever been. The story of several French officers planning their escape as prisoners of war is one of the great humanistic stories of cinema. There isn’t much action going on to call it a true war film, but this is a film of moral intelligence, of the similarities across nations and the true reasons behind such horrors, which often boils down to nothing more than economic interests.
4. The Human Condition Trilogy
A lot of films in this list I will probably watch again one day, or at least have the capability to watch them again. The Human Condition Trilogy however, I will never watch again. Not only is it 9 hours 39 minutes, but it maybe the most soul crushing trilogy of all time. It follows the life of Kaji, a Japanese pacifist and socialist as he tries to survive during WWII Japan. As you grow to know Kaji more and more, you empathise with his struggles to the point where you become his only friend, the only one in his life rooting for him to survive. If you feel up for the challenge, I implore you to give it a chance.
3. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring
This one is a difficult one to describe in hindsight. The film takes place at a Buddhist monastery that floats on a lake in the middle of a forest. The story itself chronicles the life of a monk with each season representing a certain part of that life. Not only is the film beautiful to look at, it’s a perfect depiction of life and ageing stripped bare, with each part of the monk’s life an honest interpretation of the loves and trials we all go through.
2. Das Boot
I felt physically sick watching Das Boot. Vicarious claustrophobia hit me like a freight train as the camera worked in such tight spaces to show you the life of these men aboard a WWII U-boat. It’s an amazing film, filled with suspense, excitement and life threatening situations over and over and over until you are literally out of breath, knowing that the tiniest thing to go wrong on that boat means death for everyone. Despite being an amazing film, it’s those reasons why I probably have yet to revisit it.
One of the most harrowing movies I’ve ever seen. The story of Mr. Watanabe; a simple man who finds out he has terminal cancer, is as inspirational as it is devastating. I was an emotional wreck after watching Ikiru, with Watanabe’s struggles to find love and happiness in his final days bringing me to an emotional wreck. For me, this is Kurosawa’s greatest, a movie that made me think and empathise with a man so simple and everday, dealing with something we could all go through with, and doing something amazing we all have the potential to do.