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Mesmerizing films


zen

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This topic is not necessarily about best or favorite films but about films that mesmerized you for a variety of reasons including theme, storytelling, acting, cinematography, score, emotions, locations, etc. In a way, such a film is more impactful (on a personal level) than a best or a general favorite film (though a best or a favorite film can be one that mesmerized you) as this is about an ongoing connection with the film where its elements stay with you, making you reminiance or wonder at its uniqueness at times. 

 

First name that immediately comes to my mind, and may be this one is my top favorite as well, is Black Narcissus (1947). Released just a few months before  India's independence, the story is about a group of British nuns where they faces challenges at a remote location in India. The atmosphere and the location, which is actually a set, is hypnotic.  Apart from the location and the theme, the cinematography, the score, and the ensemble cast are good too. in short, mesmerizing:

 

 

 

 

Will add more films later! 

 

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The 2nd one is Lawrence of Arabia (1962). This one is due to two factors - a) the aural-visual effect through its score & cinematography, and b) the location where desert is calm and pristine.

 

The visuals of vast endless desert paired with the iconic score by Maurice Jarre can transport you to that period. It helps that the film has a great ensemble cast. 

 

 

 

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The 3rd one, this is in random order, is The Conformist (1970). 

 

For a) cinematography & score, b) the period, and c) the acting of Jean-Louis Trintignant! Some of the story elements can be revolting but the film's overall style leaves a strong impression, making you ruminate. 

 

It has one of the coolest title sequences: 

 

 

 

Edited by zen
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The man from Earth.

 

Nothing tops this movie for me. Please do yourself a favour and watch this one. Its a Fantasy Sci-Fi movie which takes place in a single room. The full movie is available on Youtube for free. It's a dialouge heavy movie. So do watch it with English subtitles.

 

 

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Rounding off to 5 films, and as I mentioned there is no particular order, the 4th one is Late Spring (1949)

 

This is not a film for those looking for a fast paced one. This film is an example of transcendental style of filmmaking. What connects with me is its simplicity, focus on culture (Japanese with its traditions, discipline, and code of conduct), and zen philosophies. The camera angles reflect the eye level view from the seiza (traditional way of sitting position) and compositions reflect zen art.

 

IIRC, the film was shot during US occupation of Japan, but it only gives minor hints to that such as through a Coca Cola sign:

 

Late_Spring_Coke.jpg

 

Edited by zen
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The last but not the least, the 5th one is The Three Colors Trilogy (1993-94). 

 

The three films - Blue, White, & Red are based on the French motto of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity and the respective names reflect the colors of the French flag ... Emotional story lines, good acting (an aged Jean Louis Trintignant is in Red), and cinematography are standard features as in the other films that I listed, however, the score by Zbigniew Preisner is twice mesmerizing ... I listen to the score many times, esp. when I am working out, which makes me watch the films, which make me want to listen to the score - a virtuous cycle! 

 

 

 

 

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To summarize, "the 5" (technically 7) in the order of release:

 

Black Narcissus (1947)

Late Spring (1949)

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

The Conformist (1970)

The Three Colors Trilogy (1993-94) 

 

Will try to add more if/when in the mood for it! (PS the phrase "In the Mood" already reminds me of a mesmerizing film ...)!

Edited by zen
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Mesmerised is a strong word, but I found myself quite riveted by the recent "All Quiet on the Western Front" . It is grim and bleak, the depiction of war is brutal (its whole point of course) all aided by a pretty sombre soundtrack.

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On 2/22/2023 at 2:06 PM, zen said:

To summarize, "the 5" (technically 7) in the order of release:

 

Black Narcissus (1947)

Late Spring (1949)

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

The Conformist (1970)

The Three Colors Trilogy (1993-94) 

 

Will try to add more if/when in the mood for it! (PS the phrase "In the Mood" already reminds me of a mesmerizing film ...)!

in the mood for constipation... one of the greatest films of all time; a man's courageous fight against his constipation, and how, in the end, he was able to fully let go... of his s**t

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Posted (edited)

I, probably, will not add more films to the original list of 5 as additional films can potentially dilute a list, however, will make a few honorable mentions in 3 groups and within each group, the films are in the order of release!

 

 

Group A - Sophistication in storytelling, acting, production design, cinematography, score, etc. These films feel like well crafted, almost perfect, and stylish products. 

 

The Remains of the Day (1993) - Was nominated for 8 Oscars, however, lost many to Schindler's List (1993), a film that touched upon certain horrific events of WW2. In the previous year, Ivory-Merchant's Howards End (1992) received 3 Oscars so maybe this one got bypassed. 

 

In the Mood for Love (2000) - I hinted about it in my previous post. 

 

 

Group B - A cultural dive. Both these films have won the Oscar for the best foreign film. 

 

The Secret in Their Eyes (2009) - Emotional story with some great acting. 

 

A Separation (2011) - Among the best works from Iran, which probably makes the best "meaningful" films esp. in Asia, along with the 40s-60s Japan.

 

 

Group C - As an impactful (and relatively different) package esp. screenplay and acting 

 

Do the Right Thing (1989) - A rare film that touches upon explosive topics.

 

Pulp Fiction (1994) - A cool film with memorable acting.

 

 

:beer:

 

Edited by zen
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