Top Ten Visual Masterpieces (Day One)

There is one thing I stress whenever I discuss film–it is the medium of images. That is what sets it apart from books, music, and even theatre (which is really more about character and dialogue). When you watch a film you’re fixed on a point of changing images and that is how the filmmaker captures you. Images can make you feel delighted or disgusted. They can make you hate a character or love them. If a picture is worth a thousand words, than a movie scene (even a silent one) is worth millions. Anybody can tell a story, but filmmakers have to show it, and some are much better than others at doing so. Occasionally a film comes along that is so visually captivating you don’t even need words to enjoy it. I’ll count down the top ten most visual striking films available on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon.

#10
Belle de Jour (1967)

Belle de Jour is an enthralling account of Severine (Catherine Deneuve), a thrill-seeking trophy wife who becomes a willing prostitute in a local brothel. The sensuous plot and psychologically tense atmosphere are created with shots of such warmth and intimacy that you’ll be completely drawn into this woman’s strange life. Director Luis Buñuel was THE pioneer of surrealist cinema and understood imagery and emotion as well as anybody in the business. This is his masterpiece, and it well worth a watch.

Available on HuluPlus

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#9
8 1/2 (1963)

8 1/2 is a bizarre look inside the life of a struggling artist. Guido (Marcello Mastroianni) is trying to put together a film, but he still has no script and is tormented by his inability to create what should be an easy movie. As a result the film is filled with bizarre reminiscences and dream sequences. Reality and fiction are blurred. You’ll have no idea what’s going on, but it’s a damn beautiful mess to be caught up in.

Available on Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video

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#8
Apocalypse Now (1979)

Available on Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video

Apocalypse Now has a special kind of beauty. It isn’t cheery. It isn’t charming. It isn’t pretty. This is no fantasy, it’s the worst kind of reality. The story follows a group of American soldiers during the Vietnam War who are sent down the river on an assassination mission. The target–a defected officer from their own Army, Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando). The images in this film are haunting and oppressive. The jungle of Cambodia provides a chaotic backdrop for the madness that is happening in the war, and in the minds of the men who are fighting. The images are so strong they create a physiological effect on the viewer. This one is a classic, so maybe you’ve seen it. If you haven’t, get on it. If you have, watch it again.

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