10) Rashomon (1950)
Akira Kurosawa’s mesmerising tale about the subjective accounts of a murdered Samurai introduced the world to Japanese Cinema. Its imprint can still be traced in films as diverse as The Last Jedi and Isle of Dogs. As a budding lover of film, it vividly demonstrated to me the power of weather and nature in cinematic storytelling.
9) Wild Strawberries (1957)
Admittedly, Wild Strawberries is a warmer and less bleak affair from Ingmar Bergman. But it’s quandaries about ageing, legacy and fatherhood are still palpable. Additionally, its lush and trance-inducing use of black and white are as impressive as any of the Expressionist films of the early days of the medium.
8) Before Sunset (2004)
The Before Trilogy is an impressive and charming exercise in making conversations seem authentic and urgent. Collectively, the films depict the eroding nature of time and its effect on love and one’s worldview. Before Sunset is touching in its depiction of rekindling romance and intriguing in its question of whether it can be sustained after so many years.
7) Blade Runner (1982)
Even in light of a spectacular sequel, Blade Runner has lost none of its originality or power. Ridley Scott’s vision of a rain-drenched, globalised and impoverished 2019 Los Angeles still remains one of cinema’s great creations. And the film’s philosophical questions about the essence of the soul and memory remain haunting.
6) Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)
How to do you remake one of the most influential German films of the silent era? Hiring Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski to illustrate the humanity of the vampire’s immortal existence in all its sad and amusing colours is not a bad way to go.
5) Young Frankenstein (1974)
Young Frankenstein is an excellent showcasing of how to make a spoof movie. The shadowy black and white photography, bombastic score and elaborate production design lovingly embrace the Universal Monster Movies. And Gene Wilder’s performance as a scientist who persistently fails to keep a measure of calm and restraint is the hilarious cherry on top.
4) Phantom of the Paradise (1974)
Brian De Palma’s gonzo and trashy reinterpretation of the Phantom of the Opera represents the pinnacle of cult moviemaking. Even within the confines of its excess is a genuine sense of an auteur in the making. The eclectic array of music by Paul Williams does not hurt either.
3) The Dark Knight (2008)
Christopher Nolan’s engrossing and gut-wrenching crime drama is a potent illustration of the heights that the comic book movie can reach. Using The Long Halloween and The Killing Joke as a foundation, the Nolan brothers construct a narrative that explores the ethical lines that three characters are challenged with when facing the societal embodiment of pure anarchy.
2) Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)
George Lucas’s seminal space fable is perhaps the most earnest movie ever made. Combining elements from World Cinema, Saturday Matinee Serials and spirituality, Star Wars is a paradigm of cinematic world building and retro romanticism that never ceases to inspire me.
1) Rushmore (1999)
Rushmore is a sincere coming of age drama that illustrates how art can transform from being an expression of egotism to a valuable tool in uniting people. Wes Anderson’s reinvention of Bill Murray as a figure of malaise is sublime and watching the director’s carefully constructed ascetic in a looser form is a treat. The film also happens to be sweet, funny and quaint.