I sometimes wonder why I enjoy watching movies. I have no solid answers to that but the closest answer is perhaps I am addicted to the deep feelings that arise inside me after watching a great movie. I want those feelings to be repeated and I keep on searching for movies that will give me that feeling. This feeling is not a singular feeling but a symphony of feelings, of joy, of sadness, of sympathy, of empathy, of hope, of admiration, etc.
A recent acquaintance asked me if I can recommend some movies for him to watch and he is interested in world cinema. He likes to watch movies too but they are of more recent ones (read: Hollywood). Well, I told him modestly (which is the truth) that I have not really watched many movies and compared to some people I know, what I have watched or know is like a speck of sand in the desert. I have never been to a film school and whatever I know or have watched is by way of recommendation from friends and also own curiosity.
Anyways, here’s the list that I gave him and it reflects the movies that I feel is great (therefore subjective). In no particular order:
1. Tokyo Story (Yasujiro Ozu)
2. City of Sadness (Hou Hsiao-hsien)
3. Nights of Cabiria (Federico Fellini)
4. Shanghai Blues (Tsui Hark)
5. Dersu Uzala (Akira Kurosawa)
6. Charulata (Satyajit Ray)
7. Salaam Bombay (Mira Nair)
8. To Live (Zhang Yimou)
9. Grave of the Fireflies (Isao Takahata)
10. Kes (Ken Loach)
Two European, Two Indian, Three Japanese, Three Chinese. I hope the choice is ok and not too heavy and I am not too carried away. It is not quite easy as so many movies popped into my head and to choose only a handful is so hard. For example, from Taiwan, Edward Yang’s “Yi Yi” and Tsai Ming Liang’s “The Hole” comes to my mind instantly but I have settled on “City of Sadness”. From Hong Kong, Tsui Hark and Wong Kar Wai popped into my mind immediately but Tsui Hark is more representative I thought but which Tsui Hark? “Peking Opera Blues” and “Shanghai Blues” popped up but I have always have a slight bias for “Shanghai Blues”, probably because I love the theme song but “Peking Opera Blues” is truly a magnificent movie. What about Majid Majidi’s “Colour of Paradise”? From Kurosawa, would “Ikiru” be a better recommendation compared to “Dersu Uzala”? Should I recommend one from the “Apu Trilogy” or would “Charulata” be a better introduction to Satyajit Ray? Would “La Strada” be a better choice compared to “La Dolce Vita” or perhaps “Nights of Cabiria” would be a more accessible Fellini? Where is Totoro?? and on and on and on….
Well, it’s a short list of 10 movies and after he is done with that and is still interested, the plan is to give him the next 10 anyways. So there is still a lot more time in the future. This sounds like fun :)
Here’s the video clip of the Theme Song from “Shanghai Blues”. Enjoy!