What Criterion films, or any others for that matter, would you consider to be the most beautiful? I’m referring to storyline, dialogue, score, scenery, framing, the actors themselves, etc all rolled into one pretty package. Though I already have a few picks of my own, I’d like to know your recommendations for future pleasurable viewing activity.
I don’t get why these stupid double posts keep occurring.
I personally think that Michel Gondry’s films, while they can be a bit on the wacky side, all have some beauty to them, especially Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Science of Sleep.
Les Enfants du Paradis
i really enjoyed children of paradise; visually poetic, inspiring and beautiful
In terms of sheer visual gorgeousness, I’d nominate L’Avventura, Barry Lyndon, A Touch Of Zen, Motorcycle Diaries, In The Mood For Love, Floating Weeds, Days Of Heaven and Juliet Of The Spirits as all being something special.
In sentiment, Yi Yi and after life are in a class of their own.
Cocteau’s “Beauty and the Beast” is one of the most visually enchanting films I’ve ever seen. Josette Day is luminous as Belle and the atmosphere is so lovely, so easy to get swept away…
A lot of Wong Kar-Wai’s films are also very beautiful. Even though I wasn’t impressed with My Blueberry Nights as a whole, it was still very beautiful and showcased his style seen in films like In the Mood for Love and Chungking Express.
Beauty and the Beast and L-avventura are both pretty solid answers…
Une femme est une femme
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Killer of Sheep
Playtime (just visually speaking)
Wings of Desire
Before Sunrise/Before Sunset
So on, so forth. There are so many and each is usually beautiful for a different reason. Listing one would be painful.
The Fall and a second for Beauty and the Beast. The Good, The Bad and the Ugly comes to mind also.
Port Of Shadows (I find beauty in it…sorry)
Cinema Paradiso was rather touching
I’m not always a fan of technicolour, but Renoir’s “The River” was beautiful.
A documentary by Makoto Sato called Living on the River Agano. It is of the most beautiful kind; extremely moving.
Hands down “In the Mood for Love”. Every single shot.
Thanks for all the great recommendations so far, everyone!
Catherine, I was not as impassioned by My Blueberry Nights as other WKW films, but it was still lush in its own way.
I’m also a big fan of Children of Paradise. Gorgeous.
I would add: The Double Life of Veronique and Three Colors: Red. Never seen an actress so beautifully captured by the lens.
The Mothering Heart, D.W. Griffith
Peter Ibbetson, Hathaway
I Know Where I’m Going, Powell & Pressburger
Le Plaisir, Ophüls
Dr. Zhivago, Lean
Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, Demy
Barry Lyndon, Kubrick
Days of Heaven, Malick
The Age of Innocence, Scorsese
In the Mood fro Love, Wong Kar Wai
More, and more
“Children of Paradise” and “Days of Heaven,” certainly. There was a day, too, when I thought “The Black Stallion” was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.
Ozu and Tarkovsky use longer takes and careful consideration for composition so the images linger and sustain on screen. I think this is such an important element of beauty, that you can just let an image wash over you. So my picks would include Stalker and Floating Weeds (also in David’s list). There are so many movies where I love the way they look but I wouldn’t call it beautiful. Like 4 Months 3 Weeks 2 Days. So amazingly shot and perfect for the story, but it’s not the same as beautiful for me.
Ugetsu, The Thin Red Line
First and foremost I’d like to wing my hat celestial and crown the already considerable Wong Kar-Wai pile. Along with ‘In The Mood For Love’ and ‘Chungking Express’, I’ll chance fury and play risky kibitzer advancing a viewing of ‘Days of Being Wild’, a picture less polished, but abounding in great augur for what might be to come from the sophomorical Shanghai master. I also suggest Khlebinkov and Popogrebsky’s ‘Koktebel’, a lesson in bleak poetry and tacit stoicism, a film of stark and painful pulchritude which plays as a window onto Russian man in those purgatorial hinterlands which are the hardy flesh of that wintry nation of pine and snow. Sokurov’s pan-historic tour of The Hermitage in ‘Russian Ark’ for pure ingenuity and mastery of cinematographic craft, not to mention scenes of rollicking populous spectacle to rival the beauty, impressiveness and ostentation of Kubrick’s ‘Barry Lyndon’ or Greenaway’s ‘The Draughtsman’s Contract’ is a great good thing indeed. Cocteau’s ‘Orphée’ is surreal black-and-white brilliance. Both ‘A Bout de Souffle’ (Breathless) and ‘Bande à Part’ (Band of Outsiders) by Godard are hip-and-slick French gangster flicks way cooler than cool. Films by Wim Wenders such as ‘Wings of Desire’ and ‘Paris, Texas’ are wonderful watching. Luis Bunuel’s touch is that of a comedic Midas. I plump particularly for ‘The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie’. Fellini’s often but not wantonly extolled ‘La Dolce Vita’ meets with ‘Otto e Mezzo’ (8 1/2) to couple as two of the aptest examples of how beautiful and confused the post-Risorgimento-reality of that peculiar peninsular-promontory has played out.
I thought “What Dreams May Come” was beautiful.
Since this is about the most beautiful films, I would add Days of Heaven (Malick). Especially the new Criterion release. Black Narcissus and Notorious I would add to that list.
The Assassination of Jesse James was wonderful in the way it blended images and score.
Last Year at Marienbad (Resnais)
Man With The Movie Camera (Vertov)
Pierrot le Fou (Godard)
Inland Empire (Lynch)
Battleship Potemkin (Eisenstein)
Also, anything Malick.
“The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford” and Cocteau’s “Beauty & The Beast” have already been mentioned, but they were both among the very first films that sprung to my mind. “Grand Illusion” is also achingly beautiful, not so much in terms of visual style (which is quite nice to look at, mind you), but rather because of its tone and what it has to say about our better angels. “Lost In Translation” and “Persepolis” are, like the Jesse James film, among this decade’s most beautiful motion pictures. Keaton’s “The General” is visual perfection. “McCabe & Mrs. Miller” is another feast that deserves consideration here. One that might be a bit of a dark horse is Peckinpah’s “Junior Bonner.” It’s an incredibly beautiful, elegiac little poem to the passing of a generation that he spent practically his entire career chronicling, sometimes violently (“The Wild Bunch”) sometimes gently (this, “Cable Hogue,”) and sometimes splitting the difference (“Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid,” “Ride The High Country”)