The one that really made me start to explore more interesting, “artsy” film was THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY. I guess those long, atmospheric shots just triggered something in me…
The Godfather got my interest going, and it all took of from that point on.
What a great topic. So interesting to read everyone’s thoughts.
IN my childhood, I had been watching mainly American Cinema (my father was a huge American Cinema fan). Granted we watched pretty classy stuff, Sidney Pollack, Woody Allen… but we were also into the big Hollywood blockbusters… One day, in my mid teens, I was invited by a friend to watch “Faraway, So Close” by Wim Wenders. I fell in love with the plot, the use of color, the different languages spoken… It was a far cry from the American films I was used to.
Some time after that, I strayed into a Truffaut film festival on my way home. There was a screening of Farenheit 451. I was enthralled by the bright colors, the camera angles and the perfect rendition of a book I loved…
I found myself avidly seeking out foreign film festivals as they were my only shot of watching avant-garde cinema, experimental cinema or foreign cinema. There was no Bittorrent back then (late 90’s) and buying DVDs on amazon was not something everyone could do in Chile.
The moment, though, that really sealed the deal for me was the day I left the movie theater, after watching “Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain”… I realized I was elated. The colors, the dialogue, the narrative, the plot… all that French! The message: that any life can be extraordinary no matter how simple it is. But above all the imagery and the use of color.
And then I knew my Cinema taste was changed forever. And now I’m much more inclined to foreign films (understanding foreign as not American) and/or indie cinema (American, etc). ;)
Matthew Barney’s “the Cremaster Cycle”-I was already interested in video art by the time I started watching these, but the scope and pacing were what mostly stood out to me the most. They also introduced me to the idea of film being an exploration or experience of a concept or place. Simultaneously I became interested in Stanley Kubrick and 2001 for this same reason. They also introduced me to Matthew Barney as a mutli-medium artist and got me interested in general contemporary art.
Martin Scorsese’s “The Age of Innocence”-Made me realize how much I love anything period/history-related.
Satoshi Kon’s “Paranoia Agent”-Ok, it’s a mini-series, but it stood out to me, and showed that there was still Anime that was on the level of a film, and didn’t base itself on stupid fantasy shit.
i had a friend in high school who liked good films and he recommended/let me borrow a few that stuck out in my mind
a clockwork orange – i had never seen a movie so brutal and honesty and entertaining at the time
american beauty – it’s message seemed so profound and refreshing
basketball diaries – it’s brutal subject matter attracted me
elephant – i never knew directors ever employed such long takes!
I guess the film that really drew me into the beauty of film watching would be ‘Trainspotting’.
I saw it when I was 12, and at the time I was blown away because I’d never seen any thing like it before.
I then saw ‘Kids’ when I was 13, and that was the point where I decided I wanted to watch more and more films.
I guess now in time, nearly everything I watch changes me.
Cool Hand Luke. I first saw it around the time Shawshank came out back in high school. I think it is the reason I got into classic movies which led me into foreign films.
MARY POPPINS … LATE SPRING … What time is it there?
Highlander , when i was young . eraserhead later on
“If . . .” Blew my ming in a shabby arthouse theater on a North Texas summer day in the mid-1980s. I’ve been looking to re-capture the sensation.
The Blue Angel – high school German class. It blew my mind how Emil Jannings played Rath’s descent.
Two films stick out for me, the first being Yojimbo by Kurosawa. I saw that film when I was around 14 and it was unlike anything I had ever seen before. I was going in expecting some trashy Samurai film and was blown away from the cinematography, story, dark humor. Afterwards began my first foray into ‘good’ with films like The Usual Suspects, Trainspotting, Memento, some of which I was probably way too young to really appreciate. The second film had to be Fritz Lang’s “M” which I saw when I was around 18. Again it was unlike anything I had seen up to that point, an absolutely fantastic film, still up there for my favorite film of all time. It completely broadened my scope of film.
Au Revoir Les Enfants – The beauty of this film opened the door for me to world cinema.
“Satoshi Kon’s “Paranoia Agent”-Ok, it’s a mini-series, but it stood out to me, and showed that there was still Anime that was on the level of a film, and didn’t base itself on stupid fantasy shit.”
…there is yet much for you to learn.
Edward Yang’s “A Brighter Summer Day.” Not the change I felt when I first watched the films of the nouvelle vague as a teen, but the jaded rut I was in for the past year or so. This film gave me a nice powdered painstakingly beautiful backhanded slap to the face as a reminder never to stray.
3 films that changed me:
The Godfather part II
The Third Man
The Brothers Bloom
Where the Wild Things Are
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Synecdoche New York
I Heart Huckabees
]The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
Away We Go
Une Femme Est Une FemmeRear WindowSchool of RockFinding Forrester
Oh, gosh, and how could I forget! Chungking Express!
La Dolce Vita. I turned into a complete film buff after watching that.
There were two films that changed me forever—and both were by the same director.
When I was 12, I saw EAST OF EDEN for the first time. (We only had a black-and-white TV, so it was several years before I saw the film in widescreen color.) Apart from my falling in love with James Dean—who, I was shocked to learn from my mother, had been dead seven years!—I realized in watching this film that the actors weren’t just mouthing lines and randomly moving here and there: Someone, namely Elia Kazan, was guiding them.
Three years later, I finally saw—again on TV—ON THE WATERFRONT, which my parents had been telling me about for what seemed like forever. I was so electrified by the experience that I vowed to become a film reviewer. When I was a Cinema Studies grad student at NYU in the mid 1970s, the editor of a small film paper called “The Thousand Eyes” asked me to write about a film connected with an upcoming revival-house series. So it came to pass that ON THE WATERFRONT became the subject of my first film article, titled “The Agony of Kazan’s Informer.”
The Gold Rush
The Clockwork Orange
Two English Girl
The Story of the Late Chrysanthemums
Wings of Desire, saw it when it came out way back when — 3 times! Truly like being in someone’s head as they dreamed, thought, fantasized.
Such a shame that I don’t remember any.
Vincent Gallo’s films were another turning point for me though.
400 Blows and The Mother and the Whore back to back – I get goosebumps now just thinking about it
two things got me into cinema: watching 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days, and being mocked by my best friend and my ex-girlfriend for not knowing who humphrey bogart was (after that i determined to “culture” myself in the world of cinema, and i guess i got carried away)
as for movies that ACTUALLY changed me:
Stalker (I still think about this movie almost every day)
Au Hasard Balthazar
It’s Fight Club that changed me. and also Half Nelson.
The Dark Crystal has a huge impact on me as a kid. It affected the way I thought of fantasy films and opened my eyes to a world that was so much more exotic, more wondrous, and more frightening than Wizard of Oz. After that, I would compare so many fantasy films to that film but I regard it as one of a kind. Sleeping Beauty was one of the first Disney films that put me in awe of animation, music, and fairy tales.
As I got older, films that had a strong effect on me at a maturer level were:
Sleepy Hollow (the first R-rated movie I went to see; the first time I’d seen gory violence, including decapitations, yet being enchanted by the Gothic look)
The Lord of the Rings (its enormous CGI effects and vast ground battles amazed me with what fantasy was capable of)
Heat (hearing so many F bombs for the first time, yet being captivated by the dialogue, the violent life of crime, and the respectful relationship between a cop and a criminal)
In the Bedroom (watching a film that deals so solemnly and hauntingly with tragedy and how it affects everyday lives with very little music)
The Ice Storm (seeing how some families are not perfect can be so cold and detached, which makes it a very depressing life; also one of the first i’d seen dealing heavily with teenage sexual urges and promiscuous sex)
Traffic (intrigued me with the gritty depiction of the underworld of drugs and with its mixture of different colors and documentary-like style that made it very real to me)
The Piano (seeing how a film can be poetic and artsy as well as being romantic and dramatic at the same time)
Chinatown (gave me a heavy downer of how unjust and unfair society is, no matter how hard you try to put a stop to it, yet at the same time realizing how memorable an unhappy ending can be than a happy one)
The Godfather (opened an inside view of the underworld with a humanity towards gangsters and how epic their stories can be)
2001: A Space Odyssey (showed how a film doesn’t need words and action to be awe-striking, but relies on the power of the images and the sound of classical music)
Breaking the Waves (a film that could hit me so hard over the head with the nature of suffering and traumatize me so much with how broken and helpless a woman can be)