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Favorite Film Beginnings

by Monsieur Arkadin
Hiroshima Mon Amour, Persona and Post Tenebras Lux are the three definitive film beginnings for me. All of them left me in awe of what this medium is capable of before I even had a complete handle on what the film was going to be. Once you’ve been absorbed by the opening of these films… it’s hard not to be excitedly awaiting whatever could possibly come next. Un Chien Andalou: One of the single most enduring images throughout cinema history and it’s the very beginning of Bunuel’s first film. That’s tough to beat. Werckmeister Harmonies: Bela Tarr is pretty good with beginnings. This one is my favorite because it’s probably one the sweetest,… Read more

Hiroshima Mon Amour, Persona and Post Tenebras Lux are the three definitive film beginnings for me. All of them left me in awe of what this medium is capable of before I even had a complete handle on what the film was going to be. Once you’ve been absorbed by the opening of these films… it’s hard not to be excitedly awaiting whatever could possibly come next.

Un Chien Andalou: One of the single most enduring images throughout cinema history and it’s the very beginning of Bunuel’s first film. That’s tough to beat.

Werckmeister Harmonies: Bela Tarr is pretty good with beginnings. This one is my favorite because it’s probably one the sweetest, dreamiest scenes in his entire filmography. I also love it when a film just throws you into its world, like the deep end of a pool, and demands that you either swim or sink.

F for Fake is definitely a sink or swim type of beginning. The sheer amount of information being thrown at you is overwhelming. Orson Welles is playing hypnotist and starts the film by purposely moving all the rugs with the intention of preventing you from getting your footing. It’s a movie that demands you come along for the ride… and relinquish whatever control you thought you had.

The Wayward Cloud is similar to Werckmeister in a way. It simply begins. There is a significant part of the story that has already played out before the first shot even appears, and you’re left with no choice but to try to immerse yourself in a world that will just continue to exist, with or without you.

Day For Night‘s introduction is a lot like having a pleasant dream, then suddenly being awakened from that dream to realize it’s Christmas morning in real life.

Mulholland Drive starts with a jitterbug contest which looks a bit like the commercial for an early generation iPod. The fact that David Lynch is capable of making this profoundly upsetting is one of my favorite cinematic mysteries.

The Naked Kiss starts after the beginning. Just the way Andrzej Zulawski likes it. You get thrown in, disoriented and overstimulated into P.O.V. shot in which you are under attack. I can’t think of a better way to encourage audience involvement right from the start.

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives: Because apparently I have a thing for cows and sunsets.

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