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Favorite Film Endings

by Monsieur Arkadin
The Wayward Cloud almost hurts because of just how long those last few shots hold. It’s funny how much emotional ambiguity there is in this scene. I find it terrifying, my wife finds it darkly romantic. Both impressions are lasting ones. I’ve never seen a movie that ends with such profoundly felt ambiguity before or since. …But I Don’t Want To Sleep Alone sure comes close. Tsai is one of the masters of modern film endings. Any number of his films could easily be on this list, but in a sheerly aesthetic sense this is his best ending. Sometimes the image of that floating mattress just pops into my head late at night. Le Bonheur is my favorite… Read more

The Wayward Cloud almost hurts because of just how long those last few shots hold. It’s funny how much emotional ambiguity there is in this scene. I find it terrifying, my wife finds it darkly romantic. Both impressions are lasting ones. I’ve never seen a movie that ends with such profoundly felt ambiguity before or since.

…But I Don’t Want To Sleep Alone sure comes close. Tsai is one of the masters of modern film endings. Any number of his films could easily be on this list, but in a sheerly aesthetic sense this is his best ending. Sometimes the image of that floating mattress just pops into my head late at night.

Le Bonheur is my favorite Varda film. The turning point near the end which forces you to reassess everything about Jean-Claude Druot’s character and all the previous events sends a sort of chilling chain reaction through the final minutes of the film. We are forced to witness a twisted inversion of the opening scene, the music now altered to reflect how we feel about this new version of the montage and it’s implications for this family and the darker aspects of family life in general.

Synecdoche, New York: The movie devolves more and more into an wispy dream state until “die.” Stated so sharply and matter of factly that I physically jumped. It ended on a jump scare, which makes sense. It is a horror movie after all. That maybe just doesn’t become clear until this final moment.

That Obscure Object of Desire is the perfect encapsulation of Bunuels amazing career. I can’t think of a more fitting way to end it than this. Perfectly surprising and unsentimental. Similar to his entire oeuvre.

The Passion of Anna was another film that made me jump once I realized it was over. Like coming out of a coma. Bergman pushes the zoom till he’s barely giving us a comprehensible image. He takes a lot of heat for his theatricality, but few filmmakers have given us a moment as purely cinematic as the final shot of this film.

The Third Part of the Night just builds into a perfect rhythm during it’s final 10 minutes. Blending past, present, and future with reality and fiction seamlessly until they blend together to form a cohesive whole. Zulawski is someone I generally associate with sort of plodding endings. This film and _L’important C’est D’aimer" are the two exceptions.

The Third Man has such a brisk pace, that the final shot feels like it goes on forever in comparison. Which is perfect because it allows us to reflect on this relationship, predict hope, and finally just experience what what the most inevitable outcome.

The Social Network left me giddy. There’s a lot to be said for the perfectly timed cut.

Dillinger is Dead and Jeanne Dielman both end in a very similar way. Both endings are so exceptional because the body of the films build to them perfectly. Both domestic prisoners find a way to break free. Funny too, that for both Jeanne and Glauco freedom comes at the expense of the person of opposite gender lying in their bed.

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