15 movies that will always stay with me

Casablanca

Recently, there had been a couple of memes spreading around on Facebook where people challenge one another to name 15 films that will always stay with them, within 15 minutes. (other iterations of this meme include literature, video games etc. which I will post some other time)

For now, I will elaborate upon the 15 films that I named off the top of my head.




Laputa: Hayao Miyazaki

My first Hayao Miyazaki film. Watched it on VHS when I was 8. Fell so utterly in love with it that I watched it over and over again, in three consecutive nights. This film is like first love, even though the other Miyazaki films had all been amazing, unique experiences, the feeling of first watching Laputa was different.

Casablanca: Michael Curtiz

When I was 14, the American Film Institute came up with its list of top 100 greatest films of all time. I decided to watch the first few films on the list. Casablanca was my favourite. I watched it almost every weekend, memorizing its lines, getting my heart broken again and again when Rick sacrificed love for the greater good. We'll always have Paris.


The Mission: Johnnie To

In one of those school holidays in 1999, my cousin sister and I watched lots of Hong Kong films on VCD. One of them was Johnnie To's THE MISSION. At that time, my cousin told me that his films were "interesting" (I didn't realize then that he was the director of numerous Stephen Chow and Chow Yun Fat films I grew up watching).

Once I reached the iconic shopping mall scene. I knew this was something unlike anything I've ever seen before.


8 1/2 : Federico Fellini

Borrowed this from the university library when I was in Murdoch. My first Fellini film, the black and white was glorious, it was black and white, but it was vibrant with life.

City of God: Fernando Mereilles

Saw this also when I was in Perth. It was 2006. I finally started to study filmmaking, pursuing a lifelong dream. Like many of the films on this list, I watched it repeatedly in a span of few days. I cannot exactly remember the first time I watched it, but I remember bringing it into the editing suite in university just so I could experience the film even more.

I knew this film was something when a Buddhist nun I knew was raving over it too.


San Soleil: Chris Marker

I watched this in its entirely around 2008, during one of my first few weeks in Tokyo. Bombarded by images, and poetic voiceovers/ philosophical musings, it was my first experience with an essay film. It would later inspire me to do something similar with a short film. Also influenced my editing style quite a lot.


Yi Yi: Edward Yang

My first Edward Yang film happened to be his last. I watched this not too long after his death in 2007. Its novelistic scope was something very new to me then. This memorable scene, where the father met his ex-flame and recounted their previous love, while intercutting with scenes of the daughter's first date, was absolutely memorable.

I would later try to employ this editing style on Ming Jin's WOMAN ON FIRE LOOKS FOR WATER.


Chungking Express: Wong Kar Wai

This might have probably been the first WKW film I watched, because it was always showing on TV back in the day. But I didn't really fall in love with it until I was in my early twenties. When I finally understood his films more.

Stalker: Andrei Tarkovsky

My first Tarkovsky film, in 2009. He would become a filmmaker I'm most influenced by. (although no one would really detect the influence)


Mirror: Andrei Tarkovsky

My second Tarkovsky film. Watched it immediately after Stalker. Its depiction of fragmented memories influence me until today.


Brighter Summer Day: Edward Yang

I watched this also in 2009. I was intoxicated by its sheer ambition, and the vivid characterization.


Satantango: Bela Tarr

Since I could survive a 4-hour film like BRIGHTER SUMMER DAY, I decided to try a couple of other long films, like Bela Tarr's 7.5 hour SATANTANGO and Fassbinder's 10-hour BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ. The latter was actually more a TV miniseries. SATANTANGO, however, was an actual movie. With memorable long takes. And 15-minute intense speeches.


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: Michel Gondry

Because of this film. I didn't want to see Jim Carrey in a comedic role again. This scene will stay with me.


Hirokazu Koreeda: Distance

This wasn't my first Koreeda film (Hana was), but this was the first Koreeda film I watched when I became aware of who he was. Atmospheric, mysterious and wonderfully acted. I am reminded of scenes where a wife had to tell a husband she had joined a cult, of someone who was about to betray his cult etc.


Goodfellas: Martin Scorsese

I saw this only two years ago. Can you believe it? Late 20s. Already knew about Scorsese all my life, saw all of his post-2000 output, aware of his greatness, was one of the sole defenders of THE DEPARTED. But in 2012, I slowly decided to revisit his earlier masterpieces like Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull.

Goodfellas became my favourite Scorsese film.

Almost wished I've seen this earlier in my life.