Film has always held a special place as the art form most capable of producing a profound and lasting impact on me. The combination of sight and sound, of musical score, cinematography, and the creative use of space is supremely capable of transporting me beyond the boundaries of the “self”, to a different dimension in which I lose myself.
I especially appreciate epics like 2001: A Space Odyssey (if you’ve seen it, you must visit that link), the original Star Wars trilogy, and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which I think connect to a deeper part of our consciousness, that latent and less evolved form of ourselves, which helps us to transcend everyday reality and explore other realms of being. There’s a certain usefulness, or utility, to the ability to forget oneself, to experience life beyond the “I”, which movies like these help to cultivate.
Another favorite genre is social commentary, like that found in Easy Rider, Donnie Darko, V for Vendetta, and The Wall; all powerful movies that force us to look at ourselves in a different light, putting aside our preconceived ideas, and allowing us to transcend the societal urge to conform, assimilate, and fit in.
There is also tremendous value in comedies like The Royal Tenenbaums and I Heart Huckabees, which invite us into the tumultuous lives of people just trying to figure it all out, and make due with what they’ve got. Personally, I find the combination of Philosophical mind-bender and laughter-inducing-hilarity to be quite a potent and attractive duo. These two movies perfectly encapsulate my idea that while we need to take life seriously, we should do everything possible to avoid doing the same with ourselves.
And finally, as of the past few months, I’ve started down what I fear could be a dark and lonely road, and begun watching some of the classic Anime films. So far I’ve found Anime incredibly engrossing, especially since most of what I’ve watched has been so loaded with philosophical undertones (overtones would probably be more accurate). It seems to me that Anime often refuses to settle for traditional answers, rejecting the status quo, a conservative outlook, and traditional beliefs, and instead seeks to question everything. I found Neon Genesis Evangelion, Akira, and Ghost in the Shell especially powerful.
As always, if you’ve got other suggestions, feel free to drop me a line. I’m always on the look out for that next gem!