My definition of a favorite movie is one that you will stay up and watch right when you are tired and ready to go to bed. Just like a rule I have about never changing the radio station if Stevie Wonder is playing, I have a rule that if any of the following movies is on when I’m ready to go to bed, I must stay up and watch it ’til the end, or off it comes from the list.
They are in no particular order:
Fa Yeung Nin Wa (In the Mood for Love) Wong Kar-wai
Love the look, the costumes, the acting, the score, the direction and the story of two people who find each other when they suspect their spouses of having affairs. I love the tension of two people falling for each other when they know they shouldn’t and how refined Tony Leung Chiu Wai looks in this movie. So cool.
Chungking Express – Wong Kar-Wai
Yup, another Wong Kar-Wai production. This was the first movie of his that I saw, and I’ve watched it probably half a dozen times and still find something new and amusing about it. Great performances, this time from Tony Leng Chiu Wai and Faye Wong.
I think of this movie every time I buy pineapple. Watch the movie and you’ll learn why.
Le Pacte Des Lups (Brotherhood of the Wolf) Christophe Gans
Oh this is my all time favorite “wolfman” sort of story. I love the time period it is set in (1760′s), love the way they treat the American Indian character (even if it is sort of ridiculous) and just really love the script. I remember the first time I watched it and how it pulled me in and made me forget about trying to out the mystery before the end. It took me on a great ride and I appreciate that every time, even now after several watchings. And it has Monica Belluci, who I think is the second most beautiful woman in the world.
The Duellists – Ridley Scott
It is 1800 and Napoleon is the scourge of Europe, destroying everything in his path. Two soldiers, Feraud and d’Hubert cross paths and swords in what is only the beginning of an obession that will last a lifetime. My first Ridley Scott movie. Again, love the time period. And love both Harvey Keitel and Keith Carradine (who I think is under rated as an actor).
Fantastic fight choreography, which I was studying at the time.
Le Grand Bleu (The Big Blue) – Luc Besson
The film that made me start this list because for some reason a local TV station must have gotten the rights to it or something, because I kept running into it late at night. My first Luc Besson movie. My first movie with Jean Reno. Considering my greatest fear is drowning, I’m drawn to this movie like a moth to the flame. It’s about free divers and the competition between two men, an obsessive relationship much like the one in The Duellists.
Not a great trailer, but does show a neat water effect that I’ve always liked.
Leon (The Professional) – Luc Besson
It was Le Grand Bleu that led me to The Professional. Luc Besson and Jean Reno. I had no idea what it was about when I rented it. Boy was I in for a surprise. A very young Natalie Portman stars in this classic about a hitman and a child. I’ve always wished for a sequel called Mathilde.
Wings of Desire – Wim Wenders
I must have watched this movie a dozen times when it first came out. I could listen to Bruno Ganz deliver his lines over and over and over again. I love everything about this movie, including its notions of God, Love and Desire. The library scene is one of my favorites.
Shall We Dansu – Masayuki Suo
The 1996 original with Koji Yakusho and Tamiyo Kusakari. It is so sweet and so charming. It was a great date movie when M and I were dating.
Cinema Paradiso – Giuseepe Tornatore
No suprise here. On lots of people’s lists. I love the idea of searching out a lost love. Yes, the ending makes me cry too. But I think kissing in the rain is even better.
Blade Runner – Ridley Scott
My second Ridley Scott entry, this time in the sci-fi arena. I am a huge science fiction film fan and will watch just about anything, no matter how bad it is. But I think that this is probably my favorite sci fi film of all time. It is certainly the one that I have been able to watch again and again and get something new out of each time. It was this film that made me interested in science fiction literature, as well as (curiously) origami. That in turn led me to get interested in Japanese culture, literature and film, which subsequently led me to a lot of my very favorite things, including many of the films on this list.