Bicycle Thieves (1948), Vittorio De Sica

An Italian neorealist masterpiece of immense stature and influence, Vittorio De Sica’s 1948 Bicycle Thieves, a film with an apparently simple story, has so much to say about political, psychological and social issues, the human condition and the complexity of life.

bicycle-thieves-2What would you do to feed your family? Anything? To what extent would you hold on to your morals when threatened by hunger and humiliation? Would you commit a crime in order to survive? It is a blessing mankind have invented the TV, the comfortable armchair and DVD discs… Thus we pass judgement and moralise on other people’s choices, sure that we do not ever have to face hardships like they do. How can a film like Bicycle Thieves [Ladri di Biciclette] convey such a multitude of meanings, each of them so simple and yet so profound? Continue reading

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Stanley Kubrick

A richly allegorical and visually striking masterwork, Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 2001: A Space Odyssey is for some, pretentious and uneventful, and yet for others, it is the ultimate work of art which deals with some of the most fundamental philosophical questions.

2001-a-space-odyssey-2Since The Killing, his breakthrough movie, Stanley Kubrick could not put a foot wrong. He made one great film after the other. Just a few other filmmakers (perhaps, auteurs like Tarkovsky or Malick) can rival his ratio of masterpieces-to-films-made. In other words, it is hard to decide on his ultimate masterwork: the movie that defines his legacy. So, as 2001: A Space Odyssey stands tall in his oeuvre, maybe elbowing past Paths of Glory, A Clockwork Orange and The Shining to the top, it deserves to be called a special film indeed. Continue reading

In the Mood for Love (2000), Wong Kar-Wai

A visually imposing and thematically superlative film, Wong Kar-Wai’s 2000 In the Mood for Love, a deceptively simple story of random love, subjects viewers to a tough moral dilemma in dealing with the all too important question of how to keep one’s integrity after being hurt.

in-the-mood-for-love-2If there ever was a movie, beautiful enough to be displayed as a coffee table book, that had to be In the Mood for Love [Fa yeung nin wa]. Every single frame of Wong Kar-Wai’s film is a work of art; a poem made up of yellow, orange and red; a widescreen canvas, painted with flowering dresses and cigarette smoke. What’s most incredible about the movie is that its cinematography is not even the most significant aspect of its magnificent whole. Thematically, this masterpiece (definitively a 21st century Top 10 film) reaches unimaginable levels. Continue reading