Metropolis (1927), Fritz Lang

An iconic silent sci-fi masterwork and a landmark in the history of cinema, Fritz Lang’s 1927 Metropolis, this dystopian vision of man, his toys and his imagination, is paradoxically too prescient and visionary to be a real threat to the modern economic and political status quo.

metropolis-2Fritz Lang’s Metropolis outlines all that’s wrong with humanity. In its apparently naïve message and melodramatic plot structure, the film condemns technological advance as a means of exploiting age-old class divisions in society. Publicly, members of the elite, helped by useful idiots and not-so-useful cretins, scoff at the notion that so much power is concentrated in so few hands, but privately, they laugh unrestrained and yet not out loud as not to disturb the servants downstairs. 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

Stalker (1979), Andrei Tarkovsky

A subtle science fiction masterpiece, Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 Stalker, this visually stunning and enigmatic film about human curiosity, spiritual fulfilment, hope and desire, goes on an existential quest, which will delight some and infuriate others in equal measure.

stalker-2The divide between plot-led and character-driven stories creates misunderstanding and hostility among film-lovers. What for one group is a nuanced and detailed tale, for another is nothing else than a boring and overlong story. What some people admire in certain Hollywood blockbusters is seen by others as mindless and bloated entertainment. A further chasm is created by a third group of films – allusive, metaphorical and imagery-preoccupied ones – made by true auteurs like Malick or Kieslowski, and especially, Russian master Andrei Tarkovsky. Continue reading