Ever since cinema established itself as a form of art, countless films have been created; countless superb and strong and awe-worthy films.
That is one of the reasons why the choices on this list were so exceptionally hard to make. But there are some films that touch us in a secret, intimate place, deep within our heart, and after we leave the theater we are never, ever the same, not completely.
They change the way we perceive things. They change the way we see the world and the way we feel. In a way, they change our lives. So without further ado, here are the 7 films that will leave deep and lasting marks on your very soul.
Back in 2000-2001, PTA said that he believed “Magnolia” would be his best film ever. And he had a point. A study on luck, coincidences, and the invisible forces that drive and join people, “Magnolia” is a funny, strange, and heartbreakingly human film, in which all the characters struggle for the same things we all do: happiness, redemption, and freedom.
2. No Country For Old Men
It would be overly ambitious of me to try and fit an adequate interpretation of the Coen brothers’ film into one paragraph, so all I can say is that this is a movie that has level upon level of meaning. With Xavier Bardem fleshing out the inevitability of death and the randomness of chaos in one of his strongest performances, this movie will slam into your head one simple fact: You can’t stop what’s coming.
3. The Tree of Life
Terrence Malick’s largest and most ambitious project to date won the Palme d’Or and divided critics. Like all of his films, it’s worth watching simply for the stunning visual beauty. However, “The Tree of Life” is much, much more than just a beautiful film. It is a cosmic, transcendental film. It searches for the meaning of life, from the beginning of creation to a small family. And it asks all the right questions.
4. Grave of the Fireflies (“Hotaru no Haka”)
This movie will not present you with existential, or large scale questions, or philosophical musings. But it will change your heart. It is the story of two siblings being orphaned and left to fend for themselves during WWII in Japan. Any further descriptions will not do the movie justice.
5. Fight Club
Ah, “Fight Club”. Where do I even begin with this one? The movie that revolutionized the way many, many men see the world. The first shock comes when you first watch it; you realize the pretentiousness and meaninglessness of consumerism and materialistic self-absorption.
The second shock comes when you realize that the ensuing “revolution” is, itself, a satire, mercilessly taunting itself. The movie will get you thinking. What am I doing? What is it that defines me? How can I liberate myself? Will it have meaning, or is everything still just a copy of a copy of a copy?
6. The Fountain
Darren Aronofsky has given us some wonderful features, that linger and haunt us long after we’ve watched them. “The Fountain” is a little gem that, because of its grandness, can easily be misunderstood.
At its core, it is a love story. One man trying across time and space to get back his love from the clutches of the inevitable; death. At the same time, it is an exploration of how we come to terms with death; decay; and our own perishing.
This balance between love and death, along with the stunning visuals, will give you an unforgettable experience.
7. Life is Beautiful
“Buongiorno, principessa!“. Decades after Roberto Benigni’s film about a father who tries to shelter his son and family from the horrors of WWII in a Nazi concentration camp, “Life is beautiful” remains relevant as a lesson on optimism and preserving one’s humanity and childlike innocence safe and intact from anything life might throw at us.
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