Jun 25, 2012

What is the most beautiful film in the world?

From the top: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Days of Heaven, Raging Bull, Blade Runner, Playtime, Raise the Red Lantern, Manhattan, Barry Lyndon, Pierrot le fou, Paris, Texas, Black Narcissus,  The Conformist, The Double Life of Veronique, The Night of the Hunter and The Royal Tenenbaums. Here are David Thomson's thoughts on the Malick film:-
'... Such beauty is a tricky thing. It's not that photographic beauty is actually that difficult: the art of the camera begins with making the world look pretty, elegant and desirable when, in truth, it's far more complicated. That's why so much advertising is so good-looking; it makes us want to purchase. Thus, beauty sometimes can smother meaning... The heavenly feeling in the movie is not really there in what happens to the people. The plot is full of tragedy, loss and separation, and of a briefly glimpsed paradise that cannot sustain human shortcomings. But heaven is there in the light on the grass, in the romantic aura of a house and in a few people in a place where there is no one else.'
And here is Anthony Lane on Raise the Red Lantern, sounding a similar note of caution:-
'Can a film be too beautiful? It is not a question that gets asked much these days...  The film may lack the emotional vigor of its immediate predecessor, the great “Ju Dou,” yet there is brio in its wielding of color that even Michael Powell, fresh from “The Red Shoes,” might have applauded'
I once had the good fortune to ask the art critic David Sylvester what his definition of art was. He responded, "a leopard moving too fast to notice how beautiful it is." I'm not one for definitions on the whole, but this one has gotten me out of a few tight corners. The films above are all leopards of various spots, sizes and speeds — more suggestions welcome. 


  1. Black Narcissus, The Night of the Hunter, Barry Lyndon...decisions are hard.

  2. I second Black Narcissus. Also the other great Wim Wenders: Paris, Texas. Amelie is visually stunning too.

  3. Also can't forget Roger Deakins' work in Kundun.

  4. a place in the sun

  5. Spirited Away, Kwaidan, 2046, Thin Red Line

  6. Thank you! I've gone with 'one filmmaker one film' as a rule and have added Paris Texas, Night of the Hunter, Black Narcissus, Playtime. I want to get Deakins in somewhere but not sure which film....