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What are the 10 movies every intellectual person must watch?

1: Robert Eggers’ “The Lighthouse”

Two lighthouse keepers battle insanity as they are trapped on a lighthouse island together. Where is the breaking point for the mind?

The Lighthouse is all about madness, myth, and superstition. Robert Eggers’ nautical nightmare follows a pair of 19th-century lighthouse keepers — Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe) and Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) — who spend their days getting drunk and feeling isolated. Paranoia and psychosis eventually set in.

Through it all, the lighthouse stands a symbolic depiction of strength, inaccessibility and constancy. So close, yet so far. One goes through life reaching for the heart’s desire, but rarely attains it. Your life is thus a process of constantly moving towards, of yearning, of desiring.

2: Joachim Trier’s “The Worst Person in the World”

A favourite Norwegian movie. There is a lot to gather in a life with a direction, however not knowing what you want can hurt you. But might that just be a good thing?

Trier’s 2021 feature, the third in his loosely related Oslo trilogy, is not about the worst person in the world, rather, it explores how people can feel like the worst when tripping, stumbling, making mistakes, and changing directions while on this unmapped and bumpy journey that is life.

3: Andrei Tarkovsky’s “The Mirror”

An autobiography by the Russian maestro Andrei Tarkovsky. You cannot help but think that the scenes you are watching comes from a specific memory from this great director. Still one of the most beautiful movies ever made.

Tarkovsky has intended Mirror to be seen as a Mobius-strip rhythmical expression of the Present giving birth to the Past in the form of Memories and the nature of Future as something that is always ‘becoming’ and therefore never is.

4: Darren Aronofsky’s “Requiem for a Dream”

A hard look on addiction, and how it can overtake a life completely. Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream, based on the novel of the same name, is a harrowing tale that primarily deals with the perils of drug addiction. But its greatness lies in how it extends its theme to narrate a moving story of loneliness, grief and the dangerous human tendency to use a quick fix.

5: Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner”

When technology is so advanced that humans and machines look, feel and think exactly like humans, when can we consider them human? Is the human experience exclusive for people who were born from a womb? This movie will make you question what constitutes a human being.

On the other hand, “In a way, Blade Runner can be thought of as the ultimate cautionary tale,” he says. “Has there ever been a vision so totally bleak, one that shows how environmental degradation, dehumanisation and personal estrangement are so harmful to the future of the world?

6: Thomas Vinterbergs “Another Round”

Four high school teachers hold a constant amount of alcohol in their blood as a part of an experiment to see if it improves their life. This Danish movie gives a look into when a life doesn’t feel like “enough”, and how these four characters try to fix this… With booze.

The writers were inspired by a theory put forward by Norwegian psychologist Finn Skårderud that humans are born with a 0.05% blood alcohol level shortfall. “If we had it, it would, in his words, enhance creativity, courage and inspiration,” says Vinterberg in 2021.

7: Gus Van Sant, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s “Good Will Hunting”

This cult classic is about Will Hunting (Matt Damon), a genius in every aspect with a troubled mind. A therapist (Robin Williams) comes into Will’s life, and they form a bond that will change their lives forever.

In short, Good Will Hunting is all about positive thinking and, thus, nothing new. It’s such a 90s film. However, its importance lies in the universality of its message and in the way it manages to convey emotions and, finally, provides the audience with an optimistic message without it being mere entertainment, according to an internet review in December 2021.

8: Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange”

This masterful movie about Alex, a young man who revels in violence, rape and Beethoven symphonies is forced to undergo rehabilitation. Will he be able to keep his individuality, or will the state bring him back into the reigns of civilisation?

Shmoop review concludes that the film deals with the limits of power and freedom. The film explores the difficulties of reconciling the conflict between individual freedom and social order. Alex exercises his freedom to be a vicious thug until the State turns him into a harmless zombie no longer able to choose between good and evil.

The central message of A Clockwork Orange seems to be that the freedom to choose (good or evil) is fundamental to mankind. Indeed, this element of moral choice distinguishes humans from machines and robots.

9. Hannes Holm’s “A Man Called Ove”

Another Scandinavian movie. Ove is a grumpy old man, tired of life and living. He tries several times to kill himself, but keeps getting interrupted by the new and very friendly neighbour. He never would have thought they would form such a bond together, and she helps him deal with his troubled past and look a little lighter on life.

Devin Justesen, a photographer, digital marketer and blogger, in a review of the movie in 2018 described Ove as a story of resilience, regaining one’s perspective on life, and truly living it again. To quote the novel,

“Death is a strange thing. People live their whole lives as if it does not exist, and yet it’s often one of the great motivations for the living. Some of us, in time, become so conscious of it that we live harder, more obstinately, with more fury. Some need its constant presence to even be aware of its antithesis. Others become so preoccupied with it that they go into the waiting room long before it has announced its arrival.”

10: Paulo Sorrentino’s “The Hand of God”

This beautiful and charming movie takes place in Napoli and is an autobiography of Sorrentino himself. It explores his life, and his memories are put to the screen in a very intimate way, and how his interest for moviemaking came.

Ultimately, the ending makes an insightful statement about overcoming tragedy and finding one’s own place in the world. Fabietto is able to let go of his grief — while never forgetting his parents — in able to set a course for himself. Not even his idol Capuano could direct him to follow anybody but himself, according to review.

Quora and Agencies

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