The list is endless but these are essential viewing, especially if you love film. In the Mood For Love by Wong Kar Wai, probably the most beautiful film ever made is above and more below. You actually don’t even need subtitles for In the Mood because it is so impeccably shot and poetically told that the words become totally inconsequential to understanding the story, which is also timeless.
Vivre Sa Vie by Jean Luc Godard is another one that is so gorgeous it’s hard to take your eyes off the screen, so much inspiration in one place, this is the classic of all classics. I actually like this one, which is his second film, more than his timeless first, Breathless. The dancing scene above is one of film history’s best moment’s ever.
Raise the Red Lantern by Zhang Yimou, one of the greats of the Chinese New Wave.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High by Amy Heckerling. Well, obviously this is on the list.
Clueless, also by Amy Heckerling, who is a genius. Yes, this belongs on a list with these other films. It’s a classic just like Cher.
Little Vera by Vasily Pichul, is one of my all time favorites. Fabulous Soviet-era 80s fashion statements aside, this is a total New Wave Russian classic that begs to be watched again and again. It is hysterically funny at times, totally depressing at other times and absolutely brilliant at all times. Vodka shots with pickles recommended during viewing.
Killer of Sheep by Charles Burnett is one of the best films ever made and one of the first films I saw as a freshman at Bard. It changed my life and the way I saw film and photography forever. I basically spent the next two decades knocking off the images I saw here. This one and Vivre Sa Vie are responsible for the way I photograph and see the world. I love this film so much. It was released theatrically years after it was made (1977) because Charles Burnett couldn’t afford the music rights for the film and the film community got together and raised the money for him years later because it is that kind of film.
The Mirror by Andrei Tarkovsky, another totally depressing but beautiful must see from the Russians.
Lead Shoes by Sydney Peterson is one of the coolest films ever. Period. The whole short film above.
Flower Thief by Ron Rice, another cool classic must see about and with The Beats.
Zero De Conduite by Jean Vigo. There is a pillow fight scene in the middle of this film that will change your life. Or at least make you want to write poetry and pick up an old camera.
It goes without saying that you should also see everything by Jim Jarmusch and Lars Von Trier.