Films, despite their youth as a medium, have the power to awe us like no other creative form. Their scripts and cinematography, when combined, provide one of the most compelling cultural experiences possible. They take the audience on a roller coaster ride. But there are some films that stick with you for a long time, in part because of the difficulty in comprehending them. Here are ten films that genuinely push the boundaries of understanding.
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1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
In general, human people have a difficult difficulty comprehending the concept of space and the cosmos at large. Since Gravity and Interstellar came out, there has been a boom in the popularity of films set in space, including The Force Awakens. 2001: A Space Odyssey, directed by Stanley Kubrick and written by science fiction legend Arthur C. Clarke, has long been hailed as a masterpiece. The film explores topics of existentialism, human evolution, artificial intelligence, extraterrestrial life, and human evolution, among other things. It’s a movie that’ll make you feel little since it’s so full of wonder.
2. DMT: The Spirit Molecule (2010)
The title of a film about dimethyltryptamine, DMT: The Spirit Molecule, demonstrates how practical scientists can be (DMT). In addition to being the most powerful psychedelic on the planet, DMT is a chemical that is found in practically every living body. Filmmaker Mike Schultz, utilizing Rick Strassman’s book of the same name, investigates the molecule’s long-hidden secret. A number of people have reported experiencing religious experiences, visions, disembodied consciousness, and emotions of tremendous significance after taking it. A video and study that makes us reevaluate our feelings and piques our curiosity about the underlying physics of our everyday experiences.
3. Fata Morgana (1971)
This list might include a slew of Werner Herzog films. Many of his films have us questioning the subject matter, and his famous voiceover adds a lot of weight to the seemingly inconsequential items. It’s hard to look away from Fata Morgana, which is one of Herzog’s more mesmerizing works. During a trip to the Sahara in 1969, Herzog traveled to collect photos of mirages in an attempt to document the enormous desert. Long, dreamy tracking shots are supported exclusively by a spoken narrative of the Mayan creation myth and Leonard Cohen songs. Stunning; a film that ponders the nature of reality and truth.
4. I Heart Hucakbees (2004)
For first-time director David O. Russell, whose credits include The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle and other box-office smashes, and first-time screenwriter Jeff Baena, whose Life After Beth was widely derided. One of the greatest philosophical films of this century, I Heart Huckabees feels like a film that you can still learn something new from after watching it hundreds of times. When people hire existential investigators, the film follows a husband and wife duo that probe the meaning of their lives for clients. It’s a complex idea that necessitates a lot of thought, but it’s also a lot of fun.
5. Ikiru (1952)
Leo Tolstoy’s novella The Death of Ivan Ilyich served as an inspiration for parts of Ikiru, and there are many parallels between the two works when it comes to morals. Following a bureaucrat, played by Takashi Shimura, who is diagnosed with terminal cancer, the film explores his search for meaning in life. We all have trouble accepting the reality of our own mortality, and this magnificent, epic film confronts many of the themes that we would otherwise avoid confronting. Resonant, moving, and thought-provoking, this is a film that will never go out of style.
6. Love, Reality and the Time of Transition (2011)
One of the most comprehensive films on world development that I’ve seen in recent memory. New Age movements, reality-creation, quantum physics, objectivity and subjectivity are among the issues that are explored. Conspiracy theories, psychopathy, and the value of self-improvement are all discussed in relation to these overarching topics. Love, Reality, and the Time of Transition is an inspiring, thought-provoking, and encouraging piece of writing that is both captivating and overpowering at times. To further encourage viewers to fully interact with the film’s many topics, which are covered over the course of its under two-hour running time, music is featured throughout.
7. Sans Soleil (1983)
There is a growing trend in documentaries to try something new, to make an impression on the audience in ways other than by bombarding them with voice-over, presenters, and talking heads. When it comes to experimental documentaries, only a handful can match the brilliance that is
Without the Sun. Filmmaker Chris Marker takes viewers on a meditative trip through the nature of human memory, and hence how views of personal and global histories can be influenced, in this travelogue/philosophical discourse. Most of the footage was taken in Japan and Guinea-Bissau, far from the usual haunts of western filmmakers. A film that challenges the viewer’s preconceptions of what constitutes fact and fiction.
8. Synedoche New York (2008)
Several of Charlie Kaufman’s films, like Werner Herzog’s, may have been considered for this list. It’s hard to deny that the writer’s trademarks are there in these three films: Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Being John Malkovich all deal with identity and reality. In his directorial debut, Kaufman takes all the lessons he gained from his previous films and crafts something that is highly compelling and recognized by some critics as one of the best films of the 2000s. On the big screen, Philip Seymour Hoffman plays an increasingly ambitious stage production’s director who struggles to keep the lines between fiction and reality clear. When the film’s many motifs are examined in depth, it becomes an immensely difficult task. A film that makes you reevaluate not only your outlook on life, but also your views on the performing arts and fiction in general.
9. The Tree Of Life (2011)
Terrence Malick’s The Tree Of Life is unquestionably his finest work. Initially, the picture was met with a polarizing response, but it has subsequently been widely hailed as a work of genius. Waco, Texas, is the setting for this story on the origins and meaning of life, which follows an older man. Time travel and images depicting the beginning of life on Earth are used in an experimental drama film that breaks away from chronological storytelling. Among the best ever shot, the film’s cinematography gives the picture a depth and richness that lingers in the minds of viewers long after they leave the theater.
10. Under The Skin (2013)
For an extraterrestrial, what would it be like to live in the world we live in? In what ways would humans and an alien coexist? Aliens’ chances of surviving on Earth are slim. Under the Skin, one of the best films of the last decade, raises a number of fundamental topics and themes. As a mysterious woman who goes throughout Scotland seducing random men and women, Scarlett Johannson assumes the role of an alien. Much of the film’s mood is determined by its setting, with music and set design influencing much of the atmosphere. In this film, a journey of discovery and a closer look at the weirdness of much of our daily lives are both demonstrated.