The X greatest films I have ever seen

Who doesn’t adore being transported, even for evanescent instants, into worlds that reveal them resonating or novel, empathetic parts of their selves or of the surrounding humanity? I undeniably do. And as am into screenwriting too (currently working on my second film script, even though haven’t even gathered the decisive courage to send my first out yet!), I repeatedly watch, with admiration and a bit of envy, those films whose creators have had such stunning inspirations that their messages linger on us years after visualization, moreover that they generate various impulses (of life changing decisions even) within our beings. Yes, because I am (aiming to be) a  (great) “words crafter”, I think more of those who imagine and devise brilliant pieces of art than of the ones who interpret their works, the actors; the rarely known, written and talked about (screen) writers. Consequently, this list is assembled on (my favorite) lines not images, as after all, even though these two intimately associated and necessary, the elaborated bundles of letters decide what will remain indelibly carved in our memories or will insolently and justifiably be discarded.

  • Ce que le jour doit à la nuit (What the Day Owes the Night), 2012                           The film is based on one of the most haunting novels I have ever read, written by Yasmina Khadra. A splendid story of existence, origin, history, friendship, love and regrets.

“If you can grasp what the waves are telling you, you can walk on water. I’ve never tried to walk on water. What can waves tell us anyway? When age replaces time, the world’s horizons become our memory. Today, the future is behind me. Only the past lies ahead.”

“The man who lets the most beautiful story of his life slip through his fingers, will only live with regret and all the sighs of the world won’t relieve his soul…”

  • The Book Thief, 2013                                                                                                     Also based on the book of the same title written by Markus Zusak. An authentic lesson of profoundness, compassion and devotion in times of terror.

“One small fact. You are going to die. Despite every effort, no one lives forever. Sorry to be such a spoiler. My advice is, when the time comes, don’t panic. It doesn’t seem to help. I guess I should introduce myself properly. But then again, you’ll meet me soon enough. Not before your time, of course. I make it a policy to avoid the living. Well, except sometimes. Once in a very long time….I can’t help myself. I get interested.”

“It’s always been the same, the excitement and rush to war.  I’ve met so many young men over the years who have thought they were running at their enemy. When the truth was, they were running to me.”

“A person is only as good as their word, Liesel. Do I have yours?”

“Memory is the scribe of the soul.”

“In my religion, we’re taught that every living thing, every leaf, every bird, is only alive because it contains the secret word for life. That’s the only difference between us and a lump of clay. A word. Words are life, Liesel. All those blank pages…they’re for you to fill.”

I don’t understand. What did he do so wrong?”                                                                 “He reminded people of their humanity.”

  • Kelebeğin Rüyası (The Butterfly’s Dream), 2013                                                       Written, directed and acted too (!) – polyvalence of quality is a precious rarity – by writer and poet Yılmaz Erdoğan. Raw, evocative and factual. It illustrates the lives of two struggling poets, Rüştü Onur and Muzaffer Tayyip Uslu.

“Optimist or pessimist – who is braver?”

“Don’t invite misery. We have plenty of it already. Keep up your poetry. We’re obviously good for nothing else.”
“Misery is an excuse for poetry.”

“How are the books selling, Muzaffer?”
“I had an interesting offer from the nut man.”
“What was that?”
“He’d pay 2.5 lira for all the books.”
“Why does he want books?”
“To make paper cones for his nuts.”
“What did you say?”
“I said, <<But this is poetry!>>
And he said, <<But people will read it when they finish their nuts!>>”

“As I lie on the cross of years
The days stone my body
Nailed to my horizon
Seasons come and go
Rain clouds
Who knows whether
My lidded pot boils
With meat or misery?”

  • Good Will Hunting, 1997                                                                                               The screenplay created by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. Some do more than acting (basically and roughly: faking – believingly and beautifully but still faking – emotions in front of a camera, for altruistic and just purposes). And sometimes academic education needs not be associated with an institution or another.

 “You don’t know about real loss, ’cause it only occurs when you’ve loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much.”

“Do you have a soul mate?”
Define that.”
Someone you can relate to, someone who opens things up for you.”
Sure, I got plenty.”
Well, name them.”
Shakespeare, Nietzsche, Frost, O’Conner…”
Well that’s great. They’re all dead.”
Not to me, they’re not.”
You can’t have a lot of dialogue with them.”
Not without a heater and some serious smelling salts.”

  • Mona Lisa Smile, 2003                                                                                                   Written by Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal. A feminist and pertinent perspective on existence at a specific  point in time, all flavored with visions of art.

“I’ve heard her called a quitter for leaving, an aimless wanderer. But not all who wander are aimless. Especially not those who seek truth beyond tradition; beyond definition; beyond the image.”

I thought that I was headed to a place that would turn out tomorrow’s leaders, not their wives.”

  • Dead Poets Society, 1989                                                                                               Written by Thomas H. Schulman. Only few beings are perfectly irreproachable in their interpretations, just as the incredible Robin Williams was in this film (and others). And only a few grasp that “art is liberation for the poor, and caprice for the rich” (can’t remember who said it!).

 “They’re not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they’re destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? – – <> – – hear it? – – <<Carpe, carpe diem>>, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary. “

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

  • I Origins, 2014                                                                                                             Written and directed by Mike Cahill. Marvellous.  Because it indirectly hovers around the most fascinating (to me) scientific domain – Genetics (and reminded me about a procrastinated dream of PhD), because it subtly implies that still something/someone might be above it all. Who doesn’t dream of higher significances that transcend the skin and what’s concealed within? (Only the insipid ones.)

 “Do you know the story of the Phasianidae?”
“The… No, what’s that?”
It’s a bird that experiences all of time in one instant. And she sings the song of love and anger and fear and joy and sadness all at once. And this bird… when she meets the love of her life… is both happy and sad. Happy because she sees that for him it is the beginning, and sad because she knows it is already over”

“There is no proof that there is some magical spirit…uh, that’s invisible, living above us, right on top of us…”
“How many senses do worms have?”
“They have two. Smell and touch. Why?”
“So… they live without any ability to see or even know about light, right? The notion of light to them is unimaginable.”                                                          
“Yeah.”
“But we humans… we know that light exists. All around them… right on top of them… they cannot sense it. But with a little mutation, they do. Right?”
“Correct.”
“So… Doctor Eye… perhaps some humans, rare humans… have mutated to have another sense. A spirit sense. And can perceive a world that is right on top of us… everywhere. Just like the light on these worms.”

“I do believe we’ve known each other since forever.”
“Really?”
“Yes. You know how? When the Big Bang happened, all the atoms in the universe were all smashed together into one little dot that exploded outward, so my atoms and your atoms were certainly together then and… who knows, probably smashed together several times in the last 13.7 billion years, so my atoms have known your atoms and they’ve always known your atoms. My atoms have always loved your atoms.”

  • Patch Adams, 1998                                                                                                                 Based on the book Gesundheit: Good Health is a Laughing Matter, by Adams and Maureen Mylander. Witty, captivating and eccentric. For the ones who follow their dreams without regard to age, outer perceptions and obstacles.

“All of life is a coming home. Salesmen, secretaries, coal miners, beekeepers, sword swallowers, all of us. All the restless hearts of the world, all trying to find a way home. It’s hard to describe what I felt like then. Picture yourself walking for days in the driving snow; you don’t even know you’re walking in circles. The heaviness of your legs in the drifts, your shouts disappearing into the wind. How small you can feel, and how far away home can be. Home. The dictionary defines it as both a place of origin and a goal or destination. And the storm? The storm was all in my mind. Or as the poet Dante put it: In the middle of the journey of my life, I found myself in a dark wood, for I had lost the right path. Eventually I would find the right path, but in the most unlikely place.”

“See what no one else sees. See what everyone chooses not to see… out of fear, conformity or laziness. See the whole world anew  each day!”

  • Stealing Beauty, 1996                                                                                                           Written by Bertolucci and Susan Minot. Delightful. Because despite the ludicrous accessibility, from a carnal point of view, of the people  in the current times, some still aspire to “fall in love” before giving themselves, still seek to find a bit more in the other than a suitably attractive physical carcass – tool of fleeting pleasure.

“Can I see?”
“No! I mean…I never let anybody look until it’s finished.”
“Does it look like me?”
“It’s not supposed to.”
“It’s not?”
“Of course not. Didn’t anybody ever tell you that the true artist only ever depicts himself?”

The dye is cast
The dice are rolled
I feel like shit
You look like gold

  • One Day, 2011                                                                                                               Adaptation of the novel written by David Nicholls. There are dates we can’t forsake and days whose repetitiveness can evoke revelation and innovation, not dullness and platitude.

“I thought I got rid of you.”

“Lead me on, let me down or go behind my back, I will murder you.”
“I won’t do that.”
“You swear?”
“Yeah, I swear. I swear.”  

“I don’t understand why you have to use that voice, but then I suppose I just don’t care for this sort of thing.”
“It’s just a bit of fun for kids. They just watch it after the pub.”
“You mean I’m not drunk enough?”
“No, it’s not that”
“You know, honestly, Dexter. Dancing girls in cages. Is this what it’s come to?”

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