While movies that border on insanity with the chases and the explosions are a nice experience when you want to just kick back and relax, you need the right dosage of intellect from time to time to keep the walnut in your head sane and expanding. Expansion of the walnut in your head is no easy task, but here are 5 movies to kick it in the right direction:
5. Spring, Summer,Fall, Winter.. and Spring.
SSFWS is a South Korean movie which, due to its elegant direction, is as natural as the subject matter it concerns itself with.
This is a movie that deals with the understanding of cycles, whatever cycle that might be. Human, animal, seasonal, universal… all aspects of the cyclical nature of the universe are explained through the lives of a master and a student who live in isolation in the middle of the lake. The movie deals with both their lives as they pass through the seasons of life and come to a better understanding of themselves and the whole.
Elegant, deeply contemplative and profound, SSFWS is a must see.
4. Peaceful Warrior.
Peaceful Warrior explores the path of the Zen Master, its philosophies and its results through the story of an aspiring Olympian who dreams of doing something un-doable. While the movie itself isn’t much to write home about, suffering from a bad case of screenplay and timing, the themes presented within the movie make it a profound watch, sans the listless pacing and direction, of course.
The movie focuses on Dan Millman, as aspiring gymnast, who turns his life around when he meets Socrates, an old man who displays incredulous agility and strength and who later, teaches him the way of the Zen and the art of perfect meditation.
Peaceful Warrior is a movie that loses its way many a times during the transition from the page to the movie but, manages to be interesting at its worst, severely thought provoking at its best.
Probably the next great sci fi classic, Ex_Machina is a movie on humanity’s limits, it’s role as creators and a mesmerizingly beautiful Frankenstein’s Monster.
The movie follows the story of a talented computer specialist, who gets called for a seven day retreat to the house/mansion of the reclusive owner of the company he works for.
The challenge presented to the specialist is that he has to determine whether an AI, developed by the genius owner, exhibits true intelligence or not.
The film raises incredibly subtle questions regarding consciousness, life, existence and the nature of thought as the specialist and the AI interact, leading to a haunting finale that serves to warn men of breaching their limits.
Along the way, Ex_Machina becomes a movie that barely takes a step wrong as it confidently proceeds to tell you a story that will have you raising terrifying questions and being wonder-struck at the same time.
One for generations to come, Ex_Machina is a masterpiece that needs to be seen; and felt.
2. American Beauty.
While American Psycho and Fight Club are excellent works when it comes to the philosophy of existentialism, no movie showcases the bleakness in the vast or the quiet joy in the little, better than American Beauty does.
The story follows the life of 42 year old man, who’s been beaten into submission by the relentless march of time and society, leading him to be quite depressed. He consequently falls in love with his daughter’s best friend, which becomes the reason for his existence; leading him to turn his entire life around and to learn, on the way, some profound truths.
These truths make up for intellectual fodder so vast, it may well be years before one comes to a mature understanding of any of them.
With a mesmerizing performance by Kevin Spacey, American Beauty is sad, laconic and most importantly, really beautiful.
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece, 2001 stands alone among Sci-Fi films that inspire wonder instead of awe. Packed into this 2 hour piece of classical cinema are themes of transcendence, power, creation, evolution, birth and death. Inspired heavily by the works of Nietzsche, 2001 attempts to put into perspective the journey of mankind, from its literal origins (apes) to its supposed destination.
And all of this with Kubrick’s trademark intellectual severity; characterized by his inch-perfect obsession with details, symbolism and allegory, leading to doctorates being awarded for an analysis of themes present within 2001.
Magnificent and rather apocryphal on the first viewing, 2001 is truly the epitome of what one can clearly describe as being intellectually profound and still remains; the ultimate trip.