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By Johannes Helmold

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I have always believed there is no such thing as borders between genres of art. There is music, literature, painting, photography, cinema, sculpture, and so on; these genres are different from one another. But, at the same time, I contend these genres can be mixed, conjoined, and art in general can inspire creative people regardless of the genre of art they work in.

Based on this, I see no reason why a writer could not get inspired after watching a great film. Literature and cinematography, in my opinion, are close to painting and photography; the latter two catch the moment, the first two tell stories. This is why I decided to write this post; I’d like to recommend you watching some films that, in my opinion, can be a great inspiration for any writer.

1. Mr. Nobody by Jaco Van Dormael.

A film that tells a story of the last mortal man on Earth. Being hospitalized in a near-death condition, this man is being interviewed about his life by an immortal journalist. Trying to recall his life, the old man tells three different stories, three alternative lifelines. It is unclear which of these stories is true; the old man shifts focus from one reality to another, obscures events, and introduces contradicting facts. This is a serious film that raises complicated questions, and I strongly recommend it as a source of inspiration.

2. Detachment by Tony Kaye.

This a total must watch for anyone, not only because of this film’s plot and cast (which is great), but because of the mood it can immerse one in. It tells about the dark side of modern American education, and after watching it, you will never see this aspect of life with the same eyes. The uncompromising, rough, and shocking story told by this film will first pull the rug from under your feet, and then make you think, think, and think a lot. One of my favorite films ever.

3. Hotel Grand Budapest by Wes Anderson.

This is an incredible tragicomedy, with east European culture, perfect (without any exaggerations) cinematography, and great acting. Just watch it! It will add a spontaneous force in your thoughts and writing.

4. A Serious Man by the Coen brothers.

This is a serious film that at first pretends to be a comedy. It tells about the everyday life of Larry Gopnik, a Jewish professor of mathematics, and his family. At some point, his wife decides to get divorced, and marry their neighbor, Sy. Gradually, problems pile up more and more, and more, and even more, and no matter how hard Larry tries to deal with them, life keeps throwing new hardships right in his face (this reminded me of the Biblical Book of Job). The final scene of the film is devastating. This film made me laugh when I started to watch it, but in the end, I was full of much more serious thoughts.

5. Broken Flowers by Jim Jarmusch.

This is the story of an old lovelace, Don Johnston, who lives a calm and predictable life. After being dumped by his latest passion, he receives an anonymous letter from one of the women he used to date, saying he has a son that would like to see his father. Confused, Don shows the letter to his friend Winston, who is obsessed with detective stories and investigations. Winston advises Don to visit every woman Don had dated during a certain life period, and figure out, whom of them might send this letter.

Unwillingly, Don decides to do it. This film is a sad contemplation—a revision of memories of an old person who lived a complicated life. In my opinion, it shows everyone has their own skeletons in the closet, though being an average-looking person.

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