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By Johannes Helmold

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Hi everyone!

Have you ever watched movies that captured your attention from the first minute, and didn’t let go until the end? I mean not just the story, but also the scenes, the overall style, the visual presentation in which a certain movie is made? Such movies may have plot holes, they may be difficult to understand, or their budgets can be lower than those of popular blockbusters, but despite all this, they still manage to capture your heart—because they are visually enchanting.

I want you to watch at least some of the movies from the following list. Trust me, they can be a depository of new ideas and inspiration, which can’t be bad for a writer!

1. Dark City

Filmed in 1998, only one year before The Matrix, Dark City has not, unfortunately, become as popular as its more successful ideological heir. Yes, The Matrix—I am sure of it—has developed some ideas from Dark City, or at least was inspired by the same sources. Perfectly composed frames, a dark noir atmosphere, creepy but stylish antagonists, and a great idea—these are only a few reasons why I love this movie.

2. Pan’s Labyrinth

In all senses, one of the most bizarre movies ever made. This is a story of a girl, a daughter of a sadistic Spanish army officer. A book-loving child, she escapes her cruel reality in the world of fantasies—strange, eerie, but beautiful and mysterious; there, she must accomplish three grim and complicated tasks, or else she will never meet her real father. Suspense and visual style—this is what I love in Pan’s Labyrinth.

3. The Grand Budapest Hotel

This movie is a combination of a novel by Stefan Zweig, a classic European writer, and a visual performance traditional for Wes Anderson’s movies. The movie draws all the best from both sources; “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is an atmospheric, colorful, and genuine tragicomedy, the main events develop in a small Eastern European country, which details surviving in the times of World War I. A brilliant combination of camera work, script, and cast!

4. Elvis and Anabelle

I have an ambiguous attitude towards this movie. I disliked the story, interesting in the beginning (a son of a disabled mortician falling in love with a beauty queen), it quickly slipped down to a trivial and boring drama for teenagers. The cast is unconvincing, the dialogues are primitive and silly, but… but there is something that saves this movie from failure—its aesthetics. Slightly faded colors, stylish costumes and interiors, interesting backgrounds of the main characters—this is what I liked about Elvis and Anabelle. If you watch it, turn off the sound, enjoy the picture, and try to create a better, more convincing story for those two.

5. Lost in Translation

I guess I mention it every time I compose a movie list, but there’s just nothing I can do about it; in my opinion, this is one of the most story-rich, atmospheric, and subtle movies of all times. The aesthetics are everywhere: in the place the story unfolds (and it’s Tokyo, Japan); in the music supporting the key moments of the film; in dialog the main characters have; in the way the cameraman builds the picture… a bright but sad story of a depressed actor and a young woman, both incredibly lonely in a huge and alien Asian metropolis. You need to watch it.


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