Five Movies That Make Me Want To Become A Filmmaker

I’ve always had some sort of desire in me to be a filmmaker. Just to work behind the scenes doing something. Being a cinematographer or cameraman would be my ideal job, and over the last few years I’ve had a go at making short, experimental films with a cheap video camera. They were all very artsy, plotless things, sort of a mixture of David Lynch and Michael Haneke, and a lot of my inspiration for these short films have come from real feature films. So I’ve decided to compile a list of five films that have given me the most inspiration, and made me really want to be a filmmaker, in some way or another.

The Five Obstructions (2003)

I remember watching this with my girlfriend and when it finished, we were both rummaging around for our video cameras, because the film had inspired us so much. It’s a documentary/experiment, in which Lars von Trier challenges his mentor Jorgen Leth to remake one of his old short films five times, with five different criteria to adhere to with each remake. It was truly remarkable, very creative, and instilled within me a deep desire to become more experimental with both shooting and editing.

Russian Ark (2002)

A film which bored some but riveted me, Aleksandr Sokurov’s Russian Ark holds the Guiness World Record for first feature film ever to be shot in one single, unbroken, untouched take. When I saw it I was already a huge fan of tracking shots, and this only made me want to go and buy a Steadicam so I could whizz through the town museum, shooting all the exhibits like Sokurov did in his movie.

Gerry (2002)

Of all the expiremental, minimalist movies ever made, none has had an effect on me in quite the same manner as Gus van Sant’s Gerry. All it is is two guys (Matt Damon and Casey Affleck) walking in the desert for 90 minutes, and yet… it’s just wonderful. It captures the feeling of complete isolation and fear in a way that is surprisingly effective, and its amazing visuals really grab you and pull you in.

Persona (1966)

Persona is a film, much like Jean-Luc Godard’s Week End, where the director is constantly reminding you you are watching a film, and not real life. Each director has a reason for wanting to do this, but reasons don’t matter anywhere near as much as just seeing the technique in action. Bergman fiddles with the camera, creates messy and disjointed scenes, and yet still manages to pull it off, the end result being a tremendous work of art.

Day for Night (1973)

Francois Truffaut’s best film since The 400 Blows, Day for Night is a brilliant, very fun film which takes us on a journey through the highs and lows of making a movie. It focuses on a struggling film director (ironically played by none other than Truffaut himself!) whose latest project is fraught with issues and problems, but whose stoicism and determination manage to keep the whole thing on its feet. An exciting look at the process of filmmaking that really inspires you to want to look even further.

Those are five of the films that made me want to be a director. Which ones have you seen? What are some films, if any, that made you want to go out and do something? I’m not talking about movies that made you want to be a director, but just movies that made you want to try a certain occupation! Leave a comment below.

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Posted on October 30, 2011, in Filmmakers, Lists, Movies and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Movies are my main source of inspiration for occupations… As I’m a teenager, I’m constantly searching for a goal, something I want to achieve in life, and most importantly, something to do after high-school. Many films have made me want to become an actress, the first one probably being Harry Potter (when I was 11). Others have made me want to become a director, some have made me want to become a journalist (Page 3, The Millenium Trilogy, Blood Diamond…). And now I’m just in the middle of nowhere. I don’t know what I want to do. I don’t know if I can act, or direct or… okay, I can write. But if I’m a journalist I want to do interesting things, not just write for a boring newspaper. Sorry that I’m bothering you with all of this ;).

    • Don’t be sorry, that’s really interesting what you wrote. It can be hard to decide exactly what it is you hope to achieve when you’re a teenager. Everything seems so… daunting. I wanted to be a filmmaker and ended up just working in an office. I felt like a failure at first for not achieving my goal, but sadly there are so few people who actually do. Nothing wrong with aiming for the stars, but remember that flying is nowhere near as easy as falling. However, I’m sure you will find something that suits you, as you seem to be an intelligent person with lots of potential.

  2. I’ve thought about making a post like this, but i figured since i’ve already talked about most of the movies that inspired me i figured it might be repetitious.. Anyways, here are mine

    Dark Knight/Batman begins- In the same way Nolan took a serious jab at a genre that most people didn’t find worthy of, I would like to apply the same approach to the supernatural genre

    Let the Right One in- The way it used a gritty, realistic, un-stylized look even though it is a vampire film was really inspiring to me for similar reasons for the Dark Knight/Batman begins inspiration

    The Piano Teacher-The way the movie used graphic sexuality to communicate a message of repression i felt was really interesting. The scene where the Erika looks at the couple in the car was really well done, and i would like to do something similar with sexuality in at least some of my own work

    Eyes Wide Shut- Specifically the orgy tracking shot scene. The addition of masks added a whole new dimension to it, and i would love to feature masks in a similar way at some point in my own work/

    • I meant to add that i hope someday soon you manage to get a film career going. Perhaps you just haven’t found the right audience for your stuff yet?

      • HAHA the audience for my stuff would be very limited – if you could even call it ‘stuff.’ If inspiration strikes, I might film something, but that rarely happens. I made one twenty minute experiment called Season, which examined the way five different landscapes changed with the seasons throughout the course of one year but it’s very boring and with no plot whatsoever. However it’s probably the one I like the most, out of the three or so films I’ve managed to complete fully. I also made another one called Graduation which was a series of news clips and videos featuring auto collisions and their aftermaths, although I don’t own any of the footage in that one so I wouldn’t be allowed to release it, but it’s pretty grim and uninteresting anyway. There’s another one I made in high school that got lost over the years, but was a surrealist Un Chien Andalou-style series of images involving a series of bloody accidents and voodoo-style killings. Again, a very disturbing film, but it’s a shame I lost it because I would like to see it again. In the southern area of the city I live in, there is this empty square where a building once stood but has now been condemned and partially demolished. I went there one day to shoot but I was told that it was off-limits. It disappointed me, since I had a screenplay that involved shooting there that I would really like to get made.

        My girlfriend’s 15 year old brother is a film freak. He doesn’t so much like watching movies but he loves to make them. I sometimes feel ashamed as one of his films that he showed me was actually really good and I wouldn’t mind seeing it again.

        Anyway, I’ve rambled on for long enough. If I’m in the right mood or frame of mind, I’m perfectly happy to get my camera out and film something. But usually it turns out to be crap; it’s been a while since I’ve had a good idea.

      • True, but i think there is a small niche for more experimental stuff…i just don’t think i fit into that one. I feel most of the movies i love fall somewhere between the indie experimental types of films and more mainstream choices. And i have a bunch of movie ideas i’ve gotten over the years. Ideally i would like to create films that manage to be entertaining but still have a deeper theme inside.

        Btw, what did you think of my choices of inspiration?

    • Those were great choices. I’ve always admired Haneke’s style, so THE PIANO TEACHER would also be one I would choose (though I prefer the cinematography in other Haneke films, particularly CODE UNKNOWN and CACHÉ.

  3. Well, at the moment, the career I most want to do is to become a director. But unfortunately, my father doesn’t agree with that career choice.

    Anyway, my movies that make me wanna make movies are pretty uninspired. Memento is probably my biggest influence – I’d love to make psychological thrillers. The Virgin Suicides – or anything by Sofia Coppola – are another influence on me. The Social Network is movie that I wish I made. And Quentin Tarantino or Paul Thomas Anderson movies always have me wanting to make movies.

    This may sound a little weird, but every time I watch the trailer for Shame I wanna make a movie. There’s just something about honest and gritty dramas about addiction that I really like. That trailer just makes me want to go out and write a screenplay…but I wouldn’t know where to start. And it’s just a trailer!

    • That’s a shame that your Dad doesn’t agree, but he probably just doesn’t see it as a realistic career path, and he’s probably right; it’s not very likely that either you or I or most others will get a really good job making films, but there’s nothing wrong with trying.

      I just enjoy making films for the fun of it, in my spare time. I have a zero shooting budget and don’t really need one, because most of the stuff I make is experimental.

  4. I don’t have 5 films, I only have 1 which made me want to direct films. Hitchcock’s The Birds. Quite simply a showcase of exquisite editing, shots and framing, and pacing. Effective for what it wanted to achieve, bravura in its lack of traditional score (or score at all, if you don’t count the bird noises) and filmmaking precision, The Birds is the film that made me realise what the medium could achieve.

    And, to top it off, the film scared the bejeezus out of me.

    Others in the list of five (if I was pushed to give a few more) would include Moulin Rouge, The Shining and probably Run Lola Run.

  5. The concept for The Five Obstructions seems very interesting!

    Russian Ark I bought a while ago after you mentioned it, but still have to come round to watching it.

  6. I want to learn filmmaking, I really do. I plan to go study it in UK, starting a year from now. Me and my friend, who is also interested in the creative process of making a movie, have one quite intriguing movie idea. We were going to see a movie the day we thought of that movie, but the concept was so good (in our heads) that all day we could only talk about “our” movie. I remember even saying I wish that movie was already made, because I would love to see it right now. If the movie gets made (I reckon with good luck it might take 10-15 years) and you still have this blog going, I’ll let you know the movie. I have several scenes made up in my head (one of the scenes is an homage to PSYCHO) and have wrote down several pages worth of information regarding different aspects of the movie.

    Steven Spielberg has said “Before I go off and direct a movie I always look at 4 films. They tend to be: Seven Samurai, Lawrence of Arabia, It’s a Wonderful Life, and The Searchers.”

    My 5 are:

    Hitchcock’s PSYCHO
    Kubrick’s 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY
    Nolan’s THE DARK KNIGHT
    Coppola’s APOCALYPSE NOW
    Nichols’ THE GRADUATE

    Life is too short to spend time doing stuff you don’t want to do. And I want to do movies.

    • Those are amazing movies. And they make me want to make movies. Even if no one likes my movies because they’re boring and inaccessible, I don’t care. Making movies is fun, so why not?

  7. This is such a unique list, one that I will need to think about for a few days before coming up with suitable answers of my own.

    The first time I saw Day for Night, I was like, “Damn, I want to be doing that.” What a great film that is.

    Haven’t seen The Five Obstructions, but you have definitely peaked my interest.

  1. Pingback: Duke & The Movies :: Uncategorized :: With A Little Help From My Friends

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