Despite what the title might suggest, this isn’t one of those dopey, cliché-ridden posts where I ramble on and on about how I’m grateful to be alive, or any of that crap. This is simply a personal list of 25 very small film-related things I’m grateful to have witnessed or experienced through cinema. Not the huge things that everyone picks up on when they see a movie; just the tiny things that a lot of people don’t see.
1: The way Gunnar Björnstrand’s face is illuminated by the sunlight during a scene in Ingmar Bergman’s Winter Light.
2: Naomi Watts’ desperate, shaky smile which turns into a sour, disgusted frown near the end of Mulholland Dr.
3: The lonely look on Irene Jacob’s face during some scenes in The Double Life of Veronique.
4: Juliette Binoche suddenly bursting into tears in the subway in Code Unknown.
5: “Everyone has something they’re good at. I’ve always been bad at everything, but I’m good at this.”
6: The expression of unbearable pain on Ingrid Thulin’s face at the end of The Silence.
7: Monica Bellucci laying on the grass at the end of Irreversible.
8: The look of quiet sorrow and fond memory on Laura Dern’s face as the young prostitutes recall their sexual experiences in Inland Empire.
9: John C. Reilly shining his flashlight into the camera in Magnolia – a small but incredibly meaningful cinematic moment.
10: The (annoyingly catchy) nonsense song sung in Truffaut’s Shoot the Piano Player.
11: The final meeting between the rabbi and Larry’s son in A Serious Man.
12: “What the hell are they gonna do in Budapest?”
13: Delphine Seyrig sitting in silence for a long time in Chantal Akerman’s minimalist masterpiece Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles.
14: The look on Isabelle Huppert’s face as she stabs herself in The Piano Teacher.
15: The gradual arrival of the three beggars, signalling death at the end of Antichrist.
16: “What does it matter? All is grace.”17: The long, loud and haunting single note which opens the soundtrack of There Will Be Blood.
18: The delightful dance through the house during the Christmas party scene of Fanny and Alexander.
19: The piercing Gyorgy Ligeti score which seems to haunt the streets of New York as we follow Tom Cruise through them in the latter half of Eyes Wide Shut.
20: The eerie silence during the opening credits of Michael Haneke movies.
21: The incredibly slow 360 degree turn around Casey Affleck’s head in Gerry.
22: “I’m killing myself because you didn’t love me, and our ties were broken and I had to tighten them.”
23: The sound of a coin tapping against metal at the end of Me and You and Everyone We Know.
24: The final moments of Au Hasard Balthazar, in which we see the donkey finally accepted by its fellow creatures as it quietly dies.
25: “I feel something important is happening around me. And it scares me.”
These are the moments… the scenes… the lines, which have affected me so incredibly that it’s difficult to put into words. Nevertheless, I’m grateful they exist. They add such small touches to already great films to make them even greater. So, now the floor is yours… what are some very tiny things that you love about films that no one else seems to notice?