25 Things I’m Grateful For

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?

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Posted on November 23, 2011, in 25 Things I Love About..., Lists, Movies and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. Wonderful post! A nice and different take of the “I Am Grateful For…” lists! 🙂

  2. Christian Hallbeck

    The face of the boy between 01.50-01.55, in the film “Taste of Honey”. (To get a wider perspective of this moment, I recommend you to watch between 00.00-02.40.) I’ve only seen this film once; and I doubt that I’ll ever watch it again. (It’s good; but not that good. And since I’m very selective now a days… I’m not a cineast like you!) However, I think that the cut to the face of this boy, as he stands quiet and motionless and watches the pregnant young woman, who at this point has doubts about bringing a child into the world… is profoundly powerful and moving at the same time. We have not seen this boy before in the film; and he will not apperar again. But as the young woman is waiting for her friend, she is suddenly standing face to face with life as it is: as it can be. In it’s physical form she is facing what she is most afraid of. The boy just stands there and watches her: living; existing; real… And he is so beautiful! (We don’t know how long they have stood there. It could have been minutes…) I find this cut to the boy’s face to be a highly intelligent way of speaking through pictures!

    • That’s an interesting scene. I’m glad you showed it to me. I might consider watching the rest of the film as it looks intriguing. Thanks for passing it along!

  3. Excellent. I really enjoyed that read. A wonderful look into the soul of Tyler!!

    I am just very happy to see films for free. LOL Living the dream is all I ask for…It has brought me that odd, and almost life shaking feeling I felt on Sunday mornings screening of turin horse…something that will stay with me for a while… it was like being whacked over the head with a fine piece of art house wood!!

  4. This is a great idea for a post! And very interesting picks, too. Whenever I get my Contagion review posted you’ll see one of the things that I am grateful for, cinematically speaking 😉

    • I actually went to see CONTAGION in cinema so I can’t wait to read your review, as I did enjoy the film. Glad you liked my list here; I tried to be as obscure with my choices as possible.

  5. I think you’ve succeeded in being obscure, Tyler! 😛

    This is what I love about being films, and why I write about them. Cinema, like everything else, is subjective, and different things affect us in different ways. Great list!

  6. Man, this is great! So many beautiful moments mentioned here – some I am yet to experience myself.

  7. Bloody brilliant post. I had a series a few months ago a lot like this, but I stopped due to laziness. May just have to pick it up again.

    Oh, and now I have to rewatch Magnolia, so, thanks.

    • I want to rewatch MAGNOLIA too, and I’ve seen it about 20 times. It’s a true cinematic achievement – my favourite American film ever. There’s one long monologue delivered by Jason Robards on his deathbed about how he regrets cheating on his wife, that’s just so beautiful; it’s made even more poignant by the fact this was Robards’ last film before he died.

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