Three Films That Shaped Cinema
Regardless of what film we watch, it will inevitably leave some sort of impact on us. It doesn’t necessarily need to be positively groundbreaking, it can just as likely be disappointment or realization of themes or film genres we are not interested in. That being said, there are films that for various reasons have left a more significant imprint on the film industry than most; all three were produced in drastically different times, all three contributed to the development of film storytelling modes, editing and cinematography subtleties, as well as daring thematic explorations.
Citizen Kane (1941)
It is unthinkable to compose a list as such without mentioning a film that by many is considered to be the best and the most influential film ever made (an obnoxious category, sure, but makes for a strong statement). “Citizen Kane” focuses on the life of Charles Foster Kane, a publishing magnate, his rise into fame and unimaginable wealth as well as his downfall towards the end of his life. This film is primarily known for its highly innovative use of lighting and focus (depth of field). The film starts with a word “Rosebud” leaving dying Kane’s lips and its meaning remains a mystery until the end of the film. Then it is seen that Rosebud is the name of Kane’s childhood sled, symbolizing a great longing for simple childhood and peaceful life that he was robbed off of when he was taken away from his family and strictly educated at a very young age. This word proves to be the first pop culture reference in works of other artists and has gained major significance in the cinema world.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Tarantino’s mark in the film industry is unarguable, with “Pulp Fiction” being the cherry on the cake of his filmography. And not without a reason. On top of the self-reflexivity, dynamic and complex characters and compelling dialogues, this film must be given credit for its innovative cinematography. It is accredited with the title of postmodern film’s benchmark, and it is largely due to its self-referential, non-linear story telling method. It does not simply present the story to the viewer from the beginning till the end but rather offers the viewer an opportunity to piece the plot together and in that way reach a sense of agency in the film watching process.
Mulholland Drive (2001)
Dreams? Reality? Illusion? David Lynch has an answer. Or doesn’t. As twisted, winding and confusing as the mind of the character who ends up in a car accident on Mulholland Drive, the film takes the viewer on a journey that blends the real and the imagined into one transcendent reality where facts and certainty are but a mere illusion. Some see it as nothing more than an exploration of a mind challenged by physical forces and inner demons, some see the film as an allusion to how Hollywood transforms talent and inspiration into crushed hopes, delusion and tragic endings. Regardless, it is worthwhile because it is seen as Lynch’s best film and one of the best of the 21st century.