Top 10 Movies Every Photographer Must Watch

 

This story was originally published in December 2011.

As photographers, we are constantly in search of great ideas and inspirations, that drive us to make even better pictures. One can derive this inspiration from several places, great works to art, music and even a good book.

Another form of inspiration comes from cinema. Cinema is a rich source of inspiration that all photographers must look towards. We have compiled a list of 10 movies every photographer must watch. Each of these movies are sure to educate and entertain.

  • Pather Panchali: Satyajit Ray’s most famous work is like a set of stunning black and white photographs. Heart rendering performances by the child actors Subir Bannerjee and Uma Dasgupta also added to the overall beauty of this movie. No wonder it won the ‘Best Human Document’ award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1956.
Pather Panchali by Satyajit Ray.

Pather Panchali by Satyajit Ray.

  • Blow-up: Photography, murder and a thriller. Michelangelo Antonioni’s masterpiece is a twisted tale about how the mind perceives photographs. The movie was named ‘Blow-up’ for the fact that a photo in the movie gets blown up several times to make an investigation. The movie won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1967.
Blow-Up by Michelangelo Antonioni.

Blow-Up by Michelangelo Antonioni.

  • Rear Window: Alfred Hitchcock’s movies are known for their brilliant stories and are almost always a visual treat. Rear Window stars James Stewart, a photographer who spies on his neighbours from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them are responsible for a murder. Sounds exciting? Watch the movie to find out more!
Rear Window by Alfred Hitchcock.

Rear Window by Alfred Hitchcock.

  • Born Into Brothels: In this documentary set in Kolkata’s red light area, the children of commercial sex workers are given cameras and taught photography. The documentary is a roller coaster ride of emotions, and a definite must watch for those who enjoy documentaries. The movie won an Oscar for the Best Documentary, Features in 2005.
Born Into Brothels by Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman.

Born Into Brothels by Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman.

  • La Jetée: This 1962 movie is a 28-minute science fiction experiment by Chris Marker. The movie is composed entirely from B&W stills, except for one shot of a woman opening and blinking her eyes.
La Jetée by Chris Marker.

La Jetée by Chris Marker.

  • Trainspotting: Danny Boyle’s brilliant take on drug addiction is a must-watch movie for its unconventional camera positions and use of lighting. A lot of thought has been put behind locations and framing of scenes. The movie won 1996’s BAFTA Film Award for Best Screenplay – Adapted.
Trainspotting by Danny Boyle.

Trainspotting by Danny Boyle.

  • Baraka: No conventional plot, just a breathtaking set of stop-motion photographs.  The movie was filmed by a crew of five people and took 14 months to make. This movie by Ron Fricke,  is best viewed in multiple settings on a large screen.
Baraka by Ron Fricke.

Baraka by Ron Fricke.

  • Maya Darpan: This movie by Kumar Shahani is one of the earliest examples of experimentation in colour in Indian cinema.
Maya Darpan by Kumar Shahani.

Maya Darpan by Kumar Shahani.

  • Salvador: Based on photographer Richard Boyle’s real life experiences, the movie follows a journalist who drives to El Salvador to chronicle events of the 1980 dictatorship. James Woods, who essayed Boyle’s character, was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role in 1987.
Salvador by Oliver Stone.

Salvador by Oliver Stone.

  • Pecker: This one is sheer fun. A sandwich selling employee takes humorous and off-beat photographs of his family and life around him. Purely by accident, his photographs are discovered and they become a huge success. What happens next, find out in this comedy movie!
Pecker by John Waters.

Pecker by John Waters.

These are just ten, amongst hundreds of movies that we have seen, enjoyed and discussed. What do you think? What are some of your favourite movies when you need visual inspiration for your photographs?

Tags: inspiration, movies, tip of the day, tips