The binding quality between all of us here is that we’re movie nerds. Whatever your relationship to Hollywood, whatever your level of experience, all of us are here because we want to make movies, and I’m interested in the films that inspired all of you. The films, without which, you may not have found your voices as artists.
I’ll offer a personal favorite:
Requiem For a Dream (2000) is - in many ways - a profoundly unpleasant movie. I did a double take when I learned that it’s only 100 minutes long because reaching the end feels like running a marathon. The plot is very simple: Four characters are offered up whole at the beginning and completely destroy themselves by the end. Plenty of films have looked at self-destructive behavior, but none of them have explored it so deeply, so completely, and so memorably as Requiem. Its exploration is so complete that watching the film is itself an act of self harm.
Stylistically, this thing is a unicorn - trying to emulate anything you learn here is risky at best. The material is overtly shocking, the story has basically no nuance, and it’s all put together in a way that is designed to make the viewer feel like they’ve been shut in a tiny box with the main characters. On paper, it really shouldn’t work….if you made this kind of film, it wouldn’t work. But the special magic of this movie, this moment, this cast allowed us this incredible piece of artistry.
I saw this when I was 13, and I’ve been chasing that high ever since!