Some films have such visual impact, they end up imprinted in your brain, inspiring you for years thereafter. Whether you're an artist, designer or video maker, every visual creative should have a lot of inspiration to draw from.
In no particular order, these are ten of the most visually stunning and inspiring films I've ever seen. I hope you enjoy the list and find something new to inspire you!
Baraka / Samsara (1992/2011)
These mesmerising documentaries have no words, just stunning film recordings set to suitably epic music. These films, shot over three decades, look at life around the world, from the beautiful ritualistic dances of indigenous tribes, to more shocking aspects of modern life, such as our impact on the environment. The "fly on the wall" feel is sacrificed somewhat, in favour of beautifully lit and meticulously shot observations. You will be shocked, impressed, saddened, and mind-fucked, in fairly quick succession.
Holy Mountain (1973)
Speaking of mind-fucking.. Holy Mountain is Alejandro Jodorowsky playing Alejandro Jodorowsky in this visually stark, avant garde fruit basket. IMDB says "In a corrupt, greed fueled world, a powerful alchemist leads a Christ like character and 7 materialistic figures to a Holy Mountain. There, they hope to achieve enlightenment." That certainly gives the sense of a reasonably coherent story, so kudos to whoever wrote that. Regardless, the visuals are truly something to behold.
The Fall (2006)
L.A, 1920s. Stuck in hospital, a badly injured stuntman tells a curious little girl a fantastical tale of five mythical heroes. These are brought to life in vivid, spectacular scenes, with some of the most stunning costumes and scenery in cinematic history.
The Fountain (2006)
Director Darren Aronofsks visually explosive story of scientist, Tommy who is desperately searching for a medical breakthrough to save the life of his wife, Izzi who is dying from cancer. Lots of symmetry, CGI, dreamy sequences, ethereal, kaleidoscopic undulations.
A visual feast.
Blade Runner (1982)
Ridley Scotts Sci-Fi masterpiece. Four humanoid "replicants" have returned to Earth to find their creator and kill a few humans en route. Only Harrison Ford can kill the bad ones and fall in love with the hot one. And it all looks EPIC.
The Revenant (2015)
Alejandro G. Iñárritu creates one of the most visceral and immersive pieces of cinema of all time. It's 1820 in the mountainous wilderness. You're Leonardo Di Caprio. You get attacked by a bear. And some Mexican guy catches it all on video. Crazy shit I do tells you.
Cloud Atlas (2012)
Another beautiful mind-fuck. Cloud Atlas links various stories across centuries, around the globe. Apart from Tom Hanks, this is a great movie. Also a masterclass in cinematography.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
An artificial object is found buried beneath the moons surface, triggering a race to discover the truth behind human evolution. Kubricks seminal Sci-Fi was many years ahead of its time.
Sucker Punch (2011)
Baby Doll is locked up in a mental asylum by her abusive step-father. Retreating into her vast imagination, she conjures up characters and scenarios of epic proportions. The shit hits the fan of course, when, and I hate to use this expression .... the lines between reality and fantasy become increasingly blurred. Beautiful movie though.
A hot, quirky French girl decides to become a do-gooder, after reuniting a pissed-off old guy with his childhood toys, much to his delight. Along the way she meets a hot French guy, who is also kinda quirky. But can they be truly together in a world with this much symmetry and color grading?
What are your top 10 visually stunning films?
This list was never going to be comprehensive. Nor could it account for the range of tastes out there. So, tell me, what did I miss? Let me know in the comments!