Welcome to FLAURA Film Studies 101. In this course, you won’t find any required reading lists, research papers, final exams or excruciatingly artistic scenes of someone eating soup for 10 minutes.
Just a handful of great movies that you can enjoy – with or without a film degree.
The Third Man (1949)
Often called the best British film of all time, this noir classic follows an American writer who travels to postwar Vienna to work for his best friend. Upon arrival, he discovers that his friend has died under mysterious circumstances – and that the third witness is missing. Fast paced with stunning cinematography and a zither-driven score, The Third Man is a must-see if you love suspenseful dramas.
The Watermelon Woman (1996)
While working at a video store, Cheryl (a fictionalized version of director Cheryl Dunye) discovers a 1930s film with a captivating Black actress credited only as “The Watermelon Woman.” With the help of her coworker Tamara and new girlfriend Diana, Cheryl creates a documentary to share The Watermelon Woman’s story. Behind the quirky rom com moments and DIY aesthetic, this indie favourite offers a powerful critique about the portrayal of Black and LGBTQ+ histories.
Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) (1920)
This German Expressionist landmark was one of the first ever horror movies and had a big influence on later directors like Alfred Hitchcock and Tim Burton. It takes place at a small town fair, where the arrival of a hypnotist and a psychic sleepwalker coincides with a series of murders. With a bizarrely beautiful set design, a creepy soundtrack and all-around Halloween vibes, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari still holds up 100 years later.
Singin’ in The Rain (1952)
When Monumental Pictures converts their newest silent film into a “talkie,” they’re not sure what to do about Lina Lamont, the beautiful but shrill-voiced leading lady. What results is a hilarious musical love story between Don, Lina’s on-screen partner, and Cathy, an up-and-comer who overdubs Lina’s voice. Aside from the memorable songs and dizzying tap dance routines, Singing’ in the Rain offers a fascinating historical snapshot of Hollywood in the late 20s.
花樣年華 (In the Mood for Love) (2000)
In this modern Hong Kong masterpiece, two neighbours – Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chan – become friends after discovering that their absentee spouses are having an affair with each other. Bonding over their shared hurt and loneliness, they soon struggle not to stoop to the same level as their cheating partners. With gorgeous visuals and a moving soundtrack, In The Mood for Love continues to outrank most Hollywood movies as the best film of this century.