10 Existential Movies You Must Watch

great-existential-films

Cinema is an eloquent form of art. Since ages, it has played an instrumental role in portraying and foretelling the stories of mankind. It has picked up several themes: existentialism being one of them.

Existentialism has been an area of curiosity since mid-20th century among artists, painters, writers and filmmakers. Although the roots of existentialism goes back to 19th century, where Soren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche began to explore the meaning and worth of human life in changing times.

In the late 1950s, French filmmakers inspired by existentialist stream of philosophy made films that threw light on a man’s quest for a deeper meaning in life.

Soon, existential cinema was a genre of its own and filmmakers dived into the abyss of human existence elucidating stories that made one introspect and reflect. Think and act.

Here is a list of 10 movies that meanders on the philosophy of existentialism, giving one a deeper insight into life.
tumblr_mmye2c8g8R1rwo9cno1_1280

1) The Seventh Seal (1957)

The Seventh Seal talks about idealism, human faith and the understanding behind spiritual enlightenment. Philosophically, its a brilliant film with two intertwined stories projecting the uncertainties of life using powerful analogies.

It breaks the concept of religious sentiments and tries to make one understand that, ultimately, the self has to offer the meaning to life.

“I want knowledge! Not faith, not assumptions, but knowledge. I want God to stretch out His hand, uncover His face and speak to me.” ~ The Seventh Seal.

2) The Passenger (1975)

the-passenger
Michelangelo Antonioni’s, “The Passenger” is a thought-provoking masterpiece that delves into the theory of past and present in context to identity and escapism. The story line embraces the irony of life in a positive light. Keeping this in focus, the movie revolves around the metaphor ‘Irony’.

It’s about a journey of a man called David Locke who is craving freedom from ironic circumstances. He finds himself standing on the various threshold of life and its epiphanies. The movie throws a great amount of light on existential angst.

3) The Truman Show (1998)

the_truman_show___unfinished_discontinued_by_ximmadreamerx-d5mig7r

“The Truman Show” makes a poignant differentiation between illusion and reality. Nothing can be more dangerous for a man who has started believing in his own ignorance and mistakes.

The protagonist, Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) takes us on his journey of skepticism forcing us to think and question our own beliefs/reality formed by the society we live in. By the end of the film, one gradually introspects the self with a different perspective.

4) Modern times (1936)

Poster_Modern_Times_02

Modern Times by Charles Chaplin is an influential critique of the social structure and class division in our society. Due to a refrained social structure, one seldom is allowed to discreetly slip into the world of his own imagination and dreams.

The movie ponders upon Nietzsche’s philosophy of good vs bad life. Modern times displays how social structures and class positioning have become parameters to gauge goodness of life over time. Clearly, existential crisis that is drilled into your brain deliberately is not an existential crisis.

5) Ikiru (1952)
kkiru_icantremember1

Ikiru is a movie that deals with a bureaucrat’s struggle to come to terms with his impending death. He has less than a year to live and in introspection, he realizes his mundane existence where he never bothered to live the way he would have wished to.

He never took a step to unravel himself and decided to do something worthwhile before his life ends. The movie is a journey of those philosophical vs. practical arguments, which we often deal with.

6) Winter light (1963)

Winter light

Winter light is a story of a pastor who is in a state of despair as he deals with existential crisis and Christianity. He can’t make sense of the random world and struggles with his faith.

The movie focuses on understanding various textures of emotions in times of crisis. A bad experience, however, is a good lesson.

7) Lord of the flies (1963)

lord-of-the-flies-small1

Lord of the flies reflects Locke and Hobbes’s existential philosophy of life. In a lifetime, several times we find ourselves standing on the verge of good and evil. The movie gives an interesting insight into understanding the inherent nature of human kind using influential symbolism.

8) Wings of Desire (1987)

wings of desire

“Wings of Desire” is a surreal representation of what it takes to be a human being. An angel descends upon earth and explores the existence of humans on earth. The angel is enthralled by the genuine human love and wishes to experience the same.

The movie has strikingly articulated thoughts about existentialism.

Isn’t life under the sun just a dream? Isn’t what I see, hear, and smell just the mirage of a world before the world? Does evil actually exist, and are there people who are really evil? How can it be that I, who am I, wasn’t before I was, and that sometime I, the one I am, no longer will be the one I am?

9) Slacker (1991)

10344950_796443563699416_86698550_n

Slacker is an intriguing movie exploring existential philosophy and the ephemeral circulation of ideas in society. It shows the way of life of overactive minds in a passive lifestyle that follow existential dilemmas.

It projects that section of people who were largely known as dreamers, misfits and misguided generation during the 1990s.

It wasn’t easy to blind or brainwash slackers as they completely out ruled the false beliefs and logics of selfish authorities like the Government. The movie brings up the challenges of being a part of such stream of consciousness.

10) Waking life (2001)

After ‘Slacker,’ the same director Rickard Linklater, released “Waking Life” ten years later. The movie is considered a sequel to Slacker. It talks about dreaming, lucid dreaming and reality mystically.tumblr_m0ujs3478C1qbdxsro1_500

The movie showcases an interesting perspective to human existence, laying emphasis on understanding coincidences and the meaning of connections, as everything is connected to everything else.

On really romantic evenings of self, I go salsa dancing with my confusion.  – Waking Life 

Image source

Existentialism 

1, 2,3, 4, 5,
6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Share on Pinterest
Share with your friends










Submit
More share buttons

Tags:

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Hi There, if you enjoy reading our content, you can subscribe to our newsletter. You'll receive some inspiration directly in your email once or twice a month, depending on planetary alignment, actually its totally dependent on how much time our two kids let us have :)
Don't forget to check your junk folder and mark it as safe to receive them. Love, Bhavika & Clyde

Support Us for Benefits ;)

Become a Fractal Enlightenment Member
  • Garima Roy, former Radio host and an Independent Writer/ Journalist, loves to explore the world with her mind. Joy is her natural state of being.

  • Show Comments

You May Also Like

Using Ancient Wisdom in Modern Times

“There was no need for a term like ‘magical thinking’ in the Golden Age ...

The Free Thinker’s Manifesto

“Man, whether he likes it or not, is a being forced by his nature ...

How to Become an Overman (Übermensch) in Seven “Easy” Steps

“I teach you the Overman. Man is something that shall be overcome. What have ...

How to Deal with Teenage Depression for the Awakened Parent

For a parent dealing with a depressed child, and for the growing teenager, the ...

Do We Always Need to Know Why Things Happen?

“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me ...

http://www.whywesuffer.com/the-meaning-of-evolved-consciousness/

The Emotional Evolution Checklist

“There is no such thing as maturity. There is instead an ever-evolving process of ...

5 Different Types of Narcissists and How You Deal with Them

“Stay away from lazy parasites, who perch on you just to satisfy their needs, ...

Understanding Addiction & Finding Freedom From It

“There is no chemical solution to a spiritual problem.”-Unknown Addiction is undoubtedly something that ...