"These are films that inspired me not as a filmmaker, but as a human being." — Luc Besson
The Jungle Book
The prospect of being raised by a bear and a panther was so attractive to me. At ten years old I felt I could learn much more from them than by humans.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
I was sixteen when I saw One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest. At that age you start to wonder what type of world adults are leaving for you. Here you see this film where the crazy ones are not so crazy and the ones who are supposed to oversee the crazy people are much crazier, and you get a clear sense of what's good and what’s evil. The supposedly good people are so mean and the crazy people are so good and it shook me at my foundation, as though everything my parents told me for the first sixteen years of life were upended.
This movie depicts the essence of an artist. It's a portrait of the ultimate artistic genius in history. His entire journey is so amazing - to see how people don’t recognize his talent at the time, others try to steal his talent, the entire process of creation. As an artist this film hits me a lot.
2001: A Space Odyssey
I was 10 when I saw 2001 and I remember like it was yesterday. So powerful, so open. The film was like a magnet to me, drawing me in and pushing me to grow. It shows how much we don’t know, so then I wanted to learn more. I never had much motivation to work at school, but this film sparked motivation. Kubrick was the best teacher I never had.
Quest for Fire
Depicts the beginnings of humanity in a search for fire. It’s a 2-hour film and no one says a word. The only goal is to keep the fire. It reminds you that as a human being the chance we have to be able to communicate, to exchange, to share, and to progress. I came home to turn on the light and it made me appreciate how lucky I am that it’s just there.
This a critique of society that wasn’t familiar to me at the time. An open window into a world around me that I didn’t know. I didn’t know that humans could be so mean.
The film embodies the entire experience and the journey of James Cameron as a filmmaker. He began as a truck driver who had dreams of film that were very personal. He just believes in it. And through his belief it brought him here. Avatar is a culmination and an illustration of never giving up your dreams. Every time I’m depressed I think of Jim.
George Lucas had this wonderful script that no studio wanted to make, trying to convince them that characters named C-3PO and R2-D2 could in fact be stars and heroes of the film. At the time it was amazing because in the first ten minutes you’re just in the desert with two robots. And it works — you follow them, and it was magical and never-been-done before.
What hit me with Taxi Driver is the power of actors, and how far you can go with them. The camera sometimes feels like it’s the witness of the actors. It feels raw. It makes you think that no one has rehearsed, you just happened to be here with the camera, even though you know that’s not the case.
A Special Day
It’s the theme of the film that resonates. It takes place during Hitler’s visit to Italy, and the film shows that you can have a big story, and how there are many angles you can take. You can even have the angle of two people on the terrace in Rome by themselves. It was really about the relationship of two human beings, and it was very deep and very beautiful and it touched me.
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