Samurai Rebellion is one of the most romantic films I've ever seen. Full of grace. The cinematography is gorgeous.
The Seventh Seal so perfectly captures the Modernist struggle with faith. The knight becomes the perfect displaced warrior for our times. I believe. Help thou mine unbelief. Or maybe I'm aging myself here. I always identify with Bergman's struggles. I think that we may be living in a post-Bergman landscape, but I'm still firmly a Bergmanite. I don't know how to be anything else.
La Jetée is one of the greatest science fiction films to date. It's also a stirring romance, a prophetic warning, and barely a motion picture at all. It is its own thing and it is marvelous. I confess to being a Twelve Monkeys fan long before I ever heard of this film.
Solaris is another romance. It is also another of the greatest science fiction films of all time. The science fiction premise and mood is much stronger here than in Soderbergh's weaker but still respectable (and maybe more faithful to the source) attempt at the same material. Tarkovsky painted with light and sculpted in time. This may be one of the clearest examples of his film theory in practice.
Slacker is a film manifesto for drop-out culture. Anti-work does not mean pro-laziness.
The Passion of Joan of Arc is so intense that I haven't been able to watch it again in almost ten years now. I'm a bit of a Joan groupie. I've written essays. Ive read all of the court transcripts and several biographies. I was obsessed with this painting when I was younger:
Cleo From 5 to 7 is a sensitive examination of not death, but the threat of death. Death to all.
Wings of Desire is one of the first independent "art film" type movies that I was exposed to. Alongside Jarmusch's Strangers in Paradise, this film opened me up to a wider world of cinema at a young age. Peter Falk is one of my favorite actors.
In the Mood For Love is a film that I was only exposed to recently, but I love it. Wong knows how to capture a fleeting feeling better than anyone. This is perhaps the greatest film dealing with adultery that I know of. Hollywood tends to celebrate this evil. Wong brings all of this false romanticism to a dead stop and highlights hurting people.
I was lucky enough to see Stagecoach at the cinema while I was living in London. Seeing Stagecoach on the big screen is one of my favorite theatrical experiences of my life. For a Western fan, it doesn't get much better.
So, the above isn't all that educational or informative, but hopefully it gives a quick sketch outline of why I chose these films over others.
More than anything else, the films that I chose reflect my tastes and prejudices. Watching these specific films may or may not provide you with any more knowledge of film history or of the time and culture which produced these films. I do guarantee, however, that watching these films will give you a glimpse into how I view this crazy beautiful blessed world that we live in because the way I look at life has been shaped and enriched at least in part by each one of these films. I highly recommend all ten. And they're all available via streaming. Go figure.