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In 2004 cinemas all over the world were stained with salty tears after the release of Michel Gondry’s science fiction film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, starring Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey in one of his most magnificent roles to date.
What struck me most about the film was how the volume and tones of their voices really seemed to impact the overall feeling of Joel (Carrey) and Clementine’s (Winslet) relationship and highlighted their vulnerabilities.
It was difficult to find movies like ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’, but I think you might enjoy the ones I picked.
In ‘Abre los Ojos‘, Eduardo Noriega plays the prison inmate César.
Hiding his face behind a prosthetic mask, he shares his story with his psychiatrist Antonio (Chete Lera).
Through flashbacks the viewer is introduced to César and his life prior to prison, and gets to know him as a bit of a ladies man with little to no Bro-Code.
If you like Eternal Sunshin of the Spotless Mind you’ll like Abre los Ojos; certain scenes such as Joel and Clementine chasing after their memories, are reminiscent of César’s time shifts and hanging on to the features of people of a high significance to him.
Another reason to watch it? Here it comes!
What really makes this movie for me, is Najwa Nimri, the multi-talent from Pamplona, Spain.
Not only is she a brilliant actress who has appeared in great films such as Los Amantes del Circulo Polar (Lovers of the Arctic Circle), she has also released five solo albums, such as Donde Rugen Los Volcanes and Walkabout.
While Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Abre Los Ojos deal with characters who voluntarily opted to have their memories altered or removed, the protagonist in the Christopher Nolan’s 2000 masterpiece ‘Memento‘ suffers from anterograde amnesia.
When Leonard Shelby’s (Guy Pearce) wife is brutally raped and murdered, he kills one of the attackers but is beaten unconscious by another he only remembers as John G.
Following this incident, Leonard can no longer store recent memories.
I can’t go into more detail here without giving the whole film away, but if you’re looking for films like ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’, you should definitely give this one a try.
I loved the images, the pace and the style of directing and am sure you will appreciate these aspects of the film just as much as I did.
Movies like ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ are hard to beat in terms of plot, style and performance but if you’d like to find a similar viewing experience, just go to the same source: Michel Gondry.
His 2006 film ‘The Science of Sleep’ is a visual masterpiece incorporating various cinematic styles and artistic elements that form the core of a romantic relationship between protagonists Stéphane (Gael Garciá Bernal) and Stéphanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg).
Stéphane is an extremely creative young man who often finds it difficult to distinguish his vivid dreams from reality. He spends his free time working on his “disasterology” calendar, depicting colourful drawings of various disasters.
When he meets his talented neighbour Stéphanie, he immediately feels that they are on the same wave-length artistically and perhaps even romantically…
If you’re into films like ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’, it probably means that you are interested in exploring human consciousness, dreams and memories. In that case, the following two movies, will give you a lot to consider, analyze and explore…
If ever there was a movie with the potential to stick with you for a lifetime, it’s Richard Linklater’s ‘Waking Life’. Not only is the subject matter one of great philosophical importance, it is also presented in a style that is incomparable.
‘Waking Life’ follows a nameless protagonist (Wiley Wiggins) throughout a perpetual dream in which he encounters various characters who share their viewpoints on subjects as diverse as metaphysics, the meaning of life and the ever-feared existential crisis.
The discussions and ideas offered in this film are eye-opening, the artwork absolutely mind-blowing.
Edward Bloom (Albert Finney) has led an extraordinary life and gladly shares his stories with anyone who’s willing to listen. Due to his tendency to over-embellish his accounts, his son Will (Billy Crudup) starts doubting his father’s credibility, putting a strain on their relationship.
When Edward is taken ill with little hope of recovery, Will and his wife Joséphine (Marion Cotillard) make their way to his hometown to spend some precious time with him. Edward continues to share his stories but Will cannot get himself to believe they hold a grain of truth, so he decides to investigate his father’s history.
It is only at his father’s funeral that Will realizes, Edward’s stories were indeed true. He may have exaggerated here and there, but he did actually meet every single one of the amazing characters he spoke of in his stories…
If you liked this movie too, why not also check out these other fantasy drama movies like ‘Big Fish’.
Eternal Sunshine wasn’t the only amazing film by Gondry; his 2006 surrealistic fantasy comedy ‘The Science of Sleep’, stars Miou-Miou, Gael Garcia Bernal and Charlotte Gainsbourg.
What Are You Waiting For? Get Ready For Dreamland!
The story is based on the bed time story written by 10-year old Sam Mounier and with its beautiful soundtrack including songs like Instinct Blues (The White Stripes) and After Hours (The Velvet Underground), it reflects just the right atmosphere.
Films like ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’, ‘Memento’ and ‘Waking Life’ are guaranteed to have an impact on you. You may have to watch them twice – or even thrice! – to get the most out of the plot-twists and profound dialogues, but it is impossible to walk away from such movies without feeling – at the very least – inspired, enlightened and grateful for directors like Michel Gondry and Richard Linklater.
Which movies do you watch when you’re looking for something that goes a little deeper than the usual Hollywood clichés?
So which of these films will you watch first and why?Let me know …
**For a video playlist of the recommendations, please click here.
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