Tag Archives: Martin Ruhe

Best Biopics on Musicians (10+1list)

Best Biopics On Musicians

written by Souranath Banerjee

While watching the recent biopic Love & Mercy (2014) based on
Beach Boys lead singer Brian Wilson’s life (starring John Cusack,
love-and-mercy-posterElizabeth BanksPaul Dano and Paul Giamatti), I had this observation that the more famous the artist, the more is the chance for them to be vulnerable and gullible in their personal life.

The extremely talented Musicians who are superstars on the stage, with all the money and fame in the world but in their real life, most of them are so alone and disturbed and emotionally unstable.

Either their family lives are torn apart as a direct side-effect of fame (too much of drugs, sex and ego) or else they are being bullied, cheated, harassed or exploited by none other than their close friends and relatives.

These films in the list are some of the Best Biopics on Musicians across the world, the lives of the crazy and the genius.

Let the music flow!

10. Amadeus (1984)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIzhAKtEzY0

amadeus-poster1‘I am a vulgar man but i assure you my music is not’ – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Directed by Milos Forman, an epic biopic made on the life of arguably the best composer ever existed. 

Mozart, Music and Murder -a colorful masterpiece, nominated for 11 Oscars and won eight of them, including best picture, actor and director!

9. The Doors (1991)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rU0tR0EjAXA

doors-posterJim Morrison, the God of Rock – the story of his eccentric life; the madness and the genius.

Starring Val Kilmer and Meg Ryan, the film perfectly captures the energy, the style and the vibrant personality of the ‘Electric Poet’. 

Directed by brilliant Oliver Stone, a visual treat and for me, in the rock n’ roll genre this is the best biopic ever made. Watch it.

8. I’m Not There. (2007)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFUEofAr9GA

im-not-there-poster1

Christian BaleCate BlanchettHeath LedgerRichard GereBen Whishaw and Marcus Carl Franklin – six actors, six characters, one life, one artist – Bob Dylan!

Soaked in Dylan’s soulful music, it is made in a non-linear and avant garde fashion, a complete original take by director Todd Haynes

Challenging but certainly not mainstream. 

7. Walk the Line (2005)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsvZGwd8vrI

walk-the-line-posterDirected by James Mangold, this one is a biopic on country music legend Johnny Cash’s life.

His fame and family, his love and addiction, his depression and his will to survive; his ultimate success.

Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon both were Oscar nominated for their outstanding performances and Reese finally won the award.

6. Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pivm4oMEDRs

coal-miners-daughter-posterThe legendary singer Loretta Lynn and how she changed the rhythm and style of country-music forever.  

From poverty to worldwide fame, her life  and her musical career is a story to be told. Starring Sissy Spacek (oscar winning role)Tommy Lee Jones and Levon Helm.

Directed by Michael Apted, this biography deserves much more attention than it received.

5. Nowhere Boy (2009)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0Qu62_vPbo

Nowhere-boy-posterDirected by Sam Taylor-Johnson, this biopic focuses on the early life of musical sensation John Lennon.

Lennon’s relationship with his aunt Mimi and his mother Julia, his love for music and how he met his friends Paul McCartney and George Harrison!

Experience the evolution of the revolution, the man behind the most popular band ever – The Beatles.

4. Ray (2004)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVHCQfcugdw

ray-poster1Directed by Taylor Hackford, this one tells the story of Ray Charles, the legendary rhythm and blues musician of the 60s.

At the age of seven he lost his eyesight but still with his gifted voice and compositions, and his brilliance in playing the piano he became one of the most successful musicians of the time.

Jamie Foxx won Oscar for his role.

3. Control (2007)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7c2_B_cWK_M

control-posterA biography of the famous lead singer of the band Joy Division – Ian Curtis.

Directed by Anton Corbijnthe film depicts the troubled life of the musical genius which ended at the young age of 23 (he committed suicide).

The film is a simple yet stylized series of black and white visuals shot brilliantly by Martin Ruhe.

2. What’s Love Got to Do with It (1993)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nbzbd2wUGao

whats-love-got-to-do-with-it-posterIt’s a biopic on Tina Turner’s courageous life, both stage and personal.

The way she shot to stardom and became famous, the tough years when she was traumatized by her abusive husband Ike Turner and finally how she managed to break free.

Directed by Brian Gibson, a film that every woman should see and take inspiration from.

  1. Shine (1996)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTt4Ar6pzO4

shine-posterPiano player David Helfgott, a child prodigy who had a breakdown early in his life but later came back and became popular. 

Directed by Scott Hicks, a film that is so intense and yet so satisfying, so true to the life of the artist.  

The prime reason to watch this biopic is for Geoffrey Rush‘s brilliant performance for which he won the Oscar that year!

and now, (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch).

+1. La Vie en Rose (2007)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzEJ7NV_g98

vie-en-rose-posterA superb biopic on Édith Piaf‘s life, the famous French singer.

With the ever-beautiful Marion Cotillard in the lead, the film takes us into a nonlinear journey of the vulnerable yet talented singer’s childhood, then her rise to fame and the various ups and downs of her life. 

Directed by Olivier Dahan, a great work of passion and emotion.

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comwww.festivalinla.com.

Best Modern Black and White movies (10+1list)

Best Modern Black and White movies

written by Souranath Banerjee.

The transition of Cinema from ‘black and white’ to ‘color’ is a unique evolutionary process that took years of experimentation.

Evidently in Europe (specifically in U.k and France), as early as in the beginning of 1900, the first few colored footage were made; they were mostly hand-colored short films. Then in 1914, in U.K Natural Color Kinematograph Company made the first ever full length feature film in color named The World, the Flesh and the Devil. 

In 1918 Cupid Angling was made in US by Douglass Natural Color The-Wizard-of-Oz-posterFilm Inc. which is the first American ‘colored’ feature. Then of course The Wizard of Oz (1939) and Gone with the Wind (1939) established the era of colorful films.

Eventually the dominance of ‘black and white’ films faded away and cinema was full of colors! By the late 60s only a handful of black and white films are made each year.

Nowadays the black and white medium is regarded as a rare artistic choice for stylized visuals, or specifically used to portray a certain desired mood/emotion.

And now, the list contains some of the Best Modern Black and White movies. Enjoy!

10. Pi (1998)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jo18VIoR2xU

pi-poster

Darren Aronofsky‘s first feature and an amazing black and white thriller.

A paranoid mathematician who tries to unlock nature’s universal patterns with the help of the magic number Pi!

Matthew Libatique shot the dark contrast images and successfully creates the gritty atmosphere needed for the film.

9. Nebraska (2013)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UT5tqPojMtg

nebraska-poster1

Oscar nominated film (nominated in six categories including ‘best film’, ‘best director’ and ‘best cinematographer’).

Directed by Alexander Payne, this black and white road movie is wonderfully shot by Phedon Papamichael.

An emotional yet humorous father-son relationship like never seen before.

8. Frances Ha (2012)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBn5dgXFMis

frances-ha-poster

Noah Baumbach presents one of the most endearing and funny film of recent times. 

A black and white comedy drama that tells the entertaining tale of an ordinary New York girl named Frances. She is quirky, childlike and sometimes a bit immature as well.

Beautifully shot by Sam Levy, the film is as spontaneous and free-spirited as it’s leading lady.

7. The Turin Horse (2011)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNkN_xCXozw

turin-horse-poster

From the master directors Béla Tarr and co-director Ágnes Hranitzky this one is an unique film with very less dialogues and absolutely brilliant visuals. 

Shot by Fred Kelemen, the film has long takes that meticulously portrays the struggle of each and every character.

Rural settings with harsh climate – black and white imagery at it’s best.

6. Coffee and Cigarettes (2003)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_7uQsP2TBk

coffee-and-cigarettes-poster

A series of short, single location films based on people interaction which all have coffee and cigarettes in common!

One of the coolest films ever, directed by Jim Jarmusch with unique casting for each segment.

A black and white film that uses the checker tables, the black coffee and the white cigarette smoke to it’s best advantage.

5. Control (2007)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7c2_B_cWK_M

control-poster

A biography of the famous lead singer of the band Joy Division – Ian Curtis.

Directed by Anton Corbijn, the film depicts the troubled life of the musical genius which ended at the young age of 23 (he committed suicide).

The film is a simple yet stylized series of black and white visuals shot brilliantly by Martin Ruhe.

4. The Artist (2011)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OK7pfLlsUQM

Artist-poster

Nominated for the Oscars in 10 categories and winning 5 awards including the ‘Best Motion Picture of the Year’, ‘best direction’ and ‘best actor’!

A black and white film directed by Michel Hazanavicius that is arty as well as highly entertaining.

Shot by Guillaume Schiffman (oscar nominated), the film is a treat for all black and white cinema lovers!

3. Ida (2013)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xyxFsg_rrY

ida-poster

The Oscar winner in the ‘best foreign film category’.

Pawel Pawlikowski direction and amazing cinematography by Ryszard Lenczewski and Lukasz Zal.

The film is uniquely in square format (aspect ratio 1.33 : 1) and interestingly most of the frames have huge amount of negative space on the top. A must see.

2. Schindler’s List (1993)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdRGC-w9syA

schindlers-list-poster

Probably the most popular black and white film of our times.

Directed by Steven Spielberg the film is a biography on Oskar Schindler’s life who helped the Jews and saved many lives during the Nazi invasion of Poland in the World War II. 

Shot by Janusz Kaminski this film has so strong imagery that one could never forget in their lives.

1. The White Ribbon (2009)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KJKvvvxY74

white-ribbon-poster

A little peaceful village haunted by a series of awful murders!

Directed by the acclaimed German director Michael Haneke, this film is a superb psychological mystery drama.

A black and white classic shot by Christian Berger, the film was also nominated in the Oscars for the Best Achievement in Cinematography category!

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most unique and cool one. A must watch).

+1. Sin City (2005)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2Dj6ktPU5c

sin-city-posterIf you want to use the word ‘stylized’ to define a film – this is the one.

Super cool visuals straight from Frank Miller‘s comic book pages, the film is an epic is it’s dark and violent story telling.

Directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez (he also shot the film), the most stylish black and white film ever.

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comwww.imdb.com.