Looking for Netflix instant films with great cinematography
May 19, 2012 4:38 PM   Subscribe

We want to watch movies on Netflix Istant that have beautiful cinematography. Nothing too violent or gory. We'd prefer a good plot and characters. We're not talking a good looking film, we want beautiful, drop dead gorgeous photography, available on Netflix Instant. For an example of what I mean by drop dead gorgeous, check out the trailer for Nostalghia. Obviously other films by that director, Andrei Tarkovsky, are one list, but what else would you suggest?
posted by Brandon Blatcher to Media & Arts (39 answers total) 89 users marked this as a favorite
It is violent, but it's incredibly well done, so I'll mention it anyway. Drive was put on Netflix last week, and it's gorgeous. Other than that, Enter the Void and Buffalo '66 are on Netflix. I've heard good things but haven't seen either of them, so can't speak to the violence in them.
posted by zhi at 4:44 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

It's funny you posted this, I logged on just now JUST having finished Melancholia which was put on Netflix Instant pretty recently. It's a draining film, but the photography was really impressive.
posted by windbox at 4:55 PM on May 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm not on streaming so I can't check but is The Fall listed?
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:16 PM on May 19, 2012 [11 favorites]

What about Days of Heaven, Terrence Malick.
posted by citron at 5:19 PM on May 19, 2012 [7 favorites]

Anything by Terrence Malick.
posted by pmb at 5:27 PM on May 19, 2012 [6 favorites]

Try out anything with Conrad Hall, in particular the film In Cold Blood and Road to Perdition. Also, Fargo's cinematography is not "drop dead gorgeous" but still very impressive. Making snow that meaningful isn't as easy as it looks.
posted by RapcityinBlue at 5:38 PM on May 19, 2012

Yes, TWinbrook8, The Fall is on Netflix instant at the moment (Brandon Blatcher, pick the one from 2006, not the 1999 or 2008). Great choice...it has some ravishing cinematography, and is a tremendous film in general.
posted by theatro at 5:39 PM on May 19, 2012

Today, both Melancholia and The Fall are on Netflix streaming. Drive is listed, but Crash is not. Neither version.
posted by faceonmars at 5:41 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I Am Love.
posted by Xalf at 5:46 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Nostalghia, you say?

Try some Roy Andersson.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:47 PM on May 19, 2012

I Am Love is great to look and and the John Adams soundtrack sounds great too.

Barry Lyndon is one of the most beautiful movies ever made, opinions differ on it's success as a movie (I love it but I know some don't)

I just watched Thief with James Caan which looks a little cliched now but only because it's been imitated so much. Lots of rain-soaked streets and glowing neon.
posted by octothorpe at 5:48 PM on May 19, 2012

A Very Long Engagement
posted by sandyp at 6:15 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

A Single Man
posted by dydecker at 6:20 PM on May 19, 2012

Brokeback Mountain.
posted by WickedPissah at 6:23 PM on May 19, 2012

Castaway on the Moon is a really gorgeous-looking Korean film that also was very uplifting and poignant. So many of the shots in that movie looked like visually-arresting oil paintings.
posted by Alonzo T. Calm at 6:47 PM on May 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

And yes, as Twinbrook8 mentioned,"The Fall" is probably just what you are looking for, and last time I checked it was available on Netflix instant watch.
The director, Tarsem Singh, was an accomplished music video and commercial director prior to transitioning to films, so he brings a great deal of visual panache to the equation.
posted by Alonzo T. Calm at 6:51 PM on May 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Lust, Caution?
posted by AwkwardPause at 7:07 PM on May 19, 2012

My Summer of Love
Thin Red Line (Terrence Malick)
Microcosmos lovely micro documentary.
I'll second Buffalo 66, I Am Love and Drive.
Big Night 1950's Americana and Italian food porn.
posted by dog food sugar at 7:16 PM on May 19, 2012

Travelers and Magicians
The Great Match
Also 2nd The Fall, Castaway on the Moon, and Barry Lyndon.
The Good, The Bad, The Weird
Tuya's Marriage
posted by I'm Brian and so's my wife! at 7:46 PM on May 19, 2012

posted by rhythm and booze at 9:55 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Spirit of the Beehive
The Last Emperor
In the Mood for Love
Akira Kurosawa's Dreams

I also think Aguirre, the Wrath of God is a beautiful film. YMMV.
posted by Kafkaesque at 9:58 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I Am Love is gorgeous to look at. So is What Dreams May Come, Pan's Labyrinth, the Ridley Scott movies Legend and Black Hawk Down, and anything by Terence Malick. I also thought the movie Heaven (with Cate Blanchette) was gorgeous.
posted by elizeh at 10:54 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I saw Terrence Malick's movies on Blu-Ray (Days, Thin) and almost shit myself. I'm not sure how good Netflix Streaming is these days but I hope it's good enough.
posted by phaedon at 11:24 PM on May 19, 2012

Northfork by the Polish brothers. Montana FTW.
posted by davidmsc at 12:51 AM on May 20, 2012

The "At once delicately mannered and visually stunning" In the Mood for Love
posted by Mister Bijou at 1:35 AM on May 20, 2012

Also, The Mill and the Cross (2011). It's beautiful to look at and based on Pieter Bruegel the Elder's 1564 painting The Procession to Calvary.
posted by Mister Bijou at 1:42 AM on May 20, 2012

I also came in to recommend The Fall too - it's exactly what you're looking for, utterly beautiful and every location is real. It's the perfect CGI antidote.
posted by freya_lamb at 2:28 AM on May 20, 2012

What about Days of Heaven, Terrence Malick.

Nthing this. I had never seen anything by Malick before I caught this on TV one day - it was only half way through and I was already ordering the DVD. It is simply one of the most beautiful films I've ever seen.

I haven't seen Orlando in a while, but I thought it was beautiful when I did see it. Citizen Kane is also fabulously beautiful as well as having other fabulous qualities, though obviously it doesn't fit the scenery part of the request.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 2:34 AM on May 20, 2012

The Waiting City was gorgeous. I also came to rec Orlando but was beaten to it:)
posted by cestmoi15 at 5:25 AM on May 20, 2012

Age of Innocence
House of the Flying Daggers
The Color Purple
posted by elle.jeezy at 8:03 AM on May 20, 2012

I loved the cinematography in the 2010 version of Jane Eyre - the natural lighting and candle lighting creates some stunning scenes.
posted by ukdanae at 9:47 PM on May 20, 2012

I'll +1 Drive and add The Trip and maybe one from my queue which I haven't watched yet, The Bothersome Man. Drive gets gory, so turn it off shortly after the first person is found beat up.
posted by salvia at 1:17 AM on May 21, 2012

+1 on Kubrick's Barry Lyndon.

Also, not too deep on plot, but the films of the Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul (start with Syndromes and a Century) are among the most beautifully shot works of the last decade.
posted by rahulrg at 1:51 AM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

--Akira Kurosawa's Ran: Gorgeous battle sequences, excellent use of color.

--Any of Wong Kar-Wai's films: I would say In The Mood For Love but that seems to have disappeared from the Instant. People wonder why I still buy DVDs.

--Medicine for Melancholy: The rare low-budget movie that isn't painful to look at. San Francisco cloaked in a dreamy, desaturated, not-quite-black-and-white haze.

--A Woman is a Woman: Jean-Luc Godard and Raoul Cotard take to the Paris streets to make a "neorealist musical". Eye-popping color.

--Persona: Bergman!

--3 Women: Looks and feels like a half-remembered dream.

--4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days: Innovative use of camera placement, long takes, and realist techniques create an experience that will bore a hole in your chest. Number one on my list of movies that I love and will never watch a second time.

--Oldboy: Martin Scorsese asked his cinematographer for The Departed to watch this movie for inspiration. Eventually they had to pull back from those particular techniques because they were too insane to use in a Hollywood movie.

--Paris, Texas: Was going to recommend this but realized it has also disappeared from Instant. Buy DVDs, I'm telling you.

--Broadway Danny Rose: Gordon Willis shoots a Woody Allen movie in black and white, i.e. everything a person could possibly want.
posted by Smallpox at 7:18 AM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Beautiful, you say, plot driven? You are asking for A River Runs Through It. Enjoy!
posted by dmt at 7:32 AM on May 21, 2012

- Tree of Life
- General Orders No. 9
- Perfume: Story of a Murderer
- The White Ribbon
- Heartbeats
- A Serious Man
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- The Fountain
- Virgin Suicides
- Seraphine
- Hanna
- There Will Be Blood
- Diving Bell and the Butterfly
- Curious Case of Benjamin Button

And I agree with everyone - The Fall is the best!
posted by theuninvitedguest at 1:59 PM on May 21, 2012

This is a fantastic list. One film I haven't seen listed above is 'Small Town Murder Songs', which had some very beautiful photography. It's a strange film, has a wee bit of violence and a very powerful soundtrack. Am adding a bunch of the above to my queue.
posted by pymsical at 4:33 PM on May 21, 2012

Ah, beautiful breathtaking film.

I would recommend watching Visions of Light by the American Film Institute. It's a wonderful documentary on the art of cinematography. For what it's worth it's where I first heard about Days of Heaven.
Since it's the AFI, international cinematography is underrepresented but in any case you'll see over 80 examples of brilliant cinema art, to follow up on as you choose.
posted by storybored at 8:15 PM on May 21, 2012

A Taste of Cherry.

The ever intertwined, Blue, White and Red.

Eyes Wide Shut.
posted by zerobyproxy at 9:37 AM on May 22, 2012

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