By Raven Fon
There is something magical about great films; they can inspire a change in perspective, and bring about personal transformation.
We turn to movies when we want to experience a release from our day-to-day grind. Comedies are there for us when we need to disconnect from the stress and chaos in our lives, and some Sci-Fi films give us a glimpse of what the future may hold for our species. Then there are the movies which make you think- the ones that really get the wheels turning in your mind.
More well-known titles, like Fight Club, V for Vendetta, The Matrix, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, won’t be among this list, even though they are some of the greatest thought-provoking films of our time. Instead, here you will find some of the more obscure titles; the ones which never reached public popularity, due to a modest budget and unknown actors. All of them, however, will definitely make you think.
Storyline: When implanted in a person’s wrist, a TiMER counts down to the day the wearer finds true love. But Oona O’Leary faces the rare dilemma of a blank TiMER. Her soul mate – whoever and wherever he is – has yet to have a TiMER implanted.
Thought: If there was a countdown to when you would find your soul mate, would you want to know?
Storyline: “Coherence” is a mystery film in the same spirit “The Twilight Zone” episodes used to have. Eight old friends get together for a nice dinner party the night a comet flies by the Earth at an uncommonly short distance. While they eat dinner, strange phenomena start to happen.
It’s not meant as a hard science fiction story but as drama with a supernatural, pseudo-scientific framing to enhance the characters motivations and actions. In its core beyond the initial premise, the film explores the idea that everybody has secrets and things can (and does) happen in any possible way given that infinite universes co-exist at the same time.
Thought: This makes us ponder on Schrodinger’s Cat, and begs the question “do we really know what we are capable of?”
Storyline: At night and on weekends, four men in a suburban garage have built a cottage industry of error-checking devices. But, they know that there is something more. There is some idea, some mechanism, some accidental side effect that is standing between them and a pure leap of innovation. And so, through trial and error they are building the device that is missing most. However, two of these men find the device and immediately realize that it is too valuable to market.
Thought: If you always want what you can’t have, what do you want when you can have anything?
Storyline: Boy meets girl in a not-quite-here, not-quite-now world where one simple discovery has forever changed all human interaction. In an alternate reality, children learn how lucky they will be (their “frequency”), knowledge which shapes their destiny. The unluckiest boy must unravel the mysteries of free will in order to pursue his forbidden love of the luckiest girl.
Thought: Are human conditions, actions, relationships determined by fate, free will, or a combination of both? At any rate, if it we cannot control it – should we care?
5. I Origins
Storyline: I Origins begins when graduate student, Ian Gray, is researching the evolution of human eyes with Karen and Kenny, in order to prove that eyes have evolved instead of “appeared” as creationists claim. His fascination with eyes takes him into areas that have profound personal and cultural consequences.
Thought: Science and faith, or chance and destiny?
Storyline: As the light fades and the city goes to sleep, two forces emerge. They are invisible except for the power they exert over us in our sleep, battling for our souls through dreams. One force delivers hope and strength through good dreams; the other infuses the subconscious with desperation through nightmares. John and Emma, Father and Daughter are wrenched into this fantastical dream world battle, forced to fight for John’s soul and to save Emma from an eternal nightmare. Separate in their journey, they encounter unusual characters that exist only in their subconscious. Or do they?
Thought: Do the varying emotions we experience affect our reality? Or does our reality affect our feelings and emotions?
7. Waking Life
Storyline: Dreams. What are they? An escape from reality or reality itself? Waking Life follows the dream(s) of one man and his attempt to find and discern the absolute difference between waking life and the dreamworld. While trying to figure out a way to wake up, he runs into many people on his way; some of which offer one sentence asides on life, others delving deeply into existential questions and life’s mysteries. We become the main character. It becomes our dream and our questions being asked and answered.
Thought: What if you gradually become aware that you are walking through life in a dream state, but could not wake up from this confusing dream?