Quiet, Personal Films
All my greatest inspirations have always been movies. From an early age, I was drawn to those that told a slow story, more about feelings than facts, everything happening easy enough to notice. Somewhere between an hour and two isn't much room to breathe, and I prefer a world given time to feel real. As a kid, I was often disappointed when the plot came along, and interrupted the incredible depth of feeling in just existing on screen. We didn't grow up with TV in my house, so when we finally got a VCR, whatever few tapes rented, brought, or borrowed from the neighbors held real sway. I never got distracted or looked away, no matter how much or how little I loved what was happening. I remember watching films that were new at the time, like The Secret Garden or Driving Miss Daisy, straightforward stories that made me believe in the world they created. Back then, my scale of time was greater, when days felt like weeks, and hours like days. Every time a movie was over, it seemed like I'd lived it with the characters, got sucked in and lost along the way. All these years later, and I still see the edges blurring when I let them.
When I became a photographer, I was inspired by the films that made a frame have meaning, making ordinary life into a series of honest compositions. Instead of the endless possibilities of modern cinema, they looked back and took the notion of "moving picture" seriously. Putting a border around the world helped me understand the boundaries of my own, made me feel safer in being myself. In my late teens, I started digging deeper, watched hundreds of videos and DVDs a year, and found a meaning that was missing in me. I first saw Never Cry Wolf in the mid-2000s, and it soon became my favorite film of all time, a framework for perfection on the screen. The stark loneliness and sparseness made me understand beauty in a way I never fully perceived before. But there's a lot of different themes in these films, covering a range of genres and approaches, strong sadness and incredible joy. Some are widely-known and well-loved movies, and others are hard to find and hopelessly obscure. Boiling under the surface is a compelling and restrained quality, a deeply human and unifying factor. This quiet, heartwaking understanding of people. This list is the result of a lifetime of film watching, searching, discovering, loving. If you're looking for something that moves you, I hope you might find it here.
– Steve Skafte