In this post I’ve combined two of my biggest passions – movies and list-making (both excellent distractions when you are fighting anxiety).
The airport scene from Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys (1995) where the the child version of Cole witness himself being killed as an adult man.
There’s no secret that I am quite obsessed with watching movies and TV-series and I could list more than 100 favorites right off the bat, but I thought it would be enough with the top 50 of my favorite movies in this list:
It’s a sweet morning. White skies. Stillness outside. Nothing but wind. And I’m under the blankets, watching Vanilla Sky on DVD. There are so many good things about that movie. The soundtrack is amazing. And it’s filled with little lines that fits perfectly as a reminder of what life’s all about.
Vanilla Sky, 2001
The movie focuses on the relationship between actions and consequences. To be mindless and mindful, to make decisions or to live with the consequences of not making them. To be emotionally numb and awake. To feel like life’s owning you and how to own your own life by painting your sky in any tone you want, grey, blue or vanilla.
It is about human vanity and the comfort of buying a lifestyle and the illusion of happiness it creates, “living the dream” – and the discomfort of adapting to the cruelty of reality – being stuck in a nightmare, a spiral of negativity that makes you feel like a victim of life.
But the message is far from negative. we are not victims of our own lives – we are the artist who’s creating it. “Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around”. What a powerful statement.
But all those chances are far away from any comfort zone and doesn’t come with a price tag.
You can’t buy yourself a vanilla sky, you have to paint it. The opposite of being a victim of life is to be a Claude Monet. And here comes the importance of making a decision again. Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around. Now. Now. And now.
Tom Hulce as Mozart in the 1984 movie Amadeus by Milos Forman
I’m spending this morning in bed, watching one of my favorite movies – Amadeus (1984), trying to escape the heat wave as much as I can. Lately I’ve noticed that most of my favorite movies are about creative people or about the creative process. Amadeus is so much about the flow of Mozart’s creativity and mojo. The Commitments (1991) is a tale of the commitment to a creative project and its various phases of passion, hard work, focus, ambition and the battle between the primitive and natural drive of the soul to have a voice and the pride of the ego to be even louder. Little Women (1994) is about a young woman’s love for writing and her insecurities about how to use her creativity since she’s a woman in a society and time which aren’t really interested in what a young woman has to say.
My favorite actress Winona Ryder as the talented writer Jo March in Little Women (1994)
One of my favorite TV series, Canadian produced Anne of Green Gables (1986) is dealing with a similar theme; a young and creative female writer with too much imagination and passion for her own good in a time where there’s no room for such a female personality type (only as the “crazy, hot tempered spinster” lady type). Even Inception (2010) is mostly about the creative process of planning, thinking and mentally constructing the “realistic” dream worlds like layers upon layers of dreams within dreams. There’s so much focus on the richness of the imagination and the power of creation.
Leonardo DiCaprio and the complexities of the super advanced worlds of Inception (2010), created by human minds using intelligence, logic, creativity, imagination and philosophy in a powerful way
The Game (1997) – killing the ego to let the id breathe using creativity to manipulate the process
One of my all time favorite movies – The Game (1997) directed by David Fincher, might look like an ordinary psychological thriller at a first glance, but if we take a closer look, we can see that the theme goes deeper. It’s a journey through the stagnation and awakening of a mind. It’s about acknowledging the creativity of life itself – a reminder that we are the creator of our own lives, we are not the result (or victims) of what life is creating for us. We have to use our creativity, imagination and consciousness in every little decision, or we’ll be suffocated by life’s endless ruts, cycles and culs-de-sac.
If we surrender to a stagnated life we end up just as stagnated in our hearts and minds – and it’s only through our creativity and the primitive and natural instincts that we can break free and feel reborn (by killing the ego to let the id breathe), in order for us to appriciate who we really are and what we have. I love how Fincher is using the texture of sound design to illustrate the process – in the echoes of the metallic noises in the kitchen scene where the main character is spending his birthday alone in a cold and heartless house, decorated appropriate to his wealth and status but is without personality or warmth, to the loud and intrusive music of Jefferson Airplane in the scene where his home has been invaded and vandalized, as something threatening but I imagine that he used to listen to that kind of music as a young man before he became all ‘cold and dead’ inside, so it’s also liberating and nostalgic – a reminder of a time where he was enjoying his life instead of feeling like he owns it and being owned by it at the same time. When we have become ‘comfortably numb’ and lost touch with our true nature and the only creativity we use in our lives comes in a pretty box or with a price tag, then we feel threatened by that natural and powerful creativity – because it destroys the illusion of the comfort and makes us FEEL and become un-numbed. It is easier to look away than to embrace it. Because our natural creativity requires raising uncomfortable questions, making hard decisions, letting go of things we are used to, being the leader of our own lives instead of being part of the massive herd of ‘sheeple’.
Nazi ‘sheeple’ without their own creative juices flowing, following the creative visions of a leader with really bad ideas about most things – an extreme example of the danger of being ‘comfortably numb’ and uncreative
Creativity is so much more than the act of creating a piece of art, music, a dance or writing a story. It is the very foundation of life itself. It is in everything. As long as we are brave enough to withstand the comfort of going with the mainstream flow of ready made lifestyles and pre-made ideas and visions which are for sale and can be consumed through our TV screens, at the mall or in the magazines on our coffee tables.
I love film. I love TV-series. Perhaps even more than I love art – or maybe art is such a natural part of me that I can’t measure the passion in a fair way. But I would say that movies is my biggest passion in life. I usually watch at least 2 movies every day and binge watch TV series as well. I never watch regular TV. My favorite movie directors – Bergman, Lynch, Hitchcock, Allen, Gilliam, Von Trier, Burton, Fincher, Nichols, Cukor and Polanski have all inspired my work in some way or another.
MULHOLLAND DRIVE by David Lynch 
“The Crash” by Mia Makila, 2012 [digital]
THE PIANO by Jane Campion 
“That Little Girl In ‘The Piano’ Movie Just Wet Herself In Between Takes In 1993” by Mia Makila, 2008 [acrylics on cardboard]
“Lucy Pevensie” by Mia Makila, 2012 [digital] inspired by the main character from the 2005 fantasy movie “Narnia”
WILD AT HEART by David Lynch 
“Wild at Heart” by Mia Makila, 2012 [digital]
FANNY AND ALEXANDER by Ingmar Bergman 
“Fanny And Alexander” by Mia Makila, mixed media on paper, 2012
The original poster for Ingmar Bergman’s last feature film “Fanny And Alexander”,1982 (I own one of these and keep it in my bedroom)
THE BIRDS by Alfred Hitchcock 
“Bird Lady” by Mia Makila, 2008 [digital]
“Under Attack” by Mia Makila, 2007 [digital]
Old black and white movies
“Out of the Nothing Box” by Mia Makila, 2014
“NOT A PHALLUS” BY MIA MAKILA – 2015 (DIGITAL) Edition of 5, 40 x 44 cm, PRICE: 7500 SEK
“Envy” by Mia Makila, 2013 [digital)
“The Strange Girl” by Mia Makila, 2007 [digital]
“The Gathering” by Mia Makila, 2007 [digital]
And my favorite movies of all time? Well, it has to be “12 Monkeys” by Terry Gilliam, “Fanny and Alexander” by Ingmar Bergman,”The Game” by David Fincher, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?” by Mike Nichols and “Melancholia” by Lars Von Trier.