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Movies for writers and other creatives

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Writerly life (Creative life in general)

  1. Capote : A movie that explores the time in life of Truman Capote when he wrote “In cold blood. Bonus is a glimpse in the success of Harper Lee, who was Capote’s childhood friend.
  2. The Angel at My Table : The movie is about the New Zealand author Janet Frame, who wrote more than 20 books. Her struggle with the mental illnesses andthe challenges of being a sensitive artist are depicted in a matter of factly way in this lovely movie.
  3. Citizen Kane : Inspirational movie about the creative life and the successes thereby, and the key motivations for any creator. The direction and the editing of the movie itself is amazing. It is worth all the hype.
  4. Inside Llewyn Davis : Songwriters have lives very similar to indie writers. Coen Brothers recreate the sixties Greenwich Village, a hotbed of country music and track the life of Llewyn Davis, his struggles and the realities of a struggling artist.
  5. Pyaasa : Guru Dutt’s masterpiece that tracks the life of a poet, Vijay, who struggles to make ends meet and finds the true love of his life. Also watch “Kaagaz Ke Phool” by Guru Dutt which is about a film director facing failure.
  6. The Hours : The movie mixed Virginia Woolf’s life, the narrative of her book – Mrs Dalloway, and the life of a person who is impacted by the book. Nicole Kidman’s authentic portrayal of Virginia Woolf won her an academy award for best actress.
  7. Revenge of The Mekons : This movie will tell you how to lead an authentic life as an indie creator while sticking to the principles of art you want to create. It is also a lesson on living a happy life with meagre mean and learning continuously about your craft.
  8. American Splendor : The movie is about Harvey Pekar, the creator of the underground comic book, “American Splendor”. Pekar worked in a government office all his life while creating his books, a reality in most writers’ lives.
  9. Paterson : Paterson is a bus driver in the city of Paterson and is also a poet. Or should we say he is a poet who is also a bus driver. The mundane life of Paterson, his attempts to remain creative and make a living, and his response to a crisis is depicted by Jim Jarmusch is a heartbreaking and heartwarming manner at the same time.
  10. Sideways : Miles is an English teacher and an aspiring author who takes his friend Jack on a wine tasting trip before Jack’s marriage. The writer’s anxieties are again brilliantly portrayed by Paul Giamatti, the same actor who player Harvey Pekar in American Splendor.
  11. Five Easy Pieces : Jack Nicholson’s brilliant portrayal of Robert Dupea, who is a construction worker with a history similar to Amitabh Bachchan in “Kala Patthar”. Is his mundane existence an escape from a more pristine past?
  12. Almost Famous : “Almost Famous” is about a 15 year old kid, a precocious writer, who gets an assignment to write a feature about a rock band, by Rolling Stone, the leading rock magazine. Bonus feature, Philip Hoffman’s brilliant portrayal of Lester Bangs.

Creative Process

  1. “Once”, “Begin Again” and “Sing Street” by John Carnay are peans to creating rather than consuming. They depict very ordinary protagonists that take creation seriously and enjoy the process more than the product. A must for creative lows.
  2. Adaptation : This masterpiece by Charlie Kaufman depicts a screenwriter named Charlie Kaufman writing a screeplay based on the book “The Orchid Thief” by Susan Orleans. The movie is about him fighting the writer’s block and creative the screenplay that becomes “Adaptation” the movie. Talk about recursive storytelling!
  3. Synecdoche New York : Aging theatre director Caten Cotard gets McArthur grant of a million dollars to fund any project that he wants to do. He creates the replica of New York city with characters that match his life. How the real life and reel life blur is the story of this brilliant movie.
  4. Barton Fink : Another masterpiece by the Coen Brothers, Barton Fink tells a story of the eponymous play writer who has come to Hollywood to write a script but has a terrible writers block. Bonus feature is the character said to be based on William Faukner.
  5. 8 ½ : Fellini’s brilliant depiction of a Director’s Block – an equivalent of the writer’s block in the world of movies – is a must watch for the frustration of a creator who can not match his earlier work. Writing your second/third book? This is a must watch.
  6. Day for night : Life of an indie filmmaker is brilliantly portrayed in this work of genius by Francois Truffaut. The movie takes you through making of a movie and shows how fragile is the creative process.
  7. Deconstructing Harry : Harry Block is a writer, played by the director Woody Allen, who also directs and writes the movie. Harry routinely writes about people he knows and get it back from them. The movie is about his visit to receive an award, and his life as it flashes back during his journey.
  8. A prairie home companion : Robert Altman’s masterpiece about the real radio show, “The Prairie Home Companion” that stars its real host, Garrison Keillor among the ensemble cast that includes Meryl Streep and Virginia Madsen. A very close glimpse in the creative process of a real time show.
  9. School or rock : Richard Linklator’s love song to rock music features a goofy character called Dewey Finn, who is a musician who does not have money. Jack Black brilliantly plays the self-assured musician turned music teacher who builds a rock group from the bunch of school students.
  10. Wonder Boys : Based on the wonderful book by Michael Chabon, Wonder Boys is a campus movie in which the protagonist, an author with the first hit book – played brilliantly by Michael Douglas – is struggling with his second book.

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