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25 Movies that Will Inspire the Creator Archetype During Covid-19

These films deep dive into creativity to transcend the stresses of quarantine.

Illustration of neurons by Santiago Ramon y Cajal; courtesy of the Cajal Institute and the Spanish National Research Council.
Illustration of neurons by Santiago Ramon y Cajal; courtesy of the Cajal Institute and the Spanish National Research Council.

The pandemic produces a number of problematic scenarios for the Creator Archetype. High stress or a sense of overwhelm may trigger a creative block or the inability to focus. In-person collaboration, like rehearsals, and live performance are completely on hold.

According to “The Archetype Method: Brand Essence,” authored by Yamilca Rodriguez, the Creator Archetype thrives off making works of enduring value. I add that artists create for the process of making and expressing.

I curated the following selection of films that either pay homage to the art of storytelling, the creative process, the lives of artists, and the arts industry or defy standards to be considered groundbreaking masterworks. 

Because the Creator Archetype encompasses so many arts, I allowed this list to feature 25 films rather than the allotted 20 movies for other archetypes. Each film description is pulled directly from IMDB.com (with my additions in parenthesis), and the list is in no particular order:

  1. Nashville, 1975, Directed by Robert Altman. Over the course of a few hectic days, numerous interrelated people (and performers) prepare for a political convention as secrets and lies surface and are revealed.
  2. Finding Neverland, 2004, Directed by Marc Forster. The story of Sir J.M. Barrie’s friendship with a family who inspired him to create Peter Pan.
  3. Cinema Paradiso, 1988, Directed by Guiseppe Tornatore. A filmmaker recalls his childhood when falling in love with the pictures at the cinema of his home village and forms a deep friendship with the cinema’s projectionist.
  4. Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present, 2012, Directed by Matthew Akers & Jeff Dupre. A documentary follows the Serbian performance artist as she prepares for a retrospective of her work at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.
  5. Midnight in Paris, 2011, Directed by Woody Allen. While on a trip to Paris with his fiancé’s family, a nostalgic screenwriter finds himself mysteriously going back to the 1920’s every day at midnight. 
  6. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, 1971, Directed by Mel Stuart. A poor, hopeful boy seeks one of the five coveted golden tickets that will send him on a tour of Willy Wonka’s mysterious chocolate factory.
  7. The Piano, 1993, Directed by Jane Campion. In the mid-19th century, a mute woman is sent to New Zealand along with her young daughter and prized piano for an arranged marriage to a wealthy landowner, but soon thereafter a local plantation worker lusts for her.
  8. Rashomon, 1950, Directed by Akira Kurosawa. (Violent crimes wrought upon) a bride and her samurai husband are recalled from the perspectives of a bandit, the bride, the samurai’s ghost and a woodcutter.
  9. Loving Vincent, 2017, Directed by Dorota Kobiela & Hugh Welchman.  Through a story depicted in oil painted animation, a young man comes to the last hometown of painter Vincent Van Gogh to deliver the troubled artist’s final letter and ends up investigating his final days.
  10. 8 ½, 1963, Directed by Federico Fellini. A harried movie director retreats into his memories and fantasies.
  11. Waiting for Guffman, 1996, Directed by Christopher Guest. An aspiring director and the marginally talented amateur cast of a hokey small-town Missouri musical production go overboard when they learn that someone from Broadway will be in attendance.
  12. Ray, 2004, Directed by Taylor Hackford. The story of the life and career of the legendary rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles, from his humble beginnings in the South, where he went blind at age seven, to his meteoric rise to stardom during the 1950’s and 1960’s.
  13. Adaptation, 2002, Directed by Spike Jonze.  A lovelorn screenwriter becomes desperate as he tries and fails to adapt The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean for the screen.
  14. Some Like It Hot, 1959, Directed by Billy Wilder After two male musicians witness a mob hit, they flee the state in an all-female band disguised as women, but further complications set in.
  15. The Red Shoes, 1948, Directed by Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger. (Based on a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale), a young ballet dancer is torn between the man she loves and her pursuit to become a prima ballerina.
  16. Frida, 2002, Directed by Julie Taymor. A biography of artist Frida Kahlo, who channeled the pain of a crippling injury and her tempestuous marriage into her work.
  17. Singin’ in the Rain, 1952, Directed by Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly. A silent film production company and cast make a difficult transition to sound.
  18. The Hitch-Hiker, 1953, Directed by Ida Lupino. Two fisherman pick up a psychotic escaped convict who tells them that he intends to murder them when the ride is over.
  19. The Hours, 2002, Directed by Stephen Daldry. The story of how the novel Mrs. Dalloway affects three generations of women, all of whom, in one way or another, have had to deal with suicide in their lives.
  20. Ed Wood, 1994, Directed by Tim Burton. Ambitious but troubled movie director Edward D. Wood, Jr. tries his best to fulfill his dreams (although Hollywood relegates him an outcast).
  21. Ritual in Transfigured Time, 1946, Directed by Maya Deren. (An experimental short film that leads the viewer on a dance through a dreamlike landscape.)
  22. Tous les Matins du Monde, 1991, Directed by Alain Corneau. In late 17th Century, the viola da gamba player Monsieur de Sainte Colombe comes home to find that his wife died. In his grief he moves to dedicate his life to music and his two young daughters.
  23. Farewell My Concubine, 1993, Directed by Kaige Chen. The story of two (people), who met as apprentices in the Peking Opera and stayed friends for over 50 years.
  24. Buena Vista Social Club, 1999, Directed by Wim Wenders. Aging Cuban musicians, whose talents had been virtually forgotten following Castro’s takeover of Cuba, are brought out of retirement by Ry Cooder, who travelled to Havana in order to bring the musicians together, resulting in triumphant performances of extraordinary music, and resurrecting the musicians’ careers.
  25. Barton Fink, 1991, Directed by Ethan and Joel Coen. A renowned New York playwright is enticed to California to write for the movies and he discovers the hellish truth of Hollywood.

As a bonus suggestion for the Creator Archetype, I highly recommend director Danny Boyle’s play Frankenstein with Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller. Penned by Nick Dear, it is based on the Mary Shelley novel. National Theater recently aired it for free online as part of their #NationalTheateratHome fare. It’s a must-see if the chance arises again.

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