In our compilation of 5 stunning debut films in cinema history, we dive into a wide spectrum from Michael Haneke to Lynne Ramsay.

Many directors have entered the cinema stage with their fascinating debut films. These films sometimes appear as the first moments of an unsustained success and sometimes as the herald of a special career. Examples such as Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane, Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs and Steven Soderbergh’s Sex, Lies, And Videotape received great interest and acclaim since their release. Of course, some works that were ahead of their time, could not escape from being the focus of sometimes harsh criticism.

5 Stunning Debut Films in Cinema History

5 – Blood Simple (1984)


Blood Simple is a film that heralds the near-perfect career of the Coen Brothers. Joel and Ethan deftly use elements that will become their signatures in the future, building a high-tension structure in tiny nuances. When the pure Coen humor, which adds a different dimension to the crime stories, comes into play, it is inevitable that Blood Simple becomes a masterpiece.

When a bar owner realizes the affair between his wife and a bartender, he hires a private detective to have them killed. The story, which has turned into terrible chaos through misunderstandings, is the perfect place to plunge into a pure Coen atmosphere.

4 – Gummo (1997)


In Gummo, one of the most idiosyncratic works in the history of cinema, Harmony Korine searches junkyards where freaks roam with their indigestible choices, and lives that upside down.

We follow people trying to find their way in a fictional Ohio town recently hit by a hurricane. This is a world dominated by undesirable bodies and suppressed identities. Korine uncompromisingly deals with unconsciousness, ambiguity and what the status quo imposes.

It is a memorable start with its uncanny setup and atmosphere, mise-en-scene, and the uneasiness created by the contrasts in the use of sound.

3 – Ratcatcher (1999)


The first feature of Scottish Lynne Ramsay, the director of unique films such as We Need to Talk About Kevin and You Were Never Really Here Here, Ratcatcher presents the audience with competent cinematic moments with the influence of Ramsay’s photography background as well as its strong social structure.

12-year-old James Gillespie, who lives in Glasgow’s impoverished working-class neighborhood, watches the world around him change alongside his drunken father and quiet mother. On the one hand, starting to close himself to his family, James begins to create a new world among the garbage piles caused by the long-term strike of the cleaning workers.

Ratcatcher, featured in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard; it is among the unforgettable debut films with its vivid, bold and deep portrait, and exquisite finale.

2 – Japón (2002)


Post Tenenbras Lux (2012) and Silent Light (2007) are the strongest proves of Carlos Reygadas’ uncompromising cinema. It is possible to see the “I am here” attitude in both. The director’s debut film, Japón, stands out as a film in which Reygadas conveys his aforementioned attitude in the most natural and effective way.

Describing the journey of a middle-aged painter who can’t get rid of the chaos of city life, Japón manages to establish a harsh and sincere language with its style and long shots that resemble documentary. What remains of the film is a great cinematic feel.

İzliyorum, organized by Altyazı Cinema Magazine with Reygadas, is a useful resource to understand the director’s view of cinema.

1 – The Seventh Continent (1989)

5 Stunning Debut Films in Cinema History

The last piece of our compilation of 5 stunning debut films in cinema history is The Seventh Continent.

Debut film of Haneke after his TV movies, is still the director’s best work, for many. It follows the collapse of a couple, Georges and Anna, in the first part of the “Emotional Glaciation Trilogy”, which contains the most critical elements of his entire career.

This upper-middle-class family, although seemingly normal, is actually struggling with spiritual turmoil. When their daughter Eva starts pretending to be blind in response to the unrest at home, the couple’s life is dragged into a rather dark spot.

A shocking look at isolated lives from Austrian Michael Haneke, who built his cinema on the predicament of modern man.