LET'S TAKE A moment to weep for our strangely savage climate, shall we? Seattle, by all measures, would be a better city if it actually snowed with some everyday conviction. Rain should be supremely jealous of snow, for snow is so much more than frozen rain: For starters, we are told each flake is a fractal universe unto itself, wrapped around an invisible speck of dust, unrepeatable and ephemeral. Then there is snow's many poses on the ground: wet, powdery, packed, and tired. And of course there is snow's giddy conceit in subverting all logic of color, reducing the world to a binary form, preparing landscape for its cameo in the movies.

Needless to say, snow is one of God's greatest gifts to the filmmaker, as the following videos will show. So pop one in, and let it snow. And curses to you, wet Seattle!

Shoot the Piano Player
(dir. François Truffaut)
Charles Aznavour and Marie Dubois, two of the coolest human beings who have ever lived, star in Truffaut's second feature. It's an utterly assured tribute to American gangster movies, made with dry wit, broad humor, and--thanks to Aznavour's flawless acting and Truffaut's flawless timing--some genuine feeling. Aznavour is a concert pianist turned dancehall piano player whose three brothers are mixed up with two comic, pipe-smoking ruffians. Dubois is the tough cookie who may or may not be able to break through Aznavour's shell. Georges Delerue's heartless, tinkling score will linger in your memory forever. And the snow--the snow! Even on video you can get some sense of the work of cinematographer Raoul Coutard, who was right at the beginning of his career. Coutard had already shown in Breathless that he could do Manet with black-and-white film; in this movie, he showed that he could do Vermeer too. BARLEY BLAIR

The Fall of the Roman Empire
(dir. Anthony Mann)
It's typical of Mann's grimly mechanistic view of human hardship that he sets fully the first third of his three-hour sword and sandal epic not in sunny Rome but in the frigid climes of Northern Empire (the snowcapped peaks of Germany). No clean, covering blanket of white here, only a dingy, muddy sop of brownish-gray, the kind of snow that doesn't so much freeze as soak through your clothing and chill you to the bone. Martin Scorsese has already rhapsodized the glorious set piece of Marcus Aurelius' funeral, the wind whipping the blazing torches as falling snow plasters the faces of the mourners; it's the end of a nation, not just a life. The rest of the film, all golden light and gleaming marble, can't come close to the cold, brittle fatalism of that scene. BRUCE REID

The Thing from Another World
(dir. Christian Nyby)
In the original Howard Hawks production, a squadron of researchers stationed at the North Pole stumble across a UFO that has lain buried in Arctic ice for 100,000 years. Bantering in a rapid, rat-tat-tat, almost Mametesque style, as if their voices can keep fear at bay, they trudge across the vast, indifferent landscape, boots crunching monotonously in the snow while the wind howls and the sled dogs whine. In a crude attempt to judge the size of the alien ship beneath the frost, they stand on its perimeter, stretching out their arms to form an enormous human circle. This iconic image of shivering men starkly silhouetted against a blinding expanse of frozen nothingness, reaching out to one another, trying to make sense where none exists, remains potent enough to raise goose bumps. Which is why John Carpenter lifted it whole for the equally terrifying 1982 remake, The Thing. Watch them both and give thanks it doesn't snow in Seattle. TAMARA PARIS

The Dead Zone
(dir. David Cronenberg)
When you live with snow, when it's an annual visitor whose appearance you welcome, it means a lot more than white and cold. It's also wet or powdery, glinting or dull, and at its best, loud. Children love running in snow not just because it is a challenging and vaguely dangerous activity (how deep could you sink?), but because each step sets off a satisfyingly resonant crunch, amplified by the muffling of other sounds. No movie has better captured snow's unique aural fingerprint better than Cronenberg's heartbreaking adaptation of Stephen King's novel. Out to find the serial killer that has been murdering young women in Castle Rock, Christopher Walken enters a gazebo in pitch-black night. Caught in the grip of a psychic vision, he finds himself kneeling in the same spot, only now in blinding daylight. He rises, and under his feet comes that slow, shifting rumble of snow packing tight under his weight. It's a detail as isolated and precise as you'd find in any nightmare. BRUCE REID

Alive
(dir. Frank Marshall)
The surprisingly white men of the Uruguayan rugby team must fend for themselves when their plane crashes into the breathtaking peaks of the Chilean Andes. Things get much worse after a plane sighted overhead encourages the survivors to consume nearly all of the remaining food, and they are ultimately forced to eat their frozen dead in order to survive the 72 days until their rescue. It's a miserable two hours of a film, full of slow death, Ethan Hawke, and awful dialogue. But there is a single scene that manages to capture an ounce of human spirit, of pure childhood joy--a scene that says no matter how many fistfuls of human buttock you have choked down to escape death by starvation, the magic of sledding down a perfect slope of fast, deep snow is undeniable. JASON PAGANO