Thursday, 31 December 2015

Best of Dec 15

December was excellent.  Most of the movies were good with some exceptional ones in between. So difficult to pick the best.

La danza de la realidad -The dance of Reality by Alejandro Jodorowsky - Spanish from Chile -2013

Watching this movie, I felt like, experiencing something co-directed by Fellini and Kusturica. What a beautiful creation this was. This is a must watch, believe me.

A kind of mix of surrealism and magical realism, to tell the story of a father, who goes through a sea change in his character, with assistance from his wife - who only sings her dialogues - and a son.

I must admit, there were more than few thoughts or view points (political/religious) in this movie, which I would not personally agree, but I could forget all that while watching. Such was the power of this cinema. It engages you in a magical way. A brilliant master piece.

Plemya - The Tribe by Miroslav Slaboshpitsky from Ukrain - 2014 - Russian sign language

This movie does not have any dialogues or any background music. But it is a stunning piece of cinema. The story happens in a boarding school for deaf and dumb and all the dialogues are through sign language.

One might doubt that you need to understand the sign language to see this cinema. Well, if you understand its better. But frankly, you don't have to. This movie has the beauty and magic of cinema, in abundance. I do have apprehensions about the story, but I don't care and would rate this as a master piece. Absolutely Brilliant.

Mustang by Denis Gamze Erguven - Turkish - 2015

A beautiful cinema about the life of 5 sisters in a rural family.

Wonderfully acted, Mustang is engaging to the hilt while subtly getting its message through to us. There is not a single moment in which any of these young girls give an impression that they are acting. They were so natural in front of the camera. Incredible.

The only negativity, arguably may be, is that the underlying theme of control over women, is getting quite repetitive when it comes to movies from Iran and Turkey.

It is very sad that, our women (Indian) suffer too, really terribly. But there are hardly any genuine or serious attempts to tell that in our cinema. Most of our movies, which boast as female oriented, turns out to be fake or pretentious.

Gett. Trial of Vivian Amsalem by Ronit Elkabetz, Shlomi Elkabetz - 2015 - Hebrew/French from Israel

I don't like anything about Israel, but really, they make very good movies. And Ronit Elkabetz is a real star. She is a brilliant actress and director too. What a woman. With this movie, she is telling us that life of women in Jewish society is terrible. Her French influence is quite evident in her direction, I think.

The title is nearly the brief of the movie. A woman wants her divorce. But in her religion, she is utterly under the mercy of her man and the clerics. 

This is definitely a continuation of the 2004 movie, To Take a Wife. Most of the cinema happens in a small court room. But there is not even a dull second. I felt like killing the bloody husband and the priests. Like most other movies in this list, sorry to say again, this is a must watch too!

La Giovinezza - Youth by Paolo Sorrentino - English from Italy 2015

Last year, Sorrentino charmed with his La Grande Bellezza, and this year he has another movie to remind us, what an excellent film maker he is. His consistency in bringing out 2 master pieces out in consecutive years is incredible.

There is something magical in the way Sorrentino captures his ideas onto screen. He must be among the best in today's directors who can consistently create absolutely stunning imagery on screen. He doesn't even seem to need a really great plot to do this, as it is in La Giovinezza. It seems to be all about aging, friendship, love, pain and what not. Yes, there is so much going on there. But Sorrentino can keep us engaged and hooked to the screen with his mind boggling mastery of visuals and sounds. He also gets the best out of his actors.

Manuscripts dont burn by Mohammad Rasoulof - Persian/Iran - 2013
The Government needs to prevent a certain secret being published by some intellectuals. 2 men are employed to find out the last remaining copies of the manuscripts and they have orders to kill if need be.  They too have their own personal lives, though. The movie concentrates on one of them, who is struggling to find money for his kids operation. 

Wonderfully shot, this is a stunning and brilliant political thriller. A must watch.

Eden by Mia Hansen-Love - French/France - 2014
In some ways Eden looks like a difficult movie to make. There are hundreds of thousands of young teenagers and men, through out the world, who dream about making it big as a DJ. Eden, follows one such young man and his struggles, over couple of decades.

An excellent cinema about pursuing one's dreams and what it costs for the same.

Kuttram Kadithal by Bramma G - Tamil -2015

Yet again, Tamil cinema comes up with an indigenous movie which can be up there with international cinema.

A young school teacher slaps her naughty student who falls unconscious and later into a coma. So many other ordinary lives too are affected

A wonderfully shot cinema, which is almost an edge of the seat kind for most of its run time. Tamil cinema should be proud about this movie. Except for some bits of unwanted song sequences, the movie is near perfect.

Following European tradition, most important actors are chosen from Theatre and this has lent a very high standard to the movie when it comes to the performances, not to mention the leash of fresh life it induces to the whole cinema experience. The student, the teacher, the principal and his wife, the students mother (sensational, I must say, with hardly any dialogues) and his uncle, all of them were brilliant. My salutes..

Tamil new generation movie makers need to be commented for their boldness in non-conformist casting. Brilliant!!!

Beasts of No Nation by Cary Fukunaga - 2015 - English - American

This is one of those movies which I would call American than Hollywood.

A very young boy is forced to be a soldier in a bloody civil war in some African country

A beautiful cinema, but a painful watch. We would not wish such a fate for any child from anywhere in the world. Must watch, I would say.

The performance by Idris Elba, as a commandant, leading the army of children and teenagers, is exceptional.

Sicario by Denis Villeneuve - 2015 - English/Hollywood

This is what Hollywood can do best, when they really want to, ie to make a genuine movie.
I had 3 reasons why I wanted to watch Sicario - Denis Villeneuve, director of one of my favourite movie - Incendies, the lovely Emily Blunt - whom I adore since I saw Young Victoria, and the majestic Benicio Del Torro.

The movie brief is quite misleading, as it sounds like a typical Hollywood action project. It hardly is. I mean there is action in this movie, but it is devoid of any Hollywood cliches. Wonderfully directed, Sicario is an excellent thriller with a soul.