December 30, 2014

Cinema 2014: My Top 10 Classic Foreign-Language Movies

After the first list on my favourite English-language classics, here are the top ten among the foreign-language films I watched this year.

I have taken into consideration about 50 movies that I watched in 2014. I have defined 'classic', as in the last post, as movies which are at least five years old, which have released before 2010.

Also, I have not considered those that I re-watched in 2014, and hence 'Three Colors: Blue' or 'Breathless' do not find mention in this list. 
So here they are:

  • About Elly (2009/ Iran) by Asghar Farhadi. For creating Hitchcock-like suspense in a 'L'avventura' like setting. Extra-ordinarily moving. Won 'Best Director' at Berlin. I'm definitely going to revisit it to take lessons in directing.
  • Cache (2005/ France) by Michael Haneke. And when it comes to directing, can Haneke ever go wrong? What a haunting mystery! Won 'Best Director' at Cannes
  • The Class (2008/ France) by Laurent Cantet. Beautiful setting. A sincere teacher and a bunch of difficut teenagers. This film will connect with everyone. And al the time. Won 'Palme d'Or' at Cannes
  • Enter the Void (2009/ France-Canada) by Gaspar Noe. The only film in this list that I recommended as must-watch-before-you-die. An unforgettable film-trip. More vivid and stimulating than most experiences of your life. I watched it at Devprayag, the place where the tributaries of Bhagirathi and Alaknanda merge to form the Ganges!
  • Eyes without a Face (1960/ France) by Georges Franju. The French always did it so well, even when it came to noir, or sci-fi. What a brilliantly involving film!
  • Grave of the Fireflies (1988/ Japan) by Isao Takahata. A rare animation film that I loved. It brought a lump to my throat. 26 years, and it is still so fresh. Also, the only film in this list that features in IMDB-250.
  • Hero (2002/ China) by Zhang Yimou. I unconditionally oved the indulgence. The choreographed action sequences are something I would love to watch again and again. Also, it was a pleasure to watch this ensemble of amazing actors.
  • My Life as a Dog (1985/ Sweden) by Lasse Hallstrom. A bitter-sweet fable. One of the best films on childhood. This was the surprise winner this year for me. Back then in its year of release, apart from winning the Golden Gobe for Best Foreign Language film, it had the rare achievement of bagging Oscar nominations for Direction and Screenplay despite not being in English. Lost to 'The Last Emperor' in both categories.
  • Vengeance is Mine (1979/ Japan) by Shohei Imamura. The story of the antagonist. Unapologetic. Super stylish. And brave structure. The portrayal of daughter and father-in-law was especially intriguing for me.
  • Woman in the Dunes (1964/ Japan) by Hiroshi Teshigahara. One film where texture is as important as other elments of images. Also, very strange and mysterious. Also earned its director an Oscar nomination the following year. He lost to Robert Wise for 'The Sound of Music'.
Honorable mentions: Show Me Love or Fucking Amal (1998/ Sweden/ Lukas Moodysson), Train of Life (1998/ France/ Radu Mihaieanu), Offside (2006/ Iran/ Jafar Panahi), and Elite Squad (2007/ Brazil/ Jose Padilha).

No comments:

Post a Comment