January 09, 2016

Cinema 2015: Top 10 English-Language Classics

I watched close to 200 movies in 2015, out of which I have selected my favourite films for this four-part series. All movies released within the last five years were considered as 'modern' and those released before 2011 as 'classics'. Out of fifty English-language 'classics' I have selected the following ten, listed in alphabetic order:

  • Cabaret (1972/ USA/ Bob Fosse): A musical that had overshadowed the best picture win of 'The Godfather' with eight Oscars. I was amazed by the film's editing choices and, of course, the character played by Liza Minnelli. What a delight!
  • The Fly (1986/ USA/ David Cronenberg): A sci-fi body-horror film that you should watch only if you are fine with the disgusting, emetic visuals of flesh in all its distortion. I loved the film's mood, its clear, focussed narrative, and its indulgence to the genre. "Be afraid. Be very afraid!"
  • Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994/ UK/ Mike Newell): It's so rare for me to choose a romantic-comedy as one of my favourites. But with its wonderful structure, characters, and dialogue, this film won over me. 1994 sure was a great year for films.
  • The Godfather - III (1990/ USA/ Francis Ford Coppola): Nominated for seven Oscars and winning none, this film is known as the infamous, much inferior sequel to two of the greatest films of all time. Perhaps it was the extreme low expectations, or perhaps it was my love fore the Corleone family, that I enjoyed it. Truly. 
  • The Insider (1999/ USA/ Michael Mann): Another film with seven Oscar nominations and zero wins, 'The Insider' was a truly moving experience for me. I remember how consumed I was by it. Of course, since it is based on true incidents, the impact was enormous. 
  • In the Name of the Father (1993/ Ireland-UK-USA/ Jim Sheridan): The third film in this list with seven Oscar nominations and no wins, 'In the Name of the Father' is perhaps the best of the lot. Universally relatable and featuring some great performances, this is one recommended to one and all.
  • Mr. Nobody (2009/ Belgium-Canada-France-Germany/ Jaco Van Dormael) The newest film on this list, it is also the most structural, vague, and daring. The only English-language film directed by the Belgian director, who is also my favourite discovery of the year, has a lot to offer, especially if you love a little abstraction, or if you dig cerebral stuff.
  • Papillon (1973/ USA/ Franklin J. Schaffner): A brilliant prison-break adventure that gained stature over the years after its release, 'Papillon' is again an easy recommendation. Watch it knowing it is based on true events.
  • Patton (1970/ USA/ Franklin J. Schaffner): Another Schaffner film on this list, and this too is based on true incidents. With ten Oscar nominations and seven wins, including Best Picture and a Screenplay Oscar for Coppola, this war epic might be the best English-language classic I watched this year.
  • Where the Truth Lies (2005/ UK-Canada/ Atom Egoyan): The critics may feel that this is the weakest film on this list and perhaps not even worthy of all my love. But this erotic-thriller completely seduced me. I found its structure to be truly exciting and the themes of male friendship and love very appealing. I have realised I have a thing for Atom Egoyan's films.
Honorable Mention: 'A Beautiful Mind' (2001/ USA/ Ron Howard), 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington' (1939/ USA/ Frank Capra), 'Serpico' (1973/ USA/ Sidney Lumet), and 'Slacker' (1991/ USA/ Richard Linklater).

Also see:
My list from 2014 which seems to be much better than the present list
Top 10 modern English-language films I saw in 2015
Top 10 modern foreign-language films I saw in 2015

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