February 05, 2019

Cinema 2018: Top Foreign-Language Classics

Out of about 40 foreign-language classics (movies at least five years old) I watched for the first time in 2018, these are my top ten (in alphabetic order):

  • 'City of Life and Death' (2009/China) by Lu Chuan: Stunning black and white cinematography and war sequences choreographed with such detail, precision, and ambition that it will leave you awestruck. Looking forward to watch more movies by the director, especially 'The Missing Gun' (2002) and 'Mountain Patrol' (2004).
  • 'The Four Times' (2010/ Italy) by Michelangelo Frammartino: Strictly for art-house lovers, the film had an award-winning premiere at Cannes. The director's 'The Gift' (2003) is now on my wishlist.  
  • 'Goodbye, Dragon Inn' (2003/ Taiwan) by Tsai Ming-liang: Another art-house piece that celebrates cinema in the most unique way, this is the fourth film that I have watched of its director. Unforgettable, to say the least.
  • 'Kung Fu Hustle' (2004/ Hong Kong) by Stephen Chow: Nominated for a BAFTA and a Golden Globe award, this is the perfect movie to watch with friends. A hilarious action-comedy, this is as good as martial art movies get. Need to watch 'Shaolin Soccer' soon.
  • 'Landscape in the Mist' (1988/ Greece) by Theo Angelopoulos: Perhaps my most favorite film on this list, and definitely most heart-breaking, I watched it thanks to the subscription of mubi.com I took last year. Definitely need to watch the director's 'The Travelling Players' next - his most acclaimed film, they say.
  • 'The Misfortunates' (2009/ Belgium) by Felix van Groeningen: Watched this film as part of my research on alcoholism, and loved it. The director is more commonly known for his Oscar-nominated 'The Broken Circle Breakdown' and last year's 'Beautiful Boy'.
  • 'Neighboring Sounds' (2012/ Brazil) by Kleber Mendonca Filho: The director is better known for his later more controversial 'Aquarius' (2016), but I loved 'Neighboring Sounds' way more. I could watch it thanks to mubi. Looking forward to his third feature - 'Nighthawk' that will come out this year.
  • 'The Piano Teacher' (2001/France-Austria) by Michael Haneke: A big winner at Cannes, this is perhaps the most acclaimed film on this list and my sixth Haneke film. I hope to watch 'The Seventh Continent' and 'Time of the Wolf' this year to finish watching most of his acclaimed works.
  • 'A Room in Town' (1982/ France) by Jacques Demy: My fourth Demy film, this one was a delight. Every line of the film is sung, and it works so, so well. Need to watch 'Bay of the Angels' soon.
  • 'This is Not a Film' (2011/ Iran) by Jafar Panahi: The political context of this film cannot be separated from it, and without the context the film may not appeal to many people. But this film is special for exactly the same reason. For its use of the medium, and the story behind it, this, and many films by Panahi, will never be forgotten. I need to watch 'The Mirror' (1997) and '3 Faces' (2018) to finish his entire filmography, so far.

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