Tag Archives: Best Foreign Language Film

Best Italian Erotic Thrillers (10+1list)

Best Italian Erotic Thrillers

written by Souranath Banerjee

Best Italian Erotic Thrillers – In the early 1970s, there was a wave of horror/thriller Cinema that swept across Italy. Brutal murder mysteries clubbed with an abundance of erotic scenes was the best Italian-Erotic-Thrillersformula of success for the talented Italian directors of the time!

Even a new film genre was introduced, known as Giallo, only to accommodate these Italian Erotic Thrillers custom-made on such typical homicidal stalkers who love to wear black leather gloves and enjoy stabbing a series of pretty young women who surprisingly aren’t keen on wearing much clothes!

But let’s face the fact, the Italians probably know a thing or two more about ‘Erotism’ and ‘Thrill’ than most of the rest of the world!

So, relax and enjoy these violent and erotic murder mysteries straight from Italy, though all the films in the list doesn’t fall strictly under the Giallo genre, but no doubt they are some of the Best Italian Erotic Thrillers!

10. The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970)

L’uccello dalle piume di cristallo (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2eknxl-A84

Italian-Erotic-ThrillersA serial killer is on the prowl. An American writer in Italy witnesses a murder attempt and soon his own life comes under danger.

Directed by the acclaimed master of horror classics Dario Argento (his debut film), a twisted murder mystery with great imagery and cool background score, the film credited for kick-starting the ever-popular giallo genre!

A few other Erotic Thrillers from the same director are Tenebre (1982) and Deep Red (1975).

9. Rabid Dogs (1974)

Cani arrabbiati (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCKt9LoFDBM

Italian-Erotic-ThrillersThree vicious criminals takes hostage of some passengers in a car including a sick child, and force them to drive away from the town – their only chance of escape from the police. A ruthless crime drama that comes up with some superb plot twists just when you least expect them.

Directed by the great Italian horror filmmaker Mario Bava (and Lamberto Bava), this is one gritty thriller that you shouldn’t miss!

A few other Erotic Thrillers from the same director are Blood and Black Lace (1964) and Evil Eye (1963)

8. The House of the Laughing Windows (1976)

La casa dalle finestre che ridono (original title)

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7kIXSz4bKk

Italian-Erotic-ThrillersA professional painting restorer is hired and invited to a small village where he needs to restore an old painting of St. Sebastian but soon he finds out that something is terribly wrong in that mysterious village. He decides to investigate further!

Directed by Pupi Avati, a classic giallo mystery thriller, haunting and unnerving, with an ending that is impossible to guess.

7. Short Night of Glass Dolls (1971)

La corta notte delle bambole di vetro (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlMidH4tmvA

Italian-Erotic-ThrillersThe girlfriend of an American journalist visiting Prague disappears and it seems this is not the first case of young pretty girls getting disappeared in that area. And while investigating he stumbles into something too horrid and dark!

Directed by Aldo Lado, a rare  giallo with little gore but it certainly narrates a great suspense drama!

A few other Erotic Thrillers from the same director are Last Stop on the Night Train (1975) and Who Saw Her Die? (1972).

6. Almost Human (1974)

Milano odia: la polizia non può sparare (original title), The Death Dealer

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mK0H48Xs4eE

Italian-Erotic-ThrillersA demented homicidal maniac kidnaps the daughter of a wealthy man and commits a series of heinous crimes, but can the detective behind his trail will be able to bring him to justice?

Directed by Umberto Lenzi, a taut thriller that doesn’t cringe from showing the dark and ugly side of the human nature. Rape, torture, murder, suspense, chase sequences – this film has got everything!

Another Erotic Thrillers from the same director is Seven Blood-Stained Orchids (1972).

5. Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (1972)

Il tuo vizio è una stanza chiusa e solo io ne ho la chiave (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMBtjDjzb8c

Italian-Erotic-ThrillersSurrounding the estate of an alcoholic writer and his beautiful wife, began a series of murders. The police were as clueless as the audience until the climax when the mystery gets revealed!

Directed by Sergio Martino, a superb giallo based on Edgar Allan Poe‘s The Black Cat. One of the rare films that features both beautiful Italian actresses Edwige Fenech and Anita Strindberg.

A few other Erotic Thrillers from the same director are Blade of the Ripper (1971) and The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail (1971). 

4. House on the Edge of the Park (1980)

La casa sperduta nel parco (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6V7AqahaNq4

Italian-Erotic-ThrillersTwo sleazy low-life punks takes hostage of a group of affluent people and subject them to every form of torture imaginable.

The cult actor David Hess gives the performance of his life and looks damn scary! 

After Cannibal Holocaust this is the movie for which director Ruggero Deodato is most famous or rather infamous for.

3. What Have You Done to Solange? (1972)

Cosa avete fatto a Solange? (original title) 

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hhz5EevFcE

Italian-Erotic-ThrillersIn the midst of a scandalous affair between a teacher and his young student, a series of girls all from the same Catholic School are being stabbed to death in the most horrific manner.

Is this a deranged serial killer at work or someone with a hidden motive?

Directed by Massimo Dallamano, a superb mystery, a giallo that has the ability to hold on to its suspense till the end.

Another Erotic Thriller from the same director is What Have They Done to Your Daughters? (1974)

2. Don’t Torture a Duckling (1972)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_M3a3m6wOc

Italian-Erotic-ThrillersIn a remote southern Italian town a reporter and an immoral woman join hands to investigate a series of child killings. But soon they find that their own lives are in danger!

Directed by Lucio Fulci, my personal favorite who made some of the best Italian thrillers of the time, and starring famous actress Florinda Bolkan, this is one murder mystery that you don’t want to miss.

A few other Erotic Thrillers from the same director are One on Top of the Other (1969), A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin(1971) and The Psychic (1977).

  1. Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (1970)

Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMofSyukEo0

Italian-Erotic-ThrillersThe chief of detective commits the murder of his mistress and deliberately leaves enough clues to challenge the entire police force! Undoubtedly the most sophisticated thriller in this list with an amazing plot, brilliant narrative and cool performances.

Directed by Elio Petri, the film won the Oscar for the Best Foreign Language Film (Italy) and also the Grand Prize of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival that year!

A few other Erotic Thrillers from the same director are A Quiet Place in the Country (1968) and The Assassin (1961).

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch)

+1. L’immoralità (1978)

Film music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJ1kcq-8kIU

Italian-Erotic-ThrillersWounded and on the run a man (who is a child-killer) is given shelter by a 12 year old girl and eventually they fall in love, physically as well! But then the young girl’s mother also wants the fugitive to satisfy her needs!

Directed by Massimo Pirri, this is one twisted tale of passion and crime with pretty decent performances and a superb piano score that played through out the film.

Similar Interest: Most sexually explicit erotic films

Similar Interest: Most sexually explicit violent films

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comwww.imdb.com.

Best Adult Animation films ever made (20+1list)

Best Adult Animation films ever made

written by Souranath Banerjee

Adult Animation films!? But aren’t animation supposed to be for kids?

Well, the answer is Yes and No!

First of all we have to understand that ‘Animation is not a genre, but an art form.’

Although mostly Animation is been associated with children, them being taken for granted as the perfect target adult-animationaudience, but then, filmmakers most often use the art of animation to tell stories that are highly subversive in nature, tales of immense maturity been told under the guise of a children’s film!

And then, some others make such exquisite pieces of artistic animated Cinema aimed ONLY for the grown ups, the so called adults!

(But don’t get too excited because I am not talking of hentai or any other form of explicit or animated porn at the moment. At least not in this article!)

This particular list contains some of the Best Adult Animation movies that are often very realistic in approach, sometimes they are issue-based (specially wars or political turmoil), others are philosophical, may be allegorical or satirical (based on various metaphors), and obviously a few of them contain decent dozes of violence and sex that are not at all meant for the juniors!

So, here we go!

20. South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbMl6DjhJ1I

Adult-AnimationFour boys, an R-rated movie and of course the war against Canada!

Directed by Trey Parker and writer Matt Stone (who also wrote the original South Park television series), one of the most hilarious comedy but not exactly meant for kids though.

The highest grossing animated film with an R rating till date and also the most mount of profanity used in any animated film ever! 

19. It’s Such a Beautiful Day (2012)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pN8Kd3zR_mE

Adult-Animation Comprised of three short films released over a period of 2006-2011, all directed and narrated by Don Hertzfeldt.

It’s the story of Bill, his world, his dreams, his revelations; all uniquely animated on paper with stick figures, shot on 35mm camera with experimental optical effects merged with real footages.

Funny yet deep and highly intellectual, undoubtedly the most philosophical animated cinema I have seen till date!

18. Paprika (2006)

Papurika (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_vUmm8Z0fM

Adult-AnimationThree scientists at the Foundation for Psychiatric Research invented a device that allows people to record and watch their dreams. But then their precious invention gets stolen and the worlds of dream and reality collide and merge into one horrific surreality.

Directed by Satoshi Kon, this anime is by far the most creative yet disturbing film in the list infused with a terrific soundtrack. Highly recommended!

17. Chico & Rita (2010)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgmBLyItITA

Adult-AnimationA passionate piano player and a beautiful singer, both young and full of dreams and ambitions – and yes, they become lovers! But their roads to success seem different, can their love survive against all the odds?

Directed by Tono Errando, Javier Mariscal and Fernando Trueba, this is one rare and brilliant animated romance between two ‘real’ people depicting true human emotions!

16. Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Kôkaku Kidôtai (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2MEaROKjaE

Adult-AnimationThe year 2029. The mysterious and elusive cyber criminal, the Puppet Master is being hunted by a cyborg policewoman and her partner.

Directed by Mamoru Oshii, this is a futuristic, hyperrealistic and fantastic animated thriller that recently got made into live-action feature Ghost in the Shell (2017) starring Scarlett Johansson as the sexy cyborg cop (though the animated version is much better). 

It also has the animated sequels Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (2004) and Ghost in the Shell 2.0 (2008) which are definitely worth your time.

15. Fantastic Planet (1973)

La planète sauvage (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgCxCZNkQ9E

Adult-AnimationThe story of the unknown sci-fi world of Ygam where the masters are the beasts and the humans are their slaves. And here comes a revolution!

Directed by René Laloux, a film so masterly creative and epic in its content and animation style; beautiful and surreal and deservingly the winner of the Special Grand Prix award at the Cannes Film Festival!

14. Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (2001)

Cowboy Bebop: Tengoku no tobira (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au1AO1xaEts

Adult-AnimationThe year 2071. A terrorist bombing has released a deadly virus and a high-priced bounty is set for the capture of whoever is behind it. Can the bounty hunter crew of the spaceship Bebop encash the reward?

Directed by Shinichirô Watanabe, Tensai OkamurYoshiyuki Takei and Hiroyuki Okiura, a classy film made on the famous animated series by the same name. Adult in content but great storytelling!  

13. Princess Mononoke (1997)

Mononoke-hime (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OiMOHRDs14

Adult-AnimationA deadly curse that changes the fate of a young warrior, and he finds himself in the midst of a war between the humans and the Gods of the forest. And then he meets Princess Mononoke!

Directed by the acclaimed Hayao Miyazaki, a marvellous film dipped in Japanese myth and folklore, with enough blood and violence to make it count in this list.

A few other films from the same director that are more suited for adults than children are The Wind Rises (2013) and Spirited Away (2001).

12. Fritz the Cat (1972)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PADIloikkhg

Adult-AnimationThe first animated film to receive an ‘X’ rating and it opened the gates of the future nuisance that followed!  

Directed by renowned Ralph Bakshi, this one is one hell of a comic satire on the 60s NewYork scenario, with a cat being the main centre of attraction/attention.

Funny, comic and full of adult jokes,  an animated sex comedy – easygoing and entertaining as well.

11. Barefoot Gen (1983) 

Hadashi no Gen (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjLYP_X80GA

Adult-AnimationDirected by Mori Masaki, this is a a disturbing tale of a boy from Hiroshima, and how his life changes during the WW2.

The film brilliantly portrays the disastrous aftermath of the atomic bomb, and also the overall effect it had on Japan.

A brilliant tale – hard hitting, deeply emotional, told from the perspective of a little boy.

10. Watership Down (1978)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji-LqBskNyE

Adult-AnimationA survival story of a group of rabbits who are always in danger of predators ready to catch them, kill them, eat them – in a sense not very different from our own human world!

Directed by Martin Rosen the film is adopted from the famous novel by Richard Adams by the same name.

And not exactly for the kids, since it is a pretty violent and ruthless film to be animated!

9. Wicked City (1987)

Yôjû toshi (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jDSbHomlrs

Adult-AnimationThe peace between the mortals and the supernatural world is being threatened and two professionals are given the responsibility to protect an old sleazy man of importance. But can they do their job successfully?

Directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri, this anime contains extreme sex, nudity and violence that almost pushes it to the Hentai territory.

Probably the only other anime film that can compete with this one in terms of erotic animated visuals is Hideki Takayama‘s animated feature Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend (1989).

8. Waltz with Bashir (2008)

Vals Im Bashir (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_J9uoLMhMhs

Adult-AnimationDirected by Ari Folman, a superb animated take on the first Lebanon war of 1982.

Through many meetings and interviews, an Israeli film director tries to recollect his memories of the war, the time when he was in the army.

Four years to finish, the first ever animated film nominated for Best Foreign Language Film Oscar!

7. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Hotaru no haka (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vPeTSRd580

Adult-AnimationDirected by Isao Takahata, this is the story of a young boy and his little sister who tries their best to struggle and survive the brutality of the war.

A story told with such power and innocence, emotionally tragic yet such blissful and appealing.

Visually spectacular and masterfully animated in style, one of my personal favorite of all times.

6. Persepolis (2007) 

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PXHeKuBzPY

Adult-AnimationDirected by Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi, this is a powerful film that tells the story of an Iranian girl, growing up during the times of Islamic Revolution!

An animated satire, originally based on a comic-book; though the film has a comic touch but overall pretty serious in content, definitely not aimed for kids in mind.

It is a bold biographical journey of co-director Marjane Satrapi.

5Waking Life (2001)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbPgprcMtjo

Adult-AnimationDiscussions regarding the purpose of the existence and the meaning of life can be pretty heavy stuff but this animated feature manages to maintain an overall dreamy psychedelic mood that creates an unique experience for the viewers!

Directed by Richard Linklater, yes, my favorite director does it again! A superb story told in a cool and slow manner. Also check out a very interesting film called A Scanner Darkly (2006) by the same director.

4. Akira (1988)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUqd8qNaNg0

Adult-AnimationAnime became a global phenomenon with the release of this film and it is undoubtedly the most popular and expensive anime of the time – production cost 10 million!

Directed by Katsuhiro Ôtomo, one of the most visually challenging drama pact with some memorable soundtracks.

Violent, edgy, gritty and dark, a film that remains with you for a lifetime.

3. Anomalisa (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DT6QJaS2a-U

adult-animationA man bored with his life is desperately seeking for some excitement, some incentive to go on. And finally he meets a girl who seems to be perfect!

(Click for the review)

A highly sensitive and melancholic film with the best stop motion animation ever!

Directed by Duke Johnson and Charlie Kaufman, this film is a rare gem that needs to be cherished and relished forever.

2. Perfect Blue (1997)

Pafekuto buru (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXQraSkOOGs

Adult-AnimationA retired pop-star who is set to become an actress is stalked by an obsessed fan, but soon things becomes too dangerous to handle.

Paranoia, violence, sex and above all a creepy feel that makes the film both disturbing and exciting at the same time.

Directed by Satoshi Kon, this is one haunting animated thriller that will certainly make you very uncomfortable. A must watch!

1. Belladonna of Sadness (1973)

Kanashimi no Beradonna (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WkcLMapo_Y

Adult-AnimationAbused and banished from her village, a woman unknowingly makes a treaty with the devil and  gains magical ability. But soon the devil wants his share!

Directed by Eiichi Yamamoto, a story told metaphorically with highly explicit symbolisms.

A poetic epic, an avant- garde feature of exquisite beauty and certainly the most artistic film I have ever seen!

and (The ‘+1 film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch)

+1. Sita Sings the Blues (2008)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7y5_zJ1xfQs

Adult-AnimationThe epic Indian tale of Ramayana told from the perspective of Sita, and her choice of narration is to sing soothing Jazz songs from a forgotten era!

Directed by Nina Paley (autobiographical to a certain extent) perfectly complimented by the ever-melodious voice of Annette Hanshaw.

Enriched with enough satirical humour, a much underrated gem that has the potential brilliance to compete with some of the best animated features across the globe!

A few other Adult Animation films not exactly made for the kids are: The Triplets of Belleville (2003), Yellow Submarine (1968)The Illusionist (2010), Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)Coraline (2009), Animal Farm (1954), Tokyo Godfathers (2003), Beowulf (2007), Heavy Metal (1981), The Plague Dogs (1982).

Similar Interest: Best Animated Films of 2015 

Similar Interest: Best Animated Short Films

 Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com and www.imdb.com.

Best Spanish Thrillers of Recent Times (20+1list)

Best Spanish Thrillers of Recent Times.

written by Souranath Banerjee

It seems that the Spanish film-makers/story-tellers have mastered the ‘art of suspense‘ for quite some time now. Be it the sudden moment of panic or the slow built tension, the latest Spanish thrillers Spanish-thrillersare gaining popularity worldwide for their out-of-the-box concepts and precise execution that guarantees a certain adrenaline rush for the audience!

Intriguing storyline combined with powerful acting and clever direction are the traits of these superbly successful Spanish-language suspense-thrillers that promises to keep you guessing till the end.

And here, I have chosen some of the Best Spanish Thrillers of Recent Times and hope you have the thrill of your life watching them!

20. The Fury of a Patient Man (2016)

Tarde para la ira (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUs3snEcQNA

spanish-thrillersA patient man with vengeance in his heart is all set to accomplish a mission; he seems cool and compassionate outwardly but grief has made him brutal and merciless. And also a murderer!

Directed by Raúl Arévalo, this is an all in all revenge flick that has its share of intense violent moments and an overall suspense that looms over the audience and succeeds in making us pretty uncomfortable.

19. At the End of the Tunnel (2016)

Al final del túnel (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPc0SQyD-ac

spanish-thrillersA relatively underrated Spanish thriller that revolves around a paraplegic computer engineer who finds himself involved in the midst of a ruthless gang who have taken shelter right next door, planning to rob the bank.

Directed by Rodrigo Grande, this thriller is a decent blend of suspense and emotions, trust and deceit, and also the basic human need to survive out of any situation.

18. The Bar (2017)

El bar (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTazqyeYg3Y

spanish-thrillersA surprisingly engaging thriller that tells the story of an assorted group of people (all strangers) trapped inside a bar, who seem to be turning against each other in their desperate attempt to survive.

Directed by Álex de la Iglesia, the film is a decent study of human behavior, thrilling and full of plot twists perfectly punctuated by occasional comic moments.

17. May God Save Us (2016)

Que Dios nos perdone (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ywx8kAviZA

spanish-thrillersSet in Madrid , summer of 2011 at the time of 15M (anti-austerity movement in Spain), and also the time of Pope’s arrival; two Police Inspectors are desperate to stop a series of murders and catch what appears to be a serial killer on the loose.

Directed by Rodrigo Sorogoyen, a crazy rollercoaster ride of a thrilling yet violent chase that ultimately reveals the true natures of the detectives as well.

16. The Night of the Sunflowers (2006)

La noche de los girasoles (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnUuVOJHiLo

spanish-thrillersSet in a small village of Spain where a virgin cave have been discovered and is been explored by a crew from the Geology Department. But then a sudden act of violence sparks a series of unexpected events that turns everyones lives upside down.

Directed by Jorge Sánchez-Cabezudo, a suspense thriller with a superb non-linear plot that reveals itself in a slow pace; often violent yet very entertaining.

15. The Hidden Face (2011)

La cara oculta (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afJ1h3Esoqo

spanish-thrillers

The sudden disappearance of a Spanish orchestra conductor’s girlfriend leads to an unusual investigation with no satisfactory results; the perfect mystery with a twisted plot and an unexpected ending.

Director Andrés Baiz does set the mood for a perfect suspense thriller but then again better acting could have improved the audience experience to another level.

14. Killing Words (2003)

Palabras encadenadas (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehuB-DsMM0Y

spanish-thrillersA Word Game has to be played between a kidnapped victim (gagged and bound to a chair) and her deranged psychotic kidnapper, and the rules are simple enough – if she wins he will let her go but ‘if you lose, I’ll scoop out your eyes with a spoon. Pop!’

Directed by Laura Mañá, this is one innovative thriller with a superb script that guarantees many unpredictable twists and turns.

13. Marshland (2014)

La isla mínima (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Fpk3Lnc638

spanish-thrillers

A classic serial killer case that has been investigated by a team of two homicide detectives who are of complete contrast in their nature and character. 

Directed by Alberto Rodríguez, this thrilling drama is set in the backdrop of the marshlands – a highly entertaining and engaging crime drama shot beautifully along with the different moods of nature.

12. Burnt Money (2000)

Plata quemada (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUJVhhhiCps

spanish-thrillersSet in Argentina in 1965, this one is based on the true story that involves a ruthless bank robbery and a passionate gay romance!

Three men become permanent fugitives after robbing a bank but can they enjoy their loot and live the lives they fantasized?

Directed by Marcelo Piñeyro, an emotional take on the most infamous robbery in Buenos Aires.

11. Magical Girl (2014)

La niña de fuego (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V65u_XN0uq8

spanish-thrillersA dad who wants to fulfill his dying daughter’s last wishes; a psychologically disturbed girl who will go to any length to save her marriage – and these stories are connected in more ways than you can imagine!

Directed by Carlos Vermut, a superb neo-noir (again much underrated) that has the capacity to capture the attention of the audience till the last frame.

10. Julia’s Eyes (2010)

Los ojos de Julia (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0ImiRLFlSs

spanish-thrillers

A woman named Julia (Belén Rueda) who is slowly loosing her eyesight starts investigating her sister’s death which is believed to be a suicide (until proved otherwise).

Directed by Guillem Morales, this one has a thrilling first half that completely gets you and an unexpected ending that will keep you in the edge. A crime mystery totally worth your time.

9. The Aura (2005)

El aura (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2Vrnp9knJY

spanish-thrillers

Planning a perfect crime is never easy but for a taxidermist with a gifted memory nothing seems impossible. But will he succeed in his articulate scheme till the very end?

Directed by Fabián Bielinsky and brilliant performance by Ricardo Darín, this film is a unique thriller, slow paced and moody, with very distinctive atmospherics that so perfectly blends with the plot.

8.The Uninvited Guest (2004)

El habitante incierto (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQWN6L-gttc

spanish-thrillers

A story about the mysterious disappearance of a stranger who comes into an architect’s house to use the telephone. Is he hiding somewhere inside the house or is it all just a fragment of his imagination?

Directed by Guillem Morales this film will certainly give you the creeps specially when you are alone at your own place. Is there someone else with you in the house?

7.The Body (2012)

El cuerpo (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyE5LnY3dT0

spanish-thrillers

‘Every death is a homicide until proven otherwise’ but then how can you prove a crime if the body disappears?

The body of a femme fatale mysteriously goes missing from the morgue and thus there begins a search for it. Brilliantly directed by Oriol Paulo, a clever script well complemented by decent performances, and then a few unexpected twists in the plot makes it a must watch thriller.

6. Thesis (1996)

Tesis (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RfdjNHrrvI

spanish-thrillersA young student at a film school in Madrid while researching for her thesis on ‘violence in films’ finds a snuff video where a girl is tortured until death. Can the identity of the girl be traced? And who made the snuff video?

Directed by Alejandro Amenábar, this is one of the most popular Spanish thriller across the world and indeed a very cleverly made film as well.

 

5. The Invisible Guest (2016)

Contratiempo (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epCg2RbyF80

spanish-thrillersA young successful businessman faces the charge of killing his lover but his shrewd lawyer wants him to tell his side of the story in details so that she can get him out of this mess.

Directed by Oriol Paulo, certainly the best Spanish thriller of recent times. It has all the basic ingredients of a murder mystery along with superb performances and some brilliant plot twists!

 

4. The Secret in Their Eyes (2009)

El secreto de sus ojos (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFF8wXGF9Yw

spanish-thrillers

A retired legal counselor who is haunted by his past unsolved cases (and also his love life) writes a novel which he expects will help him solve all his issues. 

Juan José Campanella‘s flawless direction and Ricardo Darín‘s powerful performance makes this one an Oscar winning film and a truly memorable experience. It won as the Best Foreign Language Film of the Year! 

3. Sleep Tight (2011)

Mientras duermes (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHzUJWogDIs

spanish-thrillers

Have you ever met a psychotic person who cannot bear to see other people’s happiness? And do you think you are safe from such a man in the comfort of your home? Think again!

A gripping tale dominated by awesome performances by Luis Tosar and Marta Etura

Directed by Jaume Balagueró, this is undoubtedly the most creepy film ever made. 

2. Nine Queens (2000)

Nueve reinas (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9Les56e22c

spanish-thrillers

The film revolves around a few con artists who try to hustle and swindle their way out of every situation and almost get away with it too. Almost. 

Directed by Fabián Bielinsky and such brilliant performances by Ricardo Darín and Gastón Pauls; probably the most popular and twisted Spanish thriller till date and certainly the most entertaining one too!

1. The Skin I Live In (2011)

La piel que habito (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EolQSTTTpI4

spanish-thrillers

From one of my all time favorite director Pedro Almodóvar comes a terrific thriller – a mastefully written mysterious and innovative plot that revolves around a plastic surgeon and his muse. 

Philosophical and yet very much real, a film about power, obsession and revenge.

Superb performance by Antonio BanderasElena AnayaJan Cornet

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch).

+1. Wild Tales (2014)

Relatos salvajes (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUnXv6R2HI8

Spanish thrillersAn anthology with six brilliant individual short films, all of which having the common theme of retribution and vengeance!

(Click for Review)

Directed by Damián Szifrón, starring some of the best Spanish actors, each of these stories are stretched to their extreme possibilities and yet they seem to be believable enough!

Similar Interest: Best French Thrillers of Recent Times

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comwww.imdb.com.

Best Offbeat Indian Cinema of recent times (10+1 list)

Best Offbeat Indian Cinema of recent times

written by Souranath Banerjee

Offbeat Indian Cinema, huh?

The term ‘offbeat’ generally conveys a certain idea of non-commercial, arty, not-for-the-masses kind of movies; those
intellectual films which almost invariably wouldn’t do much business in the box office but will probably travel around several festivals and Offbeat-Indian-Cinemasurvive exclusively on the blessings of a handful of niche audience and critics.

Well, that more or less covers everything except for the most essential fact, that most often these so-called ‘offbeat’ films are the real trendsetters, so unique and revolutionary in their treatment and storytelling that they are responsible for the evolution of meaningful Cinema around the globe!

And this particular list of Offbeat Indian Cinema (many are in regional languages), although some of them might have been lost in the popcorn-culture a tad too quickly for my personal discomfort, but then again, all of these films are undoubtedly the most important Indian Cinema of our recent times!

Here we go! (Listed according to their year of release)

10. Ankhon Dekhi (2013)

Language: Hindi

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3yKUHI2mE4

Offbeat-Indian-CinemaRevolves around a simple yet philosophical concept of a man’s belief, as he decides to believe only what he sees with his eyes!

Brilliantly written, directed and acted by Rajat Kapoor, the film that succeeds in recognising the true talent of performer Sanjay Mishra.

And most importantly this movie sets the stage for one of the most prominent Indian producer of today – Manish Mundra,  who in the following years have given us such brilliant films like MasaanDhanakWaiting and Newton.

9. Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost (2013)

Language: Punjabi

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pAByInA4kM

Offbeat-Indian-CinemaAn uniquely metaphorical film based on the post-partition era of India and Pakistan. A Sikh desperate for a male heir, but then when his fourth daughter is born, he declares her to be a boy and obsessively brings her up in the same fashion!

The first collaboration between director Anup Singh and actor Irrfan Khan which resulted in such a brilliant piece of story telling and powerful acting.

Tillotama ShomeTisca Chopra and Rasika Dugal – absolute brilliant performances by all!

8. The Lunchbox (2013)

Dabba (original title), Language: Hindi

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sK3R0rvnlPs

Offbeat-Indian-CinemaWritten and directed by Ritesh Batra, this film is essentially a love story between an unhappy housewife and a middle-aged man, and they depend on the Mumbai’s famous ‘dabba’ delivery system to share their delicious little love-notes.

Probably the most commercially popular in this list, this unique love affair is crisp, real and yet as romantic as a fantasy.

The performances of Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur and Nawazuddin Siddiqui makes the movie a true memorable experience.

7. Ottaal (2014)

Language: Malayalam

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNuJPc8u8WM

Offbeat-Indian-CinemaVisually the most eye-pleasing film in the list; a soulful story of a little boy and his grandfather and their beautiful fishing village somewhere in the backwaters of Kerala. But then there is ‘The Trap’ that awaits.

Superb direction by Jayaraaj, the story adopted from Anton Chekhov’s story Vanka.

The songs, the water, the innocence of the village – and the beauty of nature captured by M.J. Radhakrishnan in the most cinematic way ever!

6. Court (2014)

Language: Marathi

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sc8z7zav9A

Offbeat-Indian-CinemaWritten and directed by Chaitanya Tamhane, the film which won the National Award (Golden Lotus Award) and was the official entry from India for the Oscars 2016! 

(Click for Review)

The film is a sarcastic take on the Indian dysfunctional legal system that revolves around a folk-singer’s prosecution!

A script so powerful and so confidently executed, superb performances, the most unique court-room drama ever made.

5. Asha Jaoar Majhe (2014)

Language: Bengali

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFObwB9TAwc

Offbeat-Indian-CinemaLabour of Love, winner of two National Awards and many International ones, probably the most sensitive and poetic film in this list.

(Click for the review)

Directed by Aditya Vikram Sengupta, the story of a married couple who yearns to meet and spend time together but couldn’t because of their work timings. The best thing that happened to the Bengali Industry in the recent times!

4. Visaaranai (2015)

Language: Tamil

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mnzK2KIz9U

Offbeat-Indian-CinemaDirected by Vetrimaaran, this was India’s official entry for the Oscars last year!

Based on a true story, four state-immigrants who experience the tragic police brutality as they were forcefully arrested, illegally detained, tortured and threatened to admit crimes of which they have no knowledge whatsoever!

Dark, gritty and dangerously realistic, the movie emphasises on the corruption of the Indian police department and the helplessness of the common man.

3. Chauthi Koot (2015)

Language: Panjabi

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFS-ETnMSw4

Offbeat-Indian-CinemaMid 1980s, politically turbulent Punjab being the backdrop, the film focuses on one particular family that (like most of the other Punjabi families of the time) gets crushed in-between the Indian Army and Sikh separatists.

Brilliantly written and directed by Gurvinder Singh, (his debut film being Anhey gorhey da daan), this movie brilliantly portrays the agitation and terror of the innocents of that era.

2. Thithi (2015)

Language: Kannada

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_NltD4Stv4

Offbeat-Indian-CinemaA man, 101-year-old – dies. His sons and their sons and their family (the next three generations) prepare for his funeral, after the customary eleven days. The film is based on their actions and reactions over the old man’s death.

Smooth flowing, realistic and immensely engaging; a story of a seemingly every-day village life but told with such conviction.

Superb direction given by Raam Reddy, impactful performances, winning multiple awards – probably the best film in the list!

  1. Aligarh (2015)

Language: Hindi

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JezwsQKpXuU

Offbeat-Indian-CinemaBased on a true story of Dr Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras, a professor who taught Marathi at Aligarh Muslim University, and was suspended from his job because of his sexual orientation!

(Film Review)

Masterfully directed by Hansal Mehta and such powerful performances by Manoj Bajpayee and Rajkummar Rao.

Manoj Bajpayee (according to me) deserved the National Award for his role as Professor Siras.

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch)

+1. Kaul (2016)

Language: Marathi

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsR8pclAW1Y

Offbeat-Indian-CinemaWritten and directed by Vasudev Keluskar, this film is one of a kind – experimental, surrealistic, mysterious and stunningly visual!

The tale of a village school teacher who tries to maintain his sanity when assigned with an incredible responsibility that might change the fate of our universe!

Exceptionally well edited, shot in style playing with lights and shadows, sold performances – overall an exceptionally courageous example of story telling!

A few names of Offbeat Indian Cinema which are deserves the applause are Shahid (2012), Ship of Theseus (2012), Titli (2014), Killa (2014), Margarita with a Straw (2014), Talvar (2015), Haraamkhor (2015), Hotel Salvation (2016) and Trapped (2017).

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

Neruda (2016) – Best of 18th JIO MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2016!

Neruda Review

written by Souranath Banerjee

The tale of a fugitive poet and his flitting poetries; Cinema at it’s best!

My Ratings: 4.3/5

There is nothing as beautiful an experience as a blend of pure poetry in cinema; when the dialogues turn into lucid verses, and the visuals infuse with the rhythm of the poet’s manoeuvring voice.

Yes, that’s exactly what the film Neruda is all about!

Neruda ReviewEssentially based on two characters – “In this fiction, we all revolve around the protagonist. A hero and a supporting character.” 

‘The protagonist’ is none other than the famous Chilean poet Pablo Neruda who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. But this is a story that dates much before the poet’s international fame, in the late 1940s when Neruda is being hunted in his own country for being a Communist!

And the ‘supporting character’ is Óscar Peluchonneau (played by none other than Gael García Bernal), the determined police officer who has the specific orders to hunt down Neruda – to ‘catch him and Neruda Reviewhumiliate him’.

Thus in between the priceless poetries and the endless humours, between the artist’s vulnerability and the stalker’s frustration – we experience a classic cat and mouse game, ‘a wild hunt’ that ends the way you would have least expected!

Directed by one of my favourite filmmaker Pablo Larraín, this one has already been selected as the official submission of Chile for the ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ category for the 89th Academy Awards in 2017!

The performance of a life time by Luis Gnecco, as he plays the ever-popular, exotic, intellectual poet, Mercedes Morán as his aristocratic  wife and then of course the stunning Gael García Bernal, the man Neruda Reviewwho will chase down Neruda till the snowy surreal horizon.

Sergio Armstrong keeps the visuals artistic and beautifully wide-angled while Federico Jusid‘s music often adds a certain comic touch to the film.

Neruda, an unconventional biography, a poem in itself, a celebration of a genius and also a cinematic brilliance!

“Tonight, I can write the saddest lines.                                                                          I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.” – Pablo Neruda.

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com.

2016 Oscar Winners leaping ahead!

2016 Oscar Winners leaped ahead! 

written by Souranath Banerjee

It is that time of the year when decisions are made and a few extraordinary artists take the leap ahead with the golden statues shining in their hands.

Pic-12Yes, the time for the 2016 Oscar winners!

The competition was exceptionally tough this year (just like any other year), and though we always like to say that everyone nominated are all winners but then sadly, only some people actually win.

Here are the movies that ruled the Oscar stage yesterday and a flashback of all these films for a quick recap.

Spotlight (Won 2 awards)

Category: Best Picture and Original Screenplay (Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy)

spotlight-poster2My Ratings: 4.4/5. 

‘Since All the President’s Men in 1976, I think this film here, Spotlight, has taken the theme of ‘reporters unveiling a conspiracy theory’ to a new height of extraordinary.’

‘Written and directed by Tom McCarthy (his directional debut The Station Agent is one of my all time favorite), and here also, he has done a tremendous job. The pace and the overall effect of the film is so intense that it gives you the feel of a classic thriller. ‘

 

The Revenant (won 3 awards)

Category: Best Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio), Best Director (Alejandro Inarritu) and for Best Cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki)

revenant-poster2My Ratings: 4.4/5.

‘there is an immense amount of expectation for Mr. Iñárritu’s latest film The Revenant, and then again, when the ever-impressive Leonardo DiCaprio is in the lead, tagging with him all that debate about – can this be finally Leonardo’s Oscar moment or not?’

‘the film is shot by ace cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki who has already won two Oscars for his brilliant camera work in films Birdman and Gravity.’

 

Mad Max: Fury Road (won 6 awards)

Category: Best Editing (Margaret Sixel), Best Sound Mixing (Chris Jenkins, Greg Rudloff and Ben Osmo), Best Sound editing (Mark Mangini and David White), Best Production Design (Colin Gibson), Best Costume Design (Jenny Beavan) and Best Make Up and hair Styling (Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin).

mad-max-poster6My Ratings: 4.1/5.

‘A two hours non-stop action extravaganza, a roller coaster ride of brutal excitement, insane adrenaline rush and high-octane drama.’

‘a super-fast editing by Margaret Sixel and Jason Ballantine perfectly complements the mood of the film.’

‘Minimal use of dialogues, quick introduction of characters and real horrific violence – Mad Max: Fury Road is a treat for action genre lovers. Undoubtedly the best action flick of recent times.’

 

Room

Category: Best Actress (Brie Larson)

room-poster1My Ratings: 4.4/5.

‘Specially Brie Larson who as the protective mother, dealing with her certitudes and also her vulnerabilities has given one of the best performances I have seen in a long time!’

‘Essentially it’s a thriller that involves the account of a daring attempt to slip away from the clutches of a ruthless kidnapper but on a deeper note the film is a complex sensitive drama and an expert dissection of human psychology.’

 

The Big Short 

Category: Best Adopted Screenplay (Charles Randolph and Adam McKay)

big-short-poster2My Ratings: 4/5.

‘Based on the book with the same name by financial journalist Michael Lewis, co-writer and director Adam McKay has been successful in adding enough humor to dilute the financial jargon and make the film coherent for everybody.’

‘focuses on a group of people who noticed and predicted the devastating financial crisis well ahead and even profited from it!’

 

The Danish Girl

Category: Best Supporting Actress (Alicia Vikander)

danish-girl-poster1My Ratings: 3.8/5.

Only such powerful acting could hold the film together with enough distinction.

‘to an utter surprise to his wife Gerda, Einar has a sudden urge to change his sexual orientation and reveals that he actually wants to be Lili in her real life; he claims that he seems to be a women trapped in a man’s body!’

 

Bridge of Spies

Category: Best Supporting Actor (Mark Rylance)

bridge-of-spies-poster1My Ratings: 3.8/5.

‘Bridge of Spies is actually a biopic on American insurance-attorney James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks)’

‘Firstly, he had to defend a captured Soviet spy Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) in the American court of justice and then, he was recruited by the CIA and sent to the-then hostile Germany (Berlin being partitioned) to negotiate a spy-exchange mission between the two rival countries – America and Russia.’

 

Ex Machina

Category: Best Visual Effects (Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett)

ex-machina-poster3My Ratings: 4/5.

‘But the real winner in this 1 hour 48 min futuristic drama is the brilliant use of visual effects. The amazing special effects give the film it’s much necessary believability.’

‘A bit slow paced maybe, and mostly dialogue based but in spite of not being personally a fan of Sci Fi movies, i find it pretty impressive.’

 

Spectre

Category: Best Original song (Song: Writing’s On The Wall, music and lyric: Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith)

spectre-poster6My Ratings: 3/5.

‘Though music by Thomas Newman is as usual effective and blends well with Hoyte Van Hoytema‘s cinematography.’

‘Spectre starts with a thrilling helicopter sequence in Mexico that promises a power pact film but unfortunately, by the end of it’s almost two and a half hours run time, the film struggles to keep you entertained.’

 

Inside Out

Category: Best Animated Feature Film (Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera)

Inside-Out-Poster2My Ratings: 4.5/5.

‘This 94 min film gives the children their beloved world of funny characters and colorful fantasy but at the same time it offers enough scope for serious thoughts (and admiration) for the grown-ups.’

‘Superb voice overs by a variety of talented artists. Animation quality at it’s best but again that is kind of expected from a Pixar feature. But the best part of Inside Out is its concept – so brilliantly innovative!’

 

Bear Story – Animated Short Film (Gabriel Osorio and Pato Escala)

The Hateful Eight – Original Score (Ennio Morricone)

Stutterer – Live Action Short Film (Benjamin Cleary and Serena Armitage)

Pic-11Amy – Best Documentary – Feature (Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees)

A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness – Best Documentary – Short Subject (Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy)

Son of Saul – Best foreign language film (Country: Hungary; Directed by László Nemes)

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comoscar.go.com.

Best Concentration Camp films during the Holocaust (10+1list)

Best Concentration Camp films during the Holocaust.

written by Souranath Banerjee

For anybody who is not familiar with the word ‘holocaust‘ (though i doubt that), it is a term used to define the genocide in which approximately six million Jews (including one million Jewish children) were killed by Adolf Hitler through his Nazi regime.   

There were another five million non-Jewish victims of Nazi mass murders as well.

And thus, in between1941 to 1945, while Hitler was fighting the WorldWar II in the forefront, approximately eleven million people were executed in a preplanned and secretive manner throughout Nazi-Germany and the other German-occupied territories.

Unlike many films that tell the tales of those who defied against the brutal German command, the films listed below are based on the inhumane concentration camp stories where the Jews were locked up for an indefinite time period, forced to barbaric physical labour in exchange of minimum food, before they were finally terminated (either gassed or shot or tortured to death).

Only a few lucky Jews did survive to tell the horrifying tales, their memories of misery and agony, their permanent nightmares.

Many of these films are based on true stories and facts, and are definitely the Best Concentration Camp films during the Holocaust.

Please have a look.

10. Escape from Sobibor (1987)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkueQG7dnDk

escape from-sobibor-posterSobibor was one of the major death camps set in the eastern Poland and needless to say, a place that saw some of the most terrifying accounts of atrocities during the Nazi rule.

Directed by Jack Gold, this film takes us into factual account of the superbly graphic and realistic tale of how the Jews revolted against their captors, a mass escape that was planned.

Superb performance by Alan ArkinRutger HauerJoanna Pacula among many others. 

9. The Counterfeiters (2007) aka ‘Die Fälscher’

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4LTu_ou9Rc

counterfeiters-postersThis one tells the true story of Salomon “Sally” Sorowitsch, the master counterfeiter who was involved in the largest counterfeiting operation in history, Operation Bernhard.

A thrilling film directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky, about the master plan of the Third Reich to flood the rival country’s economy with fake currency, a game to sabotage the allies’s economic.

8. Sophie’s Choice (1982)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STPJVf6wqCk

Sophie's-Choice-poster

The perils of the memories from the concentration camps could be too much to lead a normal life.

Directed by Alan J. Pakula, the film through several flashbacks confronts the brutalities of the Holocaust while telling a very passionate story of three individuals. 

Meryl Streep won her first Oscar as Best Actress in a Leading Role and brilliant performances by Kevin Kline and Peter MacNicol. Drama at it’s best.

7. Seven Beauties (1975) aka ‘Pasqualino Settebellezze’

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxyPnyEeBUg

Seven-Beauties-poster

A lesser known masterpiece, a film that is so full of energy and thrill, a roller-coaster ride of extreme events, an unique story of a holocaust survivor, and all that with a bit of humor added to it.

Also nominated for the Academy Award (Best Foreign Language Film).

Directed by Lina Wertmüller, and a once in a lifetime performance by Giancarlo Giannini. 

6. Fateless (2005)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F61yBTHB9nA

fateless-posterA 14 year old Hungarian youth, captured and sent to the concentration camps where he witnesses suffering and cruelty, experiences hatred and disgust, sees innumerable illness and deaths, and finally understands the meaning of being a Jew.

Directed by Lajos Koltai and written by Nobel-prize winner Imre Kertész, this one is one of the most realistic depiction of the Nazi concentration camps. 

5. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ypMp0s5Hiw

boy-in-the-striped-pajamas-posterDirected by Mark Herman, this is a story told from the perspective of an eight-year-old boy, the son of the Nazi commandant at a concentration camp.

The young child befriends a Jew kid on the other side of the camp fence but their innocent friendship turns into a disastrous ending. 

A story told to it’s full emotional and sentimental potential.

4. Life Is Beautiful (1997)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16RZHqCIy9M

life-is-beautiful-poster1Directed and masterfully performed by Roberto Benigni, this is probably the only movie made on Holocaust that takes a humorous route and also becomes a huge commercial success.

Also won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film (Italy).

A father desperate to protect his son when captured and taken to a concentration camp, uses his wit and imagination to entertain and motivate his son till the very end of the brutal war.

3. Playing for Time (1980)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2Q00–HTJY

Playing-for-Time-posterJewish French musician and cabaret singer Fania Fenelon Goldstein, joins a group of performers who are spared their lives so that they can entertain the Nazis by performing music for them.

Directed by Daniel Mann, a stunning and dramatic film and a brilliant performance by Vanessa Redgrave.

An underrated TV movie that deserves global acclaim.

2. Europa Europa (1990) aka ‘Hitlerjunge Salomon’

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqMBNCo7LPE

europa-europa-posterBased upon a true story of Solomon Perel (taken from his book), the film tells the historic story of this Jewish boy who, in order to save his life poses as a German!

Marco Hofschneider plays the part with great conviction along with Julie Delpy.  

Directed by Agnieszka Holland, this is one thrilling story of survival, an attempt to dangerous yet innovative.

  1. Kapò (1960)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOPQx3NmApw

Kapò-posterNominated for the Academy Award (Best Foreign Language Film), this Italian black and white film tells the fantastic story of a Jewish teenage girl whose survival instincts keep her alive when she arrives at a brutal concentration camp at a young age of 14.

And ultimately she evolved into a  “kapo” – a prisoner who watched over the other fellow prisoners.

Directed by Gillo Pontecorvo, and such a brilliant performance by Susan Strasberg, this gem of a film deserves much more fame and popularity than it currently gets. 

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch).

+1. Conspiracy (2001) 

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWLvq0jC-c0

Conspiracy-posterDirected by Frank Pierson, this one is a chilling reenactment of the 1942 infamous Wannsee Conference where the Nazi and SS leaders gathered to finalize the Holocaust!

Lead by SS-General Reinhard Heydrich, they calmly discussed the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question” and thus the perfect plan of world’s largest genocide was hatched and ready to put in action.

The film The Final Solution: The Wannsee Conference (1984) also deals with the same subject and is also worth watching.

A few spine-chilling documentaries on Holocaust that depict the real trauma of the time without much dramatization – Shoah (1985), Night and Fog (1955), Triumph of the Will (1935), Siege (1940), Numbered (2012) and The Sorrow and the Pity (1969).

Similar Interest: Best Jew-Nazi dramas during the Holocaust (10+1list).

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comfilmow.comen.wikipedia.orgwww.imdb.com.

Best Foreign Language Films of 2014 (10+1list)

Best Foreign Language Films of 2014.

Written by Souranath Banerjee

2014 was a unique year for world Cinema.

Quality films were made across the globe; stories that denounced war and corruption, films which tested complex relationships, cinemas that didn’t shy away from portraying the many complexities of our human nature.

Directors skilfully explored the subtlety of emotions and managed to create an immense impact upon the worldwide audiences.

And so, here is a list of some of the Best Foreign Language Films of 2014 that shouldn’t be missed at any cost.

1. Force Majeure 

Original title: Turist. Country: Sweden.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjjzVbTBF8o

Force-Majeure-poster1

Now how does a person react in that split second of time when one assumes his life to be in danger? In such a life-threatening moment will a man prove himself to be ‘man’ enough and defend his family or will he panic and run for his own life?

(Click for the film review)

Directed by Ruben Östlund, Force Majeure won the Jury Prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival

2. Stations of the Cross

Original title: Kreuzweg, Country: Germany. 

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNp7lb1OWow

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Story of a 14 year old Catholic girl who decides to dedicate his life to God.

Conservative family, the teachings of the Church and a young vulnerable mind that tries to cope with the tough religious restrictions.

Directed by Dietrich Brüggemann, one of the most powerful films ever!

3. Tangerines

Original title: Mandariinid, Country: Estonia.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdHwowSRRcs

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War has always been the cause for destruction, be it human lives or the season’s crop – the Tangerines.

(Click for the film review)

Directed by Zaza Urushadze the film was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film in the Oscars.

An unpredictable ending and superb performances.

4. Mommy

Original title: Mommy, Country: Canada.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9LVLCYvqSI

mommy-posterXavier Dolan (who won the jury prize at 2014 Cannes Film Festival) directed this brilliant film that tells the story of a widowed single mother and her fifteen year old son and also their mysterious neighbors. 

The love and the endless struggle a single mother has to go through; the film portrays the roller-coaster of emotions and the sacrifices of a mother to raise her teenage son.

5. Leviathan

Original title: Leviafan, Country: Russia.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oo7H25kirk

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Official submission of Russia for Oscars, nominated among the best five Foreign Language Films; won the Golden Globes and also competed for the most prestigious Palme d’Or award in the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.

(Click for the film review)

Director Andrey Zvyagintsev doesn’t flinch away from showing the ugly face of corruption.

6. Ida

Original title: Ida, Country: Poland.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXhCaVqB0x0

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Only a few very rare films have images so powerful that they tend to overshadow everything else, even the narrative and the story-line seems to dissolve in the pure beauty of each and every frame.

(Click for the film review)

Directed by Pawel PawlikowskiOfficial submission of Poland to the Best Foreign Language Film category and Ida won the Oscar!

7. Corn Island

Original title: Simindis Kundzuli, Country: Georgia.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5Fc9ydpP_Q

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The film is a take on the dominance of nature over mankind; in a very subtle way the film shows the foolishness of man who are in constant battle with each other but can never fight the nature.

George Ovashvili in his film uses only a handful of dialogues, but the impact of the visuals and the story are so strong that it speaks volumes to the audience.

8. Wild Tales

Original title: Relatos salvajes. Country: Spain.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUnXv6R2HI8

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An anthology with six individual short films, all of which having a common theme of retribution and vengeance.

(Click for the film review)

These films (all six of them) are wicked, satirical and deranged (to some extent) but again at the same time they are clever, hilarious and highly entertaining. Awesome work by director Damián Szifrón.

9. Two Days, One Night

Original title: Deux jours, une nuit. Country: Belgium.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tb3zBq6gVRk

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Directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne this film is all about being positive and standing your ground.

(Click for the film review)

Long takes, simple camera angles, natural dialogues and flawless acting – the brilliant performance by mesmerizing French actress and singer Marion Cotillard really makes this film worth it.

10. Winter Sleep 

Original title: Kis Uykusu. Country: Turkey.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBAa-QtTxxE

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This year Nuri Bilge Ceylan won the prestigious Palme d’Or award for Winter Sleep at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.

(Click for the film review)

Set in the picturesque backdrop of central Anatolia, Winter Sleep is the story of an aged, rich, philosophical hotel-owner named Aydin (Haluk Bilginer). A rare cinematic experience.

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most unique one. A must watch).

+1. The Raid 2

Original title: The Raid 2: Berandal, Country: Indonesia.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MG9uFX3uYq4

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SWAT team member Rama goes undercover to fight against the corrupt police and the underworld kingpins.

Exceptionally realistic fight scenes shot with brutal precision, all the actions showcase the Indonesian fighting style of Pencak silat.

Great story and performances but overall this is THE best action film of the recent times!

A few awesome films that didn’t make this list but are totally worth mentioning are BlindGoodbye to LanguageA Girl Walks Home Alone at NightWe Are the Best!Like Father, Like SonThe AttorneyA Coffee in BerlinStranger by the LakeThe Dance of Reality and Timbuktu.

Sven Nykvist – the greatest cinematographer of all time?

Sven Nykvist – the greatest cinematographer of all time?

written by Souranath Banerjee.

Winner of two Oscar awards, a career spanning over half a century, orchestrated over 120 films, being Ingmar Bergman‘s favorite cinematographer for more than three decades and also collaborated with other renowned film-makers including Andrei Tarkovsky, Philip Kaufman, Woody Allen, Bob RafelsonRichard Attenborough, Lasse HallströmRoman Polanski and Louis Malle – if anybody is eligible for the title of ‘Best cinematographer of all time’ then i am sure the Swedish genius Sven Vilhem Nykvist will be given the very first preference.

Sven Nykvist shot images which where simple yet profound, most natural yet meaningful and significant.

A brilliant camera operator and also the ‘master of light’ – he preferred to use more of natural light or soft bounce lighting and favored geometrically precise shot compositions. 

In his own words “When you are operating the camera, you forget all about the other people around you. You just see this little scene and you live in that and you feel it. For me, operating the camera is a sport and it helps me do better lighting. I prefer to shoot on location because in the studio you have too many possibilities, too many lights to destroy your whole picture.”

He was nominated thrice for the Oscars – in 1973 for Cries & Whispers, in 1983 for Fanny and Alexander and also in 1989 for The Unbearable Lightness of Being. He won the award in the first two occasions.   

His simple imagery speaks volumes and creates such depths and intensity.

He also won a special prize ‘Best Artistic Contribution’ at the Cannes Film Festival for the film The Sacrifice (1986) which was also the last film made by the famous Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky.

By the way Sven Nykvist also directed five feature films out of which his last film Oxen (1991) was nominated at the Oscars in the ‘Best foreign Language Film’ category from Sweden that year. 

The greatest cinematographer of all time – yes probably so but more importantly Sven Nykvist’s talent, his mastery on lights and camera, his authority on capturing beauty and his high professional ethics will always be considered as legendary.

Wild Tales (2014)

Wild Tales review.

My Ratings: 4.3/5.

Wild Tales, Spanish title ‘Relatos salvajes’ is an anthology with six individual short films, all of which having a common theme of retribution and vengeance.

wild-tales-posterThese films, all six of them, are wicked (literally wild tales), satirical and even deranged to some extent but again at the same time they are clever, hilarious and highly entertaining.

Be it the passengers on an airplane or a loan-shark who enters a restaurant, two egoistic drivers on a highway or a frustrated citizen who also happens to be a demolition expert, a kid from a rich family who commits a hit and run or an unusual wedding ceremony – the various tales told in this film are brutal yet real.

All these stories are stretched to extremes but yet they somehow seem to be believable!

wild-tales-poster1Most of the characters in these short films are psychologically twisted and are brilliantly portrayed by actors like Ricardo DarínErica RivasDarío GrandinettiDiego GentileMaría MarullLeonardo SbaragliaMónica Villa and others.

Wild Tales competed for the Palme d’Or award at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival and was also nominated as the Best Foreign Language Film for last year’s Oscars.

Awesome music composed by Gustavo Santaolalla which perfectly compliments the innovative work of writer/director Damián Szifrón.

Wild Tales – a superbly entertaining black comedy that shouldn’t be missed at any cost.