Tag Archives: Ida

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

stations-of-the-cross1

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

Tangerine-poster

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

Leviathan-poster1

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

ida-poster3

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

Corn-Island-poster

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

wild-tales-poster

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

Two-Days-One-Night-poster3

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

winter-sleep-poster2

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

the-raid-2-poster

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.

Best Modern Black and White movies (10+1list)

Best Modern Black and White movies

written by Souranath Banerjee.

The transition of Cinema from ‘black and white’ to ‘color’ is a unique evolutionary process that took years of experimentation.

Evidently in Europe (specifically in U.k and France), as early as in the beginning of 1900, the first few colored footage were made; they were mostly hand-colored short films. Then in 1914, in U.K Natural Color Kinematograph Company made the first ever full length feature film in color named The World, the Flesh and the Devil. 

In 1918 Cupid Angling was made in US by Douglass Natural Color The-Wizard-of-Oz-posterFilm Inc. which is the first American ‘colored’ feature. Then of course The Wizard of Oz (1939) and Gone with the Wind (1939) established the era of colorful films.

Eventually the dominance of ‘black and white’ films faded away and cinema was full of colors! By the late 60s only a handful of black and white films are made each year.

Nowadays the black and white medium is regarded as a rare artistic choice for stylized visuals, or specifically used to portray a certain desired mood/emotion.

And now, the list contains some of the Best Modern Black and White movies. Enjoy!

10. Pi (1998)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jo18VIoR2xU

pi-poster

Darren Aronofsky‘s first feature and an amazing black and white thriller.

A paranoid mathematician who tries to unlock nature’s universal patterns with the help of the magic number Pi!

Matthew Libatique shot the dark contrast images and successfully creates the gritty atmosphere needed for the film.

9. Nebraska (2013)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UT5tqPojMtg

nebraska-poster1

Oscar nominated film (nominated in six categories including ‘best film’, ‘best director’ and ‘best cinematographer’).

Directed by Alexander Payne, this black and white road movie is wonderfully shot by Phedon Papamichael.

An emotional yet humorous father-son relationship like never seen before.

8. Frances Ha (2012)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBn5dgXFMis

frances-ha-poster

Noah Baumbach presents one of the most endearing and funny film of recent times. 

A black and white comedy drama that tells the entertaining tale of an ordinary New York girl named Frances. She is quirky, childlike and sometimes a bit immature as well.

Beautifully shot by Sam Levy, the film is as spontaneous and free-spirited as it’s leading lady.

7. The Turin Horse (2011)

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

turin-horse-poster

From the master directors Béla Tarr and co-director Ágnes Hranitzky this one is an unique film with very less dialogues and absolutely brilliant visuals. 

Shot by Fred Kelemen, the film has long takes that meticulously portrays the struggle of each and every character.

Rural settings with harsh climate – black and white imagery at it’s best.

6. Coffee and Cigarettes (2003)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_7uQsP2TBk

coffee-and-cigarettes-poster

A series of short, single location films based on people interaction which all have coffee and cigarettes in common!

One of the coolest films ever, directed by Jim Jarmusch with unique casting for each segment.

A black and white film that uses the checker tables, the black coffee and the white cigarette smoke to it’s best advantage.

5. Control (2007)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7c2_B_cWK_M

control-poster

A biography of the famous lead singer of the band Joy Division – Ian Curtis.

Directed by Anton Corbijn, the film depicts the troubled life of the musical genius which ended at the young age of 23 (he committed suicide).

The film is a simple yet stylized series of black and white visuals shot brilliantly by Martin Ruhe.

4. The Artist (2011)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OK7pfLlsUQM

Artist-poster

Nominated for the Oscars in 10 categories and winning 5 awards including the ‘Best Motion Picture of the Year’, ‘best direction’ and ‘best actor’!

A black and white film directed by Michel Hazanavicius that is arty as well as highly entertaining.

Shot by Guillaume Schiffman (oscar nominated), the film is a treat for all black and white cinema lovers!

3. Ida (2013)

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

ida-poster

The Oscar winner in the ‘best foreign film category’.

Pawel Pawlikowski direction and amazing cinematography by Ryszard Lenczewski and Lukasz Zal.

The film is uniquely in square format (aspect ratio 1.33 : 1) and interestingly most of the frames have huge amount of negative space on the top. A must see.

2. Schindler’s List (1993)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdRGC-w9syA

schindlers-list-poster

Probably the most popular black and white film of our times.

Directed by Steven Spielberg the film is a biography on Oskar Schindler’s life who helped the Jews and saved many lives during the Nazi invasion of Poland in the World War II. 

Shot by Janusz Kaminski this film has so strong imagery that one could never forget in their lives.

1. The White Ribbon (2009)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KJKvvvxY74

white-ribbon-poster

A little peaceful village haunted by a series of awful murders!

Directed by the acclaimed German director Michael Haneke, this film is a superb psychological mystery drama.

A black and white classic shot by Christian Berger, the film was also nominated in the Oscars for the Best Achievement in Cinematography category!

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

+1. Sin City (2005)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2Dj6ktPU5c

sin-city-posterIf you want to use the word ‘stylized’ to define a film – this is the one.

Super cool visuals straight from Frank Miller‘s comic book pages, the film is an epic is it’s dark and violent story telling.

Directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez (he also shot the film), the most stylish black and white film ever.

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

Ida (2014)

Ida film review.

My Ratings: 4.3/5.

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

Ida is such a rare gem.

ida-poster3It is a simple story of an orphan young nun named Anna (real name Ida) who before taking her final vows to God takes a trip along with her aunt (her only relation) to know about her parents.

1960’s Poland being the backdrop Anna’s parent’s identities are linked with secrets that brings back past uncomfortable memories from the days of the Nazi invasion of Poland.

But still Anna is determined to know the truth.

Shouldered by the two main characters Anna (introducing Agata Trzebuchowska) and her aunt Wanda (Agata Kulesza), just about 80 mins long, this Polish film takes us into one of the best road trips ever – a compact script and very natural performances.

ida-poster1Both Ryszard Lenczewski and Lukasz Zal are credited for the rich black and white artistic imagery. Cinematography at it’s best.

The film is uniquely in square format (aspect ratio 1.33 : 1) and interestingly most of the frames have huge amount of negative space on the top. I think it some how signifies the presence of God which relates to the inner religious struggle of Anna throughout the film.

Director Pawel Pawlikowski makes sure that his film Ida has a profound impact on the audience, his visual style of storytelling and his creative sense is surely admirable.

Official submission of Poland to the Best Foreign Language Film category for the 87th Academy Awards, Ida wins the Oscar!

Definitely the most visually pleasing film of the recent times and missing this film may even be considered as a sin!