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Oscar Nominations 2018 Best Picture – what’s your call?

Oscar Nominations 2018 Best Picture – what’s your call?

written by Souranath Banerjee

Oscar Nominations 2018 Best Picture: Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel (for the second time), on this March 4th evening we have a date with our beloved movies from 2017 – the nominations for the Oscars – The 90th Academy Awards ceremony traditionally presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).

After last year’s La La Land hiccup and Moonlight‘s sudden triumph speculating this year’s Best Picture has certainly become more difficult a task but have to admit the fun remains the same, even more!

In total nine nominations for Best Picture and I have listed them according to my order of liking, in a way keeping my favourite one in the number 1 spot. You all do your own homework, predict, guess and wonder, and let’s see who can hit the bull’s eye!

9. Darkest Hour

A historical biography directed by Joe Wright which in total has six Oscar nominations this year!

The film revolves around the early days of World War II when Churchill was appointed the British Prime Minister and showed immense character that changed history forever.

Gary Oldman is undoubtedly an actor par excellence and his performance as Winston Churchill is awe-inspiring (every chance of winning the Male Leading Role). But I am real doubtful about the movie winning big this year.

8. Dunkirk

Directed by Christopher Nolan and brilliant music by Hans Zimmer (will probably win the for his Original Score).

Another film about World War II portraying the tensed war-front drama when soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France were at the mercy of the German Army.

In total eight nominations, though there are no acting or writing nominations and I think the movie won’t run till the end round of this year’s Oscar race.

7. The Post

The epic battle between the press and the government, a dangerous mission taken up by female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to unmask a massive coverup.

Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks together, that too directed by Steven Spielberg – this movie seems to be the perfect Oscar recipe but yet for me this is not really the Best Picture of last year.

6. Lady Bird

A delightful coming of age story of an artistically inclined seventeen-year-old girl and her chemistry between her friends and relatives – especially the love-hate relationship with her mother.

Directed by Greta Gerwig and brilliantly performed by Saoirse Ronan this is one film I absolutely enjoyed watching but still am not so sure about its Oscar win.

5. Phantom Thread

Paul Thomas Anderson collaborates with none other than Daniel Day-Lewis (supposed to be his last movie as an actor).

Superbly artistic, a visual treat that portrays the early world of fashion through the romance between a renowned dressmaker and his muse – a beautiful and determined young girl.

But then again the movie winning the Oscar – a bit doubtful scenario.

4. Get Out

An African-American guy meets his white girlfriend’s parents for the weekend but things are not exactly what it seems to be. There lies some dark dangerous secrets that changes his life forever.

Now a low budget horror thriller gets nominated in the Best picture category – well, that’s a first!

Jordan Peele‘s direction and Daniel Kaluuya acting are spot on; though honestly to me the film apparently doesn’t look like a tough competition as an Oscar contender but you never know, unpredictability is the name of the game!

3. Call Me by Your Name

A summertime gay romance between a 17-year-old boy and a twenty-something man who has visited Italy as the young boy’s father’s research assistant.

(Click for Review)

A beautifully shot film directed by Luca Guadagnino and superb performances by Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet. Though not nominated in the direction, cinematography or editing categories it is a tough aim for the big spot but then if the movie snatches the Oscar I would  say it totally deserved it.

2. The Shape of Water

An incredible love-story between a mute lady-janitor and an amphibious creature that being held captive at a top secret research facility.

With 13 nominations, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and a superb performance by Sally Hawkins this visually stunning movie probably has the highest bets for the award. My favourite too. Fingers crossed!

1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Three billboards asking for justice – a mother’s unique way of challenging the authorities who failed to capture her daughter’s murder.

Directed by Martin McDonagh and a powerhouse of brilliant acting from Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell (sure will get awards for Female Leading Role or/and Supporting Male Role).

With total seven nominations, brilliantly written and shot with great precision – this is my most favourite film of last year and I hope this film gets its due i.e the Oscar of course!

Similar Interest: Best of 2017 you may have missed!

Similar Interest: Best of World Cinema 2017

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

Best of World Cinema 2017 (10+1List)

Best of World Cinema 2017

written by Souranath Banerjee

Best of World Cinema 2017: Every year before making this list I have this strange feeling of missing out some good ones, films which I may not have seen or even not know of. And this year is no exception!

And on top of that 2017 has such a variety of good Cinema to choose from, brilliant directors across the globe covering so many genres and what amazing films!

But finally I have made my choices, do let me know if you agree with me (or not). And here is my list of Best of World Cinema 2017. Enjoy!

10. Thelma

Language: Norwegian

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgQMHG9SGlU

Best-Of-World-Cinema-2017A strictly raised religious girl explores life on her own for the first time – but little did she know that her subconsciously controlled psychokinetic powers will soon change everything around her!

Directed by Joachim Trier, a unique concept based around a lesbian love affair. Brilliant performance by Eili Harboe, certainly the best fantasy mystery of the year!

9. The Square

Language: Swedish, English.

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


“The Square” – a unique contemporary show that has gained huge popularity but what does it say about our current society?

Swedish director Ruben Östlund (of Force Majeure fame) has made a brilliant satirical drama, absurd and surreal but entertaining!

Along with many other wins the film swept away the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

8. Okja

Language: Korean, English.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Nhz9ctHR0k

Best-Of-World-Cinema-2017On the surface a simple story of the friendship between a young girl (Seo-Hyun Ahnand her pet Okja – an oversized pig. But then this movie is so much more complex and layered, and very much socially relevant for today’s world.

Tilda Swinton, Paul DanoJake Gyllenhaal all at their best. From the acclaimed South Korean director Joon-ho Bong, probably the most powerful and important film of this year!

7. The Florida Project

Language: English.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwQ-NH1rRT4


Set up just in the outskirts of Disney World this is the story of a mischievous 6-year old (Brooklynn Prince) and her friends, her mother, her neighborhood – basically the world around her!

Directed by Sean Baker (of Tangerine fame), and also featuring Willem Dafoe and Bria Vinaite, a film that focus on human relations – the innocence and the complexities of it. Absolutely brilliant to watch! 

6. On Body and Soul

Teströl és lélekröl (original title). Language: Hungarian.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gZw6GVf2eY


Is it possible for two people to dream the same dream?

The setting being a slaughter house, this is an exceptional love story between two ordinary people wrapped in identical dreams.

A unique script and such brilliant performances, directed by Ildikó Enyedi, this Hungarian film has won the prestigious FIPRESCI Prize and the Golden Berlin Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival!

5. A Gentle Creature

Krotkaya (original title). Language: Russian.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sun3D8VqkGY


Nominated for Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, this Russian film is the story of a woman who investigates a return of a parcel that she sent to her husband who is serving prison time in an isolated town in Siberia.

Directed by Sergei Loznitsa, this one is an perfect example of superlative acting and brilliant story-telling, a slow yet highly cinematic experience.

4. The Shape of Water

Language: English.

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

Best-Of-World-Cinema-2017An amphibious creature in a hidden high-security government laboratory gets to befriend a lonely janitor (Sally Hawkins) but their friendship will be tested soon.

Directed by Guillermo del Toro, emotional and highly engaging, a fantastic story and powerful performances – overall a visually stunning fairy tale like never before!

3. Call Me by Your Name

Language: English, Italian.

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


‘Call me by your name and I’ll call you by mine.’

An erotic love affair between two men, a visiting student and the young son of the American professor.

Premiered at Sundance Film Festival, directed by Luca Guadagnino, the film is a heartfelt yet heartbreaking story of two people in love on a hot summer somewhere in a small town of Italy!

2. The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Language: English.

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

Best-Of-World-Cinema-2017The concepts of Revenge and Redemption have always been the favourite themes for movies but this film manages to twist these notions into a whole new level of awesomeness!

Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos (of The Lobster fame), a dark psychological thriller that takes its unique stand on morality and justice! Highly odd yet satisfying – just like the previous works of the director.

  1. Loveless

Nelyubov (original title). Language: Russian.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLegoO4NdD8


The film that won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, the ARRI/OSRAM Award at the Munich Film Festival and was nominated ‘best film’ at the London Film Festival this year!

Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev, this one is about a couple who must team up to find their missing son although they are going through a nasty divorce.

Official submission of Russia for the ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ category of the 90th Academy Awards in 2018.

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

+1. The Other Side of Hope

Toivon tuolla puolen (original title). Language: Finnish

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtiFG6utst8


A Finnish man who opens his own restaurant and a Syrian guy who comes to Finland in order to start a new life. Two stories finally converge and give us one emotional and often hilarious drama!

Realistic yet with a comic touch, acclaimed filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki won the Silver Berlin Bear at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival in the Best director category!

Similar Interest: Best of 2017 you may have missed!

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com.

Call Me by Your Name – BEST OF 19TH MUMBAI FILM FESTIVAL 2017!

Call Me by Your Name (2017)

written by Souranath Banerjee

Call Me by Your Name Review: Intoxicatingly romantic, intensely erotic and definitely the best ‘Coming-of-age love story’ of our time! 

My Ratings: 4.3/5

‘Sexual awakening’ is a tried and tested theme and some brilliant movies in the past like Moonlight and Blue Is the Warmest Color have portrayed the typical indecisiveness of the young curious mind in the most engaging and cinematic ways possible.

But then Call Me by Your Name though delving with the similar adolescent dilemma hits the audience as the fresh morning air and takes away our breath by the sheer beauty and subtleness of the story and its charming characters!

Set in early 1980, surrounded by the dreamy countryside of Northern Italy, stands a picturesque villa in the midst of lush green valleys, fruit orchards and blue lagoons, and there blooms an illicit love story – an irresistible chemistry between a seventeen year old boy and a man in his mid twenties that finally oozes into one of the most emotionally captivating relationships painted on celluloid!

‘Call me by your name and I’ll call you by mine.’ 

Elio (Timothée Chalamet) the young son of an archeology professor meets Oliver (Armie Hammer), a handsome American graduate student, who visits as an intern for the summer – and those six weeks Call-Me-by-Your-Nameof summer changes their lives forever. Especially Elio’s as the story is being told mostly from his perspective – not only does he discover love but he also reinvents himself.

Now the genius of director Luca Guadagnino (famous for the films I Am Love and A Bigger Splash) is not only in unfolding passion in the most lucid and eloquent manner (almost as if in slow motion) but also for treating the characters with electric erotism and yet never being carried away to the extent of indelicacy.

Never objectifying the central characters, never categorising their desires (both the leading men are shown with relationships with women as well), titillating but always with an uncanny sense of Call-Me-by-Your-Namespontaneous sophistication – both James Ivory (writer) and Luca Guadagnino (director) have adopted André Aciman‘s novel and made it into something very special and ageless!

And kudos to the exceptional performances by Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet – they have managed to perfectly portray the volatility of their relationship. And a special mention to Michael Stuhlbarg specially for his brilliant father-son dialogue delivery towards the end of the movie. Classic!

Poetic, alluring and ageless, as beautiful as the nude Greek male torsos that keep appearing in the film at regular intervals – probably the symbol for the eternal signature of love and passion.

Certainly one of the best films of the year!

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

Best of 2017 you may have missed! (10+1list)

Best of 2017 you may have missed!

written by Souranath Banerjee

Best of 2017 you may have missed: 2017 has been a year of some real good movies and a bliss for Cinema lovers like us!

But there is always a possibility that you may have overlooked a few, missed out the underrated ones which mind you are definitely worth your time.

So here is a list that will ensure that you have covered all the best of 2017. Thank me later!

10. Good Time

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrR-SbCRgCU

A heist gone wrong but that’s not the only thing that doesn’t go according to the plan. In order to save his mentally challenged brother a thug has the misadventure of his lifetime in one night span!

Directed by Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie, a rollercoaster ride of intense drama and Robert Pattinson breaks away from his Twilight zone and gives a super cool performance.

9. I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WBV7q_1DgQ

A woman burdened and bored by her life to the point of depression finds new purpose when she is robbed and vows to take revenge on the thugs. Her next-door neighbour becomes her partner in crime!

Written and directed by Macon Blair, with Melanie Lynskey and Elijah Wood giving their best – mostly a comedy and that too very well made, but I am sure the ending will surprise you!

8. Brawl in Cell Block 99

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

Vince Vaughn is back – not in some romcom but with a tough-guy-role in this cool and violent crime drama.

A drug dealer who goes to prison after a sore deal and realises that he has landed in the midst of a battleground!

Directed by S. Craig Zahler, this action drama has extreme violent scenes that can be disturbing for some people.

7. Lucky

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KLLkj84GAo

‘There’s a difference between lonely and being alone.’

A comedy drama centred around a ninety-year-old atheist who is forced to get out of his comfort zone and view life from a different perspective.

Directed by John Carroll Lynch and a performance of a lifetime by Harry Dean Stanton (his last role before he passed away). Also starring David Lynch!

6. Mudbound

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPRj3egUHb8

Adjusting to life after war is always tough and dealing with racism is even tougher. Two young men fresh from war zone had to deal with all this and much more!

Directed by Dee Rees, this is one brilliant movie, highly underrated but awesome acting and storytelling at its best.

Garrett Hedlund‘s performance is definitely an award winning one.

5. Molly’s Game

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vu4UPet8Nyc

A former professional skier who ran world’s most exclusive high-stake poker-games in Los Angeles and New York and soon came into the radar of FBI.

A biography made on the life of Molly Bloom, brilliantly played by Jessica Chastain.

Directed by Aaron Sorkin, the story of the ultimate hustler and her mysterious and thrilling life!

4. Lady Bird

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNi_HC839Wo

A coming of age drama of a senior high school girl, a young artistic mind who wants to go to the east coast and live her life to the fullest!

Written and directed by my favourite actor/director Greta Gerwig, the film is so realistic and well told that you instantly feel a connection to it.

Saoirse Ronan is superb in the central character – so natural and vulnerable and yet so perfect.

3. Buster’s Mal Heart

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fL4WSUwqhho

Rami Malek (from Mr. Robot fame) has given a great performance as a mentally unstable man who keeps warning others about a certain mysterious upcoming ‘Inversion’!

Written and directed by Sarah Adina Smith, powerful visuals and a bizarre concept that unfortunately is a bit open-ended and often unexplained but surely this psychological thriller manages to hold your attention till the very end.

2. A Ghost Story

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxLHP2IpBXw

A ghost shrouded in a white-sheet with two eyes cut out  – this is the ghost of a recently expired man who returns to his home and tries to connect with his lonely wife.

Directed by David Lowery, this film is not to be taken as a typical horror/ghost movie. It is an arty type, slow, emotional, sad and yet beautifully poetic.

Brilliant performances by Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara.

  1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jit3YhGx5pU

In order to challenge the local authorities to find her daughter’s murderers a mother puts up three billboards by the side of the road to provoke and taunt the police!

A black comedy directed by Martin McDonagh, this is a brilliant movie with superb storytelling and awesome performances by top-rated actors like Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell.

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

+1. Gerald’s Game

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twbGU2CqqQU

At a remote lake house a girl finds herself in a terrifying situation when her husband handcuffs her as part of their sex game but unfortunately have a heart attack and dies leaving her chained!

Superbly directed by Mike Flanagan and Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood gives their best. One of the very rare Stephen King novel adaptations that is probably even better than the book!

Similar Interest: Best of World Cinema 2017

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com.

Best Split Personality Films Ever Made (10+1list)

Best Split Personality Films ever made

written by Souranath Banerjee

Best Split Personality Films: On June 11, 1990, in the U.S. State of Wisconsin, a man (29) and a woman (26) had consensual sex in the man’s car. But a few days later the man was arrested for sexual
assault! Unfortunately the woman was suffering from multiple personality disorder, she had 21 different personalities and 2 of Split-Personality-Filmsthem (personalities aged 20 and 6) did not give consent to that physical act! (The trail of Mark Peterson)

Well, there are many such unusual cases recorded of people who suffer from multiple personality disorder or dissociative identity disorder, and are commonly known as split personalities. The person affected from such a neurosis has his/her personality dissociated into two or more distinct parts each of which becomes dominant and controls behavior from time to time to the exclusion of the other parts.

Many movies have been made to highlight this special medical condition, some based on actual cases while others are conjured out of pure fiction. Here are some other Best Split Personality Films are listed below. Have a look!

Note: I have not included the imaginary character’s world dramas/thrillers in this list, the likes of Fight Club (1999), A Tale of Two Sisters (2003), Identity (2003) and Shutter Island (2010).

10. Psycho (1960)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wz719b9QUqY

As the famous quote says Split-Personality-Films‘A boy’s best friend is his mother.’

The infamous Bates motel is the residence of Mr.Norman (Anthony Perkins) and his jealous Mother and anybody who wants to get involved with them are at risk!

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, undoubtedly the most popular and thrilling split personality movie ever made!

9. Split (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84TouqfIsiI

Split-Personality-FilmsThree girls are kidnapped by a man with multiple personalities, 23 different personas to be precise. And still counting!

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan, one of his latest mediocre movies, though I personally think it is the acting of James McAvoy that makes the movie worth a watch.

unfortunately the movie aims more for thrills than authentically portraying  the disorder.

8. Me, Myself & Irene (2000)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssx_riw1Y9Y

Split-Personality-FilmsA funny take on a man’s extremely contrast split personalities and twisting his state of dissociative identity disorder into some hilarious comic effect.

Directed by Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly, and starring none other than Jim Carrey as two personas – the polite cop and his maniacal alter-ego!

Entertainment at its best!

7. Voices Within: The Lives of Truddi Chase (1990)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hR9o_UZ3GRg

Split-Personality-FilmsBased on true events, adopted from the autobiographical account written by Truddi Chase, in the book named When Rabbit Howls, the Troops for Truddi Chase. 

Directed by Lamont Johnson and brilliantly performed by Shelley Long, her character being haunted by the sexual and psychological abuse afflicted on her as a child by her stepfather, tends to develop multiple personalities as a kind of defence mechanism to shut down the past horrible memories.

A highly underrated TV movie that perfectly portrays the torment and suffering of a person having dissociative identity disorder.

6. Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0DopZosR84

Split-Personality-FilmsA remake of the 1993 Malayalam film Manichithrathazhu.

A newly married man returns to his ancestral palace along with his wife, ignoring the various ghost stories rumored about the place. But then can there be any truth in these stories or is it the work of one disturbed mind?

Directed by Priyadarshan, a very entertaining film that intelligently delves with the split personality aspect of human mind and how to take control over it.  

5. Frankie & Alice (2010)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y10yyl_MJ4Q

Split-Personality-FilmsDirected by Geoffrey Sax, Stellan Skarsgård as the doctor and Halle Berry‘s best performance till date, portraying the character of a go-go dancer suffering from mood swings and sudden black outs which reveals to the fact that she is having multiple personalities.

An underrated film that succeeds in depicting the tragic life of a person with dissociative identity disorder with a certain degree of honesty.

4. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqqZ0yFqY04

Split-Personality-FilmsBased on the famous novel ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ written by Robert Louis Stevenson – this is the tale of a unique scientific experiment, a magic potion that effectively splits a person into two different personalities  – the sober and gentle Dr Jekyll  and his alter ego Mr Hyde!

Directed by Rouben Mamoulian, and performed by Fredric March who won an Oscar for his superb acting – this is one of the earliest movie that gave us a glimpse of a person suffering from split personality.

3. David and Lisa (1962)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ox39j2wwhy0

Split-Personality-FilmsA love-story blooming inside a mental asylum between two teenage patients – the boy David (Keir Dullea) suffering from the fear of death while the girl Lisa (Janet Margolin) who has a split personality disorder.

Directed by Frank Perry, a brilliant film that goes deep into the psyche of such emotionally disturbed teenagers and delves in the process of medically treating them along with enough love and patience.

2. The Three Faces of Eve (1957)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-B0_m6fW94

Split-Personality-Films‘I’m Eve’ written by Christine Costner Sizemore is the autobiographical book on which this movie is based on.

Directed by Nunnally Johnson, and performed by Joanne Woodward who won an oscar for her part playing a woman who has three prominent personalities that come out at regular intervals and each of these personas are aware of the other two! 

  1. Sybil (1976)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kPIDt3yu1M

Split-Personality-FilmsChild abuse has been the prime factor in such cases, and in an unconscious urge to block away the painful memories of childhood a person deliberately creates the other personalities. And that is exactly what happened to Shirley Ardell Mason on whose real life the novel/ movie is based on.

Directed by Daniel Petrie, and exceptionally well performed by Sally Field this mini series is the best and most authentic case study of a person suffering from multiple personality disorder. Sybil, the central character developed sixteen different personalities and was treated by a doctor named Dr. Cornelia Wilbur.

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

+1. Primal Fear (1996)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnmTi7hSjrA

Split-Personality-FilmsA priest murdered and all the evidence points to an alter-boy as the murderer but then the defense lawyer finds that the accused is suffering from multiple personality disorder!

Directed by Gregory Hoblit, this one is a superb drama with some pretty unexpected twists. Richard Gere and Laura Linney give great performances but the one to look for in this film is Edward Norton, a star was born!

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

A Fantastic Woman – Best Of 19th Mumbai Film Festival 2017!

A Fantastic Woman (2017)

written by Souranath Banerjee

A Fantastic Woman Review: Love is an empty word without respect but the real question is how much disrespect can one endure for the sake of his/her love?

My Ratings: 4/5

A Fantastic Woman originally titled as Una Mujer Fantástica is a film directed by Sebastián Lelioone of the most prominent figures of the post-dictatorship Chilean cinema. And his latest is this years’s official submission from Chile at the 90th Annual Academy Awards for the Foreign Language Film Award!

The idea of a man who chooses to become a woman, to live and die as a woman and wishes to be loved and treated like one is something that often people cannot accept without a certain hint of prejudice. And this is the touching story of a trans-woman named Marina, a young night club singer who aspires in this brutal society to live her life with as much dignity as any other human being.

She is in relationship with an older man named Orlando (Francisco Reyes). They are happy and in love but again that doesn’t guarantee that their romantic liaison will be wholeheartedly accepted and/or respected by others, especially by Orlando’s direct family (his ex-wife and a prick of a son).

And thus after the sudden demise of Orlando, Marina has to go through a series of humiliating and degrading events that made her A Fantastic Womanfight for her self respect, her pride and also for the rights for her lost love.

Daniela Vega who is a trans-woman in real life played the central character in the film with surprising efficiency. Most of her inner strength is expressed through her eyes – a brave soul with immense determination and yet so emotionally vulnerable, ready to face all the odds for the one who she loved so dearly!

And very intelligent storytelling by director Sebastián Lelio as he keeps the film very real, not once opting for any overdramatic cliches and providing just enough information to keep the viewers hooked through the otherwise pretty straightforward linear script.

Certainly the best transgender drama of recent times; this is the story of a woman who doesn’t allow anybody to dictate terms in her life, a woman of integrity, bold yet compassionate, sensual yet devoted – yes, she is indeed a fantastic woman!

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

The Window Review

The Window (2017)

written by Souranath Banerjee

The Window Review: The eternal agony, anguish, anxiety, the angst and the apprehension of a man/writer. 

My Ratings: 3.5/5

There have been numerous fictional films about writers that have emphasised on the weird imaginative world of a penman. Many of these movies make fun of their insecurity, some romanticise and even sympathise with them for being eccentric but very few have actually managed to empathise with a writer’s passion.

The Window, a film written and directed by VK Choudhary does exactly that and tries to portray the reality of an arrogant writer’s The-Windowlife (assuming writers being arrogant is part of that reality). 

The film revolves around Lekh Kapoor (Amit Vashisth), a man who claims to be superior to his surrounding world just because he is a writer, that too a self proclaimed one!

His personal life is a mess but still he peeps out of the window inviting himself into more trouble; he cribs and vents out enough frustration throughout the movie for choosing to be the stereotypical bearded, long-haired, bidi-sucking scriptwriter on his quest to change the form of Cinema for good. But at the same time he takes immense pride in his struggle for art, for representing himself as the misunderstood talent yet to be discovered.

This low-budget film with a very Indie feel is constructed out of a series of conversation scenes (mostly indoor and handheld) between Lekh and his friends and family who eventually shell out enough information to help us perceive the obsessed writer’s persona, his complexes and fears (which are quite a handful).

The younger brother (Atul Hanwat) who urges Lekh to get a life, join the well-salaried job for which he is perfectly qualified, and to get back with his sweet, soft spoken wife. The wife (Preeti Hansraj Sharma) who cheated just once in the past that too it seems because of Lekh’s negligence but still obviously loves him, wants Lekh to excuse their past differences and come back (and probably to shave his ugly beard). And of course the abusive mother (Sayoni Mishra) who is solely focused on making everybody’s life hell around her!

The-WindowThen there is his friend/film-industry-contact (Praveen Maheshwari) who wants Lekh to write something commercially sellable rather than the artsy stuff he is into. The authoritative producer fellow (Ravi Patil) who again wants the same thing but is less friendly while expressing it to our snobbish writer.

The thing common about these characters are that they all want to change Lekh in someway or other, make him lead a life he detests and take away from him his prized identity of being the distressed artist. But then comes Maya (Teena Singh), a seductress who can easily decode Lekh’s complexities, an enchanting captive from another world.

Intelligent use of music by Kasturi Nath Singh and Vishal J. Singh that goes well with Dhruvan Gautham‘s cinematography.

The film perhaps a tad too long and at times monotonously chaotic, has a certain honesty about it that stays with you for longer than you The-Windowexpect. The reason for this may be the natural performances from the cast (especially Amit Vashisth and Sayoni Mishra are fantastic) or may be the autobiographical treatment of the script by the young director VK Choudhary. The madness of his protagonist in a shabby claustrophobic 1bhk where he gets his brilliant ideas only to be rejected by the world seems somehow very possible and real.

And that is the reason we need more films like The Window to reach the theatres which strive to give you tangible characters and believable locations most often never an option for the so called big-budget movies.

Photo and poster curtsey: The Window production team.

Best Russian Classic Comedy Films (10+1list)

Best Russian Classic Comedy Films

written by Souranath Banerjee

Best Russian Classic Comedy Films: Though full of talented writers, actors and directors Russian Cinema have never seen its full potential for many years. Unfortunately there was strict political restriction on every aspect of art for over a period of 25 years, many valuable film-prints have been burnt and destroyed while the lives of innumerable filmmakers were wasted as they were never allowed to make a single movie!

But still some of the movies that were fortunate enough to be made and released, many among them were comedies and that too of great entertainment value. And some directors among them often in the form of allegory or satire dared to portray the real struggle of the people in the then Soviet nation. And they succeeded with flying colors!

And so here are some of the Best Russian Classic Comedy Films, evergreen and hilarious as ever!

10. The Girls (1961)

Devchata (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Divs3I1ioQ

Russian-Classic-ComedyDuring winter a young and naive girl comes to work at a lodging as a cook at a distant Siberian village and meets the most popular guy in the town. But contrary to all the other girl’s prediction it the guy who falls for her and not the other way round!

Directed by Yuriy Chulyukin, an adorable RomCom, great music, awesome performances and certainly one of the most popular Russian cinema of the time.

9. The Golden Calf (1968)

Zolotoy telyonok (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxQv7_IfLhE

Russian-Classic-ComedyBased on the famous novel from Ilya Ilf and Yevgeni Petrov by the same name, a humorous tale of a charming con man who blackmails an “underground Soviet millionaire” to fulfill his dream of moving to Rio de Janeiro.

Directed by Mikhail Shvejtser and such excellent performances by Sergey Yurskiy and Leonid Kuravlyov, a lengthy film but hilarious and definitely worth your time. 

8. Gentlemen of Fortune (1971)

Dzhentlmeny udachi (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGn-N31nHuk

Russian-Classic-ComedyA timid kindergarten teacher is mistaken as a notorious criminal because they look alike. And then the authorities try to capture the real goon by disguising the innocent as the criminal!

Directed by Aleksandr Seryj, and Evgeniy Leonov having a double role – this classic comedy-formula of mistaken identity has been used for ages but this film is probably the most hilarious example of the concept.

7. Heart of a Dog (1988)

Sobache serdtse (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-2pOQcbFx4

Russian-Classic-ComedyA science experiment has gone wrong, a Professor and his colleague manage to turn a stray dog into something very close to a human being!

Directed by Vladimir Bortko, a rare Russian Sci Fi comedy, a cult classic adopted from Mikhail A. Bulgakov‘s work, highly controversial as the film can be interpreted as a brilliant socio political allegory.

6. Only Old Men Are Going to Battle (1974)

V boy idut odni ‘stariki’ (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JN4i0OnHdA

Russian-Classic-ComedyDirected by Leonid Bykov who is also the lead in the movie, a popular classic that focuses on the Soviet pilots fighting the Germans in the Ukraine during the WWII.

Not a war film though, not exactly a comedy as well but still it will always have a special place in the history of Russian cinema for powerfully narrating the sentiments of people during the war. Great music as well!

5. Welcome, or No Trespassing (1964)

Dobro pozhalovat, ili Postoronnim vkhod vospreshchen (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blHxQ7ATzCc

Russian-Classic-ComedyA lesser known Russian comedy that guarantees enough entertainment and laughter!

It’s about the children and the strict regime they have to follow, and the struggles they have to face while growing up.

Directed by Elem Klimov, this one is a classic satire also can be interpreted as a brilliant parody of the then Soviet life. A must watch!

4. Mimino (1977)

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


A helicopter pilot of a local airlines goes to Moscow following his dreams to become an international pilot. But chasing dreams are always difficult.

A simple story with great cultural references, essentially about humanity and friendship.

Directed by the acclaimed Georgiy Daneliya, this one is probably the most popular Russian comedy ever made!

Other comedies by the same director are Walking the Streets of Moscow (1964), Ne goryuy! (1969), Afonya (1975), Autumn Marathon (1979) and Kin-dza-dza! (1986)

3. Operation ‘Y’ & Other Shurik’s Adventures (1965)

Operatsiya ‘Y’ i drugie priklyucheniya Shurika (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPU-L6xr_2k


Three mini films with one common central character played by the brilliant Aleksandr Demyanenko. Hilarious and superbly performed, the comedy is more into the slapstick Charlie Chaplin zone but effective and highly entertaining!

Leonid Gayday, a director who specialized in comedy and his films are still some of the most popular ones all over the world.

Other comedies by the same director are Kidnapping, Caucasian Style (1967), The Diamond Arm (1969), Ivan Vasilievich: Back to the Future (1973) and Twelve Chairs (1971)

2. Office Romance (1977)

Sluzhebnyy roman (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjTimO4j2T4

Russian-Classic-ComedyMy personal favorite in the list, a film that is so sensitive and yet absolutely hilarious!

A man wants to impress his strict lady-boss for that office promotion but unexpectedly they fall for each other!

Directed by one of the best Russian director of the time Eldar Ryazanov, I won’t exactly call it a laugh riot but this one will tickle your funny bones for sure.

Other comedies by the same director are Carnival in Moscow (1956), Watch Out for the Automobile (1966) and Gusarskaya ballada (1962).

1. Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears (1980) 

Moskva slezam ne verit (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTWE4KTrQaw

Russian-Classic-ComedyA masterpiece from the acclaimed director Vladimir Menshov, narrating the story of three girlfriends – starting with their adventurous youth and then leaping 20 years ahead in their lives!

The Oscar winning film though so effectively punctuated with numerous comic moments is essentially a beautiful drama that will make you laugh and cry at the same time.

Other comedies by the same director are  Love and Doves (1985) and Shirli-myrli (1995).

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

+1. Happiness (1935)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LGx3n3I_LE

Russian-Classic-ComedyA classic silent film, both funny and political at the same time.

The ‘Loser’ farmer and his misadventures – more in the line of Buster Keaton type humor where the expressionless protagonist moves around through a series of comic disasters!

One of the earliest and critically acclaimed comedy from Russia directed by Aleksandr Medvedkin.

A few other popular Russian Classic Comedy Films that didn’t make the list but totally worth checking out are Striped Trip (1961), The Night Before Christmas (1962),  Tri plyus dva (1963), The Republic of ShKID (1966), Hello, I’m Your Aunt! (1975), Formula of Love (1984), A Man from Boulevard des Capucines (1987), Peculiarities of the National Hunt (1995),  Peculiarities of the National Fishing (1997).

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com.

Best Child Psychology Films ever made (10+1list)

Best Child Psychology Films ever made

written by Souranath Banerjee

Best Child Psychology Films ever made: From birth to adolescence, the period loosely termed as our ‘childhood’ seems to be the most important chapter of our human life when seen from the point of view of a psychologist. Make no mistake, your nature, personality, Child-Psychology-Filmshabits, characteristics, hobbies, passions and fears all have their seeds deep embedded in your youth!

And thus Child Psychology is not only a significant subject for the scholars but an equally important concern for the parents if they really want to know their children and nurture them, love them and raise them in the best way possible.

There are many movies that have tried to get an insight into a child’s mind, the world from a kid’s perspective, an effective way of portraying their innocence, their emotions and the unconditional love they seek and share. But only a few films have honestly dealt with the various sensitive problems a child faces while growing up!

And so here we are with the Best Child Psychology Films ever made. Watch and if possible learn!

10. Broken (2012)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8AmM54kf1M


For children violence in any form (even if they are only the observer) has a huge impact on them. It robs their innocence and makes them feel in a way ‘broken’.

It’s about a young girl, her family and her neighborhood and how her life changes after witnessing certain violent events.

A highly engaging British film directed by Rufus Norris, humorous yet intense; superb acting by Tim Roth, Cillian Murphy and Lily James!

9. Taare Zameen Par (2007)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tn_2Ie_jtX8

Child-Psychology-FilmsChildren are so prone to academic pressure from such a small age, strict parents and rigid school regimes doesn’t allow them to discover their passion, face their problems and overcome them.

Directed by Aamir Khan (and Amole Gupte uncredited), the movie brilliantly explores the mind of an imaginative child Darsheel Safary and probably the best teacher-child relationship I have seen on screen!

8. What Maisie Knew (2012)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHHt5eYl95c

Child-Psychology-FilmsDivorces are always a painful affair for the adults but it is the children who really suffer.

Directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel, an emotional film from the perspective of a young girl who is caught right in the middle of her parent’s bitter custody battle.

Julianne Moore, Alexander Skarsgård, Steve Coogan and Onata Aprile as the tormented girl Maisie who knew … 

7. Mean Creek (2004)

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

Child-Psychology-FilmsBulling has always been a serious issue specially among children.

But in this case a bully is being lured to a trip into the woods – a planned revenge from one of his earlier victims. But the problem with young children is that they don’t know where to stop!

Directed by Jacob Estes, this is a highly underrated yet brilliant movie and one of the best insight into teen-psychology!

6. The Hunt (2012)

Jagten (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vK9cO7QN8Ak

Child-Psychology-FilmsMinds of children sometimes play cruel tricks and their one innocent playful lie – may be it’s just a game for them but it can certainly ruin the life of an adult forever!

Directed by Thomas Vinterberg, the Danish movie touches a sensitive subject where a young girl’s false account of a molestation story turns a Kindergarten teacher’s life upside down! A superb drama brilliantly performance by Mads Mikkelsen.

5. Ordinary People (1980)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdjlLq1tqmU

Child-Psychology-FilmsChildren react to death of their close ones in most unexpected ways, their pain can often turn into guilt that eventually leads to strain and emotional instability.

Directorial debut of Robert Redford, a film that dares to explore the complexity of relations within a family after the death of their older son. Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, Judd Hirsch and Timothy Hutton at their very best.

4. Lord of the Flies (1963)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtzU3gfLV3M

Child-Psychology-FilmsIn the complete absence of adults how does the children act, what are their priorities and instincts?

Directed by Peter Brook, this film is a savage case-study of a group of young survivors of a plane crash and what they do to survive and declare their dominance over one another!

Based on the famous book by William Golding, undoubtedly one of the best works on child psychology till date. Though as in most cases, the book is much better than the film!

3. Children of Heaven (1997)

Bacheha-Ye aseman (original title)

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

Child-Psychology-FilmsIranian directors are globally acclaimed for their children oriented dramas, simple stories and absolutely brilliant performances and this film by director Majid Majidi is no exception.

A young boy (Amir Farrokh Hashemian) has lost the shoes of his little sister (Bahare Seddiqi) and he is determined to find them! A film that explores a child’s unconditional love and devotion!

2. The 400 Blows (1959)

Les quatre cents coups (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i89oN8v7RdY

Child-Psychology-FilmsA childhood without the care and affection of the loved ones (specially parents) is the worst suffering for a child.

Directorial debut of François Truffaut, the acclaimed French director tells the story of a neglected mischievous young boy (Jean-Pierre Léaudwho is hungry for love and affection.

This film starts The Adventures of Antoine Doinel, the epic collaboration between the director and actor which includes in total five films – four features and one short.

1. Pather Panchali (1955)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hr4yNlLZ-uI

Child-Psychology-FilmsA poor family from a rural Bengal-village struggling for a better life but does kids really get affected by poverty? They seem to find happiness in the midst of the most simple and unexpected surroundings!

Directorial debut of Satyajit Ray, the first part of the acclaimed Apu Trilogy which deals with the innocence of a child’s mind and his attachment to his family!

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

+1. The Reflecting Skin (1990)

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

Children are often very possessive of people whom they look up to or admire, especially their elder brothers and sisters. And they also have a vivid imagination!

Directorial debut of Philip Ridley, this brilliantly shot movie is about a young boy who is convinced that the woman his brother loves is actually a vampire. It’s a dark thriller that perfectly captures the vulnerability of a young mind.

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