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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

Best-Of-World-Cinema-2017

“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

Best-Of-World-Cinema-2017

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

Best-Of-World-Cinema-2017

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

Best-Of-World-Cinema-2017

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

Best-Of-World-Cinema-2017

‘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

Best-Of-World-Cinema-2017

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

Best-Of-World-Cinema-2017

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.

The Florida Project – Best Of 19th Mumbai Film Festival 2017!

The Florida Project (2017)

written by Souranath Banerjee

The Florida Project Review: You know a film is unique when it makes you sit up and look at your surroundings and rediscover the people around you!

My Ratings: 4.4/5

To depict realism through the art of Cinema and that too portraying the ordinary lives of the common people without a hint of any dull or preachy moments is always a tough job; only a few rare movies have achieved this special feat with such perfection as The Florida Project!

A series of low-priced hotels lined up just on the outskirts of the prime attraction of Florida – the Disney World. And the movie concentrates on the people living in these hotels, no not the tourists looking for cheap accommodations but the working class who have managed to turn these inexpensive rooms into their permanent home!

The-Florida-ProjectHome for those families who are on the edge of the social ladder desperate to make their ends meet, keep their jobs, pay their rents and have fun once in a while like everyone else!

Set over the duration of one summer, acclaimed director Sean Baker (of Tangerine fame) manages to knit a beautiful story around a group of children who stay in one of such hotels called the ‘The Magic Castle motel’. These kids are hilariously wacky, mischievous and street-smart, so full of life and yet very much aware of its harsh realities.

Among these kids the film concentrates on one particular young girl Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) and her mother Halley (Bria Vinaite) and narrates such an engaging humane tale of compassion, friendship, desperation and most importantly the desire to survive The-Florida-Projectthrough all odds!

And then there is the hotel manager Bobby (Willem Dafoe) who though trying his best to be strict and professional finds it difficult to effectively detach himself from his tenants and their complicated life stories.

Colorful tones through out the movie, well captured by cinematographer Alexis Zabe.

Absolutely outstanding acting displays, especially by the kids Brooklynn PrinceValeria Cotto and Christopher Rivera – personally I don’t remember when the last time I have seen such natural performances by children!

And then fixing on debutant Bria Vinaite for the mother’s role is probably the best casting choice of this decade, she is incredible! Even Mela Murder The-Florida-Project(her debut film) and Karren Karagulian (a long time collaborator with Sean Baker films) played their parts to perfection.

But the best part of The Florida Project is that the film neither tries to victimize nor romanticize the characters or their situations. It’s too tempting for such movies to take the sympathetic route or become unnecessarily idealistic, but here lies the brilliance of Sean Baker – he maintained a perfect balance and portrayed the reality in its purest form possible!

The Florida Project is charming as well as heartbreaking, a fun-film and yet a highly emotional experience. Overall an absolute gem, and a must watch!    

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

Best of 2015 you may have missed! (10+1list)

Best of 2015 you may have missed!

written by Souranath Banerjee

Best of 2015 you may have missed: 2015 has given us an incredible variety of Cinema from around the world.

The LobsterYouthTangerine and Taxi Tehran are probably some of the most popular films of last year that you have seen for sure, but this particular list contains some of the best cinema from around the world that you may have missed (or not).

Brilliant story telling, breathtaking cinematography, superlative performances, soulful music,  – cinemas made by some of the best film makers from around the world!

A list of some of the Best of World cinema 2015 that you may have missed – let the fun begin!

10. Cemetery of Splendor

Rak ti Khon Kaen (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ohB_Y3z_Gk

cemetery-of-splendor-posterA mystical and spiritual movie which revolves around a group of soldiers in a small town with some strange sleeping illness which makes them sleep almost all the time!

Directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul this Thai film is a slow burner, dreamy and magical, almost meditative at times but so beautifully shot and executed. Needs patience but totally worth your time.

9. Mustang

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABNB3zw5BAo

mustang-posterThis Turkish film is about five orphan girls and how their lives get changed dramatically when found playing some innocent games with some boys from their school.

Directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven, the film portrays the the rural mentality, and how the society has this general tendency to suppress the freedom and independence of women. 

8. Aferim!

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wMj2VwSHx8

aferim-poster19th century Romania! A policeman and his son are in pursuit of a Gypsy slave who is on the run after having an affair with his wealthy master’s wife.

An easy flowing story, shot beautifully in black and white and with intricate details on costumes and production design.

Directed by Radu Jude, one of the most unique ‘western‘ ever!

7. The Club

El Club (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8c2DYoF7lA

the-club-posterA brutal film that takes on the controversial subject of how the Catholic Church deals with their worst offenders – that is by secluding them in a house at some rural desolate area.

This is a film from Chile (language Spanish) that is dark and grisly, slow paced and arty, and yet so very dramatic and honestly portrayed.  

Directed by Pablo Larraín, a gripping tale that needed to be told.

6. The Second Mother

Que Horas Ela Volta? (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOrbWcObwR4

the-second-mother-posterThis Brazilian film (language Portuguese) is based on a woman, a live-in housekeeper/maid who has almost become the part of the family but of course knows her limits. But then the master-servant class barriers get blurred when her young daughter comes to stay for a few days.

Directed by Anna Muylaert, a brilliant portrayal of human emotions and sensitivities.  

5. The Assassin

Nie yin niang (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKFtNsQ78oI

the-assassin-poster1

Set in 7th century China, as the name suggests, it’s the story of a female assassin whose conscience comes in-between her ruthless missions.

From the acclaimed Chinese director Hsiao-Hsien Hou who won the ‘best director’ at the Cannes Film Festival for this film!

Brilliantly shot by Ping Bin Lee, this film is a visual treat for all cinema lovers.

4. Our Little Sister

Umimachi Diary (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtTeSQFce2A

our-little-sister-posterThe old house of their grandma is the home for the three sisters who live independently without the guidance of their parents.

But after the death of their father they unexpectedly meet their half-sister and invite her to their place.

Directed by Hirokazu Koreeda, this Japanese film is so full of love and innocence and beauty!

3. Dheepan

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0N-8G4V-AjM

dheepan-poster1French film that narrates the story of a Sri Lankan Tamil warrior ‘Dheepan’ and his forged family (wife and a kid), as they flee to France in search of a new life. 

The film won the prestigious Palm d’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival this year, a true gem directed by one of my favourite French director Jacques Audiard.

2. Victoria

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kp8wcV3GjW0

victoria-posterThis German film is a unique crime thriller centred on a young Spanish woman who has recently moved to Berlin, her involvement with some local guys which soon takes some pretty unexpected turns.

Directed by Sebastian Schipper, with brilliantly orchestrated long takes (thanks to Sturla Brandth Grøvlen) and amazing performances this film is one of the best that 2015 could offer.

  1. Son of Saul

Saul fia (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wj9H3Ot9T1E

son-of-saul-poster1Directed by László Nemes this Hungarian film won the Oscar, won the Golden Globes, won the FIPRESCI Prize at Cannes Film Festival and was also nominated for Palme d’Or!

(Click for review)

A Holocaust drama that have achieved something unique in its depiction of that dreadful era – it almost recreated reality!

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

+1. Embrace of the Serpent

El abrazo de la serpiente (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uymNkBuR-SY

embrace-of-the-serpent-posterA Spanish adventure drama that won the Art Cinema Award in the Directors’ Fortnight section at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.

Directed by Ciro Guerra, this one is a biographical account of Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman who teams up with two scientists, firstly with German Theodor Koch-Grunberg in 1909 and American Richard Evans Schultes in 1940, in search of a mythical rare plant called ‘yakruna’.

Beautifully shot in black and white, inspired by the travel journals of both the scientists mentioned above, it is the first ever film to get an Oscar nomination (Best Foreign Language Film) for Columbia!

A few other films released in 2015 also very much worth your time: Mountains May DepartSweet BeanThe Other SideMia Madre,  A WarRight Now, Wrong ThenArabian Nights: Volume 1, 2 and 3.

Similar Interest: Best of 2017 you may have missed

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com

2016 Oscar Predictions: Best Picture

2016 Oscar Predictions: Best Picture

written by Souranath Banerjee

On Sunday, February 28th, it’s that time of the year when they give away those awards!

Yes, on this day, the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences will hand over the most prestigious awards of the entertainment world – the Academy Awards or the Oscars.

On the basis of the ‘preferential voting’ system (democratic and unbiased), all the nominees are chosen each year for the various award categories and then they simply wait, hope and pray to win!

This year Chris Rock will be hosting the award ceremony on ABC.

In total 305 feature films are competing for Best Picture nominations. Though the final and official seven/eight nominated ones will be announced on Thursday, January 14th, it’s always fun to guess, predict and anticipate a little before hand.

So let the predictions for the ‘Best Picture’ category begin!

10. Beasts of No Nation (Netflix)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xb9Ty-1frw

beasts-of-no-nation1An African country at war, where violence is routine and murder is the law.

Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, this is the story of a kid who is forced to join a group of soldiers and take up the gun to fight and kill people.

A raw and deadly film that shows the emotional turmoil of a child soldier. And surely a favorite in the Oscar race.

9. Carol (The Weinstein Company)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4z7Px68ywk

carol-poster1The combination of New York in 1950s and Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, and a perfect love story.

Full of emotions and breathtaking visuals, superb music and brilliant acting – the film is a complete package of aw

Directed by Todd Haynes, this one is a favorite of mine as well as the Oscar nominees. 

8. Youth (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-T7CM4di_0c

Youth-poster2Michael CaineHarvey KeitelRachel Weisz and director Paolo Sorrentino cooks up one of the best mouthwatering cinema of this year.

(click for the review)

A film that reflects on the youth and relishes the old age with the same intensity. It deals with friendship, love, marriage, lust, professions, emotions and above all emotions. I bet my

7. The Hateful Eight (The Weinstein Company)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnRbXn4-Yis

hateful-eight-posterQuentin Tarantino is back with his 8th film and along with Samuel L. JacksonKurt RussellJennifer Jason Leigh and Tim Roth among others this one gets as gritty and violent as you can expect it to be.

Powerful performances with awesome visuals and a superbly entertaining story line.

An Oscar favorite because ‘No one comes up here without a damn good reason’. 

6. Brooklyn (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15syDwC000k

brooklyn-poster11950s Brooklyn as the backdrop, the film is about an Irish immigrant’s life, her love story and her past, and the choices she makes.

Directed by John Crowley, and outstanding performance by Saoirse Ronan, this is a film that breadths perfection.

My personal favorite and I wish it all the luck for the tough Oscar chart ahead.

5. Mad Max: Fury Road (Warner Brothers)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEJnMQG9ev8

mad-max-poster5In the year 1979 Mad Max was established – a drifter, a loner and of course mad as hell. And this is the latest addition to the popular franchise.

(Click for the review)

Powerful, dramatic and full of energy, directed by George Miller, this is undoubtedly the best action flick of 2015 and a leader in the Oscar race for the ‘Best Picture’. 

4. The Revenant (20th Century Fox)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoebZZ8K5N0

revenant-posterDirected by Alejandro González Iñárritu (whose film Birdman won the ‘best director’, ‘best picture’ and ‘best screenplay’ awards last year), has come up with this brilliant tale of an explorer Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio).

A fur trading expedition in the 1820s; inspired by true events this is an epic adventure, a quest for survival and also a sure favorite in this year’s Oscar.

3. The Big Short (Paramount Pictures)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDlYm15ztK4

big-short-posterWhen Christian BaleSteve CarellRyan Gosling and Brad Pitt come together – you know it’s worth it. 

Directed by Adam McKay, this is a biographical account of the time (mid 2000) when there was a financial crisis in the US, and four individuals decided to fight the greedy banks for their lack of foresight.

Looks like a pretty sure thing for the award ceremony. Watch out!

2. Room (A24 Films)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_Ci-pAL4eE

room-posterAdopted from Emma Donoghue‘s famous novel, this is one unique story of a five-year old boy who is told by his loving mother that their 10-by-10 foot ‘room’ is the only world that exists! 

Directed by Lenny Abrahamson, a brilliant film that surely is becoming people’s favorite and a likely contestant for the Oscar.

Brilliant performance by Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay

  1. Spotlight (Open Road Films)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwdCIpbTN5g

spotlight-poster1Probably the most significant cinema on ‘journalism’ made after the epic All the President’s Men (1976).

Directed by Tom McCarthy, this is one film that is considered certainly as the top favorite in this year’s Oscar game.

With Mark RuffaloMichael KeatonRachel McAdams and Liev Schreiber among others this is one safe film to put your money.

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most popular one).

+1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Disney)

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

star-wars-posterThe recently released ever popular addition to the Star Wars franchise and a sudden favorite for the Oscars.

Directed by J.J. Abrams, this film with it’s immense fan following has the potential to be a game changer in the race for this years ‘Best Picture’ Academy Awards.

By the way, this film has recreated the U.S. box office record beating James Cameron‘s Avatar!

And now the films though not included in my list but are certainly fair competition for the award: Straight Outta ComptonCreedTrumboSon of SaulBlack MassThe Danish GirlLove & MercyTangerineSicarioSteve JobsThe MartianBridge of Spies and Joy.

And finally – A Thank You to the movies of 2015.

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com.

Tangerine (2015)

Tangerine review.

written by Souranath Banerjee

Not all Christmas films are made for kids and have Santa Claus in them. 

My Ratings: 3.9/5.

Director Sean Baker‘s revolutionary low-budget feature Tangerine is currently taking the rounds of the various prestigious film festivals, and it rightly deserves both the curiosity and attraction of the film-lovers across the world. 

tangerine-posterTangerine, a film entirely shot on an Apple iPhone 5s, actually three of them; with clip-on anamorphic lenses, handheld Steadicam mounts, and the Filmic Pro app!

This makes the film one of a kind, a so called trendsetter!

But the real reason why Tangerine succeeds is because while watching, it never gives you the impression of a film shot with ‘iphone’. And on top of that, it has a fast paced storyline with quirky characters and pumped up music, enough to hold your attention throughout the 88 mins of its runtime.

Tangerine is a transgender drama (a revenge drama), revolving around two trans sex workers Sin-Dee and Alexandra (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor), whose friendship is being tested as they confront each other after enduring a trippy day full of odd yet exciting events.

tangerine-poster2And then there is Razmik (Karren Karagulian), a married Armenian taxi driver who is stuck in-between his family (wife, kid and a suspicious mother-in-law) and his weakness for sex with the transgender prostitutes.

With an overall comic touch, the film though set in West Hollywood showcases a completely deglamorized version of its surroundings; it concentrates on the tough neighborhoods, the street hookers and their shady pimps, the immoral family men – basically the reality of life.

Full of energy Tangerine is one of the most significant movie of this year, also nominated as the 14th best film of the year in ‘Sight and Sound’ magazine’s annual critics poll for 2015.

Don’t you miss it.

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