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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.

Youth (2015)

Youth review.

written by Souranath Banerjee

You say that emotions are overrated. But that’s bullshit. Emotions are all we’ve got.

My Ratings: 4.4/5.

Since the time I have seen a movie called The Great Beauty (2013), the name Paolo Sorrentino has become synonymous with extraordinary cinematic experience; I think he is the Fellini of our time.

Youth-poster2And recently, the eminent director’s next venture got revealed, Youth.

A highly anticipated film casting Michael CaineHarvey KeitelRachel WeiszPaul Dano and Jane Fonda among others. It was screened at the JIO MAMI 17th Mumbai Film Festival and indeed, the film lived up to its expectations and much more.

Nominated for the acclaimed Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, the film (as the name suggests) glorifies Youth and also, in a more subtle way manages to humor and honor Old age!

Set in the backdrop of an exotic hotel at the foot of the Alps, the story revolves around two friends Fred, the renowned composer and Mick, the famous film director (Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel), who are on a vacation, reminiscing and contemplating about the little details of their lives. 

Youth-posterTheir friendship is almost as old as they are; and moreover Fred’s daughter (Rachel Weisz) is married to Mick’s son. But instead of getting involved into the chaos and confusion of their children’s lives, they prefer to indulge in their past, precisely in the days of their youth.

Those wistful memories, the remembrance of many laughter and amusements, some unfinished arguments and a few age old secrets never to be unlocked.

Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be!

And then of course, with the arrival of the sensuous Miss Universe (Madalina Diana Ghenea), youth is envied and relived at the same time!

The film also boasts of Paul Dano playing a celebrated actor observing people for a particularly challenging future role, Rachel Weisz as the ‘daughter’ going through an emotional turmoil, a Youth-poster6brilliant short yet powerful appearance of Jane Fonda and interestingly enough, a tribute to the football legend Maradona played by Roly Serrano.

With a hint of surrealism, the film flows through various emotions, often spoken and mostly felt.

Soulful dialogues and haunting images, brilliantly orchestrated by the music of David Lang and a visual treat – thanks to Luca Bigazzi.

Though I personally liked The Great Beauty better than Youth but never the less, this is Cinema at its highest form!

Young or old, you must not miss Youth at any cost.

Poster courtesy: www.traileraddict.com

JIO MAMI – Day 1 and Day 2 (Cinema at it’s best)

JIO MAMI – Day 1 and Day 2.

written by Souranath Banerjee

JIO MAMI 17th Mumbai Film Festival, 200 films from over 35 countries – it’s happening right now, right here and it’s a heaven for film lovers.

Registrations and Bookings at in.bookmyshow.com

A brief description of the superb cinemas i have watched in the first two days of the festival, detailed review coming up soon.

 

Day 1 (30th OCT)

Youth (2015), my first film in MAMI and it’s an absolute work of brilliance.

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

youth-posterDirected by genius Paolo Sorrentino, the film is already competing for the prestigious Palme d’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival.

A film that makes the old become nostalgic of ‘youth’, a film about friendships and relationships, it’s about remembering them, respecting them and appreciating them.

Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel suits their roles so well and has such a great chemistry. Paul DanoJane Fonda and Rachel Weisz at their best.

Roly Serrano playing the part of Diego Maradona and also, you can’t miss the super hot Madalina Diana Ghenea as the Miss Universe.

 

Sunset Song (2015) was the second film of the day and it was such a contrast to the first one!

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

Though i must confess that this film was not my first choice for the Sunset-Song-posterafternoon, but since The Lobster show got cancelled/rescheduled I decided on this one.

And i won’t particularly say i regret my decision.

Directed by Terence Davies, it is a story of a girl (Agyness Deyn), the daughter of a farmer who wants to live her life to it’s fullest.

Though she makes a few tough choices and become successful in turning her life better, but the people and their circumstances keep changing and it’s a hard task to keep up with it.

Set in the early 1900, (before the WW1) in the vastness of the Scottish landscape, the film has brilliant sets and perfect costumes. And awesome camera work by Michael McDonough, most of the frames look like classical paintings of the era.

 

And the third one is one outstanding film Mountains May Depart (2015).

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzkKT2wzCXk

Mountains-may-depart-posterDirected by legendary Chinese director Zhangke Jia, a film also competing for the prestigious Palme d’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival.

Three primary characters and how their lives changes in three different time periods: 1999, 2014, and 2025.

The story has such powerful emotions flowing through the different time-periods, through the ages of time. And each character is unique in it’s own way.

Tao ZhaoYi ZhangJing Dong Liang and Zijian Dong – outstanding performance by all of them.

 

Day 2 (31st OCT)

Was ready to watch acclaimed director Amit Dutta‘s film Aadmi Ki Aurat Aur Anya Kahaniya (2009) but due to some problem with the nainsukh-posterprint Nainsukh (2010) was shown instead. Another film by the same director and it’s such a beautiful film!

A biography of an 18th-century master painter named Nainsukh from Himachal Pradesh.

The film is a visual treat, detailed to perfection. Hardly a few words spoken throughout the film but the impact of it is profound.

The film has been screened and appreciated in many festivals around the world including the 67th Venice film festival and regarded as a masterpiece of Indian modernism.

 

The second of the day was Placebo (2014), an intense hybrid of docu-drama, animation and fantasy!

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrdLPrZzjh8

placebo-poster

India’s toughest grad school, extreme academic pressure, vulnerable young minds and a tendency of self inflicted violence!

Director Abhay Kumar explores the mind space of the restless youth, their dreams, their expressions, their frustrations, and their madness.

A documentary that has managed to focus on a lot of unsaid and often ignored matters that actually affect the lives of our next generation. A very unique film and also probably the most important cinema in the festival.

 

And finally, the third one, the last but not the least of the day, a film called Krisha (2015).

Actually planned to watch Guy Maddin‘s The Forbidden Room, since i loved one of his earlier film My Winnipeg but somehow his latest work couldn’t hold my attention for long. It may be a great film but not my kind of film.

So, along with my new friend Zeena (who was also leaving the hall), krisha-posterwe went next door to watch Krisha, a film written and directed by Trey Edward Shults.

A Thanksgiving dinner party threatened to be ruined when Krisha (who is in her 60s) decides to join her beloved family members after a time gap of 10 years.

And it turned out to be a superbly dramatic film, and what a great performance by Krisha Fairchild!

The tapping music along with quick camera movements and very realistic acting makes this film a great watch.

 

My second day of MAMI ends with this film. Eagerly waiting for the next few days of uninterrupted cinema. Bring it on.

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