Film in Cards

Blue Velvet/1986/English

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: David Lynch
Why FiC recommends?
1) Eerie, but no horror; Bizarre, but not absurd; repulsive, but sticky; erotic, but no porn.
2) Blue velvet could serve as a classic start for the cine-buffs who want to explore David Lynch’s filmography. Elements of absurdity here is quite balanced, it’s not too much – not too less.

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Astu – So Be It/2013/Marathi

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Sumitra Bhave, Sunil Sukthankar
Why FiC recommends?
1) A poetic movie around a retired professor who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.
2) ‘Astu’, through its heart touching storyline, establishes an important aspect of the need of human (family) interaction for the elderly people.

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Shahid/2012/Hindi

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Hansal Mehta
Why FiC recommends?
1) Shahid is a biographical drama based on the life of Shahid Azmi, a lawyer and human rights activist who was behind the acquittals of several falsely implicated.
2) There is no over-dramatization anywhere in Shahid; even the courtroom scenes are very realistically shown.
3) With this film the director Hansal Mehta made a solid comeback to Bollywood.

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Jallikattu/2019/Malayalam

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Lijo Jose Pellissery
Why FiC recommends?
1) Jallikattu isn’t an unusual movie just for the sake of it. On the outset it may look like just another ambitious visual narration of a long-running political situation in few southern states of India. But Jallikattu is about many more things – animal politics, madness of masculinity, human monstrosity and more.
2) With each movie, Lijo Jose is just raising the expectations on his movies and Jallikattu is the latest addition to it.
3) Does that rouge buffalo on the run in this movie an allegory for the ‘system/society on the run’ in India? quite possible!

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The Great Hack/2019/English

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir:Karim Amer & Jehane Noujaim

Why FiC Recommends?
1)Documentary that presents the investigative jurnalism files related to Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
2)Slowly and steadily that brings up the idea of how vulnerable our identity is as you scroll over your social media posts.
3)How social media scrolls are consolidated into an algorithms & further used as an instrument to mediate & influence the mass.

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The Social Dilemma/2020/English

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir:Jeff Orlowski

Why FiC Recommends?
1)Documentary that speaks about the dark side of its usage unveiled by none other than the former employees of those social media giants.
2)The very idea of AI advent are always pictured with robots overtaking humankind or a war with an I robot but in reality its just as simple as you hovering over your social media wall.
3)Narration acompanied with a fictional drama makes it an interesting watch.

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A Summer at Grandpa’s/1984/Taiwanese

FiC Rating: 4.25/5
Dir: Hou Hsiao-Hsien

Why FiC Recommends?
1)Beautiful ode to nostalgia in association with time spent in Grand parent’s place, a country side town, a dip in the stream, country game with the local folks.
2)Coming of age drama that unravels the side of transition where the innocence slowly takes the shape of maturity and laying foundation for days to come.
3)It connects its viewers and stands very much relatable irrespective of cultural or geographical canvas.

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The Wild Pear Tree/2018/Turkish

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Why FiC Recommends?
1)Balad of self discovery and identifying ones worth as the journey goes on, father and son feud, urge to make a mark, identifying oneself in a societal dias, journey covers various layers of metamorphosis of a literature graduate who is trying to get his first book published.
2)Beautiful documentation of Turkish town that syncs well with the mood of the movie flow, point highlighted because Ceylan filmographs are also known for landscapes.
3)Its a delicate take on character’s conflict of choice who is valiant in surface meanwhile also representing Turkish unemployed mass.

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Inland Empire/2006/English

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: David Lynch
Why FiC recommends?
1) A three hours long psychotropic meditation, where you fail to comprehend it as a whole but you learn that something beautiful happening there which makes you stick to the screens
2) Like Mulholland Dr., there’s Hollywood here too (or I think it is about Hollywood) but there are other things which pop up here but God knows why! But all makes sense somehow, including those animals that talk in this film remain with you, like forever!
3)Is it the trippiest film by the director? Possibly ‘yes’!

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11 Flowers/2011/China

FiC Rating 4/5
Dir: Wang Xiaoshuai
Why FiC Recommends?
1) 11 Flowers is a delicate and intimate look at childhood during the tail end of Cultural Revolution. There’s oppression, murder mystery, Labor exploitation and so many examples of authoritarian sovereignty over individual rights but it is marinated in innocence and nostalgia, the context of Cultural Revolution is so faint that it’s relevance only comes to light once it trespasses into the children’s small world.
2) Xiaoshuai’s discourse without analyzing anything strolls through history as perceived by a child, the era of political persecution and misdeeds fails to weigh down the carefree and joyous spirit of childhood.
3) Just like the children Xiaoshuai filters out the disturbances and remains willfully ignorant about the topological shift that China was going through.

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Shanghai Dreams/2005/China

FiC Rating 3.5/5
Dir: Wang Xiaoshuai
Why FiC Recommends?
1) Enthusiastically chronicles individual struggle and defiance to fit in a collapsing universe during the Cultural Revolution at it’s peak and reckons with the collective hardships of his country.
2) Shanghai Dreams is a poignant and poetic musing over the hardships of the older generation to embrace a new reality forgetting their roots as well as the hardships of the younger generation whose dreams and ambitions get butchered by a crumbling social order.
3) The individual agonizing existence mingles with the country’s comprehensive grief.

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Mulholland Drive/2001/English

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: David Lynch
Why FiC recommends?
1) Hardcore David Lynch fans might not consider Mulholland Drive to be his best creation. But this film brought the special genre psycho-sexual surrealism to the mainstream.
2) The mysterious relationship between Rita and Betty adds on to the delight of witnessing seemingly unconnected and surreal chain of events.
3) Even though understanding Mulholland Drive in the first (first few?!) watch is almost impossible, an involved viewer can sense that the film as a whole is trying to address something around the self-indulgent pop culture that has creeped into (and spoiling?) the Hollywood system.

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After Life /1998/Japanese

FiC Rating 4/5
Dir: Hirokazu Koreeda

Why FiC recommends?

1) Its not a movie rather a meditation on a life.
2) Its an ode to Memories and nostalgia and a perfect filmakers movie but only to be set up in surreal scenario.
3) Though Koreeda explores the theme of after life never makes his viewers miss the realistic experience on screen as most of his character behave and act naturally which is very unusual in the movies that deal with similar subject.

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Shatranj Ke Khilari /1977/Hindi & Urdu

FiC Rating 5/5
Dir: Satyajit Ray

Why FiC recommends?

1) Ray’s first Hindi language movie that tells the story of two wealthy men immersed in the play of chess that they become numb and heedless about the happenning in their surrounding.
2) Undoubtedly a timeless classic for Ray’s formidable deftness for the pick of subject which remains relevant in any timeline its watched.
3) This film credits some big names in performance space like Sanjeev Kumar, Saeed Jaffrey, Shabana Azmi, Amjad Khan meets the right chord with the viewer.

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Aparajito/1956/Bengali

FiC Rating 5/5
Dir: Satyajit Ray

Why FiC recommends?

1) Second instalment from Ray’s Apu trilogy, this is the continuation of Apu’s saga from where Pather Panchali ends, rightly could be called as India’s best coming of age narrative.
2) The way it penetrates the psyche of an adolescent and slowly unsnarls the vulnerability, seek for stability and identity through the eyes of Apu is the journey to experience.
3) Undoubtedly one of the best work from the Master who is known for his prestigious adroitness in bringing ordinary life and people onscreen.
4) Music by Ravi Shankar

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Ganashatru/1989/Bengali

FiC Rating 5/5
Dir: Satyajit Ray

Why FiC recommends?

1) When Ray faced with harsh criticism for his work ‘Devi’ he answered the public outcry through Indian adaptation of “An Enemy of the People”
2) Brilliant in its depiction of the phrase “Religion is an opium of the people”
3) This piece of art paired up with some brilliant performance by Soumitra Chatterjee, Dhritiman Chatterjee and Mamata Shankar makes an exemplary watch.

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Nayak /1966/Bengali

FiC Rating 5/5
Dir: Satyajit Ray

Why FiC recommends?

1) One of the original screenplay written by Ray himself narrating the snippet from the life of a person who is an actor by profession.
2) Very effortlessley but delicately divulges the layer of an actor’s potrait till the point where everything is laid bare.
3) Uttam Kumar and Sharmila Tagore

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Im Keller (In the Basement) / 2014/ German

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Ulrich Seidl
Why FiC recommends?
1) IN THE BASEMENT, Ulrich Seidl goes downstairs and finds creepy dolls, Nazi man caves, cock and ball torture and gives viewers a tour of the private hobbies practiced. Seidl continues his studies on taboos, social boundaries, the human soul’s darkness and his beloved Austria.
2) Between taboo and philosophy, the story follows the different things people do in there basement. Under the basement, Im Keller is a documentary film eyeing on different experiences, but also symbolizes here in a threatening way.

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Sen no Rikyu: Honkakubô ibun (Death of a Tea Master) /1989/ Japanese

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Kei Kumai
Why FiC recommends?
1) A magnificent work of Japanese cinematic art starring Mifune Toshiro. It tells the story of what led to the death of Sen no Rikyu, the influential sixteenth-century tea master who served the warlord Hideyoshi. Drawn from the pages of Japanese history! In Kei Kumai’s vision on this subject, a tension can be established between the physical and the spiritual, between the shadow of the forces and the perspective and the acquisition of wisdom when compared to Hiroshi Teshigahara’s Rikyu which leaned more on the political and social context while Death of a Tea Master focused on the philosophy.
2) One of the best films ever made in Japan. One of the greatest productions in world cinema with moderate budget and it captures the very essence of its title, thoroughly justifying it, etches out characters. And this is why the ending plays as the perfect emotional pay-off for a film so full of frustrating inhibitions, a light of hope after an eternity spent.

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Wrony (Crows) / 1994/ Polish

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Dorota Kedzierzawska
Why FiC recommends?
1) The story of a lonely 9-year-old girl who kidnaps a much younger girl for a day and treat her as if it were her own child. The film unfolds as the camera follows the 2 characters and the director examines Wrony’s childhood feelings of loneliness or rejection–and the explorations that all of humans are subject to.
2) It’s a charming film, despite the dark nature of the story telling. What I found was probably the one of most intelligent coming-of-age films I’ve seen with minimalistic approach.

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Ôkoku (The Kingdom) /1973/ Japanese

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Kanai Katsu
Why FiC recommends?
1) This is a Bizarre film that plays with theme of time which serves as the main beams for the exploration of Goku, the poet protagonist of Kanai’s THE KINGDOM who wages war against Chronos, the god of time – against a notion of time as linear, measured, and irreversible.
2) Visually creative (and very beautiful) when it serves the progress of the suggestions contained in the film, it is a film of multiple moments without any of them being detached from the single form or purpose. A must for Experimental and surreal cinephiles.

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Cantando dietro i paraventi (Singing Behind Screens) / Italy / 2003

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Ermanno Olmi
Why FiC recommends?
1) Arthouse adaptation of “The Widow Ching, Lady Pirate” by Jorge Luis Borges (24 Aug 1899-14 June 1986) that blends Peter Greenaway and Yimou Zhang. This Chinese folktale partially plays out in a brothel and captures the journey of Chinese piratess Ching who is regarded as the most feared corsair of the Chinese coast until a fateful battle with the new emperor.
2) The film displays superb cinematography that, even years later, still stand as great wonders. The 18th century is reconstructed on the coasts of Montenegro and it is a work of ingenious craftsmanship that packs in a whole lot of visual splendour. Artistic Triumph by Master Ermanno Olmi.. Watch it to believe it

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Gangs of Wasseypur/2012/Hindi

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Anurag Kashyap
Why FiC recommends?
(note: This FiC comment is on the world release of the film which combined both Part 1 & 2 with a total runtime of 5hr 21min)
1) This epic crime saga running across over seven decades and three generations is one of its kind in many ways. Although many filmbuffs tend to call it as Indian version of ‘Godfather’, it is more than that; even though crime sits at the center of the story there is abundance of reinvented sense of humor, satire, daring political comments and refreshing and well suited music throughout the length.
2) When the film ends it fills in a weird feeling of emptiness; by then you would understand ‘betrayal follows crime and both are part of a vicious cycle’
3) It also paved way to lot of super-talented actors towards Indian cinema circuit (just have a look at the cast!)

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Dev.D/2009/Hindi

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Anurag Kashyap
Why FiC recommends?
1) DevD can be considered as one of the major spotlights in contemporary Indian cinema. When regular Bollywood films were becoming too filmsy and parallel waves were not even trying to reach to masses, DevD came.
2) Dev (performed by Abhay Deol) is not a typical Bollywood hero with all God like qualities; he is just as confused as most of us are, but with a difference – he is weirdly expressive, self-destructive and a drug addict without guilt.
3) The triangular (love?) story of Dev-Paro-Leni is a difficult yet delightful watch.
4) Amit Trivedi deserves a special mention for his brilliant music composition that gels so well with the flow of the story and covers so many genres including rock and jazz.

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The Third Murder/2017/Japanese

FiC Rating 4/5
Dir: Hirokazu Koreeda

Why FiC recommends?

1) This court room drama presents the slice of game about truth and perception.
2) The Third Murder is totally in different spectrum in comparision to Koreeda’s regular family drama.
3) the way Shigemori gets consumed by the case equally absorbs its viewers into its athematic tangle.

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After the Storm/2016/Japanese

FiC Rating 4.5/5
Dir: Hirokazu Koreeda

Why FiC recommends?

1) “Simplicity” is the one word review for this movie
2) Its a soft, breezy story of the character and his perseverance that has lost its tenacity and the way world around him has started to look at his deeds.
3) “Are you who you wanted to be?” – “I am not who I wanted to be YET” – After the Storm

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Still Walking/2008/Japanese

FiC Rating 5/5
Dir: Hirokazu Koreeda

Why FiC recommends?

1) Memories are indeed the most heaviest, this movie is all about that and the way every characters sway with those past memory in present.
2) A proper definition of ‘Slice of Life’, entire movie unveils as the family reminiscent the long lost son as everyone gather and speak, eat and play together.
3) One could connect with those characters irrespective of cultural differene, we have seen similar characters in our life, certain behavioural trait or the reaction are universal.

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The House That Jack Built/2018/English

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Lars von Trier
Why FiC recommends?
1) Polarizing views on Lars Von Trier films isn’t something new; this film isn’t an exception too. Most of his films have revolved around human psych and here the protagonist is a homicide.
2) The house that jack builds (I just avoided a spoiler here!) is very symbolic, in fact the whole movie symbolic and feels like a mirror to the undiscovered inner human psych which is so difficult to accept.
3) The portrayal of ‘hell’ in the final chapter is dreamlike and gives a lot of room for the audience to ponder upon, which simply is a big win.

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Our Little Sister/2015/Japanese

FiC Rating 5/5
Dir: Hirokazu Koreeda

Why Fic recommends?
1) A tale of acceptance and welcoming that beautifully brings varied characters on its canvas reflecting a thorough character study.
2) Koreeda is the master in bringing up intricate nostaligic references in the narration, this piece of work is rich in similar references.

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Shoplifters/2018/Japanese

FiC Rating 5/5
Dir: Hirokazu Koreeda

Why Fic recommends?
1) Powerful story that unveils the immanent power of bond, love and relationship.
2) Movie that depicts the beauty in imperfection, incompleteness and vulnerability in the dysfunctional family which has a dark but not so important truth wthin only untile they fall into the radar of society.
3) Top notch peformance by every cast members uplifts the viewing experience.

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I Wish/2011/Japanese

FiC Rating 4/5
Dir: Hirokazu Koreeda

Why Fic recommends?
1) Unsnarling the world of children Koreeda here explores the innocence and modesty of children in which he has become the master with each of his works.
2) Story that builds its pillar upon the foundation of belief and innocence slowly also touches the innate urge of children to live with family happily.
3) As always child artists in Koreeda’s movie are very natural and effortless with their performance here too.

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Like Father, Like Son/2013/Japanese

FiC Rating 5/5
Dir: Hirokazu Koreeda

Why Fic recommends?
1) Is there something like ‘Good Parenting’ or ‘Bad Parenting’ or is it just a perspective ?
2) Beautiful story that raises questions and decision between valuing moral conflicts and hereditary lineage.
3) Delicate story on how parental figures imapact over child’s personality and behavioural carving meanwhile also sensitively depicting Japan’s competitive upbringing.

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