Arthouse

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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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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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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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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Thayi Saheba/1997/Kannada

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Girish Kasaravalli
Why FiC recommends?
1) A unique story where the protagonist expresses her motherhood by sacrificing it.
2) The film speaks of transitions of mindsets in a new born modern post-independence era of India.

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Kraurya/1995/Kannada

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Girish Kasaravalli
Why FiC recommends?
1) An old woman indulged in her orthodox routine with a knack for storytelling from a small village feels left out in an Urban atmoshphere.
2) Though the film title literally means ” Violence ” in English, it does not explicitly show any kind of brutality. All the violence is internal.

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Dweepa/2002/Kannada

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Girish Kasaravalli
Setting: Rural
Why FiC recommends?
1) Backed by a stunning performance by graceful Soundarya, the film effectively brings out the conflict between the faith and pragmatism.
2) The film is a powerful adaptation of Na Dsouza’s Novel by the same name.

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Ghatashraddha/1977/Kannada

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Girish Kasaravalli
Setting: Rural
Why FiC recommends?
1) Based on eminent Kannada writer U R Ananthmurthy’s Short Story by the same name, the film deals with the ostracism of a young woman who transgresses the sexual system of a conventional Brahminical life.
2) The film moves with a perspective of a young protagonist at his puberty under the mean clutches of a forced faith, exposed to self-doubt.

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Pratidwandi/1970/Bengali

Pratidwandi/1970/Bengali

FiC Rating 5/5
Dir: Satyajit Ray
Why Fic recommends?
1) Masterpiece by Master film maker who explores protagonist’s identity crisis amid his goal oriented siblings, meanwhile also holding a mirror to then Kolkata city that carried a title to be most advanced and educated society midst of its hidden grey area.
2) Unlike any other contemporary works Ray never hesitats to unveil the weaker side of the protagonist exploring his inner turmoil and conflict before settling and finding the conclusion.
3) This work of art is the clear example showcasing Ray’s ahead of time approach and style in filmmaking.

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Antiporno/2016/Japan

FiC Rating 5/5
Dir: Sion Sono
Why FiC Recommends?
1) As a film that delves into the realm of kinks and fetishes emblematic to it’s assertive title, Antiporno is sexually provocative but a feeding frenzy of chaos that paints a nauseating portrait of exploitation of women at it’s core.
2) Nikkatsu Studio offered Sono to direct a film in the reboot of Roman Porno series which had quite a prolific run in the 70s and 80s and here is Sono charging his project with rage and anguish and presenting a scathing critique of the entire project in the impression of a sexual exploitation flick.
3) Antiporno is as much a howl of a director being disgusted with sexploitation flicks as it is an arresting visual essay about women’s liberty and fake perception of their freedom, Sono deconstructs cinema as a voyeuristic medium.

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Pather Panchali/1955/Bengali

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Satyajit Ray Setting: Rural
Why FiC recommends?
1) A unique Indian footstep on the world of Cinema, subtly documenting common and raw human intricacies.
2) It brings out a family with adorable characters and how the young protagonist Apu’s sense of life evolves over a period of time.

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Mr. Freedom (1968)

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: William Klein
Why FiC recommends?
1) The American in Paris William Klein has made many films in his lifetime, but none of them have the unique, distinctive edge of “Mr. Freedom” a brilliant satire that is relevant to this day. His arthouse satire on American chauvinism portrays the arrival of an eponymous superhero (John Abbey) in France who is assigned to destroy the enemies of US imperialism.
2) It’s hilarious of course because of the characters and the deliberately over the top absurd dialogues, but in the back of your mind you know that it’s not the characters that you are laughing with but the megalomaniacal stupidity. And there’s a lot of human stupidity in this film. Watch it, have fun, but above all think. William Klein manages with a lot of wit and humor to warn the viewer about what happens if you give a fascist a free hand.

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Tous les dieux du ciel (All the Gods in the Sky) /2018/ French

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Quarxx
Why FiC recommends?
1) Visually the film is one of the most stunning in recent memory, we are seized from these first moments by its aesthetic which evokes the scenes close to that of David Lynch films, the cinematography of Antoine Carpentier is simply sublime. The idea of insidious contamination of body and mind is at the heart of the film.
2) If you like horror films to be clear and unambiguous, you won’t have much fun here, as ” All the Gods in the Sky ” reveals a different result to almost every viewer. This French gem fits many genres into one film, and it pays off in the end.

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Copacabana Mon Amour (1970) / Portuguese

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Rogério Sganzerla
Why FiC recommends?
1) One of the angriest movies I’ve seen. A rage-filled journey shot in CinemaScope, largely in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, it was not released commercially due to censorship. The film is one of the most radical experiments in Brazilian cinema also a milestone of the Cinema Marginal movement which was against the Cinema Novo movement.
2) A gem of Subversive cinema which plays out like a serio-comic experiment in Gonzo moviemaking. A must watch for the fans of New German Cinema movement, Art Theatre Guild (ATG) , Panic Movement and French underground film movement.

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Boli li? Prvata balkanska dogma (Does it hurt? -The First Balkan Dogma) / Macedonian/ 2007

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Aneta Lesnikovska
Why FiC recommends?
1) “Does It Hurt? The First Balkan Dogma” builds a compelling story of both courage and deceit. The experimentation offers a special ‘look’ that does not leave you indifferent and that can provoke interesting debates and reflections.
2) The film was made in response to the 10th anniversary of the foundation of the Dogma manifesto. The film specifically highlights two things: In Macedonia, while arranging the idea of a dogme movie with fake situation which towards the end turns into a real film. The second issue is the secret filming with a mockumentary tone, where she captures the attention of the viewer through the use of both footage from the actual events involved and detailed re-creations with adding her narrative.

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The Constant Factor (1980) Polish

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Krzysztof Zanussi
Why FiC recommends?
1) The story follows Witold (Tadeusz Bradecki) a young man who dreams of climbing the Himalayas, although his father, a climber, died in the mountains. The way the story builds, from innocence to sin & then an almost surreal sequence toward the end of the movie, is intriguing to watch.
2) A bitter portrait, a reflection on art and life with one of the powerful ending. Directed by a unique filmmaker whose name is not well known in the world cinema.

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Book of Days (1989)

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Meredith Monk
Why FiC recommends?
1) At first glance, it seems like any other experimental drama with medieval theatrics, but it is more than just that. Meredith Monk masterfully directs a flawless combination medieval musical along with a contemporary music theatre with a pseudo-documentary feel about the joy and suffering of human nature.
2) The film draws parallels between the Middle Ages, a time of war, plague, and fear of the Apocalypse. This is an astonishing fiction-within-fiction visual play that ingeniously implicates the viewer supported with highest moral and artistic integrity.

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O lacrima de fata (A Girl’s Tears) Romanian/ 1980

FiC Rating 4/5
Dir: Iosif Demian
Why FiC Recommends?
1) Directed by Iosif Demian, it is one of most original Romanian films made during communism. It served as a major inspiration for the Romanian New Wave, also it was screened in the Un Certain Regard section of the 1982 Cannes Film Festival.
2) The picture is shot in the style of cinema verite combining fiction and non-fictional elements. The film was based on actual events which adds a bit to the movie’s subversiveness and 90% of the actors were locals who gave the maximum truth to them.

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Charulata/1964/Bengali

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Satyajit Ray
Why FiC recommends?
1) It is a delicate tale of marriage complacency which primarily deals with the loneliness and the umpteen desires of a rich housewife, Charulata.
2) It is based on Rabindranath Tagore’s Novel, Nastanirh. It is one of the rare pieces of cinema which tries to explore the ‘female
-gaze’ on the society independently.

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Mahanagar (The Big City)/1963/Bengali

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Satyajit Ray
Setting: Urban
Why FiC recommends?
1) Director Satyajit Ray, explores how a changing Calcutta of the mid 1950s imposes itself upon the comfortable routines of an orthodox family.
2) This humanist film is backed by an extremely adorable yet bold performance by Madhabi Mukherjee.

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When The Tenth Month Comes/1984/Vietnam

When The Tenth Month Comes/1984/Vietnam

FiC Rating 5/5
Dir: Dang Nhat Minh
Why FiC Recommends?
1) The trauma of Vietnam War on an individual level mingles with the intimate Vietnamese way of life in Dang Nhat Minh’s sublime drama on human condition. Even though the war sets it in motion, not a single bullet is fired in When The Tenth Month Comes, it rids itself off of delineating the historical event and puts light on the perseverance and fortitude of a woman.
2) the unseen brutality, the unheard cries, the intangible tears of the fallen makes it agonizingly difficult and engrossing simultaneously.
3) If the pacifist spirit is the most elevating element in the film, the central character development and the ambiance of rural lifestyle is undoubtedly it’s most captivating aspect.

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Hadduta misrija (An Egyptian Story) / 1982 / Arabic

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Youssef Chahine
Why FiC recommends?
1) I finished Youssef Chahine’s Alexandria Trilogy ALEXANDRIA…WHY? (1979), AN EGYPTIAN STORY (1982), ALEXANDRIA, AGAIN AND FOREVER (1989). My favourite is the Egyptian Story, a cornucopia of motifs, a self-therapeutic experimental arrangement, a pioneering cinematic primus.
2) Chahine had a unique style as he was as influenced by classic Hollywood and Italian Neo-Realism and didn’t follow the 3rd world template to appeal or catnip the festival audience. The theme about finding happiness outside of society’s constraints blended with postmodern styles almost Felliniesque at times. The kind of film most people don’t have the attention span for anymore and that’s a shame. If you’re familiar with Youssef Chahine ‘s work, and appreciate it, it’s a must see.

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Cockfighter (1974)

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Monte Hellman
Setting: Rural
Why FiC recommends?
1) Most undeservedly obscure movies of the 70’s, certainly the most authentic and graphic depiction of the practice in America. With profuse use of the voiceover, intimately tells a simple story that confronts the male protagonist with his desires and fantasies that lead him to desperate search for victory (and how lonely he is! How great his despair! And how terribly far all salvation!).
2) The film contains some of the most realistic depiction of American masculinity and exultation in violence. There is even a pseudo-documentary atmosphere that anticipates something similar, especially in cockfights, which were so realistic that the film was banned by censors from countries like England – even though Hellman apparently refused to shoot the most violent scenes.

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Abigail Harm (2012)

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Lee Isaac Chung
Setting: Town
Why FiC recommends?
1) It will be easy to compare the atmosphere to a Terrence Mallick film with a closed apartment hidden in the seams of the narrative collar of the film. Because the filmmaker goes beyond his illusory tributes. Abigail Harm is a character work imbued with the style of its director. It is a complex work that still hides many mysteries. As for Amanda Plummer’s performance, she is above and beyond any description and she embroiders Abigial’ multiple moods with ease.
2) This is my favourite Plummer film followed by Michael Winterbottom’s Butterfly Kiss. The excellence is also evident through the film’s characters. The three most significant roles, Amanda Plummer (Abigail Harm), Will Patton (Visitor / Narrator), and Tetsuo Kuramochi (Companion) have deeply complex character sheets. Not necessarily on the surface, as no direct background is given, but their actions say all the more. To say too much here can be destructive, which of course I do not want.

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Manji 卍 / 1983 / Japanese 

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Hiroto Yokoyama
Why FiC recommends?
1)  Passion and emotional turmoil are served up raw in this Viscerally EROTIC, CYNICAL & COLD film. Patient viewers will be rewarded with an all-out experience during the film’s finale.
2) Certainly, I think the film was of the kind of kind, where you are drawn into the world of passionate passion and love, which develops in a totally unpredictable direction and becomes catastrophically destructive to the relationship.

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Historias extraordinarias (Extraordinary Stories) / 2008 / Spanish

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Mariano Llinás
Why FiC recommends?
1) It is a secular film, neither choral nor Manichean. Ordinary characters, almost all of them, in extraordinary situations that sometimes lead them to behave in ways, even violent, in contradiction with their principles. Frequently felt in the narrative lane of SABU, Aki Kaurasmaki, Takahisa Zeze with the constant narration and mild dry humor with Kafkaesque letter names, who solve one mystery only to see another open before their eyes.
2) The film offers the spectator a multiplicity of glances around the same event, the problems suffered by the protagonists, which triggers interesting consequences. It is divided into 18 chapters, with novel titles.

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A Thousand and One Hands (Les mille et une mains) / 1973 / French

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Souheil Ben-Barka
Why FiC recommends?
1)  The story in Souheil Ben-Barka’s debut is all knitted around an insane old man who goes from a Kafkaesque absurdity to the next social humiliation. It is absurd, but it is only the beginning of the almost surreal, but unfortunately all too realistic questioning the cultural hybridity.
2)  I’d recommend this for fans of Souleymane Cisse’s Baara, Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s Gabbeh, Yimou Zhang’s Ju DOU, Carlos Mayolo and Luis Ospina’s The Vampires of Poverty.

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Sill Life/2006/China

FiC Rating 5/5
Dir: Jia Zhangke
Why FiC Recommends?
1) Still Life is an intimate rumination about existential malaise, a poignant illustration of personal distress and widespread anxiety and also an arduous quest against the tide of time.
2) The prestigious Golden Lion Winner epitomizes China’s shift from socialism to state capitalism while retaining the state’s sovereignty over decision making.
3) The intense alienation amidst a rapid transmuting topography of China is another leitmotif in Zhangke’s works, identically the touching depiction of urban alienation is a notable aspect in Still Life that keeps one at the edge of a nervous breakdown.

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