Arthouse

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.

Share with others ...

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.

Share with others ...

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.

Share with others ...

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.

Share with others ...

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.

Share with others ...

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.

Share with others ...

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.

Share with others ...

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.

Share with others ...

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.

Share with others ...

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.

Share with others ...

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.

Share with others ...

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.

Share with others ...

Still 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.

Share with others ...

Monday/ 2000/ Japanese

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: SABU
Why FiC recommends?
1) The film is mix of Yakuza thriller and black comedy, which is also the most rounded film by SABU (Blessing Bell, Hard Luck Hero, Postman Blues, Mr. Long), genius of Japanese mutant cinema.
2) At a funeral, the man in the coffin turns out to have an active pacemaker, which leads to very unpredictable and surreal results. A journey between busted journeys so crazy and surreal as to border on the dreamlike in which reality and fantasy meets. The scenes are of breath-taking visual beauty, well thought out and backed up with the appropriate music.

Share with others ...

Vakratunda Swaha / 2010 / Bengali

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Ashish Avikunthak
Why FiC recommends?
1) Ashish Avikunthak “Vakratunda Swaha” is without question one of the best short films i’ve seen. If you’re not a fan or audience of Avikunthak’s work then I’d probably recommend that you start with this short. 
2)  A must watch for the fans of Arthouse or Experimental films.

Share with others ...

Combat Shock / 1984 / English

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Buddy Giovinazzo
Setting: Suburban/Small-town

Why FiC recommends?
1) Buddy Giovinazzo’s Combat Shock, an unsettling cross between Abel Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant (1992) and David Lynch’s Eraserhead (1977) as far from the tone of your typical Troma movie in the offering. 
2)  It’s a must watch for fans of the genre, a lo-fi borderline horror film with a mutant baby that tops even the baby in Eraserhead for sheer creepiness.

Share with others ...

Cuadecuc, vampir / 1971 / English / Spanish

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Pere Portabella

Why FiC recommends?
1) Cuadecuc, Vampir feels a lot like an ancestor of E. Elias Merhige’s Begotten (1990), blurring the worlds of horror and the Avant-garde.

2) ‘Cuadecuc, vampir’ is one of the best documentaries I have ever seen. Not only does it show how ‘The Count Dracula’ by Jesús Franco was made, but it hypnotizes, like you have landed yourself on the set and forces you to take advantage of it. It is also one of the favourite films of Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin. 

Share with others ...

Pepperminta / 2009 / German

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Pipilotti Rist
Setting: Universe

Why FiC recommends?
1) A Surreal Adult Fairy Tale! Blends Pippi Longstocking with Daisies!
2) Pepperminta is like a cross between characters from films such as Poppy from Happy-Go-Lucky (Mike Liegh), Maries from Daisies (Vera Chytilová), Eunince from Butterfly Kiss (Michael Winterbottom), Amelie (Jean-Pierre Jeunet) and Honey Whitlock from Cecil B Demented (John Waters). It is beautiful, dark, bizarre, and dreamy film! My favorite place to be!

Share with others ...

Subconscious Cruelty /2000 / English

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Karim Hussain

Why FiC recommends?
1) Breath-taking from start to finish, creators Karim Hussain and Mitch Davis Arthouse Horror anthology ‘Subconscious Cruelty’ is an experience which, of course, will not be supported by many people, but which, and that was the goal, turns out to be honest, generous and of extreme quality.
2) Subconscious Cruelty” stomps its boot on the throat of representability, pushing the envelope of the New Extremism further than almost any other film, and opening a whole new can of worms when it comes to the uses and abuses of extreme content.

Share with others ...

Labyrinth of Dreams (Yume no ginga)/ 1997 / Japanese

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Sogo Ishii
Setting: Suburban/Small-town

Why FiC recommends?
1) The Labyrinth of Dreams is a very unusual film and a new phase in Sogo Ishii’s work, Inspired by a short story by Yumen Kyusaku , the experimental psychological-romantic/mystery as the title suggests, lulls you into a state similar to a paralyzing dream.

2) Deeply poignant film, depressing but beautiful!

Share with others ...

Scent of Green Papaya/1993/Vietnam

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Tran Anh Hung
Setting: Rural
Why FiC recommends?

1) An exuberant portrait of a tranquil Vietnam, The Scent of Green Papaya consolidates mundanity with ripening to unwrap the spiritual practice within the chores.
2) The unobtrusive idiosyncrasy while tracing the imperceptible bridge of love and spirituality is one of the most iconic traits of Tran Anh Hung, his artistic embellishments never clash with naturalism; thus the unhurried unfolding of romance bears a recurring wave of desire.

Share with others ...

Decoder/1984/Gemran

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Muscha

Why FiC recommends?
Muscha’s Decoder is sort of Zeitgeist of the Berlin 1980s counterculture, a criminally under-seen masterpiece of German weirdness, before the Internet and cyber warfare shot

2)  It should be considered required watching for anyone who love Shinya Tsukamoto’s classic cyberpunks, Sogo Ishii’s Electric Dragon 80.000 V and films such as They Live, Vortex (1982) and Liquid Sky. The film is battered in 80s industrial/electronica culture by intense soundtrack from the likes of Einsturzende Neubauten, Soft Cell, The The, and Psychic Tv.

Share with others ...

4:30/2005/ Mandarin

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Royston Tan
Setting: Urban

Why FiC recommends?
1) This is essential for those art films lovers and for the fans of Royston Tan it’s a much-watch.

2) 4:30 is an unexpectedly calm dreamlike film for its aesthetic that details the unlikely friendship / relationship between Zhang Xiao Wu, an eleven year old Chinese Boy, and his tenant Jung, a thirty-something Korean man.

Share with others ...

Moothon/2019/Malayalam

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Geetu Mohandas

Why FiC recommends?
Moothon (The Elder One) serves its social purpose in the Indian society and beyond like no other. 10 minutes into this movie you start worrying about the little kid in the film, and two hours later you realize it hasn’t let up one bit in intensity.

Share with others ...

Nadja (1994)

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Michael Almereyda

Why FiC recommends?
1) Produced by David Lynch

2) Think Guy Maddin, Jim Jarmusch, and Hal Hartley meets David Lynch- deadpan noir-ish ode to Vampire films shot in PixelVision with possible Lynchiest cameo ever as a Morgue Attendant. It also features songs from My Bloody Valentine, Portishead, The Verve on the soundtrack.

Share with others ...

Possible Worlds (2000)

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Robert Lepage

Why FiC recommends?
1) This one’s an example of ingenious film-making that inscribe brains over spectacle with some captivating and strong performances.

2) A must see for the artistic value to this unique Sci-fi that uses the visual narrative and some mind-bending cinematography.

Share with others ...