Crime

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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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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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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Dogville/2003/English

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Lars von Trier
Why FiC recommends?
1) Dogville is ‘one of its kind’ cinema achievement in terms of making and storytelling technique. The whole film happens on a stage-like minimal setup. This intriguing crime revenge tragedy is told in 9 chapters and a prologue
2) In an interview the director Lars Von Trier said about the film “evil can arise anywhere, as long as the situation is right”. A film to be watched studied and remembered.

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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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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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Bhonsle/2018/Hindi,Marathi

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Devashish Makhija

Why FiC recommends?
1) After spine chilling debut ‘Ajji’, Mr.Makhija’s 2nd feature also follows thematically the same path to bring out the filth in the society.
2) The central plot is around the never ending ‘insider-outsider’ conflict that Mumbai has been bearing since decades. Manoj Bajpayee who is also the co-producer of the film, gives yet another stellar performance on screen.
3) This slow paced film uses only four major characters (a retired cop, a local wannabe politician, a nurse and her younger brother) but leaves behind a long lasting impression because of director’s uncompromising style of storytelling.

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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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Honeygiver Among The Dogs/2016/Bhutan

FiC Rating 3.5/5
Dir: Dechen Roder
Why FiC Recommends?
1) Honeygiver Among The Dogs embraces the most obvious genre tropes of a film noir but ends up welding a surprising new layer of spirituality into it, the roots of which are deep seated in the Buddhist mysticism.
2) This visually arresting debut is fueled by corruption and authoritarian moral turpitude but a Zen like poise is written all over it that stems out of Bhutan’s mythical sensibilities
3) The jaw dropping cinematography with a strikingly gorgeous visual palette resonates with the lavish landscape tableaux of ‘The Land of Happiness’.

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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.

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Jigureul jikyeora!(Save the Green Planet!) /2003/

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Joon Hwan Jang

Why FiC recommends?
1) A very original genre hoping Experimental Sci-fi, Black comedy which slowly dissolves into chilling Horror. Bizarre and captivating, completely defies any genre. Highly underrated when compared films of Bong joon ho,Park Chan-wook and Im Sang-soo.
2) This is a film that invites numerous interpretations, as all great art does – however, this film is also very entertaining, making it a rare film experience.

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Wir Monster/ 2015 / German

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Sebastian Ko
Why FiC recommends?
1) This near perfect script has been dealt with utmost care to seal off all loopholes the human mind could ever conjure up which cleverly balanced between plot and psychology, contrary to the nonchalant treatments that grace thrillers these days.
2) I strongly recommend this film, especially to the thriller genre lovers.

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Playing The Victim (Izobrazhaya zhertvu) / 2006 / Russian

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Kirill Serebrennikov
Setting: Suburban/Small-town

Why FiC recommends?
1) This is a truly unique movie, tragic, ironic, and hilarious, a noir remake of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The story delves into the tragicomic life of Valya, a loner with a rather special job, he plays the role of the victim in the reconstructions of the murders made by the police.
2) Beyond the moments of absurdness, “Playing the Victim” is a hard- hitting social commentary part psychological drama with minimalistic cinematography and one of the best films from Russia.

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Underground (Podzemlje) / 1995 / Serbian

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Emir Kusturica

Why FiC recommends?
Underground is a surreal tragicomic opera on a grand scale from Emir Kusturica. One of the greatest film ever made, winner of the prestigious Palme dOr in 1995, this has been one of my all-time best cinematic experience. The soundtrack is by legendary Serbian composer Goran Bregovic, the best scenes are the ones that featured the brass band marching raucously over the ruined landscape. A Masterpiece!

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Orozco The Embalmer (Orozco el embalsamador) / 2001 / Spanish

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Tsurisaki Kiyotaka
Setting: Suburban/Small-town

Why FiC recommends?
1) Orozco the Embalmer’ is one of the most unrelentingly grim works in existence, the haunting evocation of the rigor mortis and its cadaverous expression ever made on film. This is an essential watch for the fans of Mondo films and Shockumentaries.
2) Tsurisaki Kiyotaka, one of Japan’s most infamous Pinku Eiga director/ death photographers, ventured into the Rue Morgue neighborhood of Bogota, which is one of the most dangerous areas of the Colombia’s capital.

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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!

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Gali Guleiyan/2017/Hindi

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Dipesh Jain
Setting: Urban
Why FiC recommends?

1) A voyeuristic gaze on the maze like alleyways of old Delhi’s underbelly and a breathtaking psychological study of the frigid characters imprisoned inside the strangulating universe longing to break free from this confinement
2) The semi cloistered lives represent the different shadowy corners of a turbulent social structure distantly sharing an excruciating existence amidst harrowing urban isolation. The silence is not empty, rather it’s the quietude before storm and often relentless emotion erupts out of the screen and engulfs you completely.

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Dancer in the Dark/2000/English,German,Czech

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Lars von Trier
Setting: Suburban/Small-town

Why FiC recommends?
1) Cinema fraternity should thank those few directors who bring in a sudden new dimension to cinema possibilities. Writer-Director Lars Von Trier belongs to that group. Dancer in the Dark is yet another gem in his filmography.
2) What to say about Bjork! A lifetime performance as an actor and as a music composer (and singer) a soul squeezing contribution.
3) Not an easy watch! better keep some tissues for the tears. The movie is intentionally tailored that way!

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The Wild Goose Lake/2019/China

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Diao Yinan
Setting: Urban, Crime
Why FiC recommends?

1) There’s a delightfully elegant balance between Yinan’s style and substances, it assembles the genre tropes and piled up desperation and existential angst is constructed from the same fabric of a rapidly collapsing society
2) This hyper tensed manhunt is flooded with colours and super saturated mood sculptures give unavoidable kar-Wai vibes while retaining it’s originality in every possible ways.

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Only God Forgives/2013/English,Thai

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Nicolas Winding Refn

Why FiC recommends?
1) This film like a marriage between violence and color(neon) giving birth to hallucination. Each of these elements keep on trying to dominate over each other through the entire length.
2) Silence is used as solid screenplay tool to create an intentional void between scene expectation and scene delivery. Many complain that this film is pretentious; but nobody can deny the unique style it has got!

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Black Friday/2004/Hindi

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Anurag Kashyap
Setting: Urban/Suburban

Why FiC recommends?
1) Making political films based on real incidents was not bollywood’s forte when this film was made in 2004. It was banned by Indian govt for 3 years before it got clearance in 2007. It is hard hitting and very realistic presentation of 1993 Mumbai blasts.
2) The casting is spot on and screenplay is just flawless and films keeps you on edge of your seat till the very last minute.

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Titli/2014/Hindi

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Kanu Behl
Setting: Suburban

Why FiC recommends?
1) There exists a suburban attached to every city which keeps reminding the society about the class-divide in the cities and the unjust that some people have to bear. For them crime looks different. Titli, in a nutshell is about this issue.
The film maintains a constant tension throughout and it keeps on increasing as the movie progresses. The casting and the BGM add onto the tone of the film so well and accelerate the grittiness.

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The Man From Nowhere/2010/Korean

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Jeong-beom Lee
Setting: Urban

Why FiC recommends?
1) A highly stylized and fast paced action revenge movie with a strong emotional connect.
2) The outstanding hand to hand combat scenes which culminates in one of the best knife fights ever put on screen.

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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.

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Gulaal/2009/Hindi

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Anurag Kashyap
Setting: Town/Rural

Why FiC recommends?
1) Gulaal is stuffed with multiple things – cast politics, youth exploitation, love betrayal and also the doomsday poetry. How? watch the film. Thank Piyush Mishra and Anurag Kashyap later.
2) It’s intense & brutal from start to end, it is as restless as the characters in the film are. So the characters of the film nicely fit into the film.

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Subramaniapuram/2008/Tamil

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: M.Sasikumar
Setting: Rural

Why FiC recommends?
1) It’s a brilliant multi-genre film which keeps the audience stick to their seats with lot of amazing plot-twists.
2) This countryside family drama linked with betrayal politics is a thrilling watch from start to end.
Note: Inspired by this film, Anurag Kashyap went on to make Gangs of Wasseypur (part-1 & 2).

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Birdshot (2016)

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Mikhail Red

Why FiC recommends?
1) Birdshot, a coming of age story centered on a young farm girl named Maya (Mary Joy Apostol) who inadvertently shoots an endangered Eagle (Haribon) setting off a police investigation.

2)  The story that has depth and beauty, juxtaposed by self effacing, unapologetic, honesty. A reflection, in many ways, of the stark Filipina outback, in which it is set.

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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.

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Visaranai/2015/Tamil

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Vetrimaaran
Setting: Town/Suburban

Why FiC recommends?
1) Most of the films dealing with ‘abuse of power’ end up telling stories of some ‘larger than life’ characters or some magical turning points. Visaranai is not like that.
2) One of the best crime thrillers coming from India. It’s brutal, retains authenticity and plot twists are deep and disturbing.

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S*** Durga/2017/ Malayalam

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Sanal Kumar Sasidharan
Setting: Road/Moving Vehicle/Rural
Why FiC recommends?
1) This film gives a tight slap to the patriarchal society which claims to worship Goddesses.
2) The making is one of its kind and as the movie progresses it becomes hard to digest because it’s so hard-hitting in what it tries to convey!
3) The whole movie was shot in one night and without a written script.
Note: The movie isn’t released in India because the Govt has put a ban on it.

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Raghu Romeo/2003/Hindi

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Rajat Kapoor
Setting: Urban
Why FiC recommends?
1) Smart, sensible and funny. Not logical!! But it’s not always about logic. This is Vijay Raaz’s best performance ever seen. He makes Raghu feel like a person more than a character.
2) Although this is only a light hearted satirical cinema without any heavy duty message, this is the kind of film at end of which you come out as more empathetic and loving human being.

P.S. This is the first movie to be made with money of common man. The director Rajat Kapur had asked for finance from people like us through internet. He got fabulous response and therefore the film could be made.

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