Drama

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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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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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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Sen no Rikyu: Honkakub├┤ 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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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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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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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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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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Manderlay/2005/English

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Lars von Trier
Why FiC recommends?
1) Manderlay is the follow up film by Lars Von after groundbreaking ‘Dogville’ as part of ‘Land of Opportunities’ trilogy.
2) The system of oppression and the unexpected consequences when an outsider tries to correct it is shown in an unapologetic manner.
3) Just like Dogville, this film is also made in an ultra-minimalist stage-like set up – allowing the audience to concentrate only on the ‘content’.

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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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Kattradhu Thamizh/2007/Tamil

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Ram
Why FiC recommends?
1) This film is a gripping emotional journey of the protagonist, wherein each event has a point to make.
2) The film lives up to the vision of the debutante director Ram (now he is an important Tamil filmmaker) – He is able to bring out his angst against the ills of the society quite effectively without any hesitation.

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