Drama

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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Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu/2016/Kannada

Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu/2016/Kannada

FiC Rating 5/5
Dir: Hemanth Rao

Why Fic recommends?
1) To be watched for its beautiful narration of father – son relationship as the time move, delicate potrayal of mental illness and being vocal about it is something rare in mainstream movies which is appreciable.
2) Anant Nag’s mesmerizing peformance is the major highlight of the movie, his transition into the skin of Venkob Rao truly makes the viewer connect with his every essence of emotions and innocence.
3) This is one such movie that anybody could keep revisiting as it makes its viewers slowly and steadily absorb in ones own nostaligic memory lane.

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Kumbalangi Nights/2019/Malayalam

Kumbalangi Nights/2019/Malayalam

FiC Rating 5/5
Dir: Madhu C. Narayanan
Written By: Syam Pushkaran
Why Fic recommends?
1) This gem is an endearing tale of bond, family and relationship that beautifully and slowly unveils magnificent characters with its narration.
2) Primarily to be watched for Fahad Fasil’s captivating performance along with Soubin, Shane, Anna Ben, Srinath almost every cast fill life to their characters with their extraordinary acting prowess.
3) In surface what seems to be as a feel good beautiful drama about dysfunctional family deep inside also highlights various social issues like toxic musculinity, mental health, family bond in its core.
4) Music by Sushin Shyam is an added jewl to this beauty.

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Nobody Knows/2004/Japanese

FiC Rating 5/5
Dir: Hirokazu Koreeda

Why FiC recommends?
1) Honest potrayal of child modesty and innocence and self tackle between chilhood bliss and situational responsibility.
2) Specially to be watched for brilliant performance by all child artists, camera in the movie seems like just another character that captures everyday happeneing of the children.
3) Koreeda respects viewer’s intelligence with “Dont tell, Show” approach in course of giving importance to every intricacies especially while denoting fly of time.

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Breaking the Waves/1996/English

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Lars von Trier
Why FiC recommends?
1) A brutally realistic drama that revolves around religion, sex and obsession.
2) It should be noted that it is this film which made international star out of Emily Watson (and Stellan SkarsgÄrd too!)
3) After successful dystopian trilogy, through Breaking the Waves Lars Von Trier started his new cinema journey of exploring human psyche.

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Hill of No Return/1992/Taiwan

FiC Rating 5/5
Dir: Wang Tung
Why FiC Recommends?
1) The sprawling epic takes place at a mining village dwelling on the human rights abuse and labor exploitation during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan contrary to most of the Taiwan New Wave films that deal with post independence contrasting identity crisis.
2) Tung’s poignant exercise in humanism brings forth a staggering conflict between the institutionalised subservience and the burning desire for liberty, life at it’s primitive and most unsophisticated state marinated in existential malaise meets a poet’s romanticism.
3) Hill of No Return lands compensates it’s technical limitations and quite effectively blurs the gap between viewer’s conscious and fictional reality.

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Blue Valentine/2010/English

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir:Derek Cianfrance
Why FiC recommends?
1) Want to understand what’s ‘Marriage on the rocks’ and experience the pain? Simple: watch ‘Blue Valentine’. It’s a beautifully done study of cycle of love (start-progress-end) through cinema.
2) Be ready for the final scene- unapologetically heartbreaking yet realistically done. It is that kind of movie which you don’t want to watch again but at the same time you can’t forget, ever!
3) Special mention of Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling for their amazing performance.

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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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The Lives of Others/2006/German

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Why FiC recommends?
1) A socialist political drama which stresses out the importance of freedom of expression.
2) It celebrates the power and impact of art over human subconscious and deals with instances pointing out how art truly can turn the world into a much better place to live in.

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Melancholia/2011/English

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Lars von Trier
Why FiC recommends?
1) Pick any Lars Von Trier film, the main ingredient you find is the ‘suffering’. Melancholia has a celestial touch to it. I am not sure if it can be simply tagged to ‘sci-fi drama’. It seems weirdly more than that.
2) The scene sequence in the climax deserves a special mention. It is done extraordinarily and feels dreamlike.
3) Kirsten Dunst (as Justine) has pulled off one of the most complexly written characters.

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Naayi Neralu/2006/Kannada

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Girish Kasaravalli
Why FiC recommends?
1) Not all novel-based films do justice to the original work. But Kannada director Girish Kasaravalli has a track record of giving some of the greatest film adaptations of novels. This one is no exclusion. (It is a popular work by SL Bhyrappa)
2) Eventhough the central theme is ‘reincarnation’, what makes the film thoroughly engaging is the chain of incidents around the same.
3) Right from the beginning the film grabs the audience into its own world, thanks to the cast for their realistic and captivating performance.

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Whale Music (1994)

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Richard J. Lewis
Why FiC recommends?
1) As a cinephile, finding a movie this original is something to sing about. It’s weird movie, true; but this film has created a world that is wonderful and bleak. The direction is beautifully good, the cinematography is perfection, the screenplay is professionally written, and the connection between all of the characters are just so enduring. It is a film that you will not regret giving a shot.
2) The music in this alone is worth seeking this picture out for. The soundtrack of Rheostatics is brilliant, the moments that make this film a musical are the ones that keep the story alive with moments of joviality and enthusiasm.

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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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Antichrist/2009/English(Denmark)

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Lars von Trier
Why FiC recommends?
1)’Transgressive’ themed films have a special seat in the history of cinema and director Lars Von Trier (LVT) has contributed a lot in this area. Antichrist is probably the best film to get introduced to LVT filmography.
2) Apart from being deeply philosophical (which is the inherent nature of all transgressive films) Antichrist has a very strange pace and vivid color tone which in its all capacity has the ability to make the viewer uncomfortable yet absorbed throughout its runtime.
Note: This is the first movie of LVT’s ‘Depression Trilogy’.

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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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Ghamak Ghar/2019/Maithili,Hindi

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Achal Mishra
Setting: Rural
Why FiC recommends?
1) A rare slice-of-life drama coming from India, where a ‘home’ in a village acts as the protagonist. This gem of a film effortlessly pumps in nostalgia – so much so that – if you’re someone with your roots in a village, you may start feeling guilty once the movie ends! (be careful!!)
2) To see this ‘home’ stands still and witness three generations pass through it- is a heart-whelming experience yet somehow painful. In my opinion a full on 5-star film!
Note: If you’re a filmmaker have a close look into this amazing cinematography, where the film embodies three different looks in its runtime!

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Frances Ha/2012/English

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Noah Baumbach
Setting: Urban

Why FiC recommends?
1) Kids or teenagers are often at the heart of every coming-of-age story depicted in films.The beauty of this film is that it follows the same trajectory but this time for a 27 year old Frances.

2) The character of Frances is portrayed beautifully by Greta Gerwig in what is a semi autobiographical depiction of her struggles while building her career. Frances is not a role model but she is the portrayal of all of us.This is not a film.This is life and all of us needs the indomitable spirit of Frances to rise above the challenges thrown to us.

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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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Ame agaru ( After the Rain ) / 1999 / Japanese

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Takashi Koizumi
Setting: Rural
Why FiC recommends?
1) A drama by Takashi Koizumi from a scenario written by “Akira Kurosawa” shortly before his death and made as a tribute to him, No where near as good as it would have been with Kurosawa behind it but fine nonetheless, especially the cinematography which was gorgeous. Any fan of Akira Kurosawa will want to see this.
2) If you want a peaceful and beautiful samurai film, do yourself and your immortal soul a favour; this movie is for you, would really recommend it, this one is a lesser known Japanese gem.

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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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Xala / 1975 / Senegalese

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Ousmane Sembene
Why FiC recommends?
1) ‘Xala’ discusses many important themes that we have discussed in class, particularly the balance between Western practices and “traditional” ones. While this starts from Senegal’s official El Hadji’s sexual incompetence on his wedding night with his third wife, it plays out throughout the film.background is given, but their actions say all the more. I was full of awe after enjoying this utterly majestic work of art. Highly recommended!

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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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Nasir/2019/Tamil

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Arun Karthick
Setting: Town
Why FiC recommends?
1) Among all the cinema genres out there, there’s a special one – ‘important films’. These are the kind of films which reveal something important about the times we live in. Nasir deserves a place in this category.
2) The film captures a day of a common man. It starts with his morning, traverses through his monotonous uninteresting day and ends with.. okay, let me not add any spoiler.
3) Personally, I didn’t like the climax of this film, but at the same time I am well aware that a climax of that sort was important for the director to tell something solid.

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Amrutha Varshini /1997/Kannada

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Dinesh Baboo
Why FiC recommends?
1) A slow moving drama is one of the rare films made in India around the conflicts of love and its power in manipulating one’s mind.
2) Musically this is probably the best movie made in Kannada in the 90’s. If you’re a fan of Indian melody music – you’re going to like it for sure.

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