Drama

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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Confessions/2010/Japanese

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Tetsuya Nakashima

Why FiC recommends?
1) To put it simply, this movie is about a mother looking for revenge for her daughter’s death. But nothing is as straightforward as it seems.After each Confession, an extra layer is peeled off and the viewer is left to switch sides and ponder upon who is the real culprit till the end.
2) The film takes no time to take off and certainly has one of the most intense psycologically thrilling first act out there.

Note: The Japanese Original Title is “Kokuhaku”

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A Touch of Sin/2013/Mandarin

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Jia Zhangke
Setting: Rural, Suburban, Metropolitan

Why FiC recommends?

1) An arresting piece of social and political critique driven by some crazy acts of violence, this is an artist’s howl for the need of procuring individual rights in the middle of China’s recent social unrest.
2) A Touch of Sin ruptures the myth about Chinese national identity and delineates the existential reality of modern China with protagonists varying from a desperate teenager, a social activist, a murderer to a sauna receptionist. Even though rocked by violence, a breathtaking and emotionally rich social commentary is deep-seated within A Touch of Sin.

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Coherence/2013/English

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: James Ward Byrkit
Setting: Urban

Why FiC recommends?
1) This film is an outstanding example of how a thrilling and wonderful film can be made with a shoe string budget and an original mind blowing concept.
2) This is a Sci-Fi which has practically zero special effects but still hooks you to the proceedings till the climax.

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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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LETO/2018/Russian

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Kirill Serebrennikov

Why FiC recommends?
1) It is beautifully shot and is a perfect ode to youth and rock in Soviet Russia.

2) There are filmmakers who have contributed to this genre, but Serebrennikov may be the only one to have succeeded in this initiative of linking music to political protest.

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B.A.Pass/2012/Hindi

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Ajay Bahl
Setting: Town

Why FiC recommends?
1) To just tag it as an erotic drama would not do justice to the kind of film it is. It’s lot more than that.
2) Each character has been tailored so carefully that you connect with each one of it. It is a daring portrayal of the vulnerabilities of adolescence.

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Lucia/2013/Kannada

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Pawan Kumar
Setting: Urban

Why FiC recommends?
1) The way a film built may not be an important factor for recommending a movie. Nevertheless, it’s important to note that this well made multi-genre movie is a crowd funded project (which I’ve not considered in the rating).
2) This non-linear film tries to cover a lot of things in 135 minutes. It is about the other side of ‘stardom’, love, urbanization, Film-mafia, drugs and euthanasia.

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Peepli Live/2010/Hindi

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Anusha Rizvi, Mahmood Farooqui
Setting: Rural

Why FiC recommends?
1) Satire is a difficult genre. It’s delicate but when curated properly in a film, it just beats other genres. Peepli live is a film to be studied in this regard.
2) It addresses multiple formal and known issues as a country we’re facing. That too how? This amazing screenplay starts as a comedy plot, starts growing – it steps into politics & media, then it makes you sympathetic- it steps into poverty and innocence of people in that drought hit village, by now you start empathizing with these people. It’s a pure win to a cinema as a medium.

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Masaan/2015/Hindi

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Neeraj Ghaywan
Setting: Town

Why FiC recommends?
1) The film is about conflicts. Conflict between life & death; conflict between to be or not to be; conflict between loving someone and letting them go. Movie doesn’t conclude what is right and wrong. That’s where the film wins big time.
2) Superb casting and simple screenplay makes the film run so smoothly that you get immersed into its own zone.
Note: Masaan means ‘Cemetery’

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Lunchbox/2013/Hindi

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Ritesh Batra
Setting: Urban

Why FiC recommends?
1) Watching Irrfan Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui in a steadily growing cinema like this is a real treat.
2) The storyline is totally atypical to what is normally seen in even well accepted Indian films. The film is amazingly captivating in terms of how it takes both its story and characters together, keeping ‘life in Mumbai city’ at the center.

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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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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.

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Davandeh (The Runner, 1984)

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Amir Naderi

Why FiC recommends?
1) The most important film, sadly overlooked film that put Iranian Cinema in the spotlight after Dariush Mehrjui films.
2) Even its ending is very expressive. There is something inspiring about that ending and it makes me wanna do the same thing.

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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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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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Gandu/2010/Bengali

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Qaushiq Mukherjee
Setting: Town
Why FiC recommends?
1) It’s a quite daring take on the lonliness of a lost (not literally) young man. The biggest plus point is the film doesn’t hide any thoughts of the protagonist.
2) It dares not to sugarcoat the qualities of its protagonist – which is inherently common in most of the films. We see Gandu as he is.
3) The relationship (friendship?) between Gandu and Rickshaw is fascinating to watch.

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Udaan/2012/Hindi

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Vikramaditya Motwane
Setting: Town
Why FiC recommends?
1) Films about adolescence are always fascinating and some of them are equally melancholic. You tend to slip back in memories recalling those gone days.
2) This film has a magical pace and successfully brings in all type of right emotions. As it moves it starts adding more layers to it in terms of treatment of both story-line and characters. Any comment on its climax would be a spoiler.

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Miss Lovely/2012/Hindi

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Ashim Ahluwalia
Setting: Urban/Suburban
Why FiC recommends?
1) It has style. It has to have because the movie is about a 70s/80s Indian C-grade filmmaker. Without style and that differentiating confidence they couldn’t have run that industry.
2) It has that haunting pace which constantly grabs you in and pushes you out at times, still you’ll tend to stick to it. The costume design and setting of filmsetting look very authentic.
3) Nawazuddin Siddiqui & Anil George’s hard hitting performance in this film is a treat to watch!

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Eyes Wide Shut/1999/American

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Stanley Kubrick
Setting: Urban
Why FiC recommends?
1) The film has a strange pace, it’s like every moment and every dialogue is like looking at a dripping faucet, every drop is coming out with same lifeless pace. But that’s a huge plus point to the narrative. The film becomes hypnotic and dreamy More like a drugged up hallucination.
2) The film took 400 days of continuous shooting! Director’s vision-
“People call me a highly stylized director, which I am, but I can’t forget the purpose of style in “Eyes wide shut”, style is a lens that gives my viewers a point of access to the material, and if my material is not perfect, I can not offer it to my viewers, it’s about the viewers and not the director, something that new film makers should keep in mind.”
– Stanley Kubrick

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Mississippi Masala/1991/Indian-African

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Mira Nair
Setting: Rural
Why FiC recommends?
1) So many layers! A collection of stories, each running along its own thread while impacting others at the same time.
2) It’s not much like any other movie; it’s trying to find its way, tentatively, and Nair introduces a great, new-to-movies subject.

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Aligarh/2015/Hindi

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Hansal Mehta
Setting: Town
Why FiC recommends?
1) I don’t know why but most of the LGBT related films are made poetic. And Aligarh is not an exception. Yet this is an important movie considering it is made in India.
2) There is this constant tenderness throughout this film and it keeps on injecting a kind of sorrow into the viewers. If this is not a win, what else is?
Trivia: Lead actor Manoj Bajpayee told in a podcast (Audible Suno): “Yes I didn’t win any award for the film, but if award functions- including national awards, don’t care about their reputations, I won’t mind if I don’t win any award in my lifetime”

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Haraamkhor/2017/Hindi

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Shlok Sharma
Setting: Rural
Why FiC recommends?
1) Very very hard-hitting film which revolves around a secret relationship between a school teacher and his student. It’s not an easy watch as the story starts taking creepy twists as it moves forward. (and what a climax!)
2) Intense performance by both Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Shweta Tripathi.

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Gantumoote/2019/Kannada

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Roopa Rao
Setting: Town/School
Why FiC recommends?
1) High-school love stories are always fascinating for the purity it holds and those curious minds of that age bracket.
2) This film is very calm, soothing and not very easy throughout. Where there is love there’s pain too!
Note: ‘Gantumoote’ means ‘Baggage’

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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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Kanasembo Kudureyaneri/2010/Kannada

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Girish Kasaravalli
Setting: Rural
Why FiC recommends?
1) It’s a very diligent adaptation of on one of the highly acclaimed story by Amaresh Nudgoni.
2) The story set up in a village is mysterious and revolves around a gravedigger.
3) It challenges the audience to question regarding the connection between ‘faith’ and ‘life’.
Note: ‘Kanasembo Kudureyaneri’ means ‘Riding a Stallion of a Dream’

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Nabat/2014/Azerbaijani

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Elchin Musaoglu
Setting: Remote Place
Why FiC recommends?
1) A minimalist tale of an elderly woman who finds herself the last remaining resident in a village evacuated during the Nagorno-Karabakh war of two decades ago! Truly a fine piece of work with simple story and beautiful narrative that is sad and tragic
2) A war film in which war is never seen, only heard through distant thudding of canons. As soon as they die down, nature resumes its role, birds chirping, trees rustling, wolves howling in the distance.

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Anjali/1990/Tamil

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Mani Ratnam
Setting: Urban
Why FiC recommends?
1) This film is of its own kind. Watch it for the maestro Mr. Mani Ratnam and acting performances, especially Baby Shamili who played the titular role when she was just 2! Spell bound!!
2) Every aspect of this film was perfect, acting, script, story line (minus a few unashamedly populist and occasional cringe-worthy cheesy sequence). A pleasure to watch.

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Village Rockstars/2017/Assamese

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Rima Das
Setting: Rural
Why FiC recommends?

1) Absolutely natural!
2) Beautifully depicted without any exaggeration. The film wraps up many aspects of rural life in such a subtle aesthetic manner that too within just 87 minutes!

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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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Devdas/2002/Hindi

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Setting: Urban/Suburban/Vintage
Why FiC recommends?
1) The film was misjudged as a commercial gimmick. But on the contrary, the emotion and passion of the story is felt just as strongly in every frame of Devdas. You can clearly see the blood and sweat they invested in every department, this is a work of art and heart!
2) Bhansali knew exactly what to do with the film, the shot execution, the sound quality, the cinematography and the direction, the entire film has an overwhelming hugeness to it that’s hard to resist.

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