European

Im Keller (In the Basement) / 2014/ German

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Ulrich Seidl
Why FiC recommends?
1) IN THE BASEMENT, Ulrich Seidl goes downstairs and finds creepy dolls, Nazi man caves, cock and ball torture and gives viewers a tour of the private hobbies practiced. Seidl continues his studies on taboos, social boundaries, the human soul’s darkness and his beloved Austria.
2) Between taboo and philosophy, the story follows the different things people do in there basement. Under the basement, Im Keller is a documentary film eyeing on different experiences, but also symbolizes here in a threatening way.

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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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Cantando dietro i paraventi (Singing Behind Screens) / Italy / 2003

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Ermanno Olmi
Why FiC recommends?
1) Arthouse adaptation of “The Widow Ching, Lady Pirate” by Jorge Luis Borges (24 Aug 1899-14 June 1986) that blends Peter Greenaway and Yimou Zhang. This Chinese folktale partially plays out in a brothel and captures the journey of Chinese piratess Ching who is regarded as the most feared corsair of the Chinese coast until a fateful battle with the new emperor.
2) The film displays superb cinematography that, even years later, still stand as great wonders. The 18th century is reconstructed on the coasts of Montenegro and it is a work of ingenious craftsmanship that packs in a whole lot of visual splendour. Artistic Triumph by Master Ermanno Olmi.. Watch it to believe it

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The House That Jack Built/2018/English

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Lars von Trier
Why FiC recommends?
1) Polarizing views on Lars Von Trier films isn’t something new; this film isn’t an exception too. Most of his films have revolved around human psych and here the protagonist is a homicide.
2) The house that jack builds (I just avoided a spoiler here!) is very symbolic, in fact the whole movie symbolic and feels like a mirror to the undiscovered inner human psych which is so difficult to accept.
3) The portrayal of ‘hell’ in the final chapter is dreamlike and gives a lot of room for the audience to ponder upon, which simply is a big win.

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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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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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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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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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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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Zirneklis (Spider) / 1992 / Latvian

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Vasili Mass
Setting: Town
Why FiC recommends?
1) The images that director Vasili Mass packs into the frame will stick with you long afterwards, dreamlike and meaningful and sinister and beautiful all at the same time. Aurelija Anuzhite as Vita is absolutely perfect, playful and childlike while at the same time achingly, sexually gorgeous. Highly recommended for the fans of Jaromil Jires, Jean Rollins, Walerian Borowczyk, Frantisek Vlacil, and Juraj Herz.

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Naked/1993/English

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Mike Leigh

Why FiC recommends?
1) It was controversial when it released because of its raw portrayal of very human nature through it’s protagonist Johnny (amazingly performed by David Thewlis).
2) The film is filled with scenes which leave the audience confused with some magical mix of fun, pun and philosophy. It’s a great ride, you just have to stick to it.

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Force Majeure/2014/ Swedish,Norwegian

FiC Rating: 53.5/5
Dir: Ruben Östlund

Why FiC recommends?
1) Some movies are not for reviewing, they just have to be watched and experienced. It’s difficult to write about such experiences. This movie is a slow poison, but once it levels upto the neck, there’s no going back!
2) The intelligent script puts you in dilemma whether to laugh or cry. Some say it’s a slap to male ego, some say it’s a pure portrayal of innate human psyche. Whatever it is about, it’s a delight for the audience!

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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!

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King Of Hearts (Le roi de coeur) /1966 / French

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Philippe de Broca

Why FiC recommends?
1) As an anti-war theme film, “King of Hearts” does not use cold, blood and violence to show the blood red line. This film conveys that message while being utterly charming, it hides the cruel incidents that have happened and using mental institutions as a metaphor for the world outside.
2) King of Hears is a cult film full of absurdness, love and warmth, but also full of cruelty, but its process is beautiful which is an absolute joy to watch.

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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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Whale Valley/2013/Iceland

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson
Setting: Rural
Why FiC recommends?

1) Distressing isolation dares to rupture the sibling bond and shakes the foundations of adolescence in rural Iceland, the vast and grim landscapes channel out the insipid inner emptiness of the leading duo in this awe-inspiring short film.
2) The inventive metaphor of a dead whale as the spirit animal of the leading duo is a masterstroke, it represents the embryonic solitude and intensifies the dreadful odour of despondency in this godforsaken valley.

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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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Portrait of a Lady On Fire/2019/France

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Celine Sciammma

Why FiC recommends?

1) A burning flame of female desire artfully constructs it’s fabric of sumptuous yet forbidden romance, the fire is as much metaphorical as it is tangible in Portrait of a Lady on Fire.
2) This is a vivifying painting of love and longing, with a transfixing warmth of the erotic heat taking birth inside the depths off repression, it is where a painter’s observant eyes meets a lover’s gaze.

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Searching For Sugar Man/2012/English

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Malik Bendjelloul

Why FiC recommends?
1) Time and again documentaries have proven that real life can be stranger than fiction.This is one such story of two fans who set about to find their musical idol whose life is nothing short of an enigma.
2) The songs throughout the feature adds beautifully to the atmosphere of the proceedings and can be counted as another leading character in itself.

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