Romance

All the Vermeers in New York/1990/English

FiC Rating 5/5
Dir: Jon Jost
Why FiC recommends?
1) One of the greatest indie films ever, it combines Jon Jost’s signature tart wit, deadpan expressions on his characters and staccato style of dialogue with a touching romance story which can be seen in Hal Hartley films.
2) The simple story was well played out with a lot of depth, making it look quite natural and life-like. It was also interesting to get a peep at the backstage of the world of art and stock exchange in the 80s. I certainly recommend this well made and complete film.

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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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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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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 Skarsgård 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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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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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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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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Abigail Harm (2012)

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Lee Isaac Chung
Setting: Town
Why FiC recommends?
1) It will be easy to compare the atmosphere to a Terrence Mallick film with a closed apartment hidden in the seams of the narrative collar of the film. Because the filmmaker goes beyond his illusory tributes. Abigail Harm is a character work imbued with the style of its director. It is a complex work that still hides many mysteries. As for Amanda Plummer’s performance, she is above and beyond any description and she embroiders Abigial’ multiple moods with ease.
2) This is my favourite Plummer film followed by Michael Winterbottom’s Butterfly Kiss. The excellence is also evident through the film’s characters. The three most significant roles, Amanda Plummer (Abigail Harm), Will Patton (Visitor / Narrator), and Tetsuo Kuramochi (Companion) have deeply complex character sheets. Not necessarily on the surface, as no direct background is given, but their actions say all the more. To say too much here can be destructive, which of course I do not want.

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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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Manasarovar / 2004 / English, Hindi

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Anup Kurian

Why FiC recommends?
1) A rare stroke of luck from a film is this brilliantly cast and staged by director Anup Kurian. There was plenty of wry humor, pathos, and atmosphere to keep any thoughtful viewer interested.
2)  This is genuinely a masterpiece rich with feelings, emotions, social commentary and visual artistry. An absolute must-watch, if you don’t love it, then check for a pulse.

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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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Tokyo Trash Baby (Tôkyô gomi onna)/2000/Japanese

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir by: Ryuichi Hiroki
Setting: Suburban/Small-town

Why FiC recommends?
1) It’s a low-key character study, shot on digital video for almost no money, and brings the viewer very close to the experience of Miyuki (Mami Nakamura), which increases sympathy for this character.

2) The film is part of “Love Cinema” series along with along with Takashi Miike’s “Visitor Q” among others, and all the films are shot on DV.

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Nagarkirtan/2017/Bengali

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Kaushik Ganguly
Setting: Urban,Rural

Why FiC recommends?
1) Breaking free of stereotypical perspectives, this film plays with the themes of love, longing, lust and passion.Explores a new dimension of love, seldom seen in the gambit of Indian Cinema.
2) Digging into the transcendental love of Radha-Krishna, the relationship of Puti and Madhu will tug at your heartstrings, and will compel you to perceive the invisible tyranny of societal laws.

Note: The international title of the film is “The Eunuch and the Flute Player”

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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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Vara: A Blessing/2013/English

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Khyentse Norbu

Setting: Spiritual, rural
Why FiC recommends?

1) A meta-physical pilgrimage that celebrates the florescence of spiritual and intellectual growth through art and chores, more over portrays the conflict between spiritual germination and pre-existing social toxicity.
2) The visual extravaganza sustains a transcendental delicacy where ill-fated romance, religion and art contrives the pillars of spiritual wisdom.

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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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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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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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Lars and the Real Girl/2017/American

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Craig Gillespie
Setting: Town
Why FiC recommends?
1) Lars begins to introduce Bianca, a sex doll as his girlfriend to the townspeople, and they decide to play along, just because they care!
2) This is no comedy, it’s a solid drama, especially for those who can relate to Lars. A great movie to watch, just don’t forget that those laughter tears will make you a bit sad too!

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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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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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Photograph/2019/Hindi

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Ritesh Batra
Setting: Urban
Why FiC recommends?
1) A love story that will remain with for a long time.
2) This movie has the ability to grow on you as it progresses. Slow, steady and poetic.
3) Extra-ordinary climax.

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Aamis/2019/Assamese

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Bhaskar Hazarika
Setting: Town
Why FiC recommends?
1) To say this is something ‘new’ would be an understatement. Even a single hint would act as a ‘spoiler’!
2) Sometimes we know who we are, deep down. But it dies because there’s nothing for it to cling to. This movie attempts something around it!
Note: Knowingly not tagging the category ‘horror’ to it!

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