Film in Cards

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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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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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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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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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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Manji 卍 / 1983 / Japanese 

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Hiroto Yokoyama
Why FiC recommends?
1)  Passion and emotional turmoil are served up raw in this Viscerally EROTIC, CYNICAL & COLD film. Patient viewers will be rewarded with an all-out experience during the film’s finale.
2) Certainly, I think the film was of the kind of kind, where you are drawn into the world of passionate passion and love, which develops in a totally unpredictable direction and becomes catastrophically destructive to the relationship.

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Tokyo X Erotica / 2001/ Japanese

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Takahisa ZeZe
Why FiC recommends?
1) WHAT IF DAVID LYNCH MADE A PINKU !!
2) This experimental film from Takahisa Zeze explores love, life, sex, and death throughout the course of five explicit vignettes told through the rules of postmodern cinema, with a very complex script narrated through a non-linear interlocking montage.

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Historias extraordinarias (Extraordinary Stories) / 2008 / Spanish

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Mariano Llinás
Why FiC recommends?
1) It is a secular film, neither choral nor Manichean. Ordinary characters, almost all of them, in extraordinary situations that sometimes lead them to behave in ways, even violent, in contradiction with their principles. Frequently felt in the narrative lane of SABU, Aki Kaurasmaki, Takahisa Zeze with the constant narration and mild dry humor with Kafkaesque letter names, who solve one mystery only to see another open before their eyes.
2) The film offers the spectator a multiplicity of glances around the same event, the problems suffered by the protagonists, which triggers interesting consequences. It is divided into 18 chapters, with novel titles.

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A Thousand and One Hands (Les mille et une mains) / 1973 / French

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Souheil Ben-Barka
Why FiC recommends?
1)  The story in Souheil Ben-Barka’s debut is all knitted around an insane old man who goes from a Kafkaesque absurdity to the next social humiliation. It is absurd, but it is only the beginning of the almost surreal, but unfortunately all too realistic questioning the cultural hybridity.
2)  I’d recommend this for fans of Souleymane Cisse’s Baara, Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s Gabbeh, Yimou Zhang’s Ju DOU, Carlos Mayolo and Luis Ospina’s The Vampires of Poverty.

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Eeb Allay Ooo!/2019/Hindi

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Prateek Vats
Setting: Urban

Why FiC recommends?
1) A brilliantly layered satire astutely putting forward the tragic reality in which we live today. It points out how misplaced our priorities are through the eyes of a misfit migrant trying to earn a living in the cauldron of political activities in Delhi.
2) Never do you feel a tinge of artificiality seep into the performance of the cast, specially the protagonist played by Shardul Bharadwaj. In fact, the brilliant acting chops is what will keep you riveted and invested in the trajectory of the characters from the start to finish.

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So Long My Son/2019/China

FiC Rating 5/5
Dir: Wang Xiaoshuai
Why FiC Recommends?
1) Perpetual grief stemming out of intolerable memories that melts inside one’s soul and becomes inseparable with his existence, the permanent laceration of soul that one has to carry to his grave gets partially devitalized by the overwhelming rapport; the blessings of life triumphs over torment in So Long, My Son where the realism of a documentary bearing a witness of China’s impulsive shift towards globalization meets a poet’s romanticism
2) It is a profoundly intimate emotional catharses as well as an authentic documentation of the country’s family dynamics post Cultural Revolution.
3) The bleak reality strikes one with utmost ferocity and similarly the sweeping undercurrent of life’s blessings makes a plethora of emotions to float into the viewer’s face.

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Honeygiver Among The Dogs/2016/Bhutan

FiC Rating 3.5/5
Dir: Dechen Roder
Why FiC Recommends?
1) Honeygiver Among The Dogs embraces the most obvious genre tropes of a film noir but ends up welding a surprising new layer of spirituality into it, the roots of which are deep seated in the Buddhist mysticism.
2) This visually arresting debut is fueled by corruption and authoritarian moral turpitude but a Zen like poise is written all over it that stems out of Bhutan’s mythical sensibilities
3) The jaw dropping cinematography with a strikingly gorgeous visual palette resonates with the lavish landscape tableaux of ‘The Land of Happiness’.

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Sill Life/2006/China

FiC Rating 5/5
Dir: Jia Zhangke
Why FiC Recommends?
1) Still Life is an intimate rumination about existential malaise, a poignant illustration of personal distress and widespread anxiety and also an arduous quest against the tide of time.
2) The prestigious Golden Lion Winner epitomizes China’s shift from socialism to state capitalism while retaining the state’s sovereignty over decision making.
3) The intense alienation amidst a rapid transmuting topography of China is another leitmotif in Zhangke’s works, identically the touching depiction of urban alienation is a notable aspect in Still Life that keeps one at the edge of a nervous breakdown.

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The Bed Sitting Room (1969)

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Richard Lester
Why FiC recommends?
1) A wonderfully bonkers Post-Nuke Comedy set in Britain, where the BBC has been reduced to one man and the Circle Line is still in operation. This must be one of the most original, bizarre, and imaginative dystopian films ever made.
2) It mixes great comedy with a very serious and important issue, the ending is one of my favourite in movie history. A Timeless classic and absurdist delight not to be missed.

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Monday/ 2000/ Japanese

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: SABU
Why FiC recommends?
1) The film is mix of Yakuza thriller and black comedy, which is also the most rounded film by SABU (Blessing Bell, Hard Luck Hero, Postman Blues, Mr. Long), genius of Japanese mutant cinema.
2) At a funeral, the man in the coffin turns out to have an active pacemaker, which leads to very unpredictable and surreal results. A journey between busted journeys so crazy and surreal as to border on the dreamlike in which reality and fantasy meets. The scenes are of breath-taking visual beauty, well thought out and backed up with the appropriate music.

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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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Post Tenebras Lux/2012/Spanish,French,English

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Carlos Reygadas
Why FiC recommends?
1) Despite many complaints on this film that – ‘it’s a very personal film from the director which has nothing to do with the viewer’, it is one of those very few rule-breaking cinemas to have redefined ‘what a cinema could be’.
2) Yes! it demands a lot of patience from the viewer. It’s not because there’s nothing happening through the length of the film which someone can easily comprehend, but because of its sheer exploratory style.

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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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The Earth Is Blue as an Orange/ 2020/ Ukrainian / Russian

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Iryna Tsilyk
1) This is one of the best ode to cinema, a love letter to the medium which is superbly performed by everybody, although the cast is mostly non-actors.
2) Every member of the family has a passion for cinema, driving them to shoot, edit and screen a film inspired by their own life set against the backdrop of war in Donbass town (Ukraine) between 2014-2015.

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Vakratunda Swaha / 2010 / Bengali

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Ashish Avikunthak
Why FiC recommends?
1) Ashish Avikunthak “Vakratunda Swaha” is without question one of the best short films i’ve seen. If you’re not a fan or audience of Avikunthak’s work then I’d probably recommend that you start with this short. 
2)  A must watch for the fans of Arthouse or Experimental films.

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Jigureul jikyeora!(Save the Green Planet!) /2003/

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Joon Hwan Jang

Why FiC recommends?
1) A very original genre hoping Experimental Sci-fi, Black comedy which slowly dissolves into chilling Horror. Bizarre and captivating, completely defies any genre. Highly underrated when compared films of Bong joon ho,Park Chan-wook and Im Sang-soo.
2) This is a film that invites numerous interpretations, as all great art does – however, this film is also very entertaining, making it a rare film experience.

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Wir Monster/ 2015 / German

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Sebastian Ko
Why FiC recommends?
1) This near perfect script has been dealt with utmost care to seal off all loopholes the human mind could ever conjure up which cleverly balanced between plot and psychology, contrary to the nonchalant treatments that grace thrillers these days.
2) I strongly recommend this film, especially to the thriller genre lovers.

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