Film in Cards

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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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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Sulemani Keeda/2013/Hindi

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Amit V Masurkar
Setting: Urban

Why FiC recommends?
1) The story of two friends who are trying their luck as script writers and hoping to make it big in Bollywood films. A very simple story yet very engaging.
2) Through pun and satire, the director wants to tell the world how absurd and unstructured the film industry usually runs in India.

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Combat Shock / 1984 / English

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Buddy Giovinazzo
Setting: Suburban/Small-town

Why FiC recommends?
1) Buddy Giovinazzo’s Combat Shock, an unsettling cross between Abel Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant (1992) and David Lynch’s Eraserhead (1977) as far from the tone of your typical Troma movie in the offering. 
2)  It’s a must watch for fans of the genre, a lo-fi borderline horror film with a mutant baby that tops even the baby in Eraserhead for sheer creepiness.

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Cuadecuc, vampir / 1971 / English / Spanish

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Pere Portabella

Why FiC recommends?
1) Cuadecuc, Vampir feels a lot like an ancestor of E. Elias Merhige’s Begotten (1990), blurring the worlds of horror and the Avant-garde.

2) ‘Cuadecuc, vampir’ is one of the best documentaries I have ever seen. Not only does it show how ‘The Count Dracula’ by Jesús Franco was made, but it hypnotizes, like you have landed yourself on the set and forces you to take advantage of it. It is also one of the favourite films of Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin. 

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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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Playing The Victim (Izobrazhaya zhertvu) / 2006 / Russian

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Kirill Serebrennikov
Setting: Suburban/Small-town

Why FiC recommends?
1) This is a truly unique movie, tragic, ironic, and hilarious, a noir remake of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The story delves into the tragicomic life of Valya, a loner with a rather special job, he plays the role of the victim in the reconstructions of the murders made by the police.
2) Beyond the moments of absurdness, “Playing the Victim” is a hard- hitting social commentary part psychological drama with minimalistic cinematography and one of the best films from Russia.

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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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Orozco The Embalmer (Orozco el embalsamador) / 2001 / Spanish

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Tsurisaki Kiyotaka
Setting: Suburban/Small-town

Why FiC recommends?
1) Orozco the Embalmer’ is one of the most unrelentingly grim works in existence, the haunting evocation of the rigor mortis and its cadaverous expression ever made on film. This is an essential watch for the fans of Mondo films and Shockumentaries.
2) Tsurisaki Kiyotaka, one of Japan’s most infamous Pinku Eiga director/ death photographers, ventured into the Rue Morgue neighborhood of Bogota, which is one of the most dangerous areas of the Colombia’s capital.

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Dr. Lamb (Goh yeung yi sang)/ 1992 / Cantonese

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Danny Lee, Billy Tang
Setting: Suburban/Small-town
Why FiC recommends?
The movie is quite different also one of most notorious films from the golden age of Hong Kong horror than trying to be a “Taxi Driver”-wannabe/rip-off.
2) For those interested to check out Category III rating, which is equivalent to the old X’s or current NC-17’s in the U.S, then Dr. Lamb is a good start followed by 2 of my favourites Untold Story (1993) and Ebola Syndrome (1996).

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Through Eyes of the Dead /1999 / English

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Jim Van Bebber

Why FiC recommends?
1) Killjoy vocalist of the band, hardcore gorehound when it comes to extreme metal and his love for the genre got him associated with Fred Vogel (August Underground) of Toetag pictures and Cult filmmaker Jim Van Bebber to create Through Eyes of the Dead.
2). Any Necrophagia will appreciate this documentary, each song has its story, and you hear all of them with tribute to Lucio Fulci featuring clips from The Beyond and also from Cannibal Holocaust, a wet dream for death metal fans and gorehounds!

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Subconscious Cruelty /2000 / English

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Karim Hussain

Why FiC recommends?
1) Breath-taking from start to finish, creators Karim Hussain and Mitch Davis Arthouse Horror anthology ‘Subconscious Cruelty’ is an experience which, of course, will not be supported by many people, but which, and that was the goal, turns out to be honest, generous and of extreme quality.
2) Subconscious Cruelty” stomps its boot on the throat of representability, pushing the envelope of the New Extremism further than almost any other film, and opening a whole new can of worms when it comes to the uses and abuses of extreme content.

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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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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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Scent of Green Papaya/1993/Vietnam

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Tran Anh Hung
Setting: Rural
Why FiC recommends?

1) An exuberant portrait of a tranquil Vietnam, The Scent of Green Papaya consolidates mundanity with ripening to unwrap the spiritual practice within the chores.
2) The unobtrusive idiosyncrasy while tracing the imperceptible bridge of love and spirituality is one of the most iconic traits of Tran Anh Hung, his artistic embellishments never clash with naturalism; thus the unhurried unfolding of romance bears a recurring wave of desire.

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Gali Guleiyan/2017/Hindi

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Dipesh Jain
Setting: Urban
Why FiC recommends?

1) A voyeuristic gaze on the maze like alleyways of old Delhi’s underbelly and a breathtaking psychological study of the frigid characters imprisoned inside the strangulating universe longing to break free from this confinement
2) The semi cloistered lives represent the different shadowy corners of a turbulent social structure distantly sharing an excruciating existence amidst harrowing urban isolation. The silence is not empty, rather it’s the quietude before storm and often relentless emotion erupts out of the screen and engulfs you completely.

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Gummo/1997/English

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Harmony Korine
Setting: Countryside
Why FiC recommends?
1) When Gummo was released in 1997, New York Times wrote ‘Worst film of the year. In 2017 Nic Castillon of Daily Emerald wrote justifying why Gummo is one of best films in 20 years. So Gummo is definitely not an ordinary film. It has got equal attacks and praises in its kitty.
2) The film is a true indie production where the entire focus is on telling the misery of an american tornado-prone village. Camera (most of the times the handheld one) is just an ‘eye’ here. You won’t see any filmschool techniques. No definitive storyline, plot etc. But it is stuffed enough to hit you hard. Just that one has stick to it and enter the shoes of the people living there.

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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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The Awakening of The Ants/2019/Costa Rica

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Antonella Sudasassi
Why FiC recommends?

1) Underneath the intimate complications of a purportedly perfect middle class family a quiet rebellious spirit is entrenched at the heart of The Awakening of The Ants, a subdued flame of insubordination is aching to exhort in Sudasassi’s enthusiastically evocative dissertation on machismo.
2) There’s always an impalpable collision between family obligations and personal exuberance with a quiet hankering to shatter the shackles of the responsibilities. Sudasassi’s minutely detailed domestic drama has a universe swelling with tensions, always keeps you at the edge of a nervous breakdown.

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Gates Of Heaven/1978/English

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Errol Morris

Why FiC recommends?
1) Documentary/Indie film on a pet cemetery may not sound appealing but Gates Of Heaven offers insight into the compassion humans feel for deceased animals, explores the meaning of life and death, and portrays fascinating characters throughout.
2) Werner Herzog dared to eat his shoe if the documentary was released in theaters. Later a short film was made of Herzog dining on his footwear titled “Werner Herzog Eats His Shoes”

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The Wild Goose Lake/2019/China

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Diao Yinan
Setting: Urban, Crime
Why FiC recommends?

1) There’s a delightfully elegant balance between Yinan’s style and substances, it assembles the genre tropes and piled up desperation and existential angst is constructed from the same fabric of a rapidly collapsing society
2) This hyper tensed manhunt is flooded with colours and super saturated mood sculptures give unavoidable kar-Wai vibes while retaining it’s originality in every possible ways.

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Decoder/1984/Gemran

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Muscha

Why FiC recommends?
Muscha’s Decoder is sort of Zeitgeist of the Berlin 1980s counterculture, a criminally under-seen masterpiece of German weirdness, before the Internet and cyber warfare shot

2)  It should be considered required watching for anyone who love Shinya Tsukamoto’s classic cyberpunks, Sogo Ishii’s Electric Dragon 80.000 V and films such as They Live, Vortex (1982) and Liquid Sky. The film is battered in 80s industrial/electronica culture by intense soundtrack from the likes of Einsturzende Neubauten, Soft Cell, The The, and Psychic Tv.

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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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Vampires in Havana (Vampiros en La Habana) /1985/ Spanish

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir:  Juan Padrón

Why FiC recommends?
1) Juan Padrón who passed away during the coronavirus pandemic, was more than a master, he was a pioneer in the field of animation in Latin America. Now that you are all on a streaming binge, you should seek out his work.
2) Fans of Ralp Bakshi, Michael Schaak (Felidae), Rene Laloux and 70’s euro horror will be entertained and amused as the plot is so fresh.

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The Art of Happiness (L’arte della felicità)/2013/Italian

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Alessandro Rak

Why FiC recommends?
1) A visionary animated film of deep play that is stylistically innovative and spiritually/philosophically rich in content.
2) The dream state of the movie allows for the animation to take on a fresh approach to convey the ideas.

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4:30/2005/ Mandarin

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Royston Tan
Setting: Urban

Why FiC recommends?
1) This is essential for those art films lovers and for the fans of Royston Tan it’s a much-watch.

2) 4:30 is an unexpectedly calm dreamlike film for its aesthetic that details the unlikely friendship / relationship between Zhang Xiao Wu, an eleven year old Chinese Boy, and his tenant Jung, a thirty-something Korean man.

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Only God Forgives/2013/English,Thai

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Nicolas Winding Refn

Why FiC recommends?
1) This film like a marriage between violence and color(neon) giving birth to hallucination. Each of these elements keep on trying to dominate over each other through the entire length.
2) Silence is used as solid screenplay tool to create an intentional void between scene expectation and scene delivery. Many complain that this film is pretentious; but nobody can deny the unique style it has got!

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