Film in Cards

Kingyo/2009/Japanese

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Edmund Yeo

Setting: urban
Why FiC recommends?

1) A jugglery over the form of narrative and screenplay, perhaps the most inventive use of split screen to delineate both separation and continuation of life, the story has a little to offer but the artistic wizardry is boundless.
2) Memory, nostalgia and aching melancholy works in harmony and immerse you inside this pristinely delicate slice of life, Kingyo is transcendence in action.

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Ankhon Dekhi/2013/Hindi

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Rajat Kapoor
Setting: Rural/Town

Why FiC recommends?
1) This movie is a life lesson told very beautifully and effectively. A poetic, philosophical, whimsical in narration yet not preachy! This is an amazing piece of work.
2) The protagonist (a common man) develops himself a theory of ‘believing only what he can see with his eyes’. He takes it very seriously and sticks to it. It may sound funny- but watch the movie- it isn’t!

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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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Dhobi Ghat/2010/Hindi

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Kiran Rao
Setting: Urban

Why FiC recommends?
1) When it comes to Indian Cinema, not to exaggerate, Mumbai (Bombay, previously) itself serves as a genre! Even a fairly decent story when coupled with Mumbai as the setting, it becomes something special. Dhobi Ghat isn’t an exception.
2) Film carries four characters with different background and all of them trying to find themselves in the city of dreams.

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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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Mute Fire/2019/Colombian

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Federico Atehortua Arteaga

Setting: Political
Why FiC recommends?

1) A mixture of personal trauma and Colombia’s traumatic reality, it digs the history of cinema’s origin in Colombia to fraternise with it’s ever turbulent political scenario and contains the subdued flame thriving inside Colombia’s soul.
2) This kaleidoscopic ride through images, archived and personal footages epitomise Colombia in a nutshell and this can actually change your perception of truth forever rewarding you with an epiphanic silence.

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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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The Man From Nowhere/2010/Korean

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Jeong-beom Lee
Setting: Urban

Why FiC recommends?
1) A highly stylized and fast paced action revenge movie with a strong emotional connect.
2) The outstanding hand to hand combat scenes which culminates in one of the best knife fights ever put on screen.

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Moothon/2019/Malayalam

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Geetu Mohandas

Why FiC recommends?
Moothon (The Elder One) serves its social purpose in the Indian society and beyond like no other. 10 minutes into this movie you start worrying about the little kid in the film, and two hours later you realize it hasn’t let up one bit in intensity.

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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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Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota/2018/Hindi

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Vasan Bala
Setting: Urban

Why FiC recommends?
1) It’s a laughter-capsule cinema. From the very beginning you’ll understand it’s going to be a fun ride.
2) The cliches here are intentional, powerful and when watched carefully we learn that writer/director is trying to address lot more than what it looks like on the surface.
Note: The title in English: ‘The Man who Feels No Pain’

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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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Gambling, Gods and LSD (2002)

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Peter Mettler

Why FiC recommends?
1) A three-hour experimental documentary trip around the world in search of transcendence in all its facets.It’s portrayed in such a way i don’t feel like I’m being sold anything or the story being too self-indulgent.

2) For the fans of Chris Marker, Herz Frank, Kenneth Anger, Frans Zwartjes, and Godfrey Reggio’s Koyaanisqatsi you will not be disappointed.

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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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Possible Worlds (2000)

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Robert Lepage

Why FiC recommends?
1) This one’s an example of ingenious film-making that inscribe brains over spectacle with some captivating and strong performances.

2) A must see for the artistic value to this unique Sci-fi that uses the visual narrative and some mind-bending cinematography.

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Arrebato (1979)

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Iván Zulueta

Why FiC recommends?

A visionary junkie in the super 8 era, narrated as an epistolary story by Lovecraft, i could say that it is like a Spanish David Lynch, while plot development and twists predate Cronenberg’s VIDEODROME

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Viva La Muerte (1971)

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Fernando Arrabal

Why FiC recommends?
1) The story paints a surreal portrait of the Spanish Civil war criticizing the brutality of Catholicism, with a strong oedipal undertone, enormously violent and erotic scenes accompanied by macabre visuals.
2) I can say it’s one of the most powerful cinematic milestone, Not something I’d recommend for entertainment.

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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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