Krzysztof Kieslowski’s early Amator (Camera Buff, 1979) is a satire about a man, Filip, who buys an 8 mm camera to film his soon-to-be-born son only to be drawn into the world of cinema. First demanded by his factory leaders, and soon by the national television, filming slowly starts to take over Filip’s life. Through the working class subjects Kieslowski addresses common dilemmas, such as family life versus personal passion, artistic versus commercial work, propaganda and censorship versus realistic documentary. As usual to Kieslowski’s films, there’s also poignant social critique, illustrating the absurdity of the communist society as well as...
Maliglutit is a Zacharias Kunuk’s remake of John Ford’s western The Searchers. Kunuk transfers the story of the three robbers and kidnapped women to the frozen plains of the Arctic and the Inuit culture. The hunter Kuanana returns from a long trip to his igloo, only to discover that is has been attacked by the raiders who have kidnapped his wife and daughter. He embarks on a fierce sled dog chase through the ice and snow trying to find the perpetrators. Set in 1913, the film is very authentic with multiple references to the Inuit life and traditions, enriched by...
Giuseppe Tornatore’s brilliant Nuevo Cinema Paradiso is an irresistible feat for a film lover. Toto, a young boy, lives in a small Italian town causing havoc wherever he ventures, despite the best educational efforts of his mother and the local priest. His only interest is the town’s sole attraction, Cinema Paradiso, where he spends all his spare time and money. He falls in love with the art and forms a deep connection with the people running the cinema. Nuevo Cinema Paradiso is a film about life in rural post-war Italy. It is about passionate film-lovers, adolescence, and life itself. →IMDb
Let the right one in (Låt den rätte komma in) by Alfred Moodysson a refreshingly different horror film. It tells a story about Oskar, an overlooked and bullied boy who lives with his mother. Things begin to change when a young, peculiar girl moves in the apartment next door. Moodysson depicts horror masterfully through the toned-down scenes of rural Sweden, making use of the mysterious winter of Scandinavia. →IMDb
A superb film by Italian director Paolo Sorrentino. The Consequences of Love tells an intriguing story about an isolated, introverted man whose life changes completely when he becomes acquainted with a young bar-maid. Toni Servillo is brilliant in the lead role. →IMDb
Another strong drama from directory Jacques Audiard. Dheepan is a Sri Lankan Tamil warrior who flees to France and ends up working as a caretaker outside Paris. →IMDb
Jacques Audiard’s prison drama about a young Arab man, Malik, who is sent to a prison in France. Malik is a small-scale offender, but quickly learns the rough reality of the life “inside” — and what it takes to stay alive. As months go by, the struggle for survival pulls Malik deeper and deeper into the web of organized crime. →IMDb
Vanessa Gould’s film about obituary writers is one of the best documentaries I’ve seen. It offers a glimpse into the daily lives of New York Times journalists — which is interesting on its own right — but it also discusses the existential questions that obit writers inevitably have to face: What is the trail that people leave behind, and how can one summarize it in, well, 500 words? →IMDb
Yorgos Lanthimos’ brilliant satire depicts a dystopian world where living in a heterosexual relationship is compulsory: Those failing to find a companion are sent to a rehabilitation center. The film criticises the modern world obsessed with relationships. It ridicules people who cannot imagine living alone, and the various rituals used to find an ideal mate. On the other hand, the stubborn love-deniers who insist on living independently also get their share. Expect dark humor. →IMDb
In 1985 Dallas, a local rodeo cowboy Ron Woodroof is diagnosed with AIDS. With no approved medication available, Ron finds his own way to buy drugs for himself, and eventually others. This small budget film is one of the most interesting Hollywood productions of the recent years. Although based on a true story, the script was allegedly rejected 27 times before being finally financed with the help of Matthew McConaughey. In most cases, the production companies wanted to clean up Ron’s sleazy, corrupted image, and present him more as a philanthropist. In the end, however, it is precisely Ron’s dirty,...