Something I’ve been thinking of writing for a while now, and although I could be found saying that almost all the time, I really mean it. Somehow saw it as very vital to my position, maybe proving a point to people who wouldn’t read me anyway? All the same, it’s a conscious compilation as opposed to a bias-driven ride, and I’m not putting this in any particular order because I simply can’t classify. I’m not a critic – I’m a human being with a half a brain, but one that works.
• 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS, 2 DAYS (2007) – Directed by Cristian Mungu, a shout to the world from a less-known Romanian, this could probably be the most horrific film I’ve ever seen. Horrific because it’s matter-of-fact, it’s tragedy that’s not shown to be so, because it’s real. One of those films that are imperative in the sense that they compulsorily would have had to happen to contemporary cinema, so as to shift perception from incurable narrow-mindedness to any ‘vision’ of sorts.
• AUF DER ANDERDEN SEITE (2007) – Director Fatih Akin knows enough of good English to call this film ‘The Edge of Heaven’ and rightly so. Finding screens in what could be the magic year of international cinema in recent times (with further additions being the frosty ‘Paranoid Park’ by Gus Van Sant and ‘The Flight of the Red Balloon’ by Hsiao-Hsien Hou), this strong force of feminism comes from one who shocked me with his blatant previous venture ‘Gegen Die Wand’ (‘Head On’, in English). Hard-hitting and unceremoniously honest, ‘The Edge of Heaven’ would remain a contemporary classic in any heart of true spirit.
ONCE (2007) – Made by John Carney, almost conveying the real life stories of ‘The Swell Season’ frontman Glen Hansard and his female equal Marketa Irglova, ‘Once’ explores that kind of a relationship that no one has exploited to any level of justice before: That of unconditional love and a friendliness that’s past physicality. Startling with its emotional purity, ‘Once’ also offers possibly one of the most heartwarming soundtracks of recent times, including the evergreen ‘When your mind’s made up’ and the prized ‘Falling Slowly’.
• MEMENTO (2000) – Christopher Nolan would be hard to miss by any contemporary film enthusiast, given that he entered to revolutionize the art of thinking in itself, let alone configuring a film to popular appreciation (although he subsequently did go on to do just that). But all the same, ‘Memento’ would remain unmatched as the pioneer of sequencing, where the man observed that no story remains the same when you’re done dissecting it (I leave the succinct terms to the people who know of them).
• MULHOLLAND DRIVE (2001) – I honestly had to debate the addition of David Lynch to a list of small timers who just recently have been making themselves big while Lynch has a reputation to himself. Still, I realized that I can’t have a weird movie better than ‘Mulholland Drive’ in this list, beating competitors like the unbelievably emotional ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ (2006) by Guillermo Del Toro (another find who can’t be missed) or the outstandingly animated ‘Coraline’ (2009) which more or less follows the former. Credited for hard-hitting performances (Naomi Watts, Laura Harring) and directorial brilliance in the exact amount, it thus gets its place.
• THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY (2006) – A retrace after digressing into less serious ventures, this stunner by master director Kenneth Loach takes an overtly leftist tone that has long eluded viewer eyes, probably after Emir Kusturica’s unforgettable ‘Underground’ (1995). Of course, there’s the case of the where one could find the spirit in the first place, but then again, through burning eyes and contempt that boils one’s blood, matched by the subtlety in storytelling of as old a warhorse as Mr. Loach, ‘The Wind that shakes the Barley’ would be my stunner of the decade.