apparently, quite a number of people asked me over emails and YM about what i should recommend to watch during jiffest.
all i can say is, up to you, since it’s your call. i know it’s not a satisfying answer, but then, i didn’t watch that many films as listed on jiffest’s schedule, but from what i saw, here goes:
any killer combination of christopher doyle’s lush cinematography and WKW’s deft direction in depicting stylish ’60s is always worth watching on a big screen. watch out how zhang ziyi rises above all other regular staples of WKW.
think of a love story with memento style. of course it’s nothing new, the story of break-up, make-up, infidelity has been told many times, yet what saddens me is, despite the unusual way of telling the story makes the film compelling to watch, the film falls short compared to other more intriguing francois ozon’s works. after his swimming pool, i expect something more, not a somber work like this.
- Beautiful Boxer
i’ve been quite familar with the director’s (ekachai uekrongtam) works on theater, particularly autumn tom yam which still gives me a pleasant memory to date. yet, being brought up on stage, it may be difficult for him to translate a supposedly touching screenplay to a silver screen, as what we finally see on the big screen is mere glamorized treatment of a true story.
- Buongiorno, Notte
for some, the film might change their perception towards terrorists. for me, it is interesting to see opressed italians featured in a film, as opposed to the miscommon perception of all-italians-carefree. and the heavy atmosphere of cold 70s gives the film a chilling look, that by the end of the film, we will long for more.
- Since Otar Left
hold your patience, i know the pace is moderately slow. but one particular scene involving a grandmother searching for her granddaughter in which the camera zooms in very closely (and intimately) to reveal every single line of the grandma’s expression, is worth the admission alone.
like it or not, hitler is a human being after all, with all his ups and downs, his stuttered hands, his tender care towards the people and things that he adores, and he is simply a man trying to regain his dignity.
- Far Side of the Moon
refer to my blog entries on SIFFest earlier this year, the film highlighted the fest’s journey, and it received a warm applause from the typical cold audience here. it didn’t take a genius to find out why, for the genius on this film himself has proved his ability to transform his one-man play into a world of dreams and illusions, while he is trying to cope with the harshness of the real world. oh, he does all that while he juggles playing both main characters, directing, and writing the script!
watch at your own risk! saw the film at BKIFF this year, i was blown away with the film’s fast-paced editing and loud rock music on the background. yet, as i thought it over, the film’s many plotholes are hard to escape from our notion.
if you miss it this time, then you’ll miss the experience of being transported to the world of child-like innocence that, admit it, has been long gone from our emotional minds. the most touching film of the year, simply said.
- The Motorcycle Diaries
i remember watching this film with my friend, zefri, and we ended up praising the film while commenting on one particular scene where the film goes black-and-white, and montages of pictures are shown on the screen. both of us disliked, not to the extent of ‘hate’ though, the scene, yet we couldn’t think of any better ways to resolve the problem. it’s there, we don’t like it, yet it doesn’t disrupt the film in general.
- The Return
one of the best foreign language films ever nominated in Academy Awards, the film marvels on its no-holds-barred view on adolescence. the bleak look supports the story well, and the film’s shocking ending is not prolonged to become sappy. in other words: a satisfying experience.
- The Saddest Music in The World
if you are into playful, absurd black comedy, then you’re in for a treat. what drew me to the film was seeing isabella rossellini as a legless diva, and seeing how my favorite author, kazuo ishiguro, pens a film and having it translated on the big screen. seems that kazuo was very much in the mood of the unconsoled rather than when we were orphans, thus explains the absurdity. i’ll just put the film as something to watch at your own risk.
- The Sea Inside
javier bardem is one reliable actor who dares to venture into many territories of acting skills, and alejandro almenabar is one terrific director whose sensitive penchant over dramatic stories is applaudable. together, they make the sweeping look of the main character’s dream looks breathtakingly gorgeous on the screen, and if you are not moved by this, you may have your heart checked, it may be stopped.
- Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter … and Spring Again
i don’t care if you accuse me for spoiling the story, but the title can be taken literally, and at the same time, it also refers to the circle of life on one human being. see? that ain’t much to spoil!
and if you’re already used to watching any kim ki duk’s films, you may understand that not many words are spoken among the characters, and perhaps kim is one of the rare directors who understands the narrative quality of still pictures. thus, we all are in for a treat.
- The Weather Underground
best seen by historians, students of political science, and many aspiring protestors, all of whom might be inspired from this oscar-nominated documentary.
how boredom, oppressed feelings and static routine of life can be hilarious and funny, that’s beyond our common understanding. thus, making the film a pleasant to watch.
i’ve got a sense that the film may provoke a certain reaction (i won’t tell what it is) among many religious-based organizations. but i plea, watch the film with open-mindedness, and do not get over-reacted towards the film’s many counter-attack scenes. that’s all.
there, i’ve said my piece, and i applaud jiffest for having such a fabulous premise to look forward to.
have a film-fest season, everyone!