Thursday, January 1, 2009

Top 10 Films SEEN In 2008 (2 of 2 parts)

Sansho the Bailiff (Kenji Mizoguchi)

This is yet another masterpiece from one of the masters of Japanese cinema, Kenji Mizoguchi. This emotionally heartwrenching tale of a family of a kind Japanese governor whose liberal policies have forced him out of power and tore his family apart is beautifully told through wonderful photography, acting and direction. It's one of the absolute must-sees of world cinema. Odd fact: The title character of this film is actually a supporting character with less than 10 minutes of screen time. (8/2)

Himala (Ishmael Bernal)

This is one of the major classics of Filipino cinema and now I know why. This is probably one of the best films about religion I have ever seen (And I'm not just saying this because I know the screenwriter personally). After a solar eclipse is seen in a drought-striken poor, rural Filipino town, a young woman claims to have witnessed a vision of the Virgin Mary and starts faith-healing and her alleged success is what turns the town into an overnight tourist attraction and media frenzy. Great performances, striking imagery and thought-provoking themes make this film truly one of director Bernal's masterpieces. Very Bunuelesque in certain aspects. It was recently voted as the BEST film of the Asia-Pacific region. (8/8)

WALL-E (Andrew Stanton)

PIXAR has done it yet again. This is further proof that it is above and beyond any animation studio in Hollywood today. Though the main characters are robots, this is probably one of the sweetest, most touching and most moving love stories ever captured on film. Add to that plenty of laughs, eye-popping visuals and thought-provoking anti-consumerist satire and the result is one of the best films of 2008, certainly the best 2008 film I've seen so far this year. (8/16)

Shoeshine (Vittorio DeSica)

Regarded as one of the greatest films in the Italian neo-realist movement and with good reason: It's a great film. It's an absolutely heartbreaking sad tale of two boys during post-war Italy whose friendship and lives are changed forever and definitely not for the better. I would rank this alongside Bicycle Thieves as among De Sica's masterpieces. (10/26)

Playtime (Jacques Tati)
The last film I've seen in the year 2008. And it's shaping up to be one of my all-time favorites. This film is partly a satire on the absurdity and complications of modern life, a cautionary tale on big corporations making the world a less real, dull place and part slapstick comedy. All brilliantly depicted through some truly bravura filmmaking. It's sweet, intelligent, funny, the kind of film that makes you love life. What a way to end the year. (12/31)


Prometheus Brown said...

I saw Himala for the first time this year, too. Then again, 3 more times. Agreed - a remarkable film, not just for Philippine cinema but worldwide.

Morticia said...

Shoeshine is so wonderful. Italian film is majorly under-rated I think

Goel said...

Wall E is a nice story. Its a great animation movie made by Pixar. The visual effects are superb and though the characters are robots but they prove to be better than humans.
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