A Farsi vampire flick, a film entirely told in sign language, and an Arab (sort of) Western. This list for my favorites in 2015 is wilder than ever. For me, it’s a satisfying year.
Of course there are some disappointments, such as Liew Seng Tat’s The Man Who Saved The World, whose Flowers in The Pocket I greatly admired a few years ago. Great theme about superstition and immigration issue in Asia, but could’ve been better. Another case is Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, which the unbelievable production story is eclipsing the actual film.
The lack of Asian cinema is also somewhat disappointing, but at least several titles are better than none at all. These are including a local art house favorite, which won the 2015 FFI (Indonesian Film Festival) for best feature film, Siti, and a major comeback for Hou Hsiao-Hsien with The Assassin.
This year, I have noticed some trends. One that stood out is the choice of 1:1 ratio in Jauja and Mommy which is far from gimmicky and integrates to the story so well. Long shots used in Stations of the Cross and Victoria (which is an achievement on its own) also look amazing. Another trend is the increase of substantial female roles, from Burning Bush to Brooklyn. In addition, striking animations like Inside Out and Anomalisa aro among the major contenders. At last, tributes to classic cinemas, such as 70’s European exploitation ala Jess Franco or Radley Metzger (The Duke of Burgundy) or the 80’s Hollywood good VS evil action flicks (The Guest) also making the list.
Next year there will be a catching up to do, as some 2015 releases from some of my favorite auteurs like Guy Maddin, Andrew Haigh, Pablo Larrain, Miguel Gomes, and several others are only available to selected audiences at the moment, mainly festival goers and critics. Also several much praised titles like Son of Saul and Jafar Panahi’s Taxi are among my must watch list.
51 is a small number and there were a lot to choose. These titles, in no particular order, are deserving an honorable mention:
Human Capital, The (Paolo Virzi, Italy, 2013)
Sicario (Denis Villeneuve, USA, 2015)
Eastern Boys (Robin Campillo, France, 2013)
Following Diana (Kamilla Andini, Indonesia, 2015)
Ex Machina (Alex Garland, UK, 2015)
Treatment, The (Hans Herbots, Belgium, 2014)
Futuro Beach (Karim Ainouz, Brazil/Germany, 2014)
Tale of The Princess Kaguya, The (Isao Takahata, Japan, 2013)
Leviathan (Andrey Zvyagintsev, Russia, 2014)
Love (Gaspar Noé, France/Belgium, 2015)
For Some Inexplicable Reason (Gábor Reisz, Hungary, 2014)
Jack (Edward Berger, Germany, 2014)
Land Ho! (Aaron Katz & Martha Stephens, Iceland/USA, 2014)
Timbuktu (Abderrahmane Sissako, Mauritania/ France, 2014)
Voices, The (Marjane Satrapi, USA, 2014)
Floating Skyscrapers (Tomasz Wasilewski, Poland, 2013)
White God (Kornél Mundruczó, Hungary/Germany/Sweden, 2014)
Amy (Assif Kapadia, UK/USA, 2015)
Love Story Not (Yosep Anggi Noen, Indonesia, 2015)