10 Films You May Have Missed on A-List

It’s the new year. 2016 is now here and I have been blogging for the past 11 years. Happy new year.

FOUR IN THE MORNING

The hour from night to day.
The hour from side to side.
The hour for those past thirty.

The hour swept clean to the crowing of cocks.
The hour when earth betrays us.
The hour when wind blows from extinguished stars.
The hour of and-what-if-nothing-remains-after-us.

The hollow hour.
Blank, empty.
The very pit of all other hours.

No one feels good at four in the morning.
If ants feel good at four in the morning
–three cheers for the ants. And let five o’clock come
if we’re to go on living.

– Wislawa Szymborska

I read somewhere that the body is weakest in between 3.00 a.m. and 4.00 a.m. and it is between this time that death while sleeping happens. But yes, if you can make it past 4.00 a.m. everynight, one still won’t feel very good but 5.00 a.m. is a good time to wake up.

Anyways, here is a list of the ten films that you may have missed which were shown on Astro’s A-List channel (Channel 456). This is not my top 10 films for 2015, just the 10 films that I thought you could have watched on that channel. My top ten is yet to come and some cannot be included here because of hold-backs etc. which prevented it from showing on other windows.

  1. TANGERINES (Zaza Urushadze)
  2. TOKYO FAMILY (Yoji Yamada)
  3. SOMBOON (Krissada Tipchaimeta)
  4. WINTER SLEEP (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
  5. HAN GONG-JU (Lee Su-jin)
  6. LEVIATHAN (Andrey Zvyagintsev)
  7. WILD TALES (Damian Szifron)
  8. NUOC (Minh Nguyen-Vo)
  9. AN (Naomi Kawase)
  10. TALES (Rakhshan Bani-Eternad)

Each one of this films is worth every minute of your time. All of them has a very strong story which is very well told in their own ways.

Watching them, one feels like having read a really good book and often, one feels transported into that world. It also leave a dent intellectually, challenging you to explore both your heart and your mind. Most important of all, these films asks what it means to live in the world now.

TANGERINES talks about war and its devastating effect on the livelihood of people but more than that, it also tells how two enemies can finally see eye to eye and found respect for each other under the roof of a small house with the watchful eye of a tangerine farmer.

TOKYO FAMILY is Yoji Yamada’s remake of Ozu’s TOKYO STORY, with family and filial piety at its core. There is a lot of resemblance especially in terms of composition but to compare the two directly is missing the point. You got to watch it yourself to know.

SOMBOON is a docu-feature which is a real story of how a man cared for his dying wife, day-in, day-out. You will see first hand the trial and tribulations, the emotional flare-ups and frustrations but at its core, you will see what it really means when you say ” I do”.

WINTER SLEEP is a long family drama, sort of. But is is really about searching for who you really are versus who you appear to be. The lead character is a confident, wealthy owner of a holiday resort but through a series of intense conversation with his young wife and family, we get to see who he really is, and also see him discover it himself.

HAN GONG-JU tells the story of a girl who is gang-raped, led by the son of a powerful official. Every moment after the event is a horrible reminder of that act. How does one even recover from such thing? Very well directed by a first time helmer and the acting is superb.

LEVIATHAN is set in a small town in Russia and how powerful people and corrupt officials can wreck people’s life. Greed and lust in broad daylight no thanks to a corrupt regime. And this applies to everywhere. Don’t we see it everyday where we live how corrupt officials destroys life?

WILD TALES is actually six short films with revenge tying them together. And it is electrifying! What an amazing film from start to finish. It is engaging and entertaining. This dark comedy examines the desire for human to take revenge and the law into their own hands but the final short gives a glimpse on what is really happening in the human heart.

NUOC is set in the future where climate change has devastated many places and turned land into sea and sea into land, thus destroying livelihood and all. But this film is more than just another cautionary tale of climate change. It is really about how climate changes the landscape but how the landscape of the heart cannot be changed, both love for each other and for the motherland.

AN is one of my favourites for the year. Heart-warming, well directed and acted. A superb film not really about dorayaki and its red bean paste but really about our misconception and prejudices and how people overcome these misconceptions and prejudices and go beyond the surface to really know a person and who he or she really is and what they live and fight for.

TALES is perhaps the best Persian film I watched this year. Like WILD TALES, it is made up of several short stories but the way it is connected is different. Each of the short stories is actually a continuation of the director’s previous feature length film, i.e. the characters and stories flows from these previous films but by itself they still makes sense. The common theme is the examination of relationships between people and this is very effectively done. This film got me glued to the screen for a long time.

Watch these films if you can.

I will probably write about the top 10 films I watched this year on all media, but I will focus on theatrical releases and right now I can tell you the number one film and it is IP MAN 3.

 

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “10 Films You May Have Missed on A-List

  1. Hi Ho —

    You programmed those films? Good for you! I’ve seen 5 of them — that’s not bad, right? And wow re your rating IP MAN 3 as your number one film of 2015; it’s not even my number Hong Kong film of 2015 — that honor goes, instead, to LITTLE BIG MASTER. :)

    • fallingstones

      Hi YTSL!

      Just a guess, you have seen numbers 1,2, 4,6 and 7? Yes, really good films these. IP MAN 3 ranks high because it is totally out of my expectations and transcends all the other IP MANs that came before. The way the story is told is really good too.

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