The Wind That Shakes The Barley
Think Irish cinema, think Ken Loach. Amongst his movies the finest one is undoubtedly The Wind That Shakes The Barley. This film is a moving portrayal of Irish revolutionaries in their private, public, family and guerrilla lives all packed in one. This film highlights the dilemmas that are synonymous with the establishment of a new nation. That the film won the Palme d'Or at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival is just a reaffirmation of the movie's stature.
The Secret In Their Eyes
Juan Jose Campanella
“Choose your memories carefully. They are the only things that you end up with” keep haunting you, long after the lights come on. The film based on Eduardo Sacheri's novel La Pregunta de Sus Ojos (The Question In Their Eyes) was the 2009 Oscar winner in the foreign language category. The Argentine crime thriller is about love, memories and life, and how far one will go to keep or erase the three. Benjamin, the main character, searches for the answer to the question: “How does one live a life full of nothing?”
The Usual Suspects
Power-packed performances from the cast, especially from Kevin Spacey as Keyser Soze; memorable dialogues and superb screenplay ensure that the film is one of the highly rated suspense films of all times. Described by the director as ‘Double Indemnity' meets ‘Rashomon' the hunt for Keyser Soze leads to an unexpected end.
Steve R. McQueen
Hunger is a portrayal of the 1981 Irish hunger strike from the perspective of Bobby Sands. Sands was an IRA volunteer who initiated the strike and became the first to become a martyr. The realistic portrayal of the treatment of prisoners, especially of the IRA accused, will send shivers down your spine. Queen won the prestigious Caméra d'Or award for first-time filmmakers.
Yi Yi: A One and a Two
Yi Yi, a Taiwanese film, is about a dysfunctional Taiwanese family as seen through three generations, that combines superb acting (especially Jonathan Chang's), great script, amazing classical piano and cello music and an exacting direction. It tries to show how honesty, sincerity and innocence seemed to be so unappreciated in this world, but are often appreciated and find spaces in the unlikeliest of places and people. It won for Yang the Best Director award at Cannes 2000 and is also considered by Sight and Sound as one of the ten greatest films of the past twenty-five years (as of 2002).
Those that almost made it
The Rainmaker: Francis Ford Coppola
Casablanca: Michael Curtiz
Unforgiven: Clint Eastwood
Blackboards: Samira Makhmalbaf
No Man's Land: Danis Tanovic
Dances with Wolves: Kevin Costner
Nowhere in Africa: Caroline Link
Talk to Her: Pedro Almodovar
(L. Thanggoulien Khongsai holds a Masters in Development Studies from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. He lives in New Delhi.)