Lost in Translation

Sofia Coppola

Starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson, the film revolves around an aging actor and a young college graduate who develop a rapport after a chance meeting in a Tokyo hotel. They have brief encounters at the hotel bar and move out together to see a different world. They develop a special bond in the backdrop of culture shock, generation gap, ennui, and alienation in a shimmering Tokyo. The movie does not have a constantly developing plot or a steady storyline. Hilarious at times and melancholic at others, the film is highly recommended for those who can read the story between the lines.

Ikiru

Akira Kurosawa

Kanji Watanabe works in a public affairs office in Tokyo. He learns that he has cancer and only a few months’ time to live. He isn’t afraid of death but feels he actually has never lived a life worthwhile. A chance meeting with a female subordinate opens his life to youthful ways and he is resolute to achieve atleast one triumph before it’s too late. After crossing many bureaucratic hurdles, he turns a swampy mosquito-infested wasteland into a children’s park. His colleagues come to pay him homage and they vow to live their lives with the same dedication and passion as he did. Co-written and directed by the legendary Kurosawa, this film inspires its viewers to examine their lives and ikiru i.e. ‘to live’.

Come and See

Elem Klimov

This Russian film set in 1943 reflects one of the most shocking tragedies of WWII. The film deals with the Nazi occupation of Belarus and the annihilation of hundreds of villages. Florya, the young protagonist of the film is unwilling to believe that his family is dead. He searches for them and witnesses the horrors of war everywhere. The film is also remembered for a horrifying barn-burning scene. The film exhibits the brutality and atrocity of war.

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring

Kim Ki-duk

Shot entirely on a floating one-room Buddhist monastery surrounded only by hills in far away South Korea, this beautiful film is about the life of a Buddhist monk and his journey through the segments of his life represented by the seasons. Various events and incidents are part of the films’ layered structure and have symbolise cause-effect, purgation, redemption, and resurrection. The film may seem slow but at the same time it lets the viewer unfold his or her personal Zen experience.

400 Blows

Francois Truffaut

Considered by many to be one of the greatest French films ever made, 400 Blows is the story of a 12-year-old neglected and misunderstood boy in Paris who wants to run away as far as possible from his home, school, and streets. This directorial debut of Truffaut is, in fact, semi-autobiographical in nature. Adolescent Antoine Doinel finds some temporary relief at a juvenile observation centre where a psychiatrist probes his bitterness in a fragmented series of monologues. This film won Truffaut the Best Director Award at Cannes and became a masterpiece of the New Wave of cinema.

Those that almost made it:

Biutiful: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

Shawshabk Redemption: Frank Darabont

Baraka: Ron Fricke

Gandhi: Sir Richard Attenborough

Stalker: Andrei Tarkovsky

Nishant Mishra lives in New Delhi and works as a translator for the Government of India.

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My five…September 20, 2012