2016 is already way into its second half and what a year it has been for Cinema – this could by far be one of the tightest Oscar races in years. A few sloppy sequels and silly reboots (Batman, Suicide Squad, Superman, X-Men – Sigh!) aside, the year has seen, among other achievements, a radical new spin of the biopic.
Creative Yatra has compiled a list of the Top 10 films from across World Cinema, released so far this year that you should see.
Director: Don Cheadle
Part honest biopic about a period of creative block for Davis (played by Don Cheadle), and part buddy adventure movie in which Davis and fictional journalist Dave Braden (Ewan McGregor) team up to chase down stolen session tapes through gun fights and car chases, “Miles Ahead” is a bold experiment that many dull Oscar bait biopics could learn a lesson from. And as a bonus, this is perhaps the only biopic ever to feature a major Hollywood-style car chase. “Miles Ahead” is a free-associative jazz riff on the life of legendary trumpeter Miles Davis.
Director: Sebastian Schipper
A nail-biting saga about a Spanish girl finding herself embroiled in a botched robbery in Berlin, Victoria manages to move from a European take on a Richard Linklater film into a high-octane crime drama. What is even more astounding is that it manages all this in one take, never cutting away from Victoria and the ragtag group of young Berliners she spends two and a half hours of friendship, romance, violence, and death with.
Son of Saul (Saul fia)
Director: László Nemes
Rewarding but relentlessly bleak, “Son of Saul” — winner of the Best Foreign Film award at the 2016 Oscars — follows Saul (Géza Röhrig), a Jew whose work is cleaning the gas chambers of Auschwitz. Often filmed over Saul’s shoulder, the film achieves an intimacy and sense of disorientation that more mannered Holocaust films, including “Schindler’s List” and “The Pianist,” failed to achieve.
When Marnie Was There (Omoide no Mānī)
Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi
This is a film that many think will be the last ever to be made by Studio Ghibli, the legendary production company behind “Spirited Away.” The story of a lonely girl who befriends Marnie, a mysterious girl who may be a ghost, “When Marnie Was There” is a film that creeps up on you, slowly accumulating details until the third act opens the tear floodgates.
Love and Friendship
Director: Whit Stillman
Whit Stillman brings Austen back to life with his hilarious romp through a lesser-known early work by the author. Starring Kate Beckinsale at her career-best as Lady Susan, a sarcastic, scandalous seductress, the film is a witty delight that will make you rethink Jane Austen and peas, which is the subject of the film’s funniest scene. Yes! You heard that right.
Heart of a Dog
Director: Laurie Anderson
It is a meditative film about the deaths of three central figures in Anderson’s life: her dog Lolabelle, her mother, and her husband Lou Reed. The saddest film ever to feature a dog playing the piano, “Heart of a Dog” is artist Laurie Anderson’s film debut. Featuring a soundtrack that is among Anderson’s best-spoken word work, and the artist’s views on everything from 9/11 to dog therapy, “Heart of a Dog” is a singular experience – one that stays with you long after you’ve watched the film.
Director: Jeremy Saulnier
A gory grind house film that can already call itself a “cult classic and peppered with industrial quantities of blood, gore, and shrapnel – this is one heady cocktail. Following a broke punk band that reluctantly plays at a neo-Nazi bar only to find themselves fighting for their lives when someone is found dead in their dressing room, the film plays fast and loose with every survival horror trope going with gorehound glee. All of that plus Patrick Price. Watch out!
The Assassin (Cìkè Niè Yǐnniáng)
Director: Hou Hsiao-Hsien
Although it has to be the slowest-paced film ever to be called “The Assassin,” the latest film by Hou Hsiao-Hsien is like a snow: so ethereal that its slow pace is irrelevant. The story of an assassin who is sent, as a punishment, to kill an official she had been engaged to, the film manages to breathe new life into the “every frame is a painting” cliché with its stunning set design and cinematography.
Embrace of the Serpent (El abrazo de la serpiente)
Director: Ciro Guerra
Although it lost to “Son of Saul” at the Oscars, “Embrace of the Serpent” manages to match its majesty. Director Ciro Guerra tells the entwined stories of two explorers in the Amazon. Shot in stark black and white and opening up a new strange visual of the Jungle – this one you should not miss.
Director: Joel and Ethan Coen
An all-star cast joins the Coen Brothers in returning to Capitol Pictures since their masterpiece “Barton Fink,” this time to tell a story that’s one part Busby Berkeley musical, one part “The Bad and the Beautiful,” and one part a McCarthyite fever dream: movie star Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) gets kidnapped by a mysterious group as supporting actors including Tilda Swinton, Scarlett Johansson and Josh Brolin look on.
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