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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Films Seen in 2012: Top Ten

This year, the top ten films, chosen from among the ones I liked best, have something in common. It is for the readers to find out. It has not happened consciously, that I can swear. Maybe it had to do with my dominant mood. Or, maybe, it was because of the films themselves being real treats for a hardened movie buff like me. Or, maybe, it was a bit of both. After having seen so many films year after year, it is not easy for one to be still charmed or impressed by a film like a kid discovers something new. Yet, all these films (and a few more, actually) have been able to make me feel like a kid. I laughed, I cried, I cheered, I chuckled, and did a whole lot more. I have grown fond of them, having simply been overjoyed at the innate goodness that lay in the heart of the protagonists; rediscovering humanity; reaffirming my faith in my fellow-mates; recharging my batteries; even reviving my oft-battered soul. I hope my readers will warm up to all of them, if they already haven't been lucky to see them, and share my madness and may they find all meaning in that very madness, in their own special way, and make themselves better attuned to life.

1) Le Gamin au vélo (The Kid with a Bike) (2011)

This French film directed by Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne actually has a an emotionally enriching tale but the beautiful treatment is what makes it stand out. It says so much without actually saying out loud. The acting, the music, and the cinematography had me rooting for the film, and its central protagonist.

2) The Artist (2011)
Toasted at the Oscars, this film is one of the rarest gems that celebrates cinema, of the silent black-and-white era, and, essentially, celebrates life. The storyline of the silent-era star having a sweet romance with a young aspirant is laced with brilliant humor and pathos. It has its brilliant set-pieces orchestrating the rich dramatic crests and troughs and the two lead players, and the dog, are sure to win our hearts

3) Hugo (2011)
This is an incredibly lavish yet irresistibly endearing historical-adventure-drama-film - and it is in 3D. Martin Scorsese has definitely a made a masterpiece yet again, aided as much by Brian Selznick's novel as by the latest 3D technology. The film is gorgeously delightful, and is helmed by the performances of Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christopher Lee, Jude Law, Emily Mortimer, Ray Winstone, and Sacha Baron Cohen.

4) Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
I was absolutely unprepared for the odd sweetness offered by this Wes Anderson film, which I saw near the fag end of the year. The story and the characters have a quaint, idyllic charm, and the eccentricities are so easy to relate to. More than the adult members of the cast, the usual prototypes used sparingly, it is the children - principally Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward - who steal the show. The production design, cinematography, and music are all top notch.

5) Life of Pi (2012)
A seemingly unfilmable novel, with a universally acclaimed philosophical premise, has been made into a visual masterpiece by And Lee and I do not have words to lavish praises on the end-result. It is simple yet profound; a breathtaking spectacle that offers a spiritual journey for every willing viewer.

6) Boy A (2007)
This 2007 British film was also chanced upon by me quite by chance. Andrew Garfield is a revelation in the title role. Peter Mullan is splendid as the rehabilitation worker showing empathy as well as dilemma. The premise is controversial, but the response generates introspection.

7) Biutiful (2010)
Javier Bardem could have been reason enough to find this film appealing. He is one of the best actors we have ever had, which he proves quite handsomely in this inspirational film directed by celebrated Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu. The film is beautiful, but heartwrenchingly so, much like life itself.

8) Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011)
I stayed awake all night to see this film. I could not sleep a wink after the film ended, as I was too emotionally charged by its sentiments. It addresses something too intense and gripping, and is dramatic to the core, but that does not take away anything from the film's underlying strength, and the celebration of innocence, even when it is maligned.

9) Beginners (2010)
Heady and heartfelt, serious and funny, emotionally loaded but never over-the-top, wisely bereft of maudlin hues, this is one of the most life-affirming films made in recent times. Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer are a treat to watch.

10) Cosmopolis (2012)
Coming from David Cronenberg, this film does not really shock us, but it makes us chuckle at the queer probity displayed by the maker with opulent confidence in his craft. The terrific theme deals with vacuous soullessness that threatens to plague us in an unthinkable manner, and few could have portrayed the wasted stance better than Robert Pattinson, surely my favorite.

The selection and ranking has been based on personal preference 
taking into account the 200+ films viewed - be it on the big screen or on video. 
Pics courtesy: Google Images 
[The year in brackets indicates the year of release and/or making] 


mehul said...

A cool selection yet again. But what about the Indian films? Didn't they leave as strong an impact on you this year? Please let me know.

Anindo Sen said...

Mehul, check my latest post.

Piyush said...

Much impressed by the selections, buddy! Keep up the good work.