1) 3-Iron (Korean): Kim ki Duk's fixation with minimalism continues with this baap of all romance movies. The director takes a love story, rips it down to its barest essentials, sucks off all dialogue (between the main two leads, there is only one dialogue - the clichéd "I love you" at the very end), adds a touch or two of quiet, meditative humour here and there and manages to produce probably the greatest romance movie I've seen.
You don't know the meaning of 'shock and awe' until you've seen this film.
Since it is such a bloody brilliant film (it merits a place in the "Beyond AA" part of my list), let me post a picture.
2) Stardust Memories (English): A 1980 Woody Allen classic. With many scenes filched (as tribute? as parody?) directly from 8½, the usual staple of failed romances and Woody Allen's role as the famous film director more known for his "earlier, funny movies" (a running joke throughout the film), it is easily my favourite Allen movie beating even the impossible to beat Deconstructing Harry, Annie Hall and September.
Quite a feat!
3) Bad Guy (Korean): Hint 1: Kim ki Duk, Hint 2: Romance.
Another warped. twisted, demented love story as can be conceived only by Kim ki Duk. Seasoned, hardened veterans of the twisted/extreme cinema movement are also in for a shock by the climax.
Enough said. Go watch.
4) In the Mood for Love (Cantonese): For some great films, you use words like "brilliant", "powerful", "beautiful" etc. For some others you can use "kickass", "unbelievable" and "stunning". For some great cinema however, you're simply stumped for words. It is difficult to pinpoint the exact emotion that washes over you by the time the movie ends. Perhaps it is awe, perhaps it is an urge to kneel down and wonder what hit you.
Welcome to the cinema of Wang-Kar-wai!
I think his movies merit a separate post by themselves in which I rant, rave, kneel, worship and grovel at the fragmented, labile and madly, madly stylish romances of the Hong Kong auteur. So here I will stick to a short account of the awesomeness that this film is.
But first, a still.
Tony Leung (the Shahrukh Khan of Hong Kong) is brilliant. Maggie Cheung is a dream in a cheongsam. The last time (before In the mood...) I felt so moved after witnessing an overpowering more-than-your-mortal-ass-can-conceive-ness was when as a thirteen year old I read The Idiot and hated Dostoyevsky for the book's climax.
And I'd thought I was jaded! What a pleasant surprise!
And you know what the best part is? It is only a prelude to the final installment of the trilogy - 2046 which is even more brilliant than In the mood...
<*is exhausted after singing so many hosannas*>
2046 and others will be covered in the next installment.