10. Anomalisa – “What is it to be human? What is it to ache?” -The return of Charlie Kauffman. Here is Frank L on it in March.
“Kaufman sees the world from a unique angle and with the use of these doll-sized figures, he delves deep into the psyche of a “successful” man and his not so successful relationship with the rest of the world. The use of animation illustrates magnificently the inner solitude of Michael Stone’s existence. Johnson and Kaufman have directed this story with a simplicity that allows emotions to bubble up. Lisa and Michael Stone in their animated existence portray far more about the human condition than many human beings in reality seem capable…an extraordinary achievement by Johnson and Kaufman.”
9. Mustang – The directorial debut of one Deniz Gamze Ergüven. A Turkish Virgin Suicides with a slant. Here is Frank L on it in May.
“Arranged marriages from a Western perspective seem an extraordinary denial of civil liberties but it is well to remember that varying degrees of such a system operated undisturbed in most societies until relatively recent times. Mustang shows it in operation in what outwardly appears to be a modern society. Mustang is however a gentle film with Ergüven skilfully allowing us to enter the world of the sisters. It’s an impressive and worthwhile debut and is to be enjoyed.”
8. The Daughter – Based on the Henrik Ibsen’s play “The Wild Duck” this is an Australian tale of a young woman finding her place in the world.
“While the story is set in New South Wales, it could take place anywhere, where economic pressures are altering the social certainties built up over time. The cast is well balanced and they seamlessly interact together to create the pressure cooker of emotions which gradually intensify. In particular Odessa Young has a difficult and very large part to play as Hedvig which she executes with a remarkable polish for one so young, apparently a mere 17 years of age at the time of shooting. It is beautifully shot with a musical score which assists. In short this is a well-crafted film which is a pleasure to watch.”
7. Viva – Directed by Paddy Breathnach and written by Mark O’Halloran, this is the story of a Cuban life, with a difference. Here is Fran on Viva in August.
“This is tragically beautiful. It is a difficult subject mater dealing with not only the father/son relationship but also homophobia and the issues faced by young gay men but it never feels sorry for itself. It has a dignity and charm that dilutes the seedier moments and really keeps you engaged.
Deeply affecting, this will stick with you long after the credits roll and it is a beautiful piece of work that is truly deserving of all the praise that has been heaped on it.”
6. Our Little Sister – Plunge yourself into this wonderful Japanese sisterhood!
“It is a film that blows the Bechdel test out of the water, with a mainly female cast. It is a rare sight on screen and it should be celebrated for this alone. The slow pace of the plot may leave some uneasy in their seat, and it is certainly not aimed at the more bitter amongst us. It could easily be described as ‘heart warming’ which will send some running for the hills but it is never overly sentimental. As a depiction of life in Japan, it give a flavour of an unknown land and shows that their problems are similar to our own.”