Monday, January 28, 2008

Drops of red tinged oil

Follow the trail. Where there is black oozing liquid, there will surely be blood. The blood may not be clearly visible on the surface but it will exist as a fusion of dried up blood molecules mixed and mated with the sands of time.

After all, in the last 90 years or so, oil has been the center of major battles and regime changes. The mad rush started just before World War I with the discovery of oil in the Middle East and the growing need of the Western World on oil to power their naval ships and war planes. Border lines were drawn and secret deals were made with nations to get their oil supplies. The need for oil started shifting certain political attitudes and even started influencing foreign policies.

In WWII, it was the need for oil that changed the fate of Japan and Germany. After Japan's oil supply was cut-off in the pacific, they attacked Pearl Harbor and as a result drew the Americans into the war, forever changing the course of the battle. Germany's downfall was partly fueled by Hitler's decision to break his pact with the Soviets and go after their oil fields. A wasted battle with the Soviets depleted the German troops and aided in the Allies marching towards victory.

After WWII, oil was once again center as the Cold War starting dividing the global map into strategic assets. The assets had to be protected at all costs, even if that meant regime changes. A moderate ruler would be replaced by a dictator or a dictator had to be thrown out in favour of Western friendly leaders. The political power of oil was truly exemplified when the oil supplies were turned off by OPEC in 1973. Anger and Panic surely led to some drastic plans drawn up to ensure that the World would never again be at the mercy of a few nations. We may be seeing the consequences of those decisions in current times.

When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979, it was the panic of seeing the Soviets having access to oil supplies that led to a CIA backed campaign to drive the Soviets out. And it was oil that led to the invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and the subsequent Gulf war. In fact, if it were not for oil, then Kuwait might not have existed in the first place. But it is interesting that Iraq invaded Kuwait not only to annex the oil wells but also as a form of revenge against what a Northern Kuwaiti oil well was doing. Apparently, lateral drilling techniques at the Northern Kuwaiti well were leading to oil getting sucked from Iraqi wells and filling the coffers of Kuwaiti money. This technique of 'drainage' would be most familiar to Daniel Plainview, the main character in Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will be blood. In the movie, Daniel himself engages in sucking oil out of neighbouring lands, without their permission or knowledge ofcourse.

And in the year 2008, oil is once again a cause of debate regarding wars, invasions and even future national deals. Given that the world firmly depends on oil (unless one drives a car in Brazil), the timing of There Will be Blood could not be more appropriate.

There Will be Blood is about the greed that exists in man as he lusts after oil. But Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) did not start out going after oil. His initial object of desire was gold as that was the precious resource in 1898. Two years later, he moves onto oil.

Discover, Create, Produce & Consume:

How does a natural resource become valuable? When someone is able to create and mass produce a use for the resource. Otherwise, the resource would lie tucked away beneath the earth without anyone bothering to dig it up. If a resource has no value, then people like Daniel Plainview would not risk their life in order to get the precious resource.

Watching the action:

We hear no dialogue in probably the opening 15 minutes or so of There Will be Blood. We don't really need to. Just by observing Daniel, we know what kind of person he is. And when we do hear his first on-screen words, they are powerfully arresting. These are the kinds of words that can sway and lure people into a false sense of security. Daniel's measured words provide confident leadership and hide his evil intentions. Isn't that what all great leaders do? Mask away their real intentions with silky words? Well Daniel is a very good talker. When he talks, you can be sure people will listen. And if people do not want to listen to him, then he simply walks away as he does not have time to waste.

If the film had ended after 75-80 minutes, I would have applauded this as a masterpiece. But the film goes on for another 75 minutes. We are given enough information in the first 80 minutes to know everything about Daniel, his relationship with his son, the true nature of the religious man (Eli played by Paul Dano) and all the deals/handshakes/compromises that have to be made in order to be successful in the oil business. The final hour just spoon feeds examples for people who did not get that Daniel is pure evil or that Eli is not the true prophet that he is. The last hour shows that money is superior to religion and can truly bend people. But we already knew that very early on in the film.

Acting wise, Daniel Day-Lewis has given an amazing performance. Pure genius on his part! Then there is the haunting background score which alerts us of impending danger, which causes us to get restless and uneasy at the evil that lurks in men's hearts. The music and Daniel's voice still linger in my head, almost 4 days after seeing the movie. And I believe, they will stay with me for a very long time.

Rating: 8.5/10

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Euro 2008 Film Festival: Group A, Czech Republic

Film Festival Rules & Guidelines

Film selected (Year, Director): Zelary (2003, Ondrej Trojan)
Rating: 7.5/10
Rules compliance: All rules met

Relevance to Soccer: Trust and understanding

Imagine the scene. A soccer player plays a ball into open space. But no player runs onto the pass and the ball rolls harmlessly wide. The fans laugh at the player who played the ball. As the tv camera focuses on the player, we see either a bemused or an angry look on his face. He played the ball into an empty space excepting his team-mate to run onto it. But the team-mate was not on the same wavelength. The tv commentators inform their viewers that this failed pass was due to a lack of understanding between the two soccer players, because the player's team-mate is a new addition to the team and did not have enough time to settle down. Eventually, when the new soccer player settles down, he will be better able to anticipate his team-mate's passes and make the appropriate runs. Well, atleast that is the idea. While some players settle in with no problems at their new teams, there are some players who never really adapt to their new team and understand how the team plays.

The core of the World War II Czech film Zelary involves understanding between two strangers. Eliska is member of the Czech resistance and seeks to help out her members with a mission.

But things go wrong and she ends up on the Gestapo's list. She has no choice but to leave Prague. The head of the resistance decides to send Eliska with Joza to a small isolated village (Zelary) in order to save her.

Initially, Eliska detests Joza and cannot stand him and his habits. The two eventually come to understand each other and realize the importance of having the other in their lives.

Even though the story is very predictable, there are some beautiful visuals which capture the countryside perfectly. While watching the vast empty spaces, all I kept thinking was that a soccer ball would look great in the background. But alas, World War II was no time for soccer.

Euro 2008 Film Festival: Group B, Croatia

Film Festival Rules & Guidelines

Film selected (Year, Director): Sorry for Kung Fu (2004, Ognjen Svilicic)
Rating: 7/10
Rules compliance: All rules met

Relevance to Soccer: Immigration & Citizenship regarding national teams

A boy is born in Rio. Growing up, he plays plenty of soccer just like all the other kids around him. But the young boy does not make much impact in a nation packed with too many talented players. As a 16 year old, the young kid travels to play football in Croatia. He joins one of the country's biggest clubs in Dinamo Zagreb, but once again he does not impress as much. He is loaned out to a small team for whom he starts scoring goals. Finally, someone is impressed! Dinamo recall him and give him another chance. The rest they say is history. He becomes the club's top goal scorer and is even given citizenship to represent his new home, Croatia. Once again, the goals start flowing and his 10 goals help Croatia qualify for Euro 2008. In the meantime, he gets transferred from Zagreb to Arsenal in the summer of 2007. This is the story of Eduardo Da Silva, the Croatian-Brazilian who is certainly one of the sharpest goal-scorers in Europe at a young age of 24.

But what if Eduardo had not left Brazil? He certainly would not have gotten a chance and his career would have been over even before it could have started. Is there anything wrong in Eduardo representing Croatia? No! One of the reasons people emigrate is to find better employment. At the end of the day, professional soccer is just another job even though it pays a lot more than jobs most soccer fans hold. But when it comes to soccer, there are some very ignorant attitudes regarding immigration and citizenship. Certain factions in soccer want a 'pure' representation, meaning people only born within a country should represent their nation and that no immigrants can play for their new country, even though the soccer players have gotten a valid citizenship. FIFA president Sepp Blatter is one such person who wants this so called 'pure' practice. But Blatter would not want to stop at the national level. He even advocates that European soccer clubs implement a quota system to limit the number of foreign players that can play for a local club. The argument for having a quota limit at the club level is that this would help promote local talent. Even though there is no evidence so far that foreign players are hampering the development of local talent. Still, these backward thoughts of quotas and pure representation continue in 2008, at a time when global movement of people is much more common.

I really wonder what people like Sepp Blatter would make of the Croatian boy in Sorry for Kung Fu. Because even though the boy is born in Croatia, he is not of Croatian blood. Is that enough to single him out? Unfortunately, that is what most of the local people in the movie do.

At the film's start, Mirjana returns back home to Crotia from Germany.

Even though she had problems with her parents when she left, they cautiously accept her back. Until she tells her father that she is pregnant. The fact that she is not married and pregnant is a matter of shame for Mirjana's father. Eventually, he comes to accept his daughter's decision and since the father believes the son will be of Croatian blood, he is willing to accept the child provided the baby can have a father. When the son is born, the rest of the family do not let the father see the baby fearing that he will not be able to handle the shock. But news of the baby's features spreads through the town and racial jibes follow. Mirjana has no choice but to leave town with her young baby.

I cannot help wonder if Mirjana's son grows up to play football and one day becomes a good player, will all the people accept him?

Will people like Sepp Blatter come out with a statement along the lines of that only people whose blood lineage runs all the way back to a nation's history should represent that nation in soccer games? I hope not. At the end of the day, soccer teams should pick the best players, no matter where they come from.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


The death of Heath Ledger is indeed a shock -- NY Times , Guardian, David Thomson's blog.

It will be strange to see his Joker role in the new Batman movie. I suppose the strangeness might be along the lines of seeing The Crow after Brandon Lee had died before the movie came out in 1994.

Euro 2008 Film Festival: Group B, Germany

Film Festival Rules & Guidelines

Film selected (Year, Director): Goodbye Lenin (2003, Wolfgang Becker)
Rating: 8.5/10
Rules compliance: All rules met

Relevance to Soccer: Unity through soccer.

Euro 1992 -- Reunification of Germany, teamwork of Denmark, collapse of Yugoslavia and the Soviet union

When the Berlin wall came down, my first reaction was not a political one but a soccer related thought -- I felt that German football would rule the world for years to come! Even though the West German soccer team was much superior than the East German team, East Germany had a string of quality soccer players. So I thought a unified German team would mean that these East German players would play for the new unified team and help strengthen an existing strong West German core. Well any such thoughts were dismissed when the new unified German team struggled in the opening stages of the Euro 1992 tournament. In their first game, Germany struggled against the tactics of an efficient Commonwealth of Independent States (C.I.S, former Soviet Union) team and were spared blushes when a last minute free kick from Thomas Hassler earned them a 1-1 tie. Germany then went onto beat Scotland 2-0 before getting thrashed by their bitter rivals Holland 3-1. A 3-2 win over Sweden earned the Germans a place in the finals, where they were outsmarted 2-0 by the smooth fast flowing football of the Danish team.

Euro 1992 was an interesting tournament in terms of unification and collapse of nations. With 2 weeks to go before the tournament, the Yugoslav team was kicked out due to the Balkan war which resulted in the nation's collapse. The Balkan crisis ensured the permanent disappearance of one of Europe's strongest soccer teams in Yugoslavia. I still feel if there was no conflict in the Balkans, Yugoslavia would have won Euro 1992. On the other hand, a unified German team was stronger on paper with the East German additions of Matthias Sammer, Thomas Doll and Andreas Thom but failed to combine together on the field.

Then there was the Commonwealth of Independent States (C.I.S). With the collapse of the Soviet Union, a mixture of former Soviet republics was allowed to field a team. C.I.S started off brightly against Germany before settling for a 1-1 tie. A gritty 0-0 tie with the holders Holland followed before C.I.S were firmly dispatched 3-0 by Scotland and finished bottom of their group. Note: this tournament was also a time when a win was only worth 2 points, as opposed to the three that are currently awarded.

Denmark, who were the runners up to Yugoslavia in the qualifying stages, were invited to take the place of Yugoslavia and made the most of their invitation -- a quickly thrown together Danish team beat Platini's French team 2-1 (France were another pre-tournament favorite) and went onto knock out the Euro 1988 holders Holland on penalties in the semi's before unlocking Germany 2-0 in a historic final. There was only one real superstar in the Danish team, Brian Laudrup, one half of the talented Laudrup brothers (Michael did not play for Denmark due to differences with the coach). The Danish goal-keeper Peter Schmeichel was still not a household name even though he got a transfer to Manchester United in 1991. Euro 1992 truly established Schmeichel
as one of the best goal-keepers in the World and he went onto have a very successful spell with Manchester United with whom he spent 8 years and won plenty of titles.

1990 World Cup -- the final appearance of West Germany

After finishing up as runners-up in the 1982 World Cup (3-1 loss to Italy) and the 1986 World Cup (3-2 defeat to Argentina), West Germany finally won their 3rd World Cup with a lucky 1-0 win over Argentina. A weakened Argentine team were cruelly denied a penalty by the Mexican referee Edgardo Codesal and a few minutes later, the referee gave West Germany a non-existent penalty in the 85th minute. Andreas Brehme placed his spot-kick beyond the reaches of the Argentine goal-keeper Sergio Goycochea to send West Germans into a delightful frenzy.

Revisiting 1990 via a film

Well I always thought that only West Germany celebrated the 1990 World Cup win. Little did I know. Even though German unification (or reunification) did not take place until October 1990, the humorous German film Goodbye Lenin shows how some East Germans celebrated the 1990 World Cup win on July 8. The main character in the film, Alex, notes that soccer truly helped speed up the unification of the two neighboring nations.

The film starts off just before the collapse of the Berlin wall. In the few months after the wall came down, changes happened in East Germany overnight. For example, all the former communist food items disappeared from the shelves and a new wave of Western goods started becoming available. Alex gets a job with a satellite company that tries to hook up as many Eastern homes as possible. The company's policy is to pair an East German employee with a West German to help speed up understanding between the two nations. And satellite sales are certainly boosted because of the new found interest among East Germans to watch West Germany in the World Cup.

For me, the biggest surprize was to find that Goodbye Lenin featured so many scenes regarding the 1990 soccer tournament. 1990 was also the first ever soccer tournament I saw and I remember all the games.

In the following picture, Lothar Matthäus is about to take his penalty against Czechoslovakia in the quarter-finals.

He celebrates his goal which was enough for a 1-0 win and a meeting in the semi-finals with rivals England.

The following are scenes regarding the semi-final penalty shootout between West Germany and England.

The player on the tv screen is Chris Waddle. He steps up to take the 5th and final kick for England.

But he blasts the ball over the goal sending West Germany into the final.

That sends the local mix of Eastern and Western German employees into wonderland.

Where do those statues go?

Also, a common cinematic scene with the collapse of communism appears to be removing the statues of Lenin from the city. In Goodbye Lenin, this fascinating picture shows Lenin's statue being carried through the city.

In the next picture, the status appears to be asking Alex's mother (who is a firm believer in communism) to fly away with him.

Finally, the statue flies away almost as a symbol of the East German's beliefs heading over the clouds.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Euro 2008 Film Festival: Group B, Poland

Film Festival Rules & Guidelines

Film selected (Year, Director): Edi (2002, Piotr Trzaskalski)
Rating: 9/10
Rules compliance: All rules met

Relevance to Soccer: Teamwork, friendship and taking one's chances

"Dream-cup run", "fairy tale season", "dreamland". These are just some terms used when a team with no superstars overcomes a team loaded with world famous names. Given the amount of money in the current game, it is getting harder for teams with little budgets to overcome a team of millionaires. But it does happen every now and then, both at the club and international team level. In fact, at the last European Championships (Euro 2004 held in Portugal) Greece defied all the odds to win their first ever major soccer tournament. Despite not having any superstars, the Greek team managed to beat the hosts Portugal twice (in the opening and final game), knocked out the defending Euro 2000 Champs France (Zidane, Henry and the other big French stars were present), edged past the talented Czech team in the semi-finals and managed to hold Spain to a 1-1 tie. A 2-1 loss to Russia in the final group game almost knocked Greece out but they elbowed past Spain on goal difference to make it to the Quarter-finals where they beat France.

One of the major reasons Greece prevailed was because the team was able to defend like a unit. There were no individual stars in the team so every player chiped in with a workman like approach. The combined teamwork and a defensive game plan meant that Greece won matches in a precise chess like manner. Ofcourse, team-work alone can't always win matches against the big name talented teams. Luck also plays a big part. Teams with limited skills and talents have to take every chance that comes their way because they will not be able to create as many efforts on goal as their talented counter-parts. Example, Greece did not create too many changes against their opponents and won games only by a 1 goal margin (2-1 and 1-0 over Portugal, 1-0 over France and Czech Republic). Had Greece not taken their solitary chances, they would surely have been knocked out. Solid teamwork and the ability to take one's chances are a good starting point to overcome an almost unbeatable team.

The emotional Polish film Edi is about two characters who live on the fringes of society. Edi and his friend, Jureczek, are the victims of a harsh economy and find themselves earning a living by collecting scrap metal. Their friendship allows the two to get through their poverty stricken lives with a smile – Jureczek is constantly trying to ensure Edi is in lighter spirits, whereas Edi is able to make the right decisions for their day to day lives. The film contains plenty of beautiful aerial shots depicting moments in the two characters lives. The following two pictures are from an opening sequence where Edi and Jureczek have to navigate through traffic with their precious goods.

Thanks to Edi's educational background, the two are given a brief shot at a better life. Because of this new opportunity, Edi and Jureczek get to spend the night in a rich person's house. Jureczek finds pleasure in sitting back and watching a local soccer game on tv, something he can’t often do. And when the soccer game is over, alcohol helps to pass the day.

But life is tough at the bottom. A cruel lie results in innocent Edi getting beat up and put in charge of someone else's baby. At first, he sees this as a hassle but he eventually warms up to the child. Despite not having any money, Edi finds true happiness in raising the baby.

As per the film's bleak sentiments, unhappiness finds Edi again. But thankfully, Edi and Jureczek can still smile after going through a roller coaster emotionally ride. When one is at the bottom, simple things can bring happiness and a smile -- there are no lofty ambitions, no grand titles to be won. There is just the pleasure of navigating through everyday life.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Euro 2008 Film Festival: Group D, Russia

Film Festival Rules & Guidelines

Film selected (Year, Director): Daywatch (2006, Timur Bekmambetov)
Rating: 6/10

Rules compliance: Since I have seen Timur's previous film Nightwatch, which forms part of a trilogy along with Daywatch and Twilight watch (to be released in 2009), the criteria of choosing a film from an unfamiliar director was not met.

Relevance to Soccer: Changing face of modern Russian & European soccer because of billionaire owners.

The first obvious signs of money being poured into Russian soccer was highlighted by the presence of Brazilian soccer players in various Russian teams a few years ago. 10 years ago no Brazilian would have gone to play professional football in Russia because of two reasons:
  • The cold Russian weather

  • Low salaries compared to those offered by Western European teams

  • Now, despite what people say about global warming, Russia still has chilly weather and soccer games are often played on snow with an orange colored soccer ball. Examples of this can also be found in Daywatch where a few kids engage in a footie game on snow.

    So if the weather is still cold, then it must be money that is luring not only Brazilians but even some Western Europeans to Russia! Some of this money has paid dividends as CSKA Moscow beat Sporting Lisbon 3-1 to win the 2005 UEFA Cup and that too in a game held in Sporting's stadium. The fascinating play of the Brazilian duo of Daniel Carvalho and Vagner Love made the difference that night in Lisbon.

    Besides pouring money into the domestic Russian clubs, a few young Russian businessmen are also investing money in various Western European soccer teams or outright buying them. Chelsea in West London is a prime example of a team whose fortunes were transformed after Roman Abramovich flew in one summer day in 2003, wrote a cheque to wipe out Chelsea's multi-million pound debt and bought the team. In the few years since, he has given a blank cheque to his managers to buy the best players in the world. Two league titles and 2 Cups (Carling and F.A Cup) have been all been won thanks to Roman's money.

    Soccer is not the only thing benefiting from the fortunes earned through the oil and gas companies that some young Russians bought at bargain prices after the collapse of communism. The Russian film industry has also been injected with an influx of cash and 2004's Nightwatch was an example of a Russian film modeled like a slick Hollywood production. Based on Sergei Lukyanenko's novel, the film was a fascinating experience which contained elements of The Matrix, Blade, sci-fi with even a tiny nod to the Russian classic novel The Master and Margarita (the presence of the black cat).

    Often in soccer throwing money into a team and buying flashy players does not translate into instant success or even quality football. Likewise, a big and lavish film production does not guarantee a good product, which is the problem with Daywatch -- cool effects, flashy set-up but lukewarm execution.

    Soccer as a source of distraction:

    In one scene, the main character Anton has to break into a building to get back his son's belonging, lest war breaks out. But his job is made easier when the security guards are busy watching a soccer game on tv and are not bothered to keep an eye on the circuit cameras.

    If Anton only knew of this weakness of the security guards, he could have scheduled his break-in right at the game's start and 90 minutes would have been enough time for him to escape. But as it turns out, he breaks in somewhere near the end of the game and has to scramble retrieving the important item just before the final whistle blows.

    Friday, January 18, 2008

    01-18-08: A good idea is just not enough

    The best thing about The Blair Witch Project was the idea. The smart marketing ensured that there was some terrific buzz around the idea. In the end, I found Blair Witch.. average and was not as impressed as others were. I have to admit that the true kick regarding that movie was seeing it in a packed theater with an audience that was able to react in fear to the perceived danger. Snakes on a Plane had a great title but that was about it. What point was there in seeing a movie when the title clearly spelled out what the film was about? And given Hollywood's track record, it was obvious how things could unfold in a movie that put snakes on a plane. No wonder people stayed away.

    Cloverfield had a very good idea centered around an intriguing trailer and poster. Even though Imagination can only point to a few things capable of taking out the Statue of Liberty's head, I harbored a small hope that maybe the film-makers thought of something really clever. Unfortunately, my hopes were dashed when sneak trailers on Thursday night pointed towards the cause of the destruction. After that, I really did not have any need to see the film. But I still went.

    And the verdict?

    Not bad really. There are some parts that were neat but I felt the film truly missed a chance to push its unique idea further. The usage of the hand held camera to record events certainly takes a cue from The Blair Witch Project but then this idea is extended to incorporate a few fearful elements depicted previously in Hollywood films. While in the past, we may have had a different camera angle for the events, this time we get a view from the ground up. Although the actual cause of havoc in the film is different, the film certainly brought back memories of other such incidents filmed in New York city. Also, another layer of fear is added given the choice of New York as few scenes evoke a sense of realistic threat given the act of terrorism that took place in that city 6 years and 5 months ago.

    Rating: 6.5/10

    Thursday, January 17, 2008

    Bad marketing or a slip-up?

    A few months ago, it was only a trailer with no film name. Then a name got attached on the poster -- Cloverfield. For months there was a cloud of mystery around Cloverfield; rumours were flying about as to what the movie could be. Although, I did fear the movie was going to be just another Blair Witch -- all hype but no end product. Still I was willing to head into the theater to see if there was a tiny chance that something genuine lay in store. But on Thursday night, the newest cut of the film trailers on tv gave it all away. I was not interested in finding out in advance so I am a bit miffed. Once again, a Hollywood film trailer gives away too much detail. Sort of like what happenned with 2000's What Lies Beneath.

    This act on the marketing part seems like an act of desperation. With less than 24 hours to go in the film's release, why on earth would you give away something that has been kept under wraps for months? The mystery around the film was its biggest draw. So why use that card now? Did the people associated with the movie feel that no one was going to turn up unless they showed what lay in the movie? In my view, this was a poor move that has certainly taken out any interest I had in seeing the film.

    Tuesday, January 15, 2008

    Euro 2008 Film Festival: Rules, Kick-off

    The Euro 2008 Soccer tournament is still a few months away (June 7) but I am already 7 films into my film festival. The full film line-up is not completed yet but here are the rules and guidelines I will be following:


  • One film per country, for a total of 16 films.

  • The films will be divided into the 4 groups as per the soccer tournament:

  • Group A: Switzerland, Czech Republic, Portugal, Turkey
    Group B: Austria, Croatia, Germany, Poland
    Group C: Holland, Italy, Romania, France
    Group D: Greece, Sweden, Spain, Russia

  • Each film will get a rating out of 10 in the group stage.

  • The top two films from each group will move onto the quarter-finals.

  • The draw for quarter-finals, semis and final will be made as per the soccer tournament.

  • In case of a tie between two films in the group stage, a head-to-head comparison will take place between the movies. Also, the same head-to-head rules will be used for the quarters, semis and finals

  • Head-to-Head rules
  • :
    The films will compete against each other in 5 categories -- Acting, Story, Direction, Cinematography & Production values.

    -- If one film is superior to another film in a category, then it will get one point, while the other film will get 0.
    -- If both films match each other in a category, they will score one point each.
    -- If both films fail in a category, they will get 0 points each.
    -- In case of a tie after these 5 categories, then a subjective vote tie-breaker will be used. This means that the film which sways me the most emotionally advances. I feel this is similar to the penalty kicks used to settle soccer games when two teams are tied after extra time.
    Note: It is possible to have scores such as 3-2 or 5-5 (if both films score maximum on all 5 counts) in this scheme.

    Film Festival Optional Guidelines

    A few extras to make things interesting.

  • None of the films selected should be before 1960, as this was the year when the first Euro soccer tournament was held.

  • If possible, choose newer/recent films.

  • European soccer just like European film has changed a lot over the last few decades. The new soccer is faster, more physical and employs different tactics. So I want to look at newer films to reflect the new thinking/issues that exist in European culture.

  • If possible, choose films from newer/unfamiliar directors.

  • In soccer games, some managers often revert to picking players they are familiar with, even if better soccer players are out there. Similarly, it is easy to pick films from directors that I am familiar with. So I want to avoid that by giving chances to newer director's works.

  • Try to make some bold selections.

  • I want to get some film genres that I would not normally pick just to shake things up. An award winning drama vs a shock horror film? Why not?

  • Relevance to soccer:

  • This is the most challenging aspect. None of the films I have chosen have anything to do with soccer. But I want to judge each film using soccer as a foundation. It could be any trait found in the game, be it teamwork, or the crazy money that exists in the modern sport, etc.

    In the upcoming weeks, I will start putting up reviews of the films seen so far. In the meantime, here are some older notes:

    Festival idea, First 5 films seen

    Sunday, January 13, 2008

    2008: Film Log

    Total # of films seen in 2008: 445

    The total number includes films (fiction & docs) over a length of 60 minutes. The only two exceptions are Season 1 of Californication and the collected European shorts of Cinema 16 which added up to more than 3 hours of film.

    Film (Year, Country, Director): Rating out of 10, [optional comments]

    Jan 2008

  • Outsourced (2006, USA, John Jeffcoat): 7
  • Dus Kahaniyaan (2007, India, multiple): 6
  • Taare Zameen Par (2007, India, Aamir Khan): 10, repeat viewing from 2007
  • Waitress (2007, USA, Adrienne Shelly): 8
  • Fay Grim (2006, USA, Hal Hartley): 8.5
  • Breach (2007, USA, Billy Ray): 8
  • The Boat is Full (1981, Switzerland, Markus Imhoof): 8
  • The Kingdom (2007, USA, Director Peter Berg): 7.5
  • A Beautiful Mind (2001, USA, Ron Howard): 7.5
  • The Detective (2007, Hong Kong, Oxide Pang Chun): 7
  • Hulk (2003, USA, Ang Lee): 5.5
  • Scoop (2006, USA/UK, Woody Allen): 6.5
  • Lady Chatterley (2006, France, Pascale Ferran): 7
  • Angela-A (2005, France, Luc Besson): 7.5
  • No End in Sight (2006, USA, Charles Ferguson): 9
  • Cloverfield (2008, USA, Matt Reeves): 6.5
  • Kinky Boots (2005, UK, Julian Jarrold): 8
  • The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005, USA, Tommy Lee Jones): 9
  • The Blue Umbrella (2005, India, Vishal Bharadwaj): 7
  • Yes (2004, UK/USA, Sally Potter): 8.5, repeat viewing
  • Rouleman (2005, Greece, Panos Karkanevatos): 7
  • Natural City (2003, South Korea, Byung-chun Min): 6
  • Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005, USA, Shane Black): 9
  • Halla Bol (2008, India, Rajkumar Santoshi): 6.5
  • Interview (2003, Holland, Theo Van Gogh): 7
  • The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007, France/USA, Julian Schnabel): 9.5
  • There Will be Blood (2007, USA, Paul Thomas Anderson): 8.5
  • Blade Runner: The Director's Cut (1982, USA, Ridley Scott): 7.5
  • Khoya Khoya Chand (2007, India, Sudhir Mishra): 8
  • Antares (2004, Austria, Götz Spielmann): 8
  • 12:08 East of Bucharest (2006, Romania, Corneliu Porumboiu): 9

  • Feb 2008
  • 3:10 to Yuma (2007, USA, James Mangold): 8
  • I Don't want to Sleep Alone (2007, Taiwan, Tsai Ming-liang): 8
  • My Name is Anthony Gonsalves (2008, India, E. Niwas): 4.5
  • Rambo: First Blood (1982, USA, Ted Kotcheff): 7.5
  • Strangers (2007, India, Aanand Rai): 5.5
  • Step Up (2006, USA, Anne Fletcher): 7
  • Thriller a cruel picture (1974, Sweden, Bo Arne Vibenius): 6
  • Across the Universe (2007, USA, Julie Taymor): 7.5
  • We Own the Night (2007, USA, James Gray): 10
  • Summer Night (1986, Italy, Lina Wertmüller): 5.5

  • No Reservations (2007, USA, Scott Hicks): 6.5
  • Domino (2005, USA, Tony Scott): 7.5
  • Superman Returns (2006, USA, Bryan Singer): 7
  • Music and Lyrics (2007, USA, Marc Lawrence): 6
  • Clerks II (2006, USA, Kevin Smith): 6.5
  • Vacancy (2007, USA, Nimród Antal): 7
  • Nada+ (2001, Cuba, Juan Carlos Cremata Malberti): 7
  • In the Valley of Elah (2007, USA, Paul Haggis): 9
  • Kaala Patthar (1979, India, Yash Chopra): 9, repeat viewing
  • Tape (2001, USA, Richard Linklater): 6.5
  • Hostel (2005, USA, Eli Roth): 6
  • The Lost City (2005, USA, Andy Garcia): 6.5
  • Ghost Rider (2007, USA, Mark Steven Johnson): 3

  • Mar 2008
  • Coisa Ruim (2006, Portugal, Tiago Guedes/Frederico Serra): 8
  • London (2005, UK/USA, Hunter Richards): 3
  • 300 (2007, USA, Zack Snyder): 4
  • The Prestige (2006, USA/UK, Christopher Nolan): 7.5
  • Sunshine (2007, UK/USA, Danny Boyle): 7.5
  • Perfect Blue (1998, Japan, Satoshi Kon): 8
  • Scrap Heaven (2005, Japan, Sang-il Lee): 7
  • Vera (2003, Mexico, Francisco Athié): 6.5
  • Lila Says (2004, France/UK, Ziad Doueiri): 7.5
  • The Hi-Lo Country (1998, USA/UK, Stephen Frears): 8
  • The Year of the Tick (2004, Spain, Jorge Coira): 5
  • Sunday (2008, India, Rohit Shetty): 3.5
  • Pride (2007, USA, Sunu Gonera): 6.5
  • Presagio (1975, Mexico, Luis Alcoriza): 7
  • Down in the Valley (2005, USA, David Jacobson): 6
  • Death Proof (2007, USA, Quentin Tarantino): 7, repeat viewing
  • Mithya (2008, India, Rajat Kapoor): 9
  • Jab We Met (2007, India, Imtiaz Ali): 8.5, repeat viewing
  • Disturbia (2007, USA, D.J. Caruso): 8
  • Sophie Scholl: The Final Days (2006, Germany, Marc Rothemund): 8
  • Torremolinos 73 (2003, Spain, Pablo Berger): 9
  • Harem suaré (1999, Turkey, Ferzan Ozpetek): 6.5
  • About Love (2004, Russia, Sergei Solovyov): 6
  • The Russian Dolls (2005, France/UK, Cédric Klapisch): 9
  • Without a trace (2000, Mexico co-production, María Novaro): 7.5
  • Ek Hasina Thi (2004, India, Sriram Raghavan): 8.5, repeat viewing
  • Ten Canoes (2006, Australia, Rolf de Heer): 6.5
  • 30 Days of Night (2007, USA, David Slade): 4.5
  • 25th Hour (2002, USA, Spike Lee): 7
  • Nacho Libre (2006, USA co-production, Jared Hess): 7
  • Woman is the Future of Man (2004, South Korea, Hang Sangsoo): 8

  • Manufacturing Dissent (2007, Canada, Rick Caine/Debbie Melnyk): 5.5
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005, UK/USA, Mike Newell): 7
  • Jarhead (2005, USA, Sam Mendes): 6.5
  • Dharm (2007, India, Bhavna Talwar): 6.5
  • Valley of Flowers (2006, India co-production, Pan Nalin): 8.5
  • Nice Bombs (2006, USA, Usama Alshaibi): 6.5
  • Ali G Indahouse (2002, UK co-production, Mark Mylod): 4
  • The Lookout (2007, USA, Scott Frank): 7.5
  • Super Star (2008, India, Rohit Jugraj): 7.5
  • Why We Fight (2005, USA, Eugene Jarecki): 6
  • Molière (2007, France, Laurent Tirard): 7
  • Perfect Stranger (2007, USA, James Foley): 4.5
  • Fida (2004, India, Ken Ghosh): 5
  • The Hoax (2006, USA, Lasse Hallström): 7
  • English as a Second Language (2005, USA, Youssef Delara): 7.5
  • Blades of Glory (2007, USA, Josh Gordon/Will Speck): 6
  • Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007, UK, Shekhar Kapur): 5
  • Blissfully Yours (2002, Thailand, Apichatpong Weerasethakul): 8
  • Things We Lost in the Fire (2007, USA/UK, Susanne Bier): 7
  • Into the Wild (2007, USA, Sean Penn): 7
  • Red Lights (2004, France, Cédric Kahn): 7.5
  • The Spanish Apartment (2002, France/Spain, Cédric Klapisch): 8
  • Alien (1979, USA, Ridley Scott): 6.5
  • Aliens (1986, USA, James Cameron): 7
  • Alien 3 (1992, USA, David Fincher): 5.5
  • The Saddest Music in the World (2003, Canada, Guy Maddin): 6.5
  • Lust Caution (2007, China co-production, Ang Lee): 7.5
  • Turistas (2007, USA, John Stockwell): 5

  • April 2008
  • The Yards (2000, USA, James Gray): 8
  • The Valet (2006, France, Francis Veber): 8
  • Stick It (2002, USA, Jessica Bendinger): 7
  • Saaya (2003, India, Anurag Basu): 3
  • Deewar (2004, India, Milan Luthria): 5
  • Mission Impossible III (2006, USA, J.J Abrams): 7
  • Inspector Gadget (1999, USA, David Kellogg): 3
  • Kagemusha (1980, Japan, Akira Kurosawa): 7.5
  • S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine (2003, Cambodia, Rithy Panh): 7.5
  • The Hudsucker Proxy (1994, USA, Joel & Ethan Coen): 6
  • Yatra (2006, India, Gautam Ghosh): 5
  • The Masseur (2005, Philippines, Brillante Mendoza): 6
  • Man Push Cart (2005, USA, Ramin Bahrani): 8
  • Heading South (2005, France/Canada, Laurent Cantet): 7
  • 13: Game of Death (2006, Thailand, Chukiat Sakveerakul): 5
  • Bombay to Bangkok (2008, India, Nagesh Kukunoor): 6.5
  • I Am Legend (2007, USA, Francis Lawrence): 5.5
  • Macho Dancer (1988, Philippines, Lino Brocka): 6.5
  • Art School Confidential (2006, USA, Terry Zwigoff): 6.5
  • Un Buen día lo tiene cualquiera (2007, Spain, Santiago Lorenzo): 6
  • 15 (2003, Singapore, Royston Tan): 5
  • Bee Movie (2007, USA, Steve Hickner/Simon J. Smith): 6
  • Rififi (1955, France, Jules Dassin): 9
  • Kaleldo (2004, Philippines, Brillante Mendoza): 8
  • Beerfest (2006, USA, Jay Chandrasekhar): 4
  • The Reaping (2007, USA, Stephen Hopkins ): 5
  • Naglalayag (2004, Philippines, Maryo J. De los Reyes): 7
  • Tashan (2008, India, Vijay Krishna Acharya): 4.5
  • A Peck on the Cheek (2002, India, Mani Ratnam): 8.5
  • Because I Said So (2007, USA, Michael Lehmann): 6.5

  • May 2008
  • Travellers and Magicians (2003, Bhutan, Khyentse Norbu):7.5
  • Perth (2004, Singapore, Djinn): 6
  • License to Wed (2007, USA, Ken Kwapis): 1
  • American Dreamz (2006, USA, Paul Weitz): 7
  • M.Hulot's holiday (1953, France, Jacques Tati): 7.5
  • Negocios son negocios (2004, Dominican Republic, Jorge De Bernardi): 4.5
  • W.R. -- Mysteries of the Organism (1970, Yugoslavia, Dusan Makavejev):6
  • Black & White (2008, India, Subhash Ghai): 6.5
  • Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007, USA, Tim Story): 4.5
  • Shake rattle and roll 8 (2006, Philippines, Multiple directors): 5
  • Forbidden Games (1952, France, René Clément): 8.5
  • Transformers (2007, USA, Michael Bay): 5.5, repeat viewing
  • Le Salaire De La Peur (1953, France, Henri - Georges Clouzot): 10
  • Lacombe Lucien (1974, France, Louis Malle): 7.5
  • Elevator to the Gallows (1958, France, Louis Malle): 10
  • Caribe (2004, Costa Rica, Esteban Ramírez): 7.5
  • Juno (2007, USA, Jason Reitman): 7.5
  • Sweet Movie (1974, various, Dusan Makavejev): 6.5
  • Anatomy of Hell (2004, France, Catherine Breillat): 5
  • Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector (2006, USA, Trent Cooper): 3.5
  • Knocked Up (2007, USA, Judd Apatow): 9, repeat viewing
  • Murmurs of the Heart (1971, France, Louis Malle): 8.5
  • La Belle et la bête (1946, France, Jean Cocteau): 7.5
  • Late Autumn (1960, Japan, Yasujiro Ozu): 10
  • The End of Summer (1961, Japan, Yasujiro Ozu): 9
  • The Devil Wears Prada (2006, USA, David Frankel): 8.5, repeat viewing
  • Black Snake Moan (2007, USA, Craig Brewer): 5.5
  • Au revoir les enfants (1987, France, Louis Malle): 8
  • Recount (2008, USA, Jay Roach): 8
  • Syndromes and a Century (2006, Thailand, Apichatpong Weerasethakul): 9
  • 27 Dresses (2008, USA, Anne Fletcher): 7
  • Assassination Tango (2002, USA/Argentina, Robert Duvall): 6.5
  • Sheitan (2006, France, Kim Chapiron): 6.5

  • June 2008
  • Red Road (2006, Scotland co-production, Andrea Arnold): 7
  • Romance (1999, France, Catherine Breillat): 6.5
  • Brief Crossing (2001, France, Catherine Breillat): 8.5
  • Semi-Pro (2008, USA, Kent Alterman): 4
  • Charlie Wilson's War (2007, USA, Mike Nichols): 8.5
  • Tokyo Story (1953, Japan, Yasujiro Ozu): 10, repeat viewing
  • Early Spring (1956, Japan, Yasujiro Ozu): 8
  • Tokyo Twilight (1957, Japan, Yasujiro Ozu): 10
  • Equinox Flower (1958, Japan, Yasujiro Ozu): 10
  • Coeurs (2006, France/Italy, Alain Resnais): 8
  • I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (2007, USA, Dennis Dugan): 3.5
  • Climates (2006, Turkey, Nuri Bilge Ceylan): 9
  • Day Night Day Night (2007, USA co-production, Julia Loktev): 6
  • Little Odessa (1999, USA, James Gray): 8
  • Comédie de l'innocence (2000, France, Raoul Ruiz): 7.5
  • Be Kind Rewind (2008, USA, Michel Gondry): 6.5
  • U-Turn (1997, USA, Oliver Stone): 7
  • The Syrian Bride (2006, co-production, Eran Riklis): 9
  • Kal: Yesterday and Tomorrow (2005, India, Ruchi Narain): 7
  • The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros (2006, Philippines, Auraeus Solito): 7
  • Rambo (2008, USA, Sylvester Stallone): 4
  • Three Crowns of a Sailor (1983, France, Raoul Ruiz): 10
  • Ocean's Thirteen (2007, USA, Steven Soderbergh): 8, repeat viewing
  • Play Time (1967, France, Jacques Tati): 10
  • Mon Uncle (1957, France, Jacques Tati): 8.5
  • IXE-13 (1972, Canada, Jacques Godbout):
  • Les portes tournantes (1988, Canada, Francis Mankiewicz): 6
  • Gaz bar blues (2003, Canada, Louis Bélanger): 7.5
  • Les ordres (1974, Canada, Michel Brault): 9
  • Hairspray (2007, USA, Adam Shankman): 3
  • Silent Light (2007, Mexico, Carlos Reygadas)
  • Drama/Mex (2006, Mexico, Gerardo Naranjo)
  • On War (2008, France, Bertrand Bonello)
  • Son of Man (2006, South Africa, Mark Dornford-May)
  • July 2008
  • Meet the Spartans (2008, USA, Jason Friedberg/Aaron Seltzer): 0
  • National Book: Book of Secrets (2007, USA, Jon Turteltaub): 7
  • Henry Fool (1997, USA, Hal Hartley): 8
  • Amateur (1994, USA, Hal Hartley): 6.5
  • OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies (2006, France, Michel Hazanavicius): 9
  • The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976, USA, John Cassavetes): 8.5
  • Opening Night (1977, USA, John Cassavetes): 9
  • Superbad (2007, USA, Greg Mottola): 5
  • Sirf (2008, India, Rajatesh Nayyar): 6
  • Race (2008, India, Abbas-Mastan): 3
  • Jannat (2008, India, Kunal Deshmukh): 6.5
  • Zebraman (2004, Japan, Takashi Miike): 5
  • Battle in Heaven (2005, Mexico, Carlos Reygadas): 8.5
  • Caramel (2007, Lebanon co-production, Nadine Labaki): 8.5
  • Anamika (2008, India, Anant Mahadevan): 4.5
  • Grand Slam (1967, Italy co-production, Giuliano Montaldo): 8.5
  • Bhootnath (2008, India, Vivek Sharma): 5
  • Krazzy 4 (2008, India, Jaideep Sen): 4
  • Mr. Black Mr. White (2008, India, Deepak S. Shivdasani): 0
  • Khuda Ke Liye (2007, Pakistan, Shoaib Mansoor): 7
  • Don't tell anyone (1998, Peru, Francisco J. Lombardi): 7
  • Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (2008, USA, Jon Hurwitz/Hayden Schlossberg): 4
  • The Heartbreak kid (2007, USA, Bobby Farrelly/Peter Farrelly): 6
  • The Method (2005, Argentina co-production, Marcelo Piñeyro): 8.5

  • Aug 2008
  • Machuca (2004, Chile, Andrés Wood): 9
  • Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na (2008, India, Abbas Tyrewala): 7.5
  • Aamir (2008, India, Raj Kumar Gupta): 8
  • Kismat Konnection (2008, India, Aziz Mirza): 2
  • Sarkar Raj (2008, India, Ram Gopal Varma): 5.5
  • Mission Istaanbul (2008, India, Apoorva Lakhia): 0
  • Los Muertos (2004, Argentina, Lisandro Alonso): 8.5
  • La Espera (2002, Uruguay, Aldo Garay): 7.5
  • Bolivia (2001, Argentina, Adrián Caetano): 9
  • Adios Momo (2006, Uruguay, Leonardo Ricagni): 7
  • Contract (2008, India, Ram Gopal Varma): 0
  • Vantage Point (2008, USA, Pete Travis): 5
  • El Nominado (2003, Peru, Nacho Argiro/Gabriel Lopez): 3
  • 1888 el extraordinario viaje de Jules Verne (2005, Venezuela, Alfredo Anzola): 3
  • El destino no tiene favoritos (2003, Peru, Alvaro Velarde): 8
  • Hotel America (1981, France, André Téchiné): 7.5
  • I Don't Kiss (1991, France, André Téchiné): 8
  • Manila by Night (1980, Philippines, Ishmael Bernal): 7
  • Mere Baap Pehle Aap (2008, India, Priyadarshan): 8.5
  • Singh is Kinng (2008, India, Anees Bazmee): 0
  • De Taali (2008, India, E.Nivas): 4
  • Californication Season 1 (2008, USA, multiple): 9, avg rating for 12 episodes
  • Brick Lane (2007, UK, Sarah Gavron): 8
  • Zibahkhana (2006, Pakistan, Omar Khan): 5
  • Southland Tales (2006, USA, Richard Kelly): 6
  • Oedipus Mayor (1996, Colombia, Jorge Alí Triana): 8
  • Un titán en el rincón (2002, Ecuador, Viviana Cordero): 6
  • Pizza, birra, faso (1998, Argentina, Adrián Caetano/Bruno Stagnaro): 7
  • Antonia (2006, Brazil, Tata Amaral): 7
  • The Year My Parents Went on Vacation (2006, Brazil, Cao Hamburger): 9
  • Kaalia (1981, India, Tinnu Anand): 7, repeat viewing
  • City of Men (2007, Brazil, Paulo Morelli): 8
  • Aankhen (2002, India, Vipul Amrutlal Shah): 9, repeat viewing
  • Welcome (2007, India, Anees Bazmee): 5, repeat viewing
  • The TV Set (2006, USA, Jake Kasdan): 7

  • Sept 2008
  • The Burmese Harp (1956, Japan, Kon Ichikawa): 10
  • 25 Watts (2002, Uruguay, Juan Pablo Rebella/Pablo Stoll): 5
  • Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008, India, Siddarth Anand): 7.5
  • Rock On (2008, India, Abhishek Kapoor): 10
  • Casa De Lava (1994, Portugal, Pedro Costa): 8.5
  • Step Up 2: The Streets (2008, USA, Jon Chu): 4
  • My Blueberry Nights (2007, co-production, Wong Kar-wai): 7
  • 9 Songs (2004, UK, Michael Winterbottom): 0
  • The Lovers (1958, France, Louis Malle): 7.5
  • Away from Her (2006, Canada, Sarah Polley): 9
  • The Fire Within (1963, France, Louis Malle): 8.5
  • Mumbai Meri Jaan (2008, India, Nishikant Kamat): 9
  • The Fall (2006, India/UK/USA, Tarsem): 10
  • Smart People (2008, USA, Noam Murro): 8
  • Speed Racer (2008, USA, Andy & Larry Wachowski): 7.5
  • Street Kings (2008, USA, David Ayer): 6.5
  • The Darjeeling Limited (2007, USA, Wes Anderson): 8
  • Black Night (2005, Belgium, Olivier Smolders): 6
  • Alexandra (2007, Russia/France, Aleksandr Sokurov): 9
  • Children (2006, Iceland, Ragnar Bragason): 10
  • Parents (2007, Iceland, Ragnar Bragason): 10
  • Bobby (2008, USA, Emilio Estevez): 6
  • A Shot at Glory (2000, USA/Scotland, Michael Corrente): 7.5
  • Used Parts (2007, Mexico, Aarón Fernández): 9
  • Let the Right One In (2008, Sweden, Tomas Alfredson): 8.5
  • FC Venus (2005, Finland, Joona Tena): 7.5
  • I am from Titov Veles (2007, Macedonia, Teona Strugar Mitevska): 5.5
  • Wonderful Town (2007, Thailand, Aditya Assarat): 10
  • Paraiso Travel (2007, Colombia/USA, Simon Brand): 7
  • Gomorra (2008, Italy, Matteo Garrone): 10
  • Eleven Men Out (2005, Iceland, Róbert I. Douglas): 5
  • Alice’s House (2007, Brazil, Chico Teixeira): 5
  • Time to Die (2007, Poland, Dorota Kedzierzawska): 7
  • One Week (2008, Canada, Michael McGowan): 8.5
  • The Grocer's Son (2007, France, Eric Guirado): 8.5
  • Driving to Zigzigland (2007, Zigzigland, Nicole Ballivian): 6.5
  • REC (2007, Spain, Jaume Balagueró/Paco Plaza): 8
  • The Band's Visit (2007, Israel, Eran Kolirin): 8
  • The Wide Blue Road (1957, Italy, Gillo Pontecorvo): 7.5
  • Corridor #8 (2008, Bulgaria, Boris Despodov): 8
  • Jar City (2006, Iceland, Baltasar Kormákur): 6
  • The Pope's Toilet (2007, Uruguay, César Charlone/Enrique Fernández): 8

  • Oct 2008
  • Welcome to Sajjanpur (2008, India, Shyam Benegal): 8.5
  • Kick 'N Rush (2003, Denmark, Aage Rais-Nordentoft): 7
  • Saas Bahu aur Sensex (2008, India, Shona Urvashi): 6.5
  • The Boss of It All (2006, Denmark, Lars Von Trier): 7
  • The Inheritance (2003, Denmark, Per Fly): 9
  • Sex and the City (2008, USA, Michael Patrick King): 5
  • Factory Girl (2006, USA, George Hickenlooper): 5
  • Hijack (2008, India, Kunal Shivdasani): 0
  • The Love Guru (2008, USA, Marco Schnabel): 0
  • Elling (2001, Norway, Petter Næss): 6
  • Mexico: the frozen revolution (1973, Argentina, Raymundo Gleyzer):
  • Margot at the Wedding (2007, USA, Noah Baumbach): 7
  • Old Joy (2006, USA, Kelly Reichardt): 7.5
  • A Wednesday (2008, India, Neeraj Pandey): 8.5
  • Laaga Chunari Mein Daag (2007, India, Pradeep Sarkar): 0
  • The Traitors (1972, Argentina, Raymundo Gleyzer):
  • A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (2006, USA, Dito Montiel): 6.5
  • High and Low (1963, Japan, Akira Kurosawa): 10
  • Reprise (2006, Norway, Joachim Trier): 7.5
  • The Brave One (2007, USA, Neil Jordan): 7
  • Drona (2008, India, Goldie Behl): 4
  • Kidnap (2008, India, Sanjay Gadhvi): 2

  • Nov 2008
  • Hello (2008, India, Atul Agnitori): 1
  • Chamku (2008, India, Kabeer Kaushik): 8.5
  • C Kkompany (2008, India, Sachin Yarda): 5
  • The Happening (2008, USA, M. Night Shyamalan): 6
  • Mukhbiir (2008, India, Mani Shankar): 9
  • The Savages (2007, USA, Tamara Jenkins): 9
  • The Yacoubian Building (2006, Egypt, Marwan Hamed): 5.5
  • Before the Rains (2008, India, Santosh Sivan): 7.5
  • Honeydripper (2007, USA, John Sayles): 6
  • Maan Gaye Mughall-e-Azam (2008, India, Sanjay Chel): 3
  • Manufacturing Landscapes (2006, Canada, Jennifer Baichwal): 10
  • Kings and Queen (2004, France, Arnaud Desplechin): 8
  • Iron Man (2008, USA, Jon Favreau): 7
  • Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008, USA, Nicholas Stoller): 8.5
  • Shut up & Sing (2007, USA, Barbara Kopple/Cecilia Peck): 9
  • Black Republic (1990, South Korea, Kwang-su Park): 8
  • The Road to Guantanamo (2006, UK, Michael Winterbottom): 8
  • Sunset Bollywood (2005, India, Komal Tolani): 8
  • You Don't Mess with the Zohan (2008, USA, Dennis Dugan): 6.5
  • A Married Couple (1969, Canada, Allan King): 10
  • Montreal Main (1977, Canada, Frank Vitale): 9
  • Tell No One (2008, France, Guillaume Canet): 10
  • A Woman Not In Love (1950, Mexico, Luis Buñuel): 8
  • Woman of the Port (1934, Mexico, Arcady Boytler/Raphael J. Sevilla): 7.5

  • Dec 2008
  • JCVD (2008, France, Mabrouk El Mechri): 7.5
  • Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! (2008, India, Dibakar Banerjee): 10
  • Dasvidaniya (2008, India, Shashant Shah): 8.5
  • I'm Not There (2007, USA, Todd Haynes): 7
  • Dostana (2008, India, Tarun Mansukhani): 6.5
  • The Skeleton of Mrs. Morales(1960, Mexico, Rogelio A. González): 9
  • Aventurera (1950, Mexico, Alberto Gout): 7
  • No One Writes to the Colonel(1999, Mexico co-production, Arturo Ripstein): 6
  • Get Smart (2008, USA, Peter Segal): 6
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008, USA, Steven Spielberg): 4.5
  • City of Rising Sun (1999, South Korea, Sung-su Kim): 4
  • The Dark Knight (2008, USA, Christopher Nolan): 7
  • Wanted (2008, USA, Timur Bekmambetov): 5.5
  • Flight of the Red Balloon (2007, France, Hou Hsiao-hsien): 7.5
  • Quantum of Solace (2008, UK/USA, Marc Forster): 7
  • Rangeela (1995, India, Ram Gopal Varma): 7, repeat viewing
  • Dirty Carnival (2006, South Korea, Ha Yu): 9
  • Fashion (2008, India, Madhur Bhandarkar): 6.5
  • Sátántangó (1994, Hungary, Béla Tarr): 9.5
  • In Bruges (2008, UK/USA, Martin McDonagh): 8
  • The Last Lear (2007, India, Rituparno Ghosh): 8
  • Disco Dancer (1982, India, Babbar Subhash): 5.5
  • Golmaal Returns (2008, India, Rohit Shetty): 1
  • Jumper (2008, USA, Doug Liman): 7.5
  • The Visitor (2007, USA, Thomas McCarthy ): 9
  • Yuvraaj (2008, India, Subhash Ghai): 0
  • Paranoid Park (2007, USA, Gus Van Sant): 9
  • Milk (2008, USA, Gus Van Sant): 9.5
  • The Restless (2006, South Korea, Dong-oh Cho/Dong-oh Jo): 6
  • Rachel Getting Married (2008, USA, Jonathan Demme): 10
  • EMI (2008, India, Saurav Kabra): 4
  • Mad Detective (2007, Hong Kong, Johnny To/Wai Ka-Fai): 8.5
  • War Inc (2008, USA, Joshua Seftel): 6
  • Om Shanti Om (2007, India, Farah Khan): 8.5, repeat viewing
  • Black House (2007, South Korea, Terra Shin): 6.5
  • Kung Fu Panda (2008, USA, Mark Osborne/John Stevenson): 7.5
  • Happy-Go-Lucky (2008, UK, Mike Leigh): 10
  • Heroes (2008, India, Samir Karnik): 6
  • Slumdog Millionaire (2008, UK/USA, Danny Boyle/Loveleen Tandan): 8.5
  • Cinema 16: European Shorts (2007, multiple directors):
  • Tropic Thunder (2008, USA, Ben Stiller): 5
  • WALL·E (2008, USA, Andrew Stanton): 10
  • Hancock (2008, USA, Peter Berg): 7
  • A Christmas Tale (2008, France, Arnaud Desplechin): 7.5

  • Thursday, January 10, 2008

    Espionage: Spies and consequences

    ....."blowback", the term used by spies to describe planted propaganda that filters back to confuse the country that first set the story loose. (page 47, Ghost Wars by Steve Coll)

    Information and Misinformation -- both are tools which are part and parcel of a spy's arsenal. The spy on the opposing side also has information and misinformation as their tool set. Things get complicated when misinformation from one side is taken for information by the other side and results in further misinformation being generated.

    Lies + Lies = Truth

    At the core of Hal Hartley's inventive Fay Grim lie a collection of diaries called "Confessions" which may contain valuable government information. The information is equally coveted by the CIA, KGB, French Secret Service, Israeli spies, British agents, Arab informers and even some terrorists. The diaries might be gibberish but that does not matter as each side believe the information could help them in their nation's cause.

    Fay Grim is unlike any other spy movie. The tilted camera and the light hearted background music give the film a stage/musical feel. On top of that, the lead characters (especially Fay played by Parker Posey) are busy dancing their way through stressful situations with such ease. After a slow 20 minutes, the film moves into a high energetic dialogue exchange as Fay moves effortlessly past dangerous spies and killers. The complicated plot is rendered with such ease that the real joy is in watching the characters move through each frame. The light hearted touch removes any barriers between good and evil as all the rival spies are portrayed in the same light. As a result, one can focus on watching this international espionage game at play without having to put a good or bad label over each character.

    There are some scenes where the tilted camera works and in others, not so much. But having the entire movie shown in a slanted manner just adds to the story's bizarre appeal. Also, the tilted camera only allows the relevant details in each frame. Never before has a film filmed in Paris and Istanbul allowed so little of the street side or city highlights in each frame. And in Fay Grim this tactic works as the real interest lies in observing the characters and listening to their words as opposed to caring for which location they are in.

    Note: I have never seen a Hal Hartley film before so this was an interesting viewing. The film continues the adventures of the characters first shown in his 1997 film Henry Fool. And from his interviews, it seems that there may be future adventures for this colorful set of characters.

    Truth moves to the other side

    Breach shows what happens when a spy starts working for the opponents. No concrete reasons are given for the CIA agent's betrayal even though a shroud of ethics, morality and religion are mixed in the story. Ofcourse, when it comes to selling information to the enemy, no reason is required by the government. It is 'Us' vs 'Them'. Even though governments on both sides are constantly trying to entice the enemy spy to divulge information.

    When a blowback results in a violent reaction:

    Newtons's third law: "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction".

    Spies from one nation train young men of a second nation to fight and shoot down the enemy of a third nation. Then the spies leave thinking their jobs are done. But the young men of the second nation need a new enemy. So they target the nation of the spies who taught and helped them.

    Peter Berg's The Kingdom starts off with a violent act when gunmen and a suicide bomber kill innocent people in a Riyadh housing compound. Initially, there is no revenge reaction but a calm investigation into the identity of the terrorists. But along the way, the investigators come across more deadly enemies. While trying to save one of their own, the investigators end up killing the enemy leader in a defensive act. The film ends with a line that indicates that there will be further killing to avenge the leader's death, while also revealing that the investigators did not just go out to investigate the truth but went with an intention of revenge.

    This was a much better film that I had originally expected. But it could have been a lot better if not for some rather cliched Hollywood elements near the movie's end. There is a climatic battle between the terrorists and the good guys which is well shot and engaging. However, the sequence falls into a Hollywood trap where despite the circumstances, the big Hollywood stars are unharmed. And then the one local native who was helping the American agents is killed. Why was this honest policeman killed? Well one reason could be that this man was closest to the enemy leader. But that is a weak excuse. The real reason is that the characters played by big name Hollywood stars in such movies cannot die as they are true 'heroes'. Whereas characters played by actors from other parts of the world are completely expendable.

    Truth is a manufactured lie:

    The cold war was a tense time when spies and code breakers were in high demand; there was plenty of misinformation out there which needed to be filtered through. In plenty of cases, this misinformation was manufactured in just one person's mind and then transferred to other people. But what if this misinformation never left a person's mind and continued to grow inside their head? The resulting mental 'blowback' could put that person in a horrifying mix of reality and delusion. The true story of John Nash in A Beautiful Mind is an example of a man trapped in his genius creations -- spies, 'big brother', hidden patterns all try to compete with mathematical formulas in John's mind.

    Note: William Friedkin's Bug is a powerful example of how one person's misinformation can corrupt others.

    Ratings out of 10:
    Fay Grim (2006, Director Hal Hartley): 8.5
    Breach (2007, Director Billy Ray): 8
    The Kingdom (2007, Director Peter Berg): 7.5
    A Beautiful Mind (2001, Director Ron Howard): 7.5

    Wednesday, January 02, 2008

    Best Films of 2007

    Favourite 2007 films, in order of preference:

  • Foster Child (Philippines, Brillante Mendoza)
  • Dans la ville de Sylvia & Unas fotos en la ciudad del Sylvia (Spain, José Luis Guerin)
  • Slingshot (Philippines, Brillante Mendoza)
  • Children of Men (2006, USA, Alfonso Cuarón)
  • Black Friday (India, Anurag Kashyap)
  • The Bourne Ultimatum (USA, Paul Greengrass)
  • Zodiac (USA, David Fincher)
  • Rendition (USA, Gavin Hood)
  • Ratatouille (USA, Brad Bird)
  • Drained (Brazil, Heitor Dhalia)
  • Taare Zameen Par (India, Aamir Khan)
  • Euphoria (Russia, Ivan Vyrypaev)

  • Update: Children of Men is added to the list as it was only released locally in the first week of January 2007.

    Honorable mentions, in order of viewing:

    Hot Fuzz (UK, Edgar Wright)
    Summer 04 (Gemany, Stefan Krohmer)
    The Big Sellout (Germany, Florian Opitz)
    Happy New Life (Hungary, Árpád Bogdán)
    4 Months 3 Weeks 2 days (Romania, Cristian Mungiu)
    Khadak (Belgium/Germany, Peter Brosens & Jessica Hope Woodworth)
    The Mosquito Problem and Other Stories (Bulgaria, Director Andrey Paounov)
    The Edge of Heaven (Germany/Turkey, Fatih Akin)
    Black Butterfly (2006, Peru, Francisco J. Lombardi)
    In Memory of Myself (Italy, Saverio Costanzo)
    Secret Sunshine (South Korea, Lee Chang-Dong)
    The Girl Cut in Two (France, Claude Chabrol)
    Import Export (Austria/France, Ulrich Seidl)
    Bliss (Greece/Turkey, Abdullah Oguz)
    Johnny Gaddaar (India, Sriram Raghavan)
    No Smoking (India, Anurag Kashyap) A Mighty Heart (USA/UK, Michael Winterbottom)

    Older favourites (released prior to 2007), in order of viewing:

  • United 93 (2006, USA co-production, Paul Greengrass)
  • The House of Sand (2005, Brazil, Andrucha Waddington)
  • Notes on a Scandal (2006, UK, Richard Eyre)
  • Tropical Malady (2004, Thailand, Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
  • Pickpocket (1959, France, Robert Bresson)
  • L’Enfer (2005, France co-production, Danis Tanovic)
  • Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972, West Germany, Werner Herzog)
  • Eraserhead (1977, USA, David Lynch)
  • Cobra Verde (1987, West Germany, Werner Herzog)
  • My life to Live (1962, France, Jean-Luc Godard)
  • Volver (2006, Spain, Pedro Almodóvar)
  • Crimson Gold (2003, Iran, Jafar Panahi)
  • The Straight Story (1999, USA, David Lynch)
  • Blue Velvet (1986, USA, David Lynch)
  • The Mahabharata (1989, multiple countries, Peter Brook)
  • Pixote (1981, Brazil, Hector Babenco)
  • Whisky (2004, Uruguay, Juan Pablo Rebella, Pablo Stoll)
  • North by Northwest (1959, USA, Alfred Hitchcock)
  • Camera Buff (1979, Poland, Krzysztof Kieslowski)
  • Army of Shadows (1969, France, Jean-Pierre Melville)
  • Spare Parts (2003, Slovenia, Damjan Kozole)
  • Dekalog (1989, Poland, Krzysztof Kieslowski)
  • Underground (1995, Serbia, Emir Kusturica)
  • Mirage (2004, Macedonia, Svetozar Ristovski)
  • Modern Times (1936, USA, Charlie Chaplin)
  • L'Avventura (1960, Italy, Michelangelo Antonioni)
  • L'Eclisse (1962, Italy, Michelangelo Antonioni)
  • Blowup (1966, Italy, Michelangelo Antonioni)
  • The Addiction (1995, USA, Abel Ferrara)
  • Bad Lieutenant (1992, USA, Abel Ferrara)
  • The River (1997, Taiwan, Tsai Ming-liang)
  • Yi Yi (2000, Taiwan, Edward Yang)
  • The Bourne Identity (2002, USA, Doug Liman)
  • The Page Turner (2006, France, Denis Dercourt)
  • Dead Ringers (1988, Canada, David Cronenberg)
  • Le Trou (1960, France, Jacques Becker)
  • Touchez pas au grisbi (1954, France, Jacques Becker)
  • The Son (2002, Belgium/France, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne)
  • Distant (2002, Turkey, Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
  • Bug (2006, USA, William Friedkin)
  • Grand Prix (1966, USA, John Frankenheimer)
  • Le Mani sulla città (1963, Italy, Francesco Rosi)
  • Salvatore Giuliano (1962, Italy, Francesco Rosi)
  • Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi (2003, India, Sudhir Mishra)
  • Life on Earth (1998, Mali/Mauritania/France, Abderrahmane Sissako)
  • Moolaade (2004, Senegal co-production, Ousmane Sembene)

  • Note: The funny nature of release dates sometimes puts some films in a bizarre limbo state when it comes to personal best of year lists. Children of Men only got a limited released in 2006 and didn't make it Canadian cinemas until early 2007. Initially, this film was missed from my year end list but as a correction, I have now put it back.

    The same border-line release schedule continues this year as well. For example, There Will be Blood is only getting a limited Canadian release on Jan 4, 2008. But it might take another few weeks to make it out to my city.

    Tuesday, January 01, 2008

    2007: Year in Review

    2007 was a satisfying film viewing year both in terms of the quality of films seen and even the quantity.

    Total # of films & documentaries seen in 2007: 385

    Note: This number only includes films and docs with a duration of over 60 minutes; I am not including any individual shorts or medium length works (such as some 30 minute films or 45 minute documentaries that I saw). And the only shorts collection included is that of David Lynch whose 2002 released shorts DVD contained more than an hour's worth of material.

    A big reason for this high total of 385 is the number of films that I saw as part of my spotlight series and at film festivals. I found that focusing on works of a region, country or even director made for an enjoyable experience and allowed me to easily watch multiple movies in succession.

    Here are the major spotlights I looked at in 2007:

  • African cinema: part I, part II
  • David Lynch: Part I, Part II
  • French vs German Cinema: Part I, Part II
  • Iranian Cinema
  • Brazil -- part I, part II, part III, part IV
  • Eastern Europe -- part I, part II, part III, part IV, part V
  • Western Europe
  • South America via Copa America Film Festival
  • Taiwan, Tsai Ming-liang, part II
  • Abel Ferrara -- part I, part II & III
  • Antonioni
  • Chaplin
  • Jacques Becker
  • David Cronenberg
  • Japan
  • Turkey
  • Alejandro Jodorowsky
  • Francesco Rosi
  • Greece
  • Bollywood -- part I, part II
  • Hong Kong

  • And ofcourse, there was the matter of the two film festivals:

  • CIFF
  • VIFF

  • Full list of films seen in 2007 (roughly in order of viewing):
    Comments/reviews of atleast 350 films have been posted on this blog over the course of last year.

    Film (Year of Production, Country, Director name): Rating (out of 10)

    1. United 93 (2006, USA co-production, Paul Greengrass): 9
    2. Calvaire (2004, Belgium co-production, Fabrice Du Welz): 8
    3. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006, USA, Adam McKay): 6
    4. Todo Todo Torres (2006, Philippines, John Torres): 8
    5. After this our exile (2006, Hong Kong, Patrick Tam): 8.5
    6. Joni's Promise (2005, Indonesia, Joko Anwar): 6
    7. Mukhsin (2006, Malaysia, Yasmin Ahmad): 8
    8. Rain Dogs (2006, Malaysia/Hong Kong, Yuhang Ho): 6.5
    9. Crazy Stone (2006, China/Hong Kong, Hao Ning): 5.5
    10. Love Conquers All (2006, Holland/Malaysia, Tan Chui Mui): 7
    11. Children of Men (2006, UK/USA co-production, Alfonso Cuarón): 10
    12. The Queen (2006, UK co-production, Stephen Frears): 9
    13. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006, Mexico, Guillermo del Toro): 8.5
    14. Inside Man (2006, USA, Spike Lee): 7.5
    15. Touching the Void (2003, UK, Kevin MacDonald): 8
    16. Dolls (2002, Japan, Takeshi Kitano): 7
    17. Babel (2006, USA/France/Mexico, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Writer : Guillermo Arriaga): 8
    18. Jealousy (1999, Spain, Vicente Aranda): 7.5
    19. Lisbon (1999, Spain/Argentina, Antonio Hernández): 6
    20. District 13 (2004, France, Pierre Morel): 7
    21. The House of Sand (2005, Brazil, Andrucha Waddington): 10
    22. Guru (2007, India, Mani Ratnam): 8.5
    23. Dhoom 2 (2006, India, Sanjay Gadhvi): 5
    24. Woh Lahme (2006, India, Mohit Suri): 8
    25. Zatracení The Damned (2002, Czech co-production, Dan Svátek): 4.5
    26. Notes on a Scandal (2006, UK, Richard Eyre): 10
    27. Invisible Waves (2006, Thailand, Pen-Ek Ratanaruang): 8.5
    28. Exiled (2006, Hong Kong, Johnny To): 7.5
    29. Khoshla Ka Ghosla (2006, India, Dibakar Banerjee): 10
    30. Tropical Malady (2004, Thailand, Apichatpong Weerasethakul): 9
    31. Apocalypto (2006, USA, Mel Gibson): 9
    32. The Bow (2005, Korea, Kim Ki-Duk): 7.5
    33. Eklavya (2007, India, Vidhu Vinod Chopra): 6.5
    34. The Proposition (2005, UK/Australia, John Hillcoat): 8.5
    35. Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story (2006, UK, Michael Winterbottom): 8.5
    36. When the Stars meet the Sea (1996, Madagascar/France, Raymond Rajaonarivelo): 8.5
    37. Touki Bouki (1973, Senegal, Djibril Diop Mambéty): 7.5
    38. Quartier Mozart (1992, Cameroon/France, Jean-Pierre Bekolo): 5.5
    39. La Vie Est Belle (1987, Zaire/France/Belgium, Benoît Lamy & Mweze Ngangura): 6
    40. Black Friday (2005, India, Anurag Kashyap): 10
    41. Pickpocket (1959, France, Robert Bresson): 10
    42. La Cienaga (2001, Argentina co-production, Lucrecia Martel): 7
    43. Novo (2002, Switzerland co-production, Jean-Pierre Limosin): 6
    44. Shanghai Triad (1995, China, Zhang Yimou): 7
    45. Ashes of Time (1994, Hong Kong/China/Taiwan, Wai Kar Wong): 6
    46. Anwar (2007, India, Manish Jha): 5.5
    47. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006, USA, Clint Eastwood) : 7.5
    48. The Departed (2006, USA, Martin Scorsese): 8.5
    49. The Last King of Scotland (2006, UK, Kevin MacDonald): 7
    50. Blood Diamond (2006, USA, Edward Zwick): 7.5
    51. Hell L’Enfer (2005, France co-production, Danis Tanovic): 9
    52. Otomo (1999, Germany, Frieder Schlaich): 8
    53. Idiocracy (2006, USA, Mike Judge): 7
    54. Night at the Museum (2006, USA, Shawn Levy): 7.5
    55. Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972, West Germany, Werner Herzog): 9
    56. The Enigma of Kasper Hauser (1974, West Germany, Werner Herzog): 8
    57. Claire's Knee (1970, France, Eric Rohmer): 8.5
    58. Les Bonnes Femmes (1960, France/Italy, Claude Chabrol): 7
    59. The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972, West Germany, Rainer Werner Fassbinder): 6
    60. The Wind that Shakes the Barley (2006, Ireland/UK co-production, Ken Loach): 8.5
    61. Gangster: A Love Story (2006, India, Anurag Basu): 8
    62. Takeshis' (2005, Japan, Takeshi Kitano): 6.5
    63. Paris je t'aime (2006, France co-production, Multiple directors)
    64. Eraserhead (1977, USA, David Lynch): 9
    65. The Elephant Man (1980, USA, David Lynch) : 8
    66. Lost Highway (1997, USA, David Lynch) : 7.5
    67. The Science of Sleep (2006, France/Italy, Michel Gondry): 8
    68. Traffic Signal (2007, India, Madhur Bhandarkar): 8
    69. Strings (2005, India, Sanjay Jha): 4
    70. Risk (2007, India, Vishram Sawant): 5
    71. Je vous trouve très beau (2005, France, Isabelle Mergault): 8
    72. Ma fille mon ange (2007, Canada, Alexis Durand-Brault): 9
    73. Guide de la petite vengeance (2006, Canada, Jean-François Pouliot): 8.5
    74. The Grindhouse (2007, USA, Robert Rodriguez & Quentin Tarantino): 7.5
    75. Chronically Unfeasible (2000, Brazil, Sergio Bianchi): 7.5
    76. Black Orpheus (1959, Brazil, Marcel Camus): 8
    77. Hot Fuzz (2007, UK, Edgar Wright): 9
    78. Cobra Verde (1987, West Germany, Werner Herzog): 10
    79. Betty Blue (1986, France, Jean-Jacques Beineix): 8.5
    80. My life to Live (1962, France, Jean-Luc Godard): 9
    81. The Disenchanted (1990, France, Benoît Jacquot): 7.5
    82. Destiny (1921, Germany, Fritz Lang): 7.5
    83. Volver (2006, Spain, Pedro Almodóvar): 9
    84. Catch a Fire (2006, USA, Phillip Noyce): 7
    85. Namastey London (2007, India, Vipul Amrutlal Shah): 6
    86. Just Married (2007, India, Meghna Gulzar): 6
    87. Salaam-E-Ishq(2007, India, Nikhil Advani): 5.5
    88. Nishabd (2007, India, Ram Gopal Varma): 7
    89. Gafla (2006, India, Sameer Hanchate): 8
    90. Red: The Dark Side (2007, India, Vikram Bhatt): 5.5
    91. Crimson Gold (2003, Iran, Jafar Panahi, Writer -- Abbas Kiarostami): 10
    92. Under the Moonlight (2001, Iran, Seyyed Reza Mir-Karimi): 7.5
    93. Smell of Camphor Fragrance of Jasmine(2000, Iran, Bahman Farmanara): 8
    94. The Straight Story (1999, USA, David Lynch): 9
    95. The Short Films of David Lynch (2002)
    96. Blue Velvet (1986, USA, David Lynch): 9
    97. Twin Peaks:Fire Walk with me (1992, USA, David Lynch): 5
    98. Wild at Heart (1990, USA, David Lynch): 4
    99. Hotel Room (1993, USA, David Lynch, James Signorelli): 7
    100. Manderlay (2005, Denmark co-production, Lars von Trier): 7
    101. Inland Empire (2006, USA co-production, David Lynch): 8
    102. Spider Man 3 (2007, USA, Sam Raimi): 5
    103. Training Day (2001, USA, Antoine Fuqua): 7.5
    104. Rebels of the Neon God (1992, Taiwan, Tsai ming-Liang): 9.5
    105. Colour Me Kubrick (2005, UK/France, Brian Cook): 4.5
    106. The Mahabharata (1989, multiple countries, Peter Brook): 9
    107. Himalaya (1999, multiple countries, Eric Valli): 8
    108. Lower City (2005, Brazil, Sérgio Machado): 7.5
    109. Pixote (1981, Brazil, Hector Babenco): 9
    110. El Compadre Mendoza (1934, Mexico, Juan Bustillo Oro, Fernando de Fuentes): 8
    111. Coronacion (2000, Chile, Silvio Caiozzi): 6
    112. Como voy a olvidarte? (2004, Ecuador, Edgardo Viereck): 4.5
    113. North by Northwest (1959, USA, Alfred Hitchcock): 9
    114. 1971 (2007, India, Amrit Sagar): 5.5
    115. Delhii Heights (2007, India, Anand Kumar): 6
    116. Whisky (2004, Uruguay, Juan Pablo Rebella, Pablo Stoll): 9.5
    117. Dias de Santiago (2004, Peru, Josue Mendez): 8.5
    118. Sexual Dependency (2003, Bolivia, Rodrigo Bellott): 7.5
    119. Oriana (1985, Fina Torres, Venezuela): 7
    120. Life in a Metro (2007, India, Anurag Basu): 7.5
    121. Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. (2007, India, Reema Kagti): 6.5
    122. Ek Chalis Ki Last Local (2007, India, Sanjay M. Kanduri): 7
    123. Kya Love Story Hai (2007, India, Lovely Singh): 4.5
    124. Salaam Namaste (2005, India, Siddharth Anand): 5.5
    125. Neal 'N' Nikki (2005, India, Arjun Sablok): 3
    126. Shakalaka Boom Boom (2007, India, Suneel Darshan): 3.5
    127. Orange Revolution (2006, USA, Steve York): 7.5
    128. Do you Remember Dolly Bell? (1981, Serbia, Emir Kusturica): 8.5
    129. Camera Buff (1979, Poland, Krzysztof Kieslowski): 9.5
    130. Werckmeister Harmonies (2000, Hungary, Béla Tarr / Agnes Hranitzky): 8
    131. Army of Shadows (1969, France, Jean-Pierre Melville): 10
    132. The Good Shepard (2006, USA, Robert De Niro): 8
    133. Time (2006, South Korea, Ki-duk Kim): 8
    134. The Fountain (2006, USA, Darren Aronofsky): 7

    135. Spare Parts (2003, Slovenia, Damjan Kozole): 9
    ......titles not included 

    148. The Prefab People (1982, Hungary, Béla Tarr): 8.5
    149. Christmas Tree Upside Down (2006, Bulgaria, Ivan Tscherkelov,Vasil Zhivkov): 6
    150. Ocean's Thirteen (2007, USA, Steven Soderbergh): 7.5
    151. Knocked Up (2006, USA, Judd Apatow): 8
    152. Jestem (2005, Poland, Dorota Kedzierzawska): 8
    153. Dekalog (1989, Poland, Krzysztof Kieslowski): 10
    154. Underground (1995, Serbia, Emir Kusturica): 9
    155. The Oak (1992, Romania, Lucian Pintilie): 8
    156. The Outsider (1981, Hungary, Béla Tarr)
    157. Transformers (2007, USA, Michael Bay): 7.5
    158. Where Fig Trees Grow (2004, France, Yasmina Yahiaoui): 7.5
    159. Exterminating Angels (2006, France, Jean-Claude Brisseau): 7
    160. Summer 04 (2006, Gemany, Stefan Krohmer): 9
    161. Romanzo criminale (2005, Italy, Michele Placido): 8
    162. Vitus (2006, Switzerland, Fredi M. Murer): 6
    163. Fuse (2003, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Pjer Zalica): 8
    164. Pretty Village Pretty Flames (1996, Former Yugoslavia, Srdjan Dragojevic): 7
    165. Mirage (2004, Macedonia, Svetozar Ristovski): 10

    169. Ratatouille (2007, USA, Brad Bird): 10
    170. Jhoom Barabar Jhoom (2007, India, Shaad Ali): 7

    178. El Aura (2006, Argentina, Fabián Bielinsky): 8.5

    184. When Father was away on Business (1985, Serbia, Emir Kusturica): 7

    189. Happy New Life (2007, Hungary, Árpád Bogdán): 9

    191. Blockade (2006, Russia, Sergey Loznitsa): 9

    205. The Man Who Copied (2003, Brazil, Jorge Furtado): 8.5
    206. The Official Story (1985, Argentina, Luis Puenzo): 8.5
    207. Los Ninos Invisibles (2001, Colombia, Lisandro Duque Naranjo): 7.5
    208. Forever Never Anywhere (2007, Austria, Antonin Svoboda): 6
    209. Fool N Final (2007, India, Ahmed Khan): 3
    210. Shootout At Lokhandwala (2007, India, Apoora Lakhia): 6.5
    211. The Train (2007, India, Raksha Mistry/Hasnain Hyderabadwala): 5
    212. Swami (2007, India, Ganesh Acharya): 6
    213. The Kid (1921, USA, Charlie Chaplin): 8.5
    214. Modern Times (1936, USA, Charlie Chaplin): 10
    215. City Lights (1931, USA, Charlie Chaplin): 7.5
    216. The Gold Rush (1925, USA, Charlie Chaplin): 8
    217. L' Avventura (1960, Italy, Michelangelo Antonioni): 9
    218. L'Eclisse (1962, Italy, Michelangelo Antonioni): 10
    219. Blowup (1966, Italy, Michelangelo Antonioni): 10
    220. The Addiction (1995, USA, Abel Ferrara): 9
    221. Bad Lieutenant (1992, USA, Abel Ferrara): 9
    222. Fear City (1984, USA, Abel Ferrara): 5
    223. King of New York (1990, USA, Abel Ferrara): 8
    224. The Driller Killer (1979, USA, Abel Ferrara): 4.5
    225. Crime Story (1986, USA, Abel Ferrara): 7.5
    226. New Rose Hotel (1998, USA, Abel Ferrara): 6
    227. The Funeral (1996, USA, Abel Ferrara): 8.5
    228. God is Brazilian (2003, Brazil, Carlos Diegues): 7
    229. Drained (2006, Brazil, Heitor Dhalia): 10
    230. Baixio das Bestas (2007, Brazil, Cláudio Assis): 8
    231. The Samba Poet (2006, Brazil, Ricardo Van Steen): 7.5
    232. Yi Yi (2000, Taiwan, Edward Yang): 10
    233. Millennium Mambo (2001, Taiwan, Hou Hsiao-hsien): 7.5
    234. Vive L'Amour (1994, Taiwan, Tsai Ming-liang): 8
    235. The River (1997, Taiwan, Tsai Ming-liang): 9
    236. Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal (2007, India, Vivek Agnihotri): 4.5
    237. Good Bye Dragon Inn (2003, Taiwan, Tsai Ming-liang): 7.5
    238. The Bourne Identity (2002, USA, Doug Liman): 9
    239. The Bourne Supremacy (2004, USA, Paul Greengrass): 8.5
    240. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007, USA, Paul Greengrass): 10
    241. Zodiac (2007, USA, David Fincher): 10
    242. The Edge of Heaven (2007, Germany/Turkey, Fatih Akin): 9
    243. Black Butterfly (2006, Peru, Francisco J. Lombardi): 9
    244. The True Legend of Tony Vilar (2006, Italy, Giuseppe Gagliardi): 7.5
    245. Hunt Angels (2006, Australia, Alec Morgan): 7.5
    246. Jade Warrior (2006, Finland co-production, Antti-Jussi Annila): 6
    247. The Mosquito Problem and Other Stories (2007, Bulgaria, Director Andrey Paounov): 9
    248. Persepolis (2007, France, Directors/writers: Vincent Paronnaud & Marjane Satrapi): 8
    249. Two in One (2007, Ukraine/Russia, Kira Muratova): 6.5
    250. Fresh Air (2006, Hungary, Ágnes Kocsis & Andrea Roberti): 8
    251. 4 Months 3 Weeks 2 days (2007, Romania, Cristian Mungiu): 9
    252. Saviour Square (2006, Poland, Joanna Kos & Krzysztof Krauze): 8
    253. Khadak (2006, Belgium/Germany, Peter Brosens & Jessica Hope Woodworth): 8.5
    254. Quilombo (1984, Brazil, Carlos Diegues): 7.5
    255. Madame Satã (2002, Brazil, Karim Ainouz): 7
    256. Citizen Dog(2004, Thailand, Wisit Sasanatieng): 8
    257. Offside (2006, Iran, Jafar Panahi): 7.5
    258. The Page Turner (2006, France, Denis Dercourt): 9
    259. 2 Days in Paris (2007, France/Germany, Julie Delpy): 8.5
    260. Cavite (2005, Philippines/USA, Neill Dela Llana Ian Gamazon): 8
    261. Les Enfants Terribles (1950, France, Jean-Pierre Melville Novel by Jean Cocteau)
    262. Videodrome (1983, Canada, David Cronenberg): 8.5
    263. Dead Ringers (1988, Canada, David Cronenberg): 9.5
    264. Le Trou (1960, France, Jacques Becker): 10
    265. Casque d'or (1952, France, Jacques Becker): 8
    266. Touchez pas au grisbi (1954, France, Jacques Becker): 9
    267. Midnight Express (1978, USA/UK, Alan Parker): 8.5
    268. The Son (2002, Belgium/France, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne): 9.5
    269. Fists in the Pocket (1965, Italy, Marco Bellocchio): 8.5
    270. Japón (2002, Mexico co-production, Carlos Reygadas): 8
    271. Chocolat (1988, France/West Germany/Cameroon, Claire Denis): 8
    272. Transylvania (2006, France, Tony Gatlif): 7.5
    273. Electra My Love (1970, Hungary, Miklós Jancsó)
    274. Fando and Lis (1968, Mexico, Alejandro Jodorowsky): 6.5
    275. El Topo (1970, Mexico, Alejandro Jodorowsky): 7.5
    276. Distant (2002, Turkey, Nuri Bilge Ceylan): 9.5
    277. Journey to the Sun (1999, Turkey, Yesim Ustaoglu): 8.5
    278. Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul (2005, Germany/Turkey, Fatih Akin): 8.5
    279. In July (2000, Germany, Fatih Akin): 8
    280. Hamam (1997, Turkey, Ferzan Ozpetek): 7.5
    281. Bug (2006, USA, William Friedkin): 9
    282. Grand Prix (1966, USA, John Frankenheimer): 9
    283. Mysterious Object at Noon (2000, Thailand, Apichatpong Weerasethakul): 8
    284. The Hole (1998, Taiwan, Tsai Ming-liang): 8
    285. Paprika (2006, Japan, Satoshi Kon): 9
    286. Kamikaze Girls (2004, Japan, Tetsuya Nakashima): 6.5
    287. The Twilight Samurai (2002, Japan, Yôji Yamada): 8
    288. Eastern Promises (2007, Canada/UK/USA, David Cronenberg): 8
    289. After the Wedding (2006, Denmark, Susanne Bier): 8
    290. Black Book (2006, Holland, Paul Verhoeven): 6
    291. Foster Child (2007, Philippines, Brillante Mendoza): 10
    292. Dans la ville de Sylvia (2007, Spain, José Luis Guerin): 10
    293. Unas fotos en la ciudad del Sylvia (2007, Spain, José Luis Guerin): 10
    294. Slingshot (2007, Philippines, Brillante Mendoza): 10
    295. Euphoria (2006, Russia, Ivan Vyrypaev): 9.5
    296. Bliss (2007, Greece/Turkey, Abdullah Oguz): 9.5
    297. Secret Sunshine (2007, South Korea, Lee Chang-Dong): 9
    298. In Memory of Myself (2007, Italy, Saverio Costanzo): 9
    299. The Girl Cut in Two (2007, France, Claude Chabrol): 9
    300. Import Export (2007, Austria/France, Ulrich Seidl): 9
    301. Times and Winds (2006, Turkey, Reha Erdem): 8.5
    302. Help Me Eros (2007, Taiwan, Lee Kang-sheng): 8.5
    303. Ploy (2007, Thailand, Pen-ek Ratanaruang): 8.5
    304. Bad Habits (2007, Mexico, Simón Bross): 8.5
    305. Sounds of Sand (2006, Belgium, Marion Hänsel): 8
    306. Useless (2007, China, Jia Zhangke): 8
    307. The Man from London (2007, France/Germany/Hungary, Béla Tarr): 8
    308. My Winnipeg (2007, Canada, Guy Maddin): 8
    309. Drowned in Oblivion (2006, Belgium/France, Pierre-Yves Vandeweerd): 8
    310. Great World of Sound (2006, USA, Craig Zobel): 8
    311. The Counterfeiters (2007, Austria/Germany, Stefan Ruzowitzky): 8
    312. Keepers of Eden (2007, USA, Yoram Porath): 7.5
    313. The Duchess of Langeais (2007, France, Jacques Rivette): 7
    314. Soo (2007, South Korea, Sai Yoichi): 6.5
    315. Since Otar Left (2003, France/Belgium, Julie Bertucelli): 8.5
    316. Killer of Sheep (1977, USA, Charles Burnett): 7.5
    317. Dog Days (2001, Austria, Ulrich Seidl): 6.5
    318. Chak De India (2007, India, Shimit Amin): 8.5
    319. Gandhi My Father (2007, India, Feroze Khan): 8
    320. Bhool Bhulaiyaa(2007, India, Priyadarshan): 7.5
    321. Saawariya (2007, India, Sanjay Leela Bhansali): 7
    322. Dhamaal (2007, India, Indra Kumar): 6.5
    323. Cheeni Kum (2007, India, R. Balki): 5.5
    324. Dhol (2007, India, Priyadarshan): 4.5
    325. Partner (2007, India, David Dhawan): 4
    326. Cash (2007, India, Anubhav Sinha): 3.5
    327. Aag (2007, India, Ram Gopal Varma): 2
    328. A Girl in Black (1956, Greece, Mihalis Kakogiannis): 9
    329. The Weeping Meadow (2004, Greece, Theodoros Angelopoulos): 8.5
    330. Ulysses' Gaze (1995, Greece, Theodoros Angelopoulos): 7.5
    331. Attila '74 (1975, Greece, Mihalis Kakogiannis): 6
    332. Johnny Gaddaar (2007, India, Sriram Raghavan): 9
    333. Manorama Six Feet Under (2007, India, Navdeep Singh): 8.5
    334. Om Shanti Om (2007, India, Farah Khan): 8.5
    335. No Smoking (2007, India, Anurag Kashyap): 10
    336. Le Mani sulla città (1963, Italy, Francesco Rosi): 10
    337. Salvatore Giuliano (1962, Italy, Francesco Rosi): 9
    338. Cristo si è fermato a Eboli (1979, Italy, Francesco Rosi): 8.5
    339. Tre fratelli (1981, Italy, Francesco Rosi): 8.5
    340. Diario napoletano (1992, Italy, Francesco Rosi): 7.5
    341. The Simpsons Movie (2007, USA, David Silverman): 7.5
    342. This is England (2006, UK, Shane Meadows): 8
    343. Bheja Fry (2007, India, Sagar Ballary): 7.5
    344. Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi (2003, India, Sudhir Mishra): 9
    345. Dil Dosti etc (2007, India, Manish Tiwary): 7
    346. Dhokha (2007, India, Pooja Bhatt): 5.5
    347. Welcome (2007, India, Anees Bazmee): 5
    348. Gone Baby Gone (2007, USA, Ben Affleck): 8.5
    349. Rendition (2007, USA, Gavin Hood): 10
    350. Michael Clayton (2007, USA, Tony Gilroy): 8
    351. American Gangster (2007, USA, Ridley Scott): 8
    352. Rescue Dawn (2006, USA, Werner Herzog) Rating 8.5
    353. A Mighty Heart (2007, USA/UK, Michael Winterbottom): 9
    354. Life on Earth (1998, Mali/Mauritania/France, Abderrahmane Sissako): 9
    355. Hyenas (1992, Senegal, Djibril Diop Mambéty): 8
    356. Moolaade (2004, Senegal co-production, Ousmane Sembene): 9.5
    357. Haramuya (1995, Burkina Faso, Drissa Toure): 6.5
    358. Wend Kuuni (1982, Burkina Faso, Gaston Kaboré): 6
    359. Yeelen (1987, Senegal, Souleymane Cissé): 8.5
    360. Hommage à noir (1996, Germany, Ralf Schmerberg): 8
    361. Caméra arabe (1987, Tunisia, Férid Boughedir): 7
    362. Halfaouine: Child of the Terraces (1990, Tunisia, Férid Boughedir): 8
    363. Alexandria Again and Forever (1990, Egypt, Youssef Chahine): 7.5
    364. Redacted (2007, USA, Brian De Palma): 6.5
    365. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007, USA, Andrew Dominik): 7
    366. Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007, USA, Sidney Lumet): 7.5
    367. No Country for Old Men (2007, USA, Joel & Ethan Coen): 8.5
    368. Speed (2007, India, Vikram Bhatt): 0
    369. Goodbye Lenin (2003, Germany, Wolfgang Becker)
    370. Sorry for Kung Fu (2004, Croatia, Ognjen Svilicic)
    371. Daywatch (2006, Russia, Timur Bekmambetov)
    372. Zelary (2003, Czech Republic, Ondrej Trojan)
    373. Edi (2002, Poland, Piotr Trzaskalski)
    374. Jab We Met (2007, India, Imtiaz Ali): 8
    375. Aaja Nachle (2007, India, Anil Mehta):8
    376. Parzania (2005, India, Rahul Dholakia): 7.5
    377. Kairee (2000, India, Amol Palekar): 6
    378. Divergence (2005, Hong Kong, Benny Chan): 7
    379. Triangle (2007, Hong Kong, Tsui Hark, Ronny Lam, Johnny Tam)
    380. Love for Sale (2007, Brazil co-production, Karim Ainouz): 6.5
    381. La Vie en Rose (2007, France co-production, Olivier Dahan): 7.5
    382. Once (2007, Ireland, John Carney): 7.5
    383. Who's Next (2007, Hong Kong, Chung Kai Cheung): 5
    384. Taare Zameen Par (2007, India, Aamir Khan): 10
    385. Heyy Babyy (2007, India, Sajid Khan): 3