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10 Best Films the “HoF-men Recommend”: 11th Edition

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Here are the 10 films that made it to our 11th edition of our ‘HOF-Men Recommend’ Series. You can check out the 10th Edition here. 

1. El Club [2015] | Director: Pablo Larrain

El Club [2015] Pablo Larrain
El Club [2015] Pablo Larrain

Pablo Larrain’s seditious critical & quintessentially scathing film “The Club” functions as a complex psychological drama that vicariously creeps inside the psyche of Priests and ultimately strips down the putridness of religious institution and authoritarian. The Club is an intelligent, bold and raw film, well aware about the existence of the deeply flawed institution, and blunt enough to showcase, not to question, sacrilegious souls present in disguise of religious authority.

Larrain, who co-wrote with Guillermo Calderon and Daniel Villalobos, showcases the collision of pseudo ideologies ruining several lives; importantly, it pitches what religion and institutional authorities do to an individual on either side of the fence. You can read the complete review here.

2. I Wish[2011] |Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda 

“I Wish” sounds more like a fairy tale film but it lingers in the realm of a graceful realistic tone & an honest approach, where two brothers stay apart owing to their parents’ separation and their attempt to reconcile with them. Though the plot is about the kids trying to unite them, do not expect that the process of uniting the separated couple heavily relies on cliche filled manipulative moments that many films have dealt in past. Detouring from it, the film focuses on the impromptu decisions without their implications and the adventure two siblings follow to make it happen.

“I want you to grow up to be someone who cares about more than just your own life,” Koichi’s father tells him on the phone, succinctly summarizing the film’s definition of maturity, which is less about achieving a dream than accepting one’s place in the larger world, as messy, sad, and wonderful as it can be. You can read the complete review here.

3. The Blood of a Poet [1932] | Director: Jean Cocteau

Jean Cocteau, a poet and a writer, is regarded as one of the most influential film-makers whose traces of influence could still be visible in the post-modernist films. In the first chapter of ‘The Orphic Trilogy’, Jean Cocteau explores the agony & joy of what it takes to be a true artist. Every frame of the film oozes the poetic narrative that makes this film more intimate and explorative work of his consciousness. Divided into two parts, Cocteau flirts with symbolism and metaphors, keeping the surface level story quite engaging for a passive audience who doesn’t want to dig much. He tries to search for the bridge that connects the poems with the reality of the world.  Sometimes, hovering into the pretentious mode, ‘The Blood of a Poet’ is an honest attempt at exploring the life of an artist.

4. Miss Violence [2014] | Director: Alexandros Avranas

Miss Violence is one of those bizarre Greek films that is painted using a black brush on the black canvas. From the opening scene, where an 11-year girl commits suicide on her birthday, things get too horrifically complicated when the entire family pretends as if nothing has happened. On the top of that, the moment you settle for something good to happen after all those silent but disturbing scenes, it unfolds more hidden secrets of the family that might even offend your sense of family values. It carries an uncanny resemblance to Yorgos Lanthimos’s Dogtooth and Attenberg but Miss violence is more horrific in nature.

5. Tristana [1970] | Director: Luis Buñuel

In the hands of any other film-maker, Tristan, based on the novel by Benito Pérez Galdós, would have been a unidimensional character study of the unusual, a shifting power relationship of an old perverted aristocrat and a playful orphaned young girl. But in the hands of avant-garde surrealist Luis Buñuel, Tristana comes off as a strange and elusive film, at times hypnotically enigmatic and sexually charged, that nurtures in the grey area of relationship driven by the dynamics of ever-shifting power between both the sexes.

This is Bunuel’s least surreal film but he never shies away from subtly but fervently injecting his antagonistic views of churches and socio-political satire of post-WWI Spain, around1930s. Even in the straightforward film, Luis Buñuel doesn’t shy away from incorporating his trademarks: a dream image of Don Lope’s head in the place of a church bell is characteristically anticlerical and proves itself appropriately surreal. You can read the complete review here.


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