It took me a while to watch most of the films that should be in the running (The Hateful Eight, Carol) and there are still a few (Anomalisa, 45 Years) I haven’t watched yet. But here’s the first part of my humble selection.
25. Port of Call (Hong Kong), directed by Philip Yung
Up-and-coming Hong Kong director Philip Yung disguises a story of urban alienation and loneliness under the premise of a grisly murder. Yung displays an intimate interest in his characters in this thoroughly researched piece. The film’s intricate narrative structure pays off thanks to the shrewd editing work and audacity on the filmmakers’ part, which is sadly rare in Hong Kong these days. Young actors Michael Ning and Jessi Li shine in their roles as the killer and the victim of this chilling real-life tragedy that speaks volumes about Hong Kong values.
24. Alive (South Korea), directed by Park Jung-bum
Why continue to live when everything works against you with no end in sight? Writer-director-star Park Jung-bum’s searing performance as a modern-day secular version of Job who works exploitative jobs in order to support his unstable sister and young niece is as admirable as it is challenging for the duration of 175 minutes.
23. Tangerine (USA), directed by Sean Baker
Let this be a wakeup call for filmmakers everywhere. It’s high time to hire transgender actors to play transgender roles, as the ladies of Tangerine have proven themselves to be more than capable. Also, we have witnessed the apex of iPhone cinematography.
22. Carol (USA), directed by Todd Haynes
Everything seems so perfect in Todd Haynes’s 1950s forbidden love story—Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara’s performances, the cinematography, the production design, the music and so on. Yet I still feel being kept at arm’s length by this film. Nevertheless, the fact that Haynes manages to improve from the sweeping Far From Heaven should deserve any moviegoer’s applause. Continue reading “Best 25 Films of 2015 (Part 1, #13-25)”