The first 5 months of 2013 have passed and I decided to make a top of the best films I’ve seen on cinema this year. First of all, I want to mention that the fact that Bucharest became a city with film festivals every month has contributed deeply to my going to more movies, more diverse and cheaper. Therefore, I decided to make a top of the films I have seen in Romania and in Italy. Half of them are from 2013. For every and each of them, the trailer and a few words (why I consider it as a masterpiece, to say the least).
1. La Grande Bellezza (2013)
Genre: Dramatic comedy. The best Italian movie of this century. And the most beautiful. And the deepest. About love, life, death, politics, sex and, of course, above all, about the beauty of rediscovering with respect how wonderful every person is. I don’t see how there could be a better film gaining the Academy Award for best foreign language picture in 2014 besides Paolo Sorrentino’s perfect motion picture.
2. The Act of Killing (2012)
Genre: Documentary. Seen at One World Romania film festival. The experience of watching this compelling human and social experiment truly explains “the banality of evil”. The filmmaker conceives a case study about how millions of Indonesian so-called “communists” were slaughtered half a century ago and how the people who did it are still alive and well. A revolutionary case of filmmaking.
3. Django Unchained (2012)
Genre: Western/political. I saw Django Unchained as a very political film, unjustifiable overlooked as “racism against the white people”. It is not a racist film, but a very clever film on how people conveniently distribute prejudices: one main white character (played Christopher Waltz) is not a racist, while a colored character (played by Samuel L. Jackson) is wilfully and masterfully participating in the exploitation of his own kind. Quentin Tarantino earns his Oscar for best screenplay, as he is one of the most structured and creative screenwriters that Hollywood has offered in the past quarter of the century.
4. Forbidden Voices (2010)
Genre: Documentary. Seen at One World Romania film festival. A captivating subject: blogging as activism for democracy in countries where the freedom of speech and especially the internet are being heavily censored: Cuba, Iran and China. Rarely have I seen at cinema such an excellent geopolitical subject one of my favorite activities.
5. Les Miserables (2012)
Genre: Music-hall. I don’t particularly like music-halls, but Les Miserables touched me (again). I have also seen two other picturizations of this novel and loved them too. This film is excellently acted, brilliantly executed and does convey a general spirit of the Revolution that I haven’t seen in cinema in a while. Definitely much better than that piece of shameful American propaganda which was Argo. One of the best 20 movies of 2012 – of course, in Europe the film was on the screens in early 2013.
6. Le renard et l’enfant /The Fox and the Girl (2007)
Genre: Drama. I had the wonderful suprise to watch this at the cinema, 6 years after it was originally released, with a friend, who published a film review on my Romanian blog. They say it’s hard to make a movie with animals and with kids. Oscar-winning documentarist Luc Jacquet did a movie where the main characters are a little girl and a fox. A wonderful movie about freedom, childhood and growing up.
7. Jews for Sale/Evrei de vanzare (2013)
Genre: Political/Historical Documentary. Yes, in my opinion, this is the best Romanian film from 2013. Each year, tens of Romanian film projects are getting announced. Most of them don’t get to see the light of the screen. Radu Gabrea, director of the docudrama “Red Gloves” (reviewed in English here) and one of the most productive and respected Romanian documentarists offers us yet another fascinating glance at the history of communism in our country. The film follows how the two main Romanian presidents in that period: Gheorghe Gheorghiu Dej and Nicolae Ceausescu (on which Gabrea made another movie, which premiered just a month before this one) have blackmailed, threatened and sold to the state of Israel Romanian Jews, which were considered expendable, but valuable citizens. They were traded for money, stocks, animals, exports, lobby, technology and equipment. The film participated in this year’s edition of Cinepolitica film festival. I invite you to read a film chronicle here.
8. Pozitia copilului/Child’s Pose (2013)
Genre: Psychological. Berlin Golden Bear, 2013. Another powerful execution of Romania’s best screenwriter, Razvan Radulescu (who also directed a film that I deeply appreciated – I wrote about it in English here and here) and a debutant film director, Calin Peter Netzer. The movie is about the post-communist clash between generations in the context of Romania’s matriarchal society.
9. Pevnost/Fortress (2012)
Genre: Political documentary. Winner, One World Romania documentary film festival. Done incognito in the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, also known as Transdnistria, a region between the actual borders of Russia and the Moldavian Republic, during the so-called presidential elections from 2012. I was deeply impressed that the filmmaker did not accept to distribute the film in Moldavia because of the repercussions that some of the film collaborators might be subjected to, by the Pridnestrovian authorities, which have constituted a de-facto state, backed by the Russian army.
10. The Human Scale (2012)
Genre: Geopolitical documentary. A fascinating look, offered with an expert vision by masters in exterior design and urban architecture. How should a place look, in order to provide the best, for the people who live in it? The film crew takes you all around the world, to see some of the most efficient places and the most inefficient places on the planet in terms of designing a livable experience for the people living in the big cities of the world.