June 05, 2021


I watched less than 170 movies in the year 2020. But that should perhaps be the smallest complaint one may have with the year. Of course, if the MAMI Film Festival were held, my usual score of 200 would be reached. The year 2021 is almost half over. Unfortunately, my movie count remains low. I will hope to improve this by the time the year ends. For now, keeping a record of some of the most interesting movie experiences I had in 2020.

MODERN ENGLISH-LANGUAGE MOVIES THAT WORKED FOR ME: 'Jojo Rabbit' (2019), '1917' (2019), and 'The Trial of the Chicago 7' (2020) were the expected titles. I really enjoyed 'Uncut Gems' (2019), so much so that I wish I had time to study its screenplay. Personally, I also loved 'A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood' (2019) and remember being moved deeply by it at the movie theatre. Another very interesting film I'd like to mention is 'Swallow' (2019). Very gripping and extremely well-made. 'Burn Burn Burn' (2015) was super fun too.

The best MODERN FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILMS I watched were the biggies 'Parasite' (2019) and 'Portrait of a Lady on Fire' (2019) - both absolutely great. But there were some wonderful, lesser-known ones too: 'All of a Sudden' (2016), 'The Load' (2018), 'All is Well' (2018), 'Echo' (2019), 'The Fever' (2019), and the weird but entertaining 'The Children of the Dead' aka 'Die kinder der toten' (2019). The now famous 'The Invisible Guest' (2016) was quite entertaining too. However, the one that totally blew me over was 'The Platform' (2019) on Netflix. You need such original works once in a while to keep your movie experience unpredictable and exciting. Also, 'Gamak Ghar' (2019) was special.

Some NON-FICTION MOVIES that I'd like to mention are 'Fire in the Blood' (2013), '13th' (2016), 'Talking About Trees' (2019), 'One Child Nation' (2019), 'To Be and to Have' (2002), and 'For Sama' (2019). All of these were brilliant, easily among the very best movies I watched this year.

From WORLD CINEMA, I managed to watch some celebrated ones like 'Tartuffe' (1925, Germany), 'Kiki's Delivery Service' (1989, Japan), 'Babam ve Oglum' (2005, Turkey), and 'Body' aka 'Cialo' (2015, Poland). But certain titles were pure discoveries. 'Mr. Klein' (1976, France), 'Buffet froid' (1979, France), 'Sitcom' (1998, France), 'The Band's Visit' (2007, Israel), 'Oslo, August 31st' (2011, Norway), and the French-language animation 'Ernest & Celestine' (2012).

Similarly, some celebrated ENGLISH-LANGUAGE CLASSICS that I watched for the first time in 2020 and liked were 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner' (1967), 'Night of the Living Dead' (1968), 'Midnight Express' (1978), 'The Blues Brothers' (1980), 'Tootsie' (1982), 'Wall Street' (1987), 'Atonement' (2007), and 'Super 8' (2011) - and 'Creep' (2014) and its 2017, and even better, sequel 'Creep II'. But the best surprises were reserved for these movies I hadn't heard of: 'He Walked by Night' (1948), 'The Small Black Room' (1949), 'The Lavender Hill Mob' (1951), 'Kansas City Confidential' (1952), 'Accident' (1967), 'Long Weekend' (1978), 'Hopscotch' (1980), 'The Hit' (1984), 'Light Sleeper' (1992), ' Bound' (1996), 'Buffalo '66' (1998), 'The Interview' (1998), 'Lantana' (2001), 'Baghead' (2008), and 'The Ruins' (2008). Possibly the greatest of all was 'The Servant' (1963). I don't even remember why it impressed me so much but it surely would invite a revisit. Some powerful filmmaking there.

Rewatches of 'Short Term 12', 'Lagaan', 'Inside Out', 'A Quiet Place', 'Kumbalangi Nights', 'The Green Mile', 'The Shawshank Redemption', and 'The Silence of the Lambs', and episodes from 'Silicon Valley', 'Mindhunter', 'Paatal Lok', 'Better Call Saul', 'The Handmaid's Tale' and 'Escape at Dannemora' (this last mini-series is brilliant) well completed my experience of the year.

Since I have mentioned dozens of movies already, the point of this post was getting lost. Hence, I chose to mark fifteen out of these (in bold) which stood out for some reason or the other.

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