1. The Past dir: Asghar Farhadi
At the very
first BIFF I attended I saw four films. The last of those films was Farhadi’s About Elly and I’m convinced that when
the workers tore down the Regent Cinema a year or so later they found a chair
with my hand prints imprinted in it. Aside from being nerve-wracking About Elly was the first film I ever saw
that hinged on an entirely different set of cultural norms to those I was
familiar with. All of which is a rather long winded way of saying that I have
no intention of missing a Farhadi film.
2. Outrage Beyond dir: Takeshi Kitano
previous Takeshi film I’ve seen is Hana-bi.
Having said that, I love that film’s curious mixture of brutal violence and
goofy sentiment. I also love its idiosyncratic editing and marvelously suspenseful
bank heist scene. In short it’s long past time that I saw another – even if it
is the rather tepidly received Outrage
3. The Missing Picture dir: Rithy
reception plus its premise of brutal history mixed with dollhouse
reconstructions makes it a must see.
4. Fallen City dir: Zhao Qi – and 5. ‘Til Madness Do Us Part dir: Wang Bing
Ever since I
went to Rotterdam in 2012 and saw films like Bachelor Mountain, Shattered, Born in Beijing and Apuda DV, ethnographically minded
documentaries from China have been one of my favorite film types – a feeling
reinforced by seeing Petition and Three Sisters recently. Documentaries
seem so much more revealing when they focus on their subjects’ behavior or when
the interviewer actually leaves space for the interviewed to really express
themselves. And the rapid change, dramatic rural/urban divide and history in
China create so much rich subject matter to be mined. So of course I’m seeing
the two Chinese documentaries at BIFF – especially the one by Wang Bing, the
acknowledged master of the form.