Sunday, December 29, 2013

Movies 2013: An Alternative Top 10 List

(Drivebycuriosity) - Here are my 10 favorite movies from 2013 which might be not really mainstream cinema:

I don´t have a clear number one, but there are 3 films on the top of my list:

Gravity, by director Alfonso Cuarón. The drama is pure cinema magic and might be the first film that lets us experience awe and horror of space travel while sitting in a cinema theater. Cuarón, who also was co-writer, co-producer and editor of "Gravity", shows what modern cinema is capable to. The audience gets sucked into a cinematic maelstrom thanks to cutting-edge special effects and advanced 3D techniques (driveby).

Stoker, by Chan-wook Park. The complex mystery thriller has many different layers: The film can be seen as a coming of age story, as a subtile vampire tale, a very special  family film or as a cynical fairy tale about people who behave far outside the boundaries of the common world. I also  fell in love with the magic of the camera. Park and his cinematographer Chung-hoon Chung delivered amazing compositions of picture and color (driveby).

Trance, by Danny Boyle. The eclectic British film director, who has a reputation for challenging movies since "Train Spotting", delivered again a film which could stir and provoke you. This time he focused on psychology and the mysteries of the unconscious mind. Boyle and his cinematographer Anthony Dod take the audience on a psychedelic trip and create a furious dance of pictures which could make you drunk (driveby).

There are some movies I liked almost as much:

Kiss Of The Damned, by Xan Cassavetes. This erotical masterpiece of the vampire genre tells us about living forever, having strange powers, being not able to see the sun. The film is a stylish exercise about eternal desire, passion, thrill & gore - and pure fun. The superb cinematography captures the sinister but alluring ambience with intoxicating pictures. Joséphine de La Baume & Roxane Mesquida are gorgeous vampires and demonstrate why this genre is loved by so many cineasts (driveby).

Ain't Them Bodies Saints, by David Lowery. The story about an outlaw who escapes from prison is also a psychological study about sacrifice, passion, competition, stubbornness and violence (driveby).

Europa Report, by Sebastián Cordero. The super realistic science fiction thriller describes a human expedition to the Jupiter moon Europa with dramatic consequences. The plot, which is based on real science and partly on data acquired by the NASA, shows the bliss of deep space travels but also the risks (driveby).

Blue Jasmine, by Woody Allen. The master draws a thin line between comedy and tragedy. The movie is a dark tale about conflicting philosophies of life,  mental problems, self-deception & self-destruction. It seems that Woody Allan, who is a product of New York City himself, was reckoning with Manhattan´s culture of blowhards and praised instead the common people of the West Coast. The film is very dark chocolate for cineasts (driveby).

There were at least 3 foreign language movies which also belong into my 10 top ten:

Blue Is The Warmest Color, by Abdellatif Kechiche (French). The love story between 2 girls - garnished with generous filmed sex scenes -  also is a psychological drama about pleasures and pains of an intense relationship. Their exchange of pleasure and the way they were teasing, stimulating and exploring each other is highly esthetic.  The newcomer Adèle Exarchopoulos is a canvas for the emotional awakening of a teenager. Her curiosity and her hunger for life, food & sex defines the movie (driveby).

In The House (Dans La Maison), by François Ozon, (French) is a fine mystery tale which blends entertainment with smart object lessons on manipulation, seduction, desire, sex, family and delivers charming discussions about art and literature. The ambiguity and a lot of surprises make the film enthralling (driveby).

The Wall (Die Wand), by Julian Pölsler. The Austrian film tells the story of a woman who spends a weekend in a hunting lodge in the Austrian mountains (Alpen) when suddenly an invisible wall appears and bars her from the rest of world. It is a modern Robinson Crusoe story. Alone, just accompanied by a dog and a cow, this involuntary hermit has to struggle for her existence in a paltry mountain environment. The voice-over (in English) lets the audiences participate in her hopes, fears & philosophies. "Die Wand" is a beautiful meditation about a solitarily life in the nature without any human support (driveby).

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