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Movies I enjoyed in 2014

📅 2014-Dec-18 ⬩ ✍️ Ashwin Nanjappa ⬩ 📚 Archive

2014 was quite a disappointing year with the movies. I saw about 70 movies this year, about one or two every weekend. Though I avoided the obvious duds, still only a handful turned out to be truly enjoyable. I did not call this a Top or Best list since those add unnecessary connotations to the listed items. Instead, these are the movies that I thoroughly enjoyed and can see myself watching again in the future. The list is way shorter compared to last year, since I felt that a lot of the supposed best of Hollywood/Bollywood were quite average.

Last Train Home (归途列车)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0N6vDotVNDo

Director Lixin Fan follows one migrant worker family in China over several years during their Chinese New Year vacation. The viewer gets to see firsthand the social pressures, rapidly evolving cultures and changing aspirations of the couple and their growing children. I love the work of Lixin Fan and his earlier Up The Yangtze was one of the best movies I saw in 2012. (See my review of that.)

Mahanagar (মহানগর)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGA8WBTvQco

My first Satyajit Ray movie and I am impressed. 50 years after its release, the movie is watchable and its issues are still pertinent. Observe how a family and the personality of its members evolves when the husband loses his job and his wife gets a job to support them. Every aspect is done to perfection.

Only Yesterday (おもひでぽろぽろ)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Y5c_fg5r-0

Another gem from Studio Ghibli. Guaranteed to bring back memories of simpler times, simpler places, childhood innocence and all that we lost in becoming adults.

Gangs of Wasseypur: Part 1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZpPQdrHfl8

Anurag Kashyap's cinematic gem set in the badlands of UP and Bihar. The characters, the settings, the swears, the crimes, everything stays with you long after the movie is gone. Part 2 was a bit disappointing though since it rehashed a similar story.

Delhi Belly

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcKn9BxTg1A

Nothing like any Hindi movie I've seen before. Ridiculous, brilliant and filled with in-jokes. Hope I get to see more of these from Bollywood.

Queen

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGC6vl3lzf0

Kangana is honest, innocent and terribly funny in this European caper. Several of the songs from this movie are on my playlist.

Goodbye, First Love (Un amour de jeunesse)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDwqdgQJbnw

The protagonist comes to terms with her first love across many years of her life. Beautifully acted and the French countryside is gorgeous through the seasons. Loved Lola Créton in this.

Bangalore Days

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVpHL5g4buY

I know it is cheesy and quite obviously I am heavily biased since it is my city. But there is a spark, sensitivity and modernity in Anjali Menon's work that is sorely missing in similar movies.