10 movies of 2021 – and more: Part 1

Here are the first 5 movies in my list.

  1. The Disciple

Indian film “The Disciple”, which was quietly released on Netflix early in this year, calmly observes its musician hero’s seemingly endless artistic struggle, and that is often quite more absorbing and sublime than you may expect. While giving us a vivid and realistic presentation of the small world of Indian classical music surrounding him and others, the movie subtly and sensitively conveys to us its hero’s growing doubt and insecurity along the story, and we come to understand and empathize with him more as noting what is lost and gained for him in the end. By the way, as watching the haunting last shot of the film, I came to reflect a bit on my current status as an amateur movie reviewer. To be frank with you, Sharad’s doubt and frustration certainly resonated with me a lot, and that made me wonder whether all the efforts I have put in my movie review blog during last 10 years will actually lead up to anything in the end. At least, I have been mostly happy to share my thoughts and feelings with you for years, and I am really grateful for that, even if I am never going to be as prominent or famous as I wish in the end.

2. The Green Knight

David Lowery’s new film “The Green Knight” is an unorthodox medieval fantasy tale you have to experience for yourself. Based on the 14th-century poem “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”, the movie alternatively baffles and amazes you as calmly and thoughtfully delivering one uncanny magical moment to another along its seemingly simple narrative, and the overall result is quite stunning to say the least. To be frank with you, even at this point, I am actually scratching my head on what exactly its key moments are about, but, as reflecting more and more on these sublime moments, I find myself quite willing to experience the whole movie again for more understanding and appreciation.

3. The Power of the Dog

Jane Campion’s new film “The Power of the Dog” is a subtly tense and captivating mix of western drama and character study. As phlegmatically observing the nervous emotional undercurrents swirling between its edgy antisocial hero and several other characters who happen to be around him, the movie slowly grabs our attention scene by scene, and then it strikes us hard with the inevitable outcome of what has been developed so carefully and organically along the story. In short, this is Campion’s another marvelous work which deserves to be mentioned along with “An Angel at My Table” and “The Piano”, and I think you should watch it on big theater screen instead watching it at your home.

4. Drive My Car

Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s “Drive My Car”, which was recently selected as the Japanese entry to Best International Film Oscar, is a rather long but very absorbing experience you should give a chance right now. As calmly and slowly rolling its story and characters for nearly 3 hours, the movie gives us several plain but undeniably sublime human moments to haunt you for a while after it is over, and I assure you that you will gladly go along with its slow but ultimately rewarding emotional journey. This is a superlative work which thoughtfully and sensitively reflects on life, art, and storytelling, and I am already ready for another ride.

5. Pig

“Pig” is as simple as its very title suggests, but it somehow came to hold my attention for not only what it is about but also how it is about. Mainly driven by its solitary hero’s quiet but strong determination, this little existential arthouse thriller film gave me a number of humble but thoughtful moments to savor and reflect on, and, above all, it is firmly anchored by one of the best performances in Nicolas Cage’s bumpy career full of ups and downs. This is an exceptional piece of work, and its modest but undeniably haunting qualities have grown me a lot after I watched it

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