10 movies of 2021 – and more: Part 2

And here are the other 5 movies in my list – with other films good enough to be mentioned.

6. Petite Maman

Céline Sciamma’s latest film “Petite Maman” is so simple and modest in terms of story and characters that I was surprised by how effortlessly it engaged and then touched me a lot in the end. Yes, her movie is just about the unlikely relationship between its two young heroines, but what is achieved by Sciamma and her cast and crew members here in this film is sublime and powerful to say the least, and the movie is inarguably another distinctive work in her remarkable filmmaking career.

7. Limbo

“Limbo” is a small offbeat film about a group of refugees stuck in a remote Scottish island. While often recognizing their quiet desperation and frustration in a number of achingly melancholic moments, the movie is also often surprisingly funny with its absurd deadpan humor coupled with some quirky touches, and it is also quite fascinating to see how this seemingly modest but undeniably charming piece work constantly swings back and forth between comedy and drama without cheapening neither of them at all.

8. Quo Vadis, Aida?

Jasmila Žbanić’s “Quo Vadis, Aida?”, which was nominated for Best International Film Oscar, is an unforgettable war drama which takes us into one of the most tragic incidents in the Bosnian War. As told to us at the beginning of the movie, the story itself is partially fictional, but what inevitably happens during its finale did occur in real life as some of you may remember, and that is the main reason why the urgent personal drama at the center of the movie feels all the more harrowing to us. This is a sincere and powerful remembrance to its important historical subject, and you will find yourself shaken up a lot by a number of emotionally intense moments in the film.

9. Riders of Justice

Danish film “Riders of Justice” is an unorthodox mix of drama, comedy, and violence which will catch you off guard more than once during your viewing. As deftly swinging back and forth between dark offbeat comedy and serious revenge drama, the movie somehow strikes the right balance among a number of seemingly clashing elements in the story, and it is even quite poignant at times while never losing its quirky sense of black humor.

10. Nine Days

“Nine Days” is a little thought-provoking drama film which willingly delves into those familiar matters of life. After initially quite intrigued by its offbeat fantasy setting, I willingly followed its simple but thoughtful narrative as often admiring a number of poignantly human moments in the film, and I found myself gradually reflecting a lot on how I have lived my life during last 38 years – and how I should live during the rest of my life in the future. It is a shame that this small but admirable film was quickly put aside after it was unceremoniously released in US several months ago, and I assure you that you will not be disappointed especially if you admire Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” and Hirokazu Koreeda’s “After Life”.

Runner up (In alphabetical order)

The Amusement Park”, “The Card Counter”, “The French Dispatch” “Herself”, “Holler”, “Night of the Kings”, “7 Prisoners”, “Shiva Baby”, “Titane”, “Two of Us

Documentary (In alphabetical order)

In the Same Breath”, “Procession”, “The Rescue”, “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)”, and “The Velvet Underground

Animation (In alphabetical order)

Encanto“, “Luca“, “The Mitchells vs. the Machines“, “Raya and the Last Dragon”, and “The Summits of Gods

Notable mention (In alphabetical order)

Annette”, “Belfast”, “Benedetta”, “CODA”, “Dune”, “Father”, “Fear Street Trilogy” “The Humans”, “I’m Your Man”, “In the Heights”, “Judas and the Black Messiah”, “Love Affair(s)”, “No Sudden Move”, “Passing”, “Saint Maud”, “Spencer”, “Test Pattern”, “tick, tick… BOOM!”, “The White Tiger”, and “Zola

Yes, I belatedly watched them, and they are all good (In alphabetical order)

Collective”, “Dear Comrade!”, “The Dissident”, “The Father”, “Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds”, “Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President”, “Minari”, “Nomadland”, “One Night in Miami”, and “Small Axe

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