Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Best of 2006 - Asian films

Since I've done this by year of production, here is a temporary best of films made in 2006 (see post here for 2005 and 2004).
Most are seen at film festivals or alike and many others will be seen in 2007. I must say that I probably haven't seen as many films this year as I have ever seen before, and quite funny hardly any US or European films (and actually not even a single one made this year).
I can already notice a few things. First despite the huge amount of Korean films, I must say that the novelty and originality stand out less, more and more Korean films are produced and are appreciated, many remain in genre films, big budget films. However, some are entertained and very well done, particularly in the crime/gangster genre films. Kim Ki-duk's Time and Hong Sang-soo's Woman of the Beach (two mature directors) don't differ much or don't show any kind of innovation (as already said in previous post).
Innovation was for me, for this year, more in the documentaries or in South Eastern Asian films, films from Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines, countries from which the films and new filmmakers, I am pretty sure, will come up with more international recognition.
As for China, where the independent production still continues and is still developing, surely some young new filmmakers will arise while Jia Zhangke is now internationally acclaimed even though, to me, his first films were the best and more interesting ones (I had a little disappointment with Still Life and Dong).
Again, this is a personal with no consensus.

1. I don’t Want to sleep Alone (Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan, fiction)
2. Yellow Box (Huang Ting-fu, Taiwan, doc)
3. Opera Jawa (Garin Nugroho, Indonesia, fiction)
4. Stories From the North (Uruphong Raksasad, Thailand, doc)
5. The Last Communist (Amir Muhammad, Malaysia, doc)
6. Betelnut (Yang Heng, China, fiction)
7. Election 2 (Johnnie To, HK, fiction), Exiled was ok.
8. Invisible Waves (Pen-Ek Ratanaruang, Thailand, fiction)
9. Dong/Still Life (Jia Zhangke, China, fiction&doc)
10. Isabella (Pang Ho-Cheung, HK)

Others quite good & worth watching :
Dog Bite Dog (Soi Cheang, HK, fiction), Exiled (Johnnie To, HK), No Mercy for the Rude (Park Cheol-hie, South Korea), After this Our Exile (Patrick Tam,HK), Tazza : The High Rollers (Choi Dong-hun, South Korea), Luxury Car (Wang Chao, China), Crazy Stone (Ning Hao, China)...

update 03/2007.

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