Anyone who dreams of becoming a filmmaker, and a successful one at that, finds it imperative to watch a good number of films. At a time when there are a plethora of films easily available on online platforms to pick from, it becomes a rather daunting task for a cinephile to make the right pick between the films of Hitchcock, Ridley Scott, and the likes.
At #HG Academy, a platform for the contemporary young Indians, who want to upskill, and learn from the best in the industry, in an interview with Aditya Kripalani, he curates a list of fiction and nonfiction films, with a trademark signature style of storytelling, for budding filmmakers and cinephiles alike. These films are stories of people in their most mundane world, fighting the most nondramatic battle, yet these stories will create a sense of utmost relatability in the minds of the viewers.
Furthermore, these films explore human emotions, the human condition, and how these two aspects have an impact on forging human connections. This list will be especially useful for cinema enthusiasts who are drawn to realism in cinema.
Aditya Kripalani is an FTII graduate and a renowned Indian filmmaker known for directing films like Tikli and Laxmi Bomb (2017), Totta Pataaka Item Maal (2018), and Devi aur Hero (2019) which have received wide international acclaim. He is currently working on his upcoming project which deals with the subject of suicide.
In an endeavour to help aspiring filmmakers, these are his recommendations of a few must-watch fiction and nonfiction films.
I. Sand Storm (2016)
Sand Storm is an action drama by debutant director Elite Xexer, set in Bedouin village in the Negev Desert. The film tells the story of woman oppression in a traditional Arab culture, and how in turn the women oppress the women below them.
II. I, Daniel Blake (2016)
I, Daniel Blake is a drama directed by veteran director Ken Loach. The film revolves around the life of Daniel, who suffered bouts of a heart attack which renders him crippled and unable to keep himself employed, the story shows his struggle with the benefit schemes and his relationship with the people around him.
III. Sorry We Missed You (2019)
It is a character-driven film directed yet again by Ken Loach. Ricky loses his package delivery job during the 2008 financial crisis, and his onward struggle grappling with the demand for technology-oriented skills.
IV. What Will People Say (2017)
The film directed by Iran Haque, and starring Adil Hussein is a story of a young Norwegian girl, who is in a constant state of flux, grappling with the traditional Pakistani roots and the culture which she inhabits. As the story unfolds, along with the character we set on a journey imposed by her family to throttle her freedom and reconciliation with her religious and cultural learning.
V. Pune 52 (2013)
The story is set in the year 1992, and its protagonist is a private detective trying to make ends meet. There is a shift in his otherwise mundane life when he has an affair and the drama ensues. The film directed by Nikhil Mahajan is touted to be the fist neo-noir thriller of the Marathi Cinema.
VI. And Breathe Normally (2018)
Award-winning director Ísold Uggadóttir visually narrates the story of the struggle of two single mothers, one of them is making ends meet in her turf while the other is finding ways to escape the cold foreign land back to her kids, who are waiting back home. The film will awe you with the vast space Icelandic visual, furthered with the naturalistic acting of its cast to tell a human story of hardships and finding camaraderie in another human in the most unlikely of situation.
VII. Amour (2013)
Michael Heneke’s Oscar-winning film tells the tale of an octogenarian couple and how they deal with emotional hardships, that they find themselves in when the wife suffers from a heart stroke.
VIII. Honeyland (2019)
Tamara Kotevska, and Ljubomir Stefanov’s documentary film was nominated for the best documentary film. The film documents the life of Hatidze Muratova, in the rural village of Macedonia. In order to be self-sufficient, she practices the ancient beekeeping tradition, while resiliently contending with economic and political forces
IX. For Sama (2019)
It is an intimate film documenting Waad’s personal journey in the war-torn city of Aleppo, Syria. The filmmaker, also a mother and wife while she captures the crumbling city around her, is haunted by the pressing question of her family’s safety in the city. The film is co-directed by Waad Al-Kateab, and Edward Watts. It won a BAFTA award for the best documentary films, 2020.
X. Midnight Family (2019)
It is an observational documentary by Luke Lorentzen, the film is set in a posh neighbourhood of Mexico, and tells the story of the Ochoa family, who run a private ambulance. This profound film is an eye-opener, as it lays bare the city’s governance and bureaucracy. In this industry, as the family struggles to keep their finances in check, they have to sometimes overlook their own economic concerns to protect the lives of accident victims.
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