It'll hopefully be making bigger rounds when it inevitably wins the Best Foreign Film Oscar, but A Separation is the best movie I've seen in the last five years. Superbly acted, filmed, and unfathomably incredibly adverbly written. Everyone must see it.
No Man's Land (2001) - A delightful romp through the Bosnian War.
The Happiness of the Katakuris (2001) - From oddball director Takashi Miike is his most oddball film. A hybrid of comedy, horror, musical, family melodrama, and claymation that strangely works with extremely entertaining dividends (keyword: strangely).
The Motel is my favorite "God damn it why hasn't anyone seen this" movie of all time, and instead of linking to its IMDB page I'm going to post the review I did for it on my Tumblr a while back.
Many movies claim to be honest depictions of coming-of-age, but few of those movies take the idea of total life stasis to the extremes that The Motel does, and I’d wager that fewer still feature an only-sort-of-played-for-laughs masturbation scene that involves stuffed animals and sock puppetry.
There’s nothing even remotely nostalgic in the way this movie views early adolescence; even at Superbad’s most crippling it at least seemed like those guys would be having fun again pretty soon. Ernest has no such escape: He’s a 13-year-old who works at a roadside motel that his mom runs(his father is perennially absent). He’s fat, and pretty much everyone hates him except for a girl who works at a nearby Chinese restaurant, who he has a crush on, and a freewheeling alcoholic bachelor who makes a pet project out of trying to make Ernest cool. Can he learn the ropes and get the girl?! No, absolutely not, because if you were ever fat and 13 you know that the only thing you were good at at that age was taking bad things and making them worse. Nobody knows anything about anything when they’re 13, and if you do something right it’s only because you stumble into doing it by blind chance, which Ernest does not, because if there’s one thing that The Motel does well-and it does it better than any film I’ve ever seen-it captures the feeling of being young and having your life completely outside of your grasp. Whatever you have at 13, you’re stuck with, and anyone who’s ever been trapped like Ernest is can relate to his ridiculous impulses and brutal cynicism.
Being a kid loser is a combination of trudging along the path that’s been made for you and lashing out wildly for something, anything that can help you break free of your body, your personality. The Motel finds the funny in that situation without sacrificing an iota of the grueling embarrassment that comes part and parcel with just being alive at that age. There’s nothing more awful or stupid on this earth than being 13 years old with no compass and 25 unwanted pounds and nothing makes it better until you can find it in yourself to laugh at it. And if there was a God, this movie would be mandatory viewing upon graduating elementary school. _________________ I love all music. It makes you feel like living. Silence is death.
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