TOP 100 FILMS - 86 - 90


Au Revoir, Les Enfants (1987) is war film about a friendship between two boys who met inside a boarding school at a French countryside. One is a French Jewish and the other one, a French Catholic. The political weight of the film and also its autobiographical weight made it one of the most unforgettable Louis Malle film one might see. The film secures Malle for being a serious filmmaker, since wherever a director writes and directs about the Holocaust, he offers a great subservience to the humanistic goals of cinema: the critical and sensitive understanding of the our dark history. The film is not visual flair, nor a preachy recollection of childhood during wartime. In his most honest way, Louis Malle orchestrates the budding of a friendship between the two main characters with steady-camera aesthetics, close-ups and staggered acting recreating, perhaps in his mind, what its like to loose a Jewish friend during the war.

Octavio Silos' Tunay na Ina (1939) is Philippine cinema's one of the three surviving films made by a Filipino director before the Japanese Invasion of 1940s during which all the film archives of pre-war Philippines were destroyed. Gazing through this historical document, the same year Jean Renoir released his beautiful, beautiful La R├Ęgle du jeu (1939), I cannot help but to draw comparisons to both local and foreign films after it: the camerawork, its song-and-dance formula which was very popular that time as we do have romantic comedies now in 2000s. The film is full of life, so magical one can not help but admire the history of Philippine cinema flashing before you, sitting inside the classroom, and smiling because Tita Duran, singing Maligayang Pasko! was still a very young that time. This is the oldest Filipino film I've watched in my whole life and maybe yours too.

Of Time and the City (2008) is Terence Davies ode to Liverpool. It contains black-and-white newsreels about Liverpool and its people, tilt shot of Liverpool's grand structures magnifying their edifice. The most piquant element of the film is the moody scoring coupled with the poetic narration of Terrence Davies about his hometown. Filled with melancholy and nostalgia, Davies rhythmically arranges a somewhat pseudo-documentary satire of a town that reminds him about the life he almost wanted to forget.

La Chinoise (1967) is Jean-Luc Godard's leftist film in primary colors. Godard conditions this film to be Bretchian, it discords conventional cinema's illusionist intent of linear story-making and breaks it down into its very basic, often decentralized narrative minimalist in mise-en-scene but complex in ideological make-up. This is Godard's earliest effort to absorb the Bretchian ideals with his most successful being Tout va Bien (1972). In La Chinoise, Godard's visual style is further stretched, experimenting on the redundant puns, disproportional framing and odd film costumes as explored in his earlier film, Pierrot le Fou (1965). Visual matches and overlaps constructs an impenetrable film about the communism in China. The battle between visual constructs and auditory puns acclimates into a zig-zig motion towards a resolution to the thematic overload.

Zombieland (2009) demands analysis. Its humor is flat, its characters are boisterous, its premise is overrated. What is key to the beauty of Zombieland is cinematography. At one scene, during their rampage inside an India Souvenir Shop, the camera records a fleeting caricature of non-consequential activities of destroying things around the shop: as my philosopher friend observed, nihilism in slow motion.