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DIDGE - The View From Down Under

An Aussie’s ridgy-didge view of world affairs and popular culture.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Top 10 films that didn't come out in 2004

The worst list will have to wait until tomorrow. Today I present the best films I watched in 2004 but that were made earlier.

#1 Lilja 4-Ever (Lilya 4-Ever) [2002]
Director: Lukas Moodysson
After the excellent Together and now this masterpiece, Mr Moodysson is really making a name for himself. This heartbreaking film tells the story of sixteen-year-old Lilya, abandoned by her mother she is forced to live in a cold flat. In the search of a better life she takes up a job offer of a nice young man. Unfortunately he isn't as nice as he appears to be. This is a bleak, hard look at human trafficking, in particular the forced prostitution of young girls. While the film is extremely depressing it never tries to shock nor does it loose compassion for its characters. A must watch from an emerging Swedish talent.

#2 Y Tu Mamá También [2001]
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Two friends and an older woman set out on a road trip. At first I found the childish antics of the two teenagers off-putting, however by the end I was in tears. This is the greatest film ever made about youth and growing up. And the Mexican locations are just breathtaking.

#3 Baran [2001]
Director: Majid Majidi
A construction site in Iran employs illegal Afghan refugees, and a new worker, Rahmat, has just arrived. His father injured himself at the site and Rahmat is needed to support their large family. It's soon made clear that Rahmat can't handle heavy work, and is given Lateef's job - making the tea for the workers - and Lateef takes on the hard work. At first Lateef is resentful and acts out his anger towards Rahmat, until he discovers that Rahmat is actually a girl called Baran. Lateef is instantly smittin. This is a beautiful, understated film about young love.

#4 Rear Window [1954]
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Yes, I finally got around to watching one of Hitchcock's greatest films last year. The intriguing story, the interesting neighbours, the expansive set, the lovable Stella, the determined James Stewart and the ridiculously beautiful Grace Kelly. Pure movie heaven.

#5 Delbaran [2001]
Director: Abolfazl Jalili
If you don't believe films can have the power of poetry, then I implore you to watch this masterwork. Delbaran is a hypnotic journey of a community on the Iran/Afghanistan border through the eyes of a young Afghan refugee. Quite simply, it's a 96-minute poem.

#6 À la folie... pas du tout (He Loves Me... He Loves Me Not) [2002]
Director: Laetitia Colombani
At first it is a joyous romance, but halfway it takes a sinister turn. See Amélie's Audrey Tautou's as a character that is very un-Amélie. I loved it so much I watched it twice on the same day.

#7 Lost in Translation [2003]
Director: Sofia Coppola
Two lonely Americans stuck in the neon jungle of Tokyo find a connection. An American film that is understated and chock full of nuance, who would have imagined?

#8 Wa Dong Ren (The Rules of the Game) [2002]
Director: Ping Ho
An interconnecting murder/kidnap plot involving a host of characters. Extremely stylised with moments of drama and comedy, this Taiwanese film had me gripped.

#9 Adaptation [2002]
Director: Spike Jonze
From the team that made Being John Malkovich... need I say any more? I love Charlie Kaufman. And look, Nicolas Cage CAN act!

#10 Talaye Sorkh (Crimson Gold) [2003]
Director: Abbas Kiarostami

A bleak meditation on class in Iran. Kiarostami is one of the best directors around at the moment.

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