Saturday, September 10, 2011

Five of My Favorite Films of the Past Decade (2000-2010)

As the fall 2011 movie season approaches, I wanted to look back to five independent and foreign (international) films that were among my favorites in the previous decade (2000-2010). 

Caché (Hidden) 2005

Starring Daniel Auteuil  and Juliet Binoche Directed by Michael Haneke

A successful Parisian couple start receiving anonymous surveillance videotapes of their home.  As the unexplained tapes start arriving with strange drawings and references to Georges (Auteuil) past and a man named Majid, the marriage and family start unraveling.  An interesting psychological thriller.  

Dirty Pretty Things (2002)

Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Audrey Tautou  Directed by Stephen Frears.

The film follows the lives of several illegal immigrants in London. Ejiofor plays Okwe a Nigerian doctor who now works as a cab driver by day and in the front desk of a hotel at night.  He shares an apartment with a maid at the hotel,  Senay, played by Tautou, an immigrant from Turkey.  Okwe tries to help other poor illegal immigrants by illegally giving them medical treatment. One night at the hotel he discovers an illegal black market operation involving other illegal immigrants, including Senay. A unique film that is part thriller, part social commentary, part love story.

Far North (2007)

Starring Sean Bean, Michelle Yeoh, and Michelle Krusiec Directed by Asif Kapadia

One of Sean Bean's best films, it was written by Asif Kapadia and Tim Miller, and based on a story by Sara Maitland. The film was unfortunately marketed as a horror film because of its strong dramatic ending, but it is primarily a study of human emotions and the complicated relationship of three people isolated  in a frozen and striking landscape. Two women live alone in an undetermined time far from civilization. Yeoh is the older woman and  Krusiec her grown adopted daughter. The full relationship of the women is never clear. In their remote world comes a man, Sean Bean as Loki, who is inexplicably rescued from certain death by Yeoh's character.  His very  masculine presence disrupts the women's insular world. The film has very little dialog, but wonderful performances especially from Bean and Yeoh. 

House of Flying Daggers (2004)

Starring Zhang Ziyi, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Andy Lau, directed by Zhang Yimou

One of the most visually beautiful films I've ever seen.  The colors in this film are amazing in their beauty and intensity. One of those epic Chinese martial arts films, but so much more. A poetic love story and love triangle with echoes of Romeo and Juliet. Wonderful  and intense performances by the three stars. 

Memento (2000)

Starring Guy Pearce  Directed by Christopher Nolan

A film you have to watch from the beginning and demanding of your full attention. Guy Pearce plays Leonard, a man afflicted with a strange case of amnesia.  Leonard's amnesia forms a key part of how the story is told, through flashbacks and flash forwards and what seems like two separate stories .  Leonard is seeking revenge, and the film follows his journey to discover why through people he meets, photos, and etc. and to say more would spoil the film. It's not until the very end of the film that you know what has happened and why, or do you? 

Have you seen any of these films? What did you think? What are some of your favorite independent or foreign (non-English) films of the previous decade?


  1. I'd love to see FAR NORTH, always loved me some polar settings :)
    And loved HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS which stars my absolute favourite Asian star Takeshi Kaneshiro :)

  2. Hi Dezz,

    I love Takeshi Kaneshiro too.

  3. Apart from Memento, haven't seen any of these. Thanks for the recommendations. Will definitely check them out.

  4. I have only seen Memento, which I thought was amazing! It really was a challenging watch but totally worthwhile. I am very interested in the workings of memory as my mother suffers from Alzheimer's (or something similar).
    I also would like to see Far North, both for the subject matter and for Sean Bean!
    The other films look very interesting too! :)

  5. Stangely I have only seen one on this list but I really want to see Caché and have it on my To Watch pile!!

    Great list of great films my friend!

  6. @Calexora Look forward to your thoughts on the films when you get a chance to see them.Thank you for your comment :)

    @phylly3 My late mother suffered from the same. When I saw Memento she was still well, and I didn't appreciate the value of memory like I do now. Would love to know what you think of Far North :)

    @Scott Lawlor Would love to read your review of Cache! So glad you liked my list :)

  7. Interesting reviews, Fabo.

    I too will definitely check out SB's 'Far North' - as you know, he's one of my hubby's favorite actors. In fact, he will probably find it under the Christmas tree along with another Bean film I've already purchased for that purpose - 'Cash'.

    Thx for helping with ideas for my gift list - believe it or not we have only a little over 3mos to go..yikes!


  8. @Ricrar Hi Ann, so happy to see you here!I hope you both enjoy Far North and CASH. You know CASH was Chris Hemsworth's first film and now he's THOR! September already...what happened to the summer?

  9. I've seen Far North -it's at Netflix- Excellent movie! One of Sean's best but also one of his most freaky -right along side the Hitcher which had Sean playing a psycho hitchhiker. another great one is Blackdeath he is awesome- love it when he gets to be the hero type.

  10. @Jo I also liked Black Death - again another film that was marketed as a horror film that really is much more about much more! Agree that Sean was great in the film. Thank you for your comments :)


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