6. The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears (2013)
If you didn’t know about the filmmaking couple of Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, there’s no problem: you finally found them. After their debut with “Amer” (2009) and the segment “O is for Orgasm” in “The ABCs of Death” (2012), the French filmmakers – based in Bruxelles, Belgium – released “The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears” in 2013. The business man Dan (Klaus Tange) returns home and finds out that his wife has gone missing; upon this discovery, he starts to search for her – apartment by apartment – but without any results. The search for his wife makes him encounter several people, whose stories – mixed with lies – will reveal a murderous reality.
“The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears” features the trademark style that characterises the work of Cattet and Forzani; the duo is – without a doubt – inspired by the Italian giallo canon, with its expressionistic use of color and a certain attention for stylistic camera movements and editing. Consequently, the movie is dominated by strong neon lights, ranging from red to green, breathtaking cinematography and an attention for details. However, the French couple is able to make this style theirs, as if they invented it: their movies are always personal and permeated with their peculiar understanding of cinema, rather than just mere homage to the past. A visual ecstasy. A monument to color. Mario Bava is smiling, wherever he is.
7. Free Fire (2016)
Ben Wheatley never misses. “Free Fire” is the umpteenth demonstration of the talent of the English director, mixing here thriller, noir, action and black comedy successfully.
After the 1970s dystopian setting of the marvellous “High Rise” (2015), Wheatley goes back to that decade, this time on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Boston, 1978. In a warehouse, two groups meet. On one side, there are IRA members Chris (Cillian Murphy) and Frank (Michael Smiley), minor associates Stevo (Sam Riley) and Bernie (Enzo Cilenti), an intermediary named Justine (Brie Larson) and a representative (Armie Hammer). On the other side, arms dealer Vernon (Sharlto Copley) is there with his associates Martin (Babou Ceesay), Harny (Jack Reynor) and Gordon (Noah Taylor). Soon, tensions will rise and the equilibrium will be broken.
A modern vintage movie; it might look like a contradiction, but this is what “Free Fire” seems to be. The 1970s setting – marked by the unmistakable wardrobe and by a soundtrack featuring songs by Creedence Clearwater Revival and John Denver – is only the background for a comedic, dramatic and explosive modern examination of the human mind, with its survival instinct and its strategic potential. The fact that the movie is basically set in one single location emphasises again the necessity of the characters to use their intellectual capabilities – as well as their guns – to survive the night and escape that place. Ben Wheatley, enough said!
8. Wrath of Silence (2017)
In a small city in the northern part of China, mineral resources are found and – soon – the landowners of those rich lands are able to amass a great quantity of wealth. However, the new business brings distress and damages the small activities of the local farmers. This precarious situation will be forever changed by the disappearance of a young boy.
“Wrath of Silence” – directed by Xin Yukun and starring Yang Song as Zhang Baomin, the father of the missing boy – is a multifaceted movie, that mixes the personal tragedy of a man looking for his son with the collective issue of human destructive activities against nature. Moreover, it has to be mentioned the brilliant directorial choice of indulging in graphic images of animal meat: this depiction is used to convey the brutal environment of the town. At the same time, as the personal struggle of Zhang unfolds, so does the critical analysis of today’s modes of production and their negative impact on the natural environment.
“Wrath of Silence” touches micro and macro aspects of the current state of the world; despite being set in China, it contains a story that could easily resonates and be as impactful if it was happening in another country. Deep and meditative!
9. O Beautiful Night (2019)
Yuri (Noah Saavedra) is a young musician, who’s afraid of death, such condition is so deep that he constantly experience panic attacks during the night and hardly goes out of his apartment. Everything will change when he meets Mister Death (Marko Mandić), a confident black dressed man who claims to be death.
“O Beautiful Night” – the first feature film by director Xaver Böhm – is a thriller with dramatic elements and a psychological plot. What stands out immediately after a first vision is the brilliant acting capabilities of the two main characters, who are able to convey convincingly the drama of the fear of death and the charismatic and confident nature of death itself. Moreover, the color palette is just fantastic: neon and vibrant tonalities, mixed with classic paintings aesthetic. This German production is an intriguing and beautifully shot analysis on human life and its relationship with death, sometimes feared, sometimes exorcised through substances and lust.
“O Beautiful Night” could be recommended for multiple aspects – the style, the screenplay, the acting, the themes – but what really makes this movie unmissable is the combination of all this elements, that are essential and strategically employed for the development of the story. Watch it immediately!
10. Fire Will Come (2019)
The arsonist Amador (Amador Arias) is released from prison, after having served his sentence for causing a fire. He returns home – in the mountains of Lugo – where his mom Benedicta (Benedicta Sánchez) lives with the dog Luna and three cows. Once arrived, his attempt to adapt to his new life and to cope with the villagers’ opinions of his past actions will be disrupted when a fire will destroy the area.
Accepted in the Un Certain Regard section of the 72nd Festival des Cannes, “Fire Will Come” is excellent in every regard. The plot is essential as it should be, the cinematography is powerful and convincing, the acting is top notch, the mise en scène is flawless. Moreover, what captures the attention immediately is the intensity of the images, perfectly crafted for resembling the intensity of the fire; the effect of this strategical choice is almost sensorial to the viewer: the image – sound fusion transports us inside the movie, inside the danger of the fire. On top of that, the personal drama of Amador – who has to deal with its past and his life’s expectations – shows how “Fire Will Come” is not only style, but also substance.
Powerful, flawless, a must watch experience!