Last year I became a little frustrated just after I posted my Top 10 of the year as at least two films that would have easily made the list came to light in early January, the wonderful “Confessions” and the little delight of “Kung Fu Wing Chun”. It is always a problem with doing these kinds of lists – you cannot see everything in the calendar year it was released, and moreover, because I am looking at films from abroad, I may have to wait for a DVD release, or at least online subtitles to become available. But rules have to be maintained, so here are the ThingsFallApart Top Ten of the Year guidelines:
- The film has to have been released in its Host Country during the year in question – I will use IMDB as my guide here, but I know it is far from a perfect system.
- The exception is films released in the run up to Christmas, can be included (to get those last minute releases in).
- I have to have reviewed it.
So, that is the administration over, lets have a little look at the films that did not quite make the cut. To be honest it has not been a great year for Asian Cinema on the whole, and I was afraid this was going to end up a top 5 at best, even with a little flurry of top films appearing in the last couple of months. In fact, the year was punctuated by two awful disappointments – both the remake of “A Chinese Ghost Story” and “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” boasted great casts and where certainly pretty enough, but both totally missed the point of their existence.
But reading back through the blog, there have been some worthwhile films that maybe have not quite stuck in my memory as they should have. Apart from the two I mentioned in the first paragraph, I thought “Merry Go Round” (released in November 2010) was a great and touching way to start the year, with a touching set of stories and a fantastic if unusual soundtrack. “Bruce Lee, My Brother” was a brilliant little bio-pic, more so as it concentrated on the man himself, and not his on screen persona. “Come Rain, Come Shine” was simply an acting master class. “Hello Ghost” was the yearly entertaining Cha Tae-hyun vehicle that I think I maybe enjoyed more than I admitted to. My only real annoyance is that I could not get subtitles to the new Tsui Hark film in time for this post, as I have heard some good things about it.
The worst film of the year? Easily “Mysterious Island”, a horror film so bad it not only has a nonsensical plot, but forgets to be scary.
But now on to the main list!
10. Love You YouLove in Space”, even though she was surrounded by much more respected talent.
Miyuki bought this one to my attention, which is also my first Malaysian film ever. It is low budget, a little wobbly, the acting is variable and the special effects are so-so - but the film is full of fun and heart, and even finds time to be a little post-modern. It is like a Hong Kong film form the early 1990’s, and was the biggest surprise to me this year. I adored every minute of it, and in terms of sheer minute by minute fun, no other film on this list made me smile so much. I will be looking for similar films from this region in the future.
4. Ladda Land
1. Wu Xia
And now.. onwards to 2012. What am I looking forward to? How about:
- Park Chan-wook’s “Stoker”, his English Language debut (you will see a theme here from the big Korean Directors).
- Wong Kar-wai’s “The Grandmasters”, finally? maybe? please.
- Edmund Pang’s “Love in the Buff”, a sequel to my film of LAST year.
- Derek Yee’s “The Great Magician”, blending both my favourite subject (Magic) with Tony Leung.
- Bong Joon-ho’s “Snowpiercer”, his English Language debut (see?).
- Kim Jee-woon’s “The Last Stand, his English Language debut (told you).