Managing editor at easternKicks.com
|In the Mood for Love
|Wong Kar Wai
|A Touch of Zen
|A Girl at My Door
|Black Coal, Thin Ice
|SHAO LIN SA LIU FANG
|Stanley Kwan Kam-pang
Ozu’s masterclass in family relationships has lost none of its relevance nearly 70 years on.
In the Mood for Love
The peak moment in Wong’s repertoire love lost and found, sumptuously art directed and beautifully shot by Christopher Doyle and Mark Lee.
Kurosawa’s wonderfully playful exploration of entirely subjective points of view still has a place in modern films obsessed with ‘what ifs’.
A Touch of Zen
Having experimented with the wuxia genre, bringing new techniques to playful entries like Come Drink with Me and Dragon Inn, Hu’s three-hour epic explored the material with intelligence to create a film that encompasses ideology, Buddhism and much more, but with great and iconic action scenes.
A Girl at My Door
A decade on from the original Korean Wave which saw the country's cultural output take hold internationally, July Jung’s feature debut is often overlooked. But the film's subtle laying of different modern issues, alcoholism, abuse, immigration and more, all intelligently dealt with, elevate it, greatly assisted by standout performances by leads Bae Doona and Kim Sae-ron.
Black Coal, Thin Ice
Diao Yinan’s neo-noir defiantly doesn’t play to genre rules, as much as producer Vivian Qu’s work never ran to expectations. As a way to handle commentary without tackling it head on, this has struck a chord with Chinese filmmakers to this day.
SHAO LIN SA LIU FANG
If any film could elevate the much lambasted martial art genre to a truly higher state of mind, it’s Lau Kar-leung’s very loose take on real life Shaolin disciple San Te. Lay ditches the machismo of Chang Che and others for a charmingly innocent portrayal by frequent lead Gordon Liu.
And because Edgar Wright left it off the final list last time!
Kwan’s truly magical pairing of Anita Mui and Leslie Cheung in a doomed romance led to one of the most beloved Hong Kong films of all time. And rightfully so, as Kwan takes on the ghost genre with intelligence, using the opportunity to look back on teahouses of the 1930s and show the continually changing face of Hong Kong.
As dark and beautiful a fairytale as you could wish for. Spirited Away stands as perhaps Miyazaki's most perfect vision.
Bong Joon-ho's talent for exploring dark themes, family relationships and social commentary hit its peak with Mother. Kim Hye-ja's performance as the mother doggedly attempting to prove her son's innocence is outstanding, as is heart-throb Won Bin in his penultimate film role.
Picking the 10 greatest films of all time was never going to be an easy task! My highly subjective contribution will no doubt change even as I click the submit button, let alone in the next 10 years. So I apologise in advance to every great film (and filmmaker) I've left out. But I'm highly honoured to have been included in such great company on this round, and promise to do better next time. Honest. Well, you have to start somewhere…?