|A Brighter Summer Day
|The 400 Blows
|In the Mood for Love
|Wong Kar Wai
A Brighter Summer Day
My favourite film of all time and undeniably the best of what Chinese-language cinema has to offer.
Late Taiwanese auteur Edward Yang's A Brighter Summer Day, a four-hour epic masterpiece, examines Taiwanese society during one of its darkest times in the 1960s through a portrait of a family. This rarely seen-enough film demands urgent viewing.
The 400 Blows
A French New Wave classic, Francois Truffaut's coming of age film breaks my heart on every viewing. The final freeze-frame of Antoine Doinel staring into the camera has always stayed in my head. In fact, it was the image of the boy (played by Jean-Pierre Léaud) that inspired me during my search for the child lead for my debut feature film ILO ILO.
Ozu remains one of my favourite filmmakers and Tokyo Story is perhaps his most well-known and influential work. The simple story of an elderly couple going to Tokyo to visit their grown-up children only to be turned away and rejected stays current and universal even up till today. This is a film filled with sensitivity, delicate nuance and humanity. A gem for the ages.
I definitely wanted to include Tarkovsky and was working out which one. In the end, I settled on Mirror. Tarkovsky is a genius and everything he frames seem to be cinematic gold.
Pure Poetry. And Kiarostomi does it so effortlessly. It's the kind of masterful cinema that you see so rarely these days.
Not sure if it's the greatest film of all time, but I have a soft spot for coming-of-age films and films about childhood. This happens to be one of the best and definitely my favourite Ken Loach film to this day.
In the Mood for Love
Wong Kar-Wai's gloriously beautiful portrait of unconsummated love between a married man and a married woman is a landmark Asian film. Poetic, evocative and emotionally moving, In the Mood for Love is perhaps romantic longing at its best.
One's knowledge of cinema isn't complete without having seen Satyajit Ray's Apu Trilogy.
Lee Chang Dong's enigmatic and visceral Burning has stayed with me in the past few years. He's one of my favourite contemporary filmmakers and a true master of cinema. I wanted to pick a more contemporary film for this list and this one came to mind, and I suspect it will withstand the test of time.