Parichay Patra

film historian and critic

Voted for

Out 11990Jacques Rivette
SUBARNAREKHA1965Ritwik Ghatak
KONGBUFENZI1986Edward Yang
Century of Birthing2011Lav Diaz
Café Lumière 2003Hou Hsiao-hsien
COPIE CONFORME2009Abbas Kiarostami
Tropical Malady2004Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Los TRAIDORES1973Raymundo Gleyzer


Out 1

1990 France

Rivette's magnum opus not only engages with experimental theatre in the most complex way possible, it situates his lifelong preoccupations (secret society, an impending doom, chance encounters) within the wreckage of the so-called Nouvelle Vague and the post-1968 France.


1965 India

The last of Ghatak's 'Partition Trilogy' and one of the most iconic melodramas in the history of cinema, this epic moves far beyond the immediate concerns that we can perceive. It connects with the Cold War in outer space, reaches the planetary going past the human, dismisses developmentalism prevalent in the new nation(s), and associates itself transnationally with several European avant-garde films that engage with an impending apocalypse.


1979 France

As enigmatic and ambiguous as it should be, like several other Ruiz masterpieces. It reaches the foundational aspects of image-making across platforms.


1986 Taiwan, Hong Kong

Yang certainly made more well-received films, but this one happens to be my personal favourite with its intercepted yet interconnected lives in a city ravaged by the political crucible. Who else can come up with a more unforgettable end with such a playful approach to such cinematic clichés as love and gangsterism?

Century of Birthing


One of Lav Diaz's most memorable works before the seemingly unwelcome transformation from Norte onwards. Century of Birthing features everything that characterizes Diaz, his proverbial slowness, the epical narrative, the vestiges of the dictatorial, the correctional rapes, the dangerous heretics. More than that, it's possibly his most profound engagement with the medium of cinema. As a Diaz figure announces here, "I don't know what cinema is, but we will remember the world because of cinema."

Café Lumière


Hou's underrated masterpiece, not much appreciated even by his ardent admirers. Hou's style is characteristically effortless and fluid here, as his homage to Ozu moves beyond the usual with subtle historical significance.


2009 France, Italy, Belgium

An underrated Kiarostami with superb performances from his lead actors and the most complex meditation on the ontological aspects of image-making and mechanical reproduction in an Italy where art objects from the past invade every place possible. The subtle references to Buñuel's later works should be noted.

Tropical Malady

2004 France, Thailand, Germany, Italy, Switzerland

Dangerously ambiguous even by Weerasethakul's standards. The seemingly disjointed narratives start revolving around each other as the hunter and the hunted not only change places but start exchanging their memories as well.


1989 India

Kaul reimagines not only the life and times of the legendary Thumri singer, he shatters the boundaries that surround the so-called biographical narratives. The enigmatic space of Benares has never been so magisterially invoked with multiple bodies, including the televisual, floating through the watery landscape of the film.


1973 Argentina

Gleyzer, the desaparecido, made his last major film where his narrative interest is mostly strategic and his simplicity is deceptive. Gleyzer's cine-politics finds its strongest formal expression here. The electrifying conclusion of Los Traidores offers some of the most radical images in the history of cinema.

Further remarks

Despite an explicit Asian cinema bias, there is certainly a method in my choice of films. I have preferred films that engage with other, pre-cinematic art forms (Out 1, Hypothesis). Then there are films that try to explore some of the aesthetic-philosophical possibilities of the reproducible image (Certified Copy, Hypothesis). Films that trouble themselves with the cosmic and the enigma of existence can be located here (Subarnarekha, Tropical Malady). I have preferred underrated films that sit somewhat uneasily in an otherwise celebrated canon (Café Lumière, Certified Copy). Latin American cine-politics from the long 1970s forms one of the most significant sections in the history of cinema, and it is represented here by Gleyzer's Los Traidores. Then there are films that challenge/invert existing conventions and/or try to look into our existing ties with cinema itself (Terrorizers, Siddheshwari, Century of Birthing). This eclectic array characterizes my cinematic moment.