ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 22: Frozen

For Disney fans, it is hard to believe that “Frozen” (2013) was released just six years ago. The tale, inspired by Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Snow Queen,” has permeated pop culture in a way that even Walt Disney Pictures couldn’t have predicted when it was released. Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, “Frozen”’s themes of family, love, isolation, and finding yourself have resonated with people across the globe. And of course, “Let It Go” became such a hit that it was almost impossible to avoid hearing it for many months. In addition to the film making it onto In Their Own League’s Top 50 Female Directed of the Decade list, now is an appropriate time to look back at the first “Frozen” film as its sequel has just been released. 

ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 24: The Rider

“The Rider”, the second feature from writer-director Chloé Zhao, explores this tenet of masculinity through the story of South Dakotan rodeo cowboy Brady Blackburn, played by real-life rodeo cowboy Brady Jandreau. Blackburn’s story mirrors that of Jandreau, both of whom were taken out of the saddle unexpectedly, after sustaining a major injury in a horrific accident. As he recovers, Brady is advised that he can never ride again, or else he could risk losing his life.

ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 25: Shirkers

In 1992 Sandi Tan set out to make Singapore's first road movie with the assistance of her friends Jasmine Ng and Sophie Siddique, as well as her mentor a much older man called Georges Cardona. Cardona was an enigmatic man who claimed to be the inspiration of James Spader's character in "Sex, Lies and Videotapes". To Tan, he was someone who saw her potential as a filmmaker and helped shaped her love for independent film. Cardona knew his cinema, but he was a magpie simply picking things up that didn't belong to him and claiming them to be his own. The plot of Tan's film followed a young woman (who was played by Tan herself) who goes on the run after committing a crime. Along the way she creates new friends, picking up stray children like a pied-piper character as she travels across Singapore.

ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 26: Stories We Tell

No family is normal. I consider the word "normal" as an oxymoron, to say that one is "normal" is such a odd phase and it just feels so underwhelming. As a chid, I always strived to be part of a normal family, but perhaps I was part of a normal family all along? We were a family that had its own secrets. In my adulthood, I realise that in all of our families, there will be some form of a secret past that the family tries to cover up or try to bury. We are only human after all, it's in our nature to protect the ones we love from the truth.

ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 27: The Souvenir

Writer and director Joanna Hogg has always been known for her mysterious, creative and thoughtful films, but “The Souvenir” (2019) is her best yet. A tender tale of young love, it is Hogg’s most personal film to date, based on her own experiences at film school and dating an older, secretive and troubled man. You can feel this personal touch throughout, in the gentle yet unflinching way Hogg’s camera follows Honor Swinton Byrne’s Julie, the young woman at the centre of this story.

ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry 29: High Life

Claire Denis’ experimental sci-fi “High Life” (2018) is utterly bizarre- yes, but it’s also a reclusive and powerful picture. It’s a difficult film to quantify, and yet, despite its space odyssey setting, it really gets down to the meat of humanity. It’s more about relationships and isolation than it is about the exploration of black holes, or scientific experimentation.

Yes, that’s where it starts. As we eventually learn this ship once contained a group of previously death row inmates (including Mia Goth and André Benjamin) who were given the choice to be used as lab rats on a suicide mission. It gives you more time, and it may potentially help society find an alternative energy source, so it seems like an easy choice, right?

ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 30: Toni Erdmann

With her third feature film, Maren Ade announced herself on to the international scene during 2016, with her robust, confounding comedy of delicate, deliberate and disastrously strained parental ties. A thematic notion achieved with such success is not often seen in cinema, capturing the fraught emotional bonds of a career-driven daughter and her aloof father. As varying dynamics exist in relationships between adulthood and childhood and vice versa, very few directors have successfully articulated and dramatised them as well as Ade. A remarkable cinematic achievement, creating a film that is deeply human and tragically nostalgic and profound whilst absurdly comedic.

ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No.31: Destroyer

Earlier this year gritty thriller “Destroyer” (2019) stormed onto the big screen, with all of its rage, vengeance and gusto. Surprisingly it failed to blow up, instead crashing and burning at the box office making only $5.5 million in comparison to its $9 million budget. We can only really guess at what exactly caused the film to flop, but poor distribution and weak marketing certainly played their roles.

Despite gunning for those golden gongs, especially with Nicole Kidman’s central phenomenal transformative performance, it received barely any attention on the awards circuit, although it has to be said organisations like The Academy have never been known for their good taste in cinema.

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