*Week 11 – Movie Recommendations from #ADAF

All About Lily Chou-Chou (Shunji Iwai, 2001)

A few days ago I recommended “American Honey,” an indie movie about adolescent life in the Midwestern part of the US. As I was writing about, it dawned on me that I once saw a Japanese movie a long time ago that dealt with similar themes. I could have just mentioned “All About Lily Chou-Chou” in passing but I opted to make it a separate ADAF post altogether. While “American Honey” highlights the struggle of impoverished American teens for financial independence, “All About About Lily Chou-Chou” focuses on the pressures that Japanese teens face when it comes to their education and meeting societal and parental standards. While the former is told in a linear (but very long) manner, the latter follows a more discontinuous plot (and it may throw you off if you don’t follow closely along). One important unifying element? Music. Teens love their music (and so do adults). “American Honey’s” soundtrack is predominantly rap; some aggressive, some very chilled out. The music in “All About Lily Chou-Chou” is a blend of modern Japanese pop, rock and electronic music. In both cases, music is a central hanging-on point for the characters. Another thematic commonality of the two movies is the idea of having to navigate the sea of people you know — or think you know. Who are your friends? Who are your enemies? Who are the ones you just can’t figure out and is it even worth figuring out? So who’s Lily Chou-Chou?

@anotherdayanotherfilm Recommended by Jeremy Yonzon

Submarine (Richard Ayoade, 2010)

Submarine is about Oliver Tate, a 15 year old teen who struggles with his first feeling of love, sexuality and heartbreak. It may sound very similar to other coming of age movies. I’m not always a fan of that kind of movie mainly because of potential cheesiness and annoying child actors, but “Submarine” managed to be an accurate, funny portrayal of the hell of teenage life. It is a wonderful debut feature from Richard Ayoade that I strongly recommend you to see.

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@anotherdayanotherfilm Recommended by Merve Tekin

A Man Called Ove (Hannes Holm, 2015)

A cranky, elderly widower (Rolf Lassgård), who spends his days enforcing the neighborhood’s municipal rules, decides to give up on life just as he stumbles into an unwanted friendship with his young new neighbors.

There’s just something about Scandinavia that makes it my favorite part of the world to watch “foreign” movies from. Maybe it’s the movies’ off-kilter sense of humor or perhaps the poignant, life-reaffirming messages they contain. Or maybe I’m just a fan of their minimalistic approach to interior design (it’s probably the first two). “A Man Called Ove” is a delightful Swedish comedy and drama that really knows how to keep its viewers’ attention. Not only are we introduced to the main character in an entertaining way, but the plot carefully crafts both his backstory and his evolution into a heroic figure. It’s just great writing and acting throughout. “A Man Called Ove” is a bittersweet movie that fleshes out the entire life story of one man and even teaches a lesson we should all learn.

Also see these recent Scandinavian movies: “The 100-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared” (Felix Herngren, 2013) … “In Order of Disappearance” (Hans Petter Moland, 2014)

@anotherdayanotherfilm Recommended by Jeremy Yonzon

21 Grams (Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2003)

“21 Grams” is drama directed by Oscar winning director Alejandro González Iñárritu. “21 Grams” contains 3 stories in which we move back and forward in time. We see each of the three characters’ past, present, and future and each story becomes clearer as we get closer to the end. During the back and forth, we sometimes have more information than than characters do. Overall, the film has a puzzle feeling, but it grips you, moves you, and astonishes you.

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@anotherdayanotherfilm Recommended by Merve Tekin

Don’t Breathe (Fede Alvarez, 2016)

Aiming to steal a large amount of money, a trio of young thieves break into the house of a blind man (Stephen Lang), who isn’t as helpless as they thought.

After directing the surprisingly good remake of “The Evil Dead,” Fede Alvarez has shown that he can do horror really well. Swapping the supernatural for a more grounded kind of terror, “Don’t Breathe” further reinforces Alvarez’s talent for thrills and chills. In it, Stephen Lang (the bad guy from James Cameron’s “Avatar”) plays an antagonist that evokes a very palpable sense of dread and hate. What makes this slasher stand out from the rest is the way the villain, despite his handicap, proves that he’s a force to be reckoned with. He even manages to bring down his victims to his level by having them see only what he “sees” in a particularly tense basement scene. It’s clever, scary fun and even has a cool twist. If you feel like seeing a horror flick and you’re not too into the supernatural stuff, “Don’t Breathe” is a good choice for your next movie night.

@anotherdayanotherfilm Recommended by Jeremy Yonzon

Elite Squad (José Padilha, 2007)

Before the visit of the pope to Rio de Janeiro, Captain Nascimento from BOPE (Special Police Operations Battalion) is assigned to eliminate the drug dealers in a dangerous slum near where the pope intends to be lodged. In addition, Captain Nascimento has to find a replacement for his position while trying to take down drug dealers and criminals before the Pope’s visit.

“Elite Squad” is a crime movie written by Bráulio Mantovani (City of God). This movie is for action lovers, but it also touches on the deep sociological problems in Brazil. It’s a brutal picture of degradation and corruption so I felt so angry as I watched it. If you like it, go ahead and watch the 2010 sequel called “Elite Squad: The Enemy Within” (also directed by José Padhila). I enjoyed the first one very much and the second goes beyond the first!

@anotherdayanotherfilm Recommended by Merve Tekin

Man on Wire (James Marsh, 2008)

A documentary on the French tightrope walker, Philippe Petit, who daringly (and illegally) performed a high-wire routine between the World Trade Center’s twin towers in 1974.

A considerably larger audience was introduced to Philippe Petit in 2015 when his life and stunt-of-a-lifetime was immortalized in a well-received, Zemeckis-directed winter blockbuster “The Walk.” Way before that, however, I saw the documentary of the same subject called “Man on Wire.” The funny thing was, while I was watching it the documentary, I clearly remember thinking to myself, “Hmm. Someone should make this into an actual movie.” Seven years later… lo and behold! Having seen both, I have to admit that even though the blockbuster was more visually spectacular, the documentary was actually the more exciting one to me. And the reason is simple: because it was the first time I heard the story about a man whose dream was to walk a tightrope between New York City’s twin towers… and did it. Inspiration at its highest!

@anotherdayanotherfilm Recommended by Jeremy Yonzon

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