My favourite films of 2014, Part 2

2 01 2015

8. Ida

Deceptively simple, there is more to Ida than it appears. The past is difficult to bear, but we can forget that it still affects those living in the present, and even for future generations (kind of like Cloud Atlas‘s MO). Pawel Pawlikowski’s greatest triumph in this is the slow burn; by using silence, which leaves you to interpret how characters are truly feeling by their expressions, live sound, and long takes that further add to the film’s realism — and pain.

7. Two Days, One Night

Two-thousand fourteen was the year of Marion Cotillard. She is amazing in this film as well as the unjustly under-promoted The Immigrant (which has quite lovely cinematography). Here, Cotillard plays a young mother who sets out to try and convince her co-workers not to take a bonus so that she can keep her job, a premise that is already rife with conflict and huge obstacles. How do you convince someone to give up money? I don’t know if I could do it, let alone do it well. What I also enjoy a lot about this film is that rather than be just a movie about a character facing person after person, Cotillard’s Sandra struggles with her own personal and mental issues throughout. But is she really fit to work again? you might be asking yourself as she pops more pills. Then again, you just can’t help root for the underdog, and one struggling over and over again.

6. Citizenfour

Ok, I will admit it. I only vaguely knew who Edward Snowden was before watching the trailer for this film. I had heard his name, for sure, but I can be pretty disconnected from world news sometimes (I only found out yesterday about AirAsia… to my mom’s astonishment). But you don’t really need to know who Snowden is before watching this. You get to know him (to an extent) but more importantly, what he stands for.

I love that Laura Poitras was able to craft a documentary into a taut, lite-thriller. She knows how to make a great documentary, I’ll give her that. I had never heard of Poitras prior to this film, but her technique is quite masterful. And not only that, but I got so paranoid after watching this film and believing the government is watching my every electronic move, that as soon as I got home, I researched ways to keep my computer anonymous. It will have that effect on you.

5. Force Majeure

I’ve had an idea to open a little movie theatre/cafe establishment for a while. Sometimes, I like to create imaginary programs of films that would go well together. After watching Force Majeure, I thought this film and Gone Girl would be a fun double feature for Valentine’s Day (if you haven’t seen Force Majeure yet, chances are that you’ve seen Gone Girl and know that I’m being ironic).

Masculinity and patriarchy is questioned. Families hinge on separation. Trust and loyalty are doubted. And it is so exciting and entertaining to watch as everything unfolds surprisingly naturally. I love, in particular, the two lead performances (Johannes Kunkhe and Lisa Loven Kongsli) and how, much like the performances in Ida, they keep their true feelings bottled up. It’s unnerving, but it does make you wonder: what would I do?

Stay tuned for the top four favourite films tomorrow!