I Wish is a Japanese film directed by the widely acclaimed director, Hirokazu Koreeda. The film centres around two young brothers who are separated from each other due to their parent’s divorce. The brothers hears of a rumour that the power of two high-speed trains passing each other can make wishes come true, so they venture out to that focal point in order to make their dream of uniting the family come true. This is a tender, delicate film from one of the greatest directing talents out there at the moment.
Pather Panchali, directed by Satyajit Ray, is a 1955 Bengali drama film based on the Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay’s novel of the same name. The film is followed by two sequels, Aparajito and then Apur Sansar, in the highly acclaimed ‘Apu Trilogy’, which is often considered to be one of the greatest film trilogies of all time. The first part, Pather Panchali, tells the delicate touching story of Apu’s early impoverish childhood life, and the difficult circumstances his family faces as he grows up. They don’t make many films like this anymore.
Oasis is the third South Korean feature film to be directed by Lee Chang-dong. The film tells the story of an unconventional romance between a mildly mentally disabled man and a severely disabled woman with cerebral palsy. Oasis is not an easy watch by any means, and many will find it far too uncomfortable to enjoy, but you will be hard-pressed to find a love story as touching or as harrowing as this one. This is a terrific film and features an utterly mesmerising performance from Moon So-ri, who is completely convincing in her role.
Centre Stage, directed by Stanley Kwan, tells the tragic true story of one of China’s first movie star, Ruan Lingyu. Ruan was born in 1910 to a working-class family and began acting when she was 16. Despite having a successful career as a silent movie actress, she faced personal problems and committed suicide at the age of 25 when the tabloids began publishing stories about her private life. Maggie Cheung gives a magnificent performance as Ruan, in this delicate and moving biopic about one of China’s most iconic screen figures.
Vertigo is just one of Alfred Hitchcock’s many masterpieces. Last year it was named the greatest film of all time in the once a decade Sight & Sound poll, beating Citizen Kane which topped the poll for the previous five decades. Vertigo tells the story of a retired detective who suffers from acrophobia. When he is persuaded by an old friend to take on a new case, he becomes dangerously obsessed with the woman he is supposed to be investigating. Vertigo is a perfect demonstration as to why exactly Hitchcock is called the ‘Master of Suspense’.
There are many great Chaplin films out there, but City Lights is my favourite. Like most of Chaplin’s films, the plot centres around the Tramp, a clumsy but well-mannered vagrant. In City Lights, the Tramp meets a blind girl selling flowers who mistakes him to be rich. The Tramp falls in love with the girl, so decides to do what he can to help. City Lights is an undoubtedly funny film, the boxing scene being one of the funniest sequences of all time, however it is the heartfelt moments and the touching relationship between the two characters which makes this film so great. There are very few perfect films, but this is one of them.
If I were to recommend one Hong Kong film to you, In the Mood for Love would be it. Directed by Wong Kar-wai and starring Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung, In the Mood for Love tells the story of two neighbours who develops a close relationship when they suspect their spouses of having an affair. What makes this film so great, is the terrific performances from the two leads, the lavish cinematography and the melancholic atmosphere that pierces the heart. Easily one of my favourite films.