Sunday, February 8, 2009

Top films of 2008: Lists from across the Pacific

Top ten lists are a dime-a-dozen. More than anything, these lists are defined by what the list-maker sees, and what a list-maker sees is defined by where they live. Being an Asian film fan in the Twin Cities isn't terrible, but it is far from spectacular. Needless to say, the lists made by people who have far more access to these films are an invaluable resource. Here are some of the lists that have emerged in the past month that make me envious but also very excited:

Darcy Paquet's top ten Korean films of 2008
(The list is on the site updates page. Scroll down to 2009.01.18) Darcy runs and has his hands in just about anything English language oriented on Korean Film. His knowledge about Korean film is indispensable.
  • Top of the list: The Chaser directed by Na Hong-jin
  • Number of films I have seen on the list: zed.

Wise Kwai's top ten Thai films of 2008
Wise Kwai is a very busy blogger in Bangkok. Everything and anything on Thai film is here. Wise Kwai's list redeems my choice of Syndromes and a Century, which by IMDB standards is not a 2008 film.
  • Top of the list: Syndromes and a Century: Thailand Edition directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul
  • Number of films I have seen on the list: two.

Midnight Eye's huge 2008 roundup
Not just one list, but eight lists from eight individuals. It's a fantastic (and overwhelming) roundup that I will revisit again and again.
  • Tops of the lists: Tokyo Sonata directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, United Red Army directed by Koji Wakamatsu, Departures directed by Yojiro Takita, All Around Us directed by Ryosuke Hashiguchi, and more!
  • Number of new Japanese films I have seen noted in the lists: five.

Webs of Significance's top ten 2008 Hong Kong movies
Long time film fan, YTSL doesn't just cover film on her Webs of Significance blog, but all things Hong Kong. With photos of food and fauna, Webs is a great blog to visit for anyone who loves Hong Kong (like me!)
  • Top of the list: The Way We Are directed by Ann Hui
  • Number of films I have seen on the list: zero.

A Nutshell Review's top 10 of 2008
I love how A Nutshell Review's tag is "Probably Singapore's #1 Movie Review Blog." It's not probably and you get much more than a nutshell. Although Nutshell presents a top ten of all films, not just Singapore films, that includes many US favorites such as The Dark Knight and Wall-E, it also includes an eclectic mix of what is available in Singapore. (Nutshell's blog also reveals that eclecticism.)
  • Top (non-Western film) of the list: 18 Grams of Love directed by Han Yew Kwang
  • Number of films I have seen on the list: three (but none of the ones that count...)

The Golden Rock's best Panasian movies viewed in 2008
This is a list within "The 1st Annual Golden Rock Awards" that includes the best of Hong Kong music, best trends in Asian pop culture, best discovery and so on. A very worthwhile read. The list is in no particular order, and I'm not about to guess which is the tops.
  • Number of films I have seen on the list: one.


YTSL said...

Hi Kathie --

Thanks for the mention and link. Hope people won't think my list too full of obscure movies and, instead, feel compelled to go search out some of the films on my list.

And haven't seen too many 2008 Korean films myself but will agree with Darcy that "The Chaser" is a fine piece of cinema.

Kathie Smith said...

It's the obscurity, at least from my the perspective of my side of the world, that I appreciate about your list.

I'm really looking forward to watching The Chaser (on deck from my stacks of DVDs!)

Stefan S said...

Hi Kathie, thanks for the plug. I do hope one day that Singapore would have enough quality productions in 1 year to have a meaningful top-10 list of must watch films from a particular year :)

Kathie Smith said...

Despite the fact that Singapore may not have that many films out in a year, I am constantly jealous of the range of films that visit your fair city: pulling from all surrounding regions.

I appreciate your introduction to these films!

Stefan S said...

Hi Kathie, have you visited Singapore before? :)

Yes, the mainstream cinemas and local distributors do pull quite a fair bit of material from around the region, and of course Hollywood. My interest brought over from last year, was in Bollywood films, and we have 1 cinema dedicated to that, with same day premieres as that in India.

We also get country-centric film festivals almost all year round too, in addition to small but regular indie screenings in various theatres like museums and such. :)