My Top 5 Films of 2013
Hundreds of films are released each year, and knowing about all of them can be very difficult. Thus, my top lists of the year are usually posted many months later to allow for any “hidden films” to emerge. The following list represents my favorite films of 2013, which is a mix of mainstream and non-mainstream films. In addition, only 5 films are chosen to provide a more critical selection.
5. August. Eighth (Avgust. Vosmogo): I remember looking on my smartphone at movie showings, intrigued that this film did not have a movie poster next to the title. Many months later, I still can’t find a North American poster. While watching this film in theaters, I was impressed at the film’s creativity in seeing the South Ossetia war through a child’s perspective. Taking place in Russia, a young boy and his mother soon find themselves up against many obstacles as war breaks out. While the writing at times can be a little off (this is a subtitled film) the visual and emotional scenes, particular through the child’s perspective, is worth watching (the young boy imagines himself [often times via disassociation from traumatic reality] as a superhero called Kosmoboy along with his super-powered robot, who together fight and escape the darkness). Watching this movie reminded me of another Russian film released several years ago called House of Fools (which I also recommend).
4. Hannah Arendt: Based on Hannah Arendt’s real life, this film depicts her struggles in dealing with critics after she publishes an article in understanding the extermination of millions during the Holocaust. Arendt theorizes why people do such evil things, and her explanation was met with much disdain. I don’t always find biographical dramas captivating enough to hold my interest, but this film had me thinking quite deeply on a variety of scenes. Unfortunately, the heavy amount of smoking depicted in this film made me want to reach for my inhaler.
3. The East: When a young operative (played by Brit Marling) is assigned to get close to an anarchist organization bent on exposing corporate lies through dangerous means, she becomes invested into something much more than she ever realized. Actress Brit Marling was in my #1 favorite film of 2011 (Another Earth), and The East showcases her rising talent in a thriller film that has a deep message.
2. Monsters University: I didn’t think I’d like Monsters University as much as I did when I saw this film in theaters. Having gone to college (and still in university pursuing a PhD), I understood the many campus life references (and laughed along to many of them) as this light-hearted film left me in good spirits long after the credits rolled.
1. Disconnect: I don’t recall seeing any marketing for Disconnect, but this film (which I watched through Amazon.com) is perhaps one of the most poignant films of today’s society. Disconnect interweaves various stories of people somehow affected by technology. Whether it’s through social media or video chat, the emotional stories shown haven’t been seen this deeply since Requiem for a Dream.
Honorable Mentions: World War Z, What Maisie Knew, Europa Report, Gravity, The Book Thief, The Attack, The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete, Blue Jasmine, Oblivion, Short Term 12, It’s A Disaster, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, About Time, +1.