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The other thing I accomplished the past holiday season (other than to hunt for restaurants in Cavite haha) was to catch up on films that I queued late last year. It was one of those rare moments that I really liked everything I watched. Here's a few of them I recommend that you watch when you get the chance:

1. The Lobster. Easily my favorite film discovery for 2015 and is now in my top 10 best movies. The plot is the weirdest I've seen in a long time, it's sooo good. In a nutshell, a man goes into a hotel and is given 45 days to find a soulmate. If he fails to do so, he will be turned into an animal of his choice. Definitely will not appeal to everyone due to its dark humor and satire. But man, the story just speaks volumes, it would be hard to look away. I'm pretty sure you haven't seen anything like this. I especially loved the symbolism in the film about modern romance: relationships and dating and not finding love when you're looking for it, and how when we find it, how far would we go to keep it. Two thumbs up! (µ)

2. Freelance/Heart Attack. I'm not familiar with Thai films so much except for the well-known ones like Shutter, Crazy Little Thing Called Love and Last Life in the Universe. I've read on an Asian film blog about Freelance and decided to give it a try. I was expecting an upbeat romance comedy but met with a lot of internal monologues by the lead, which the overthinker in me finds so relatable. Another good point of the film is the viewer's exposure to life in Bangkok: the traditional funeral, the motorcycle driver that goes with the protagonist's boss everywhere, and the public hospital system. Most twenty to thirty-somethings will identify with this film as it mainly focuses on the struggles of balancing life with work. (link)



3. Waves. The wordlessness of most of the scenes reminds me of In the Mood for Love (but completely different films), and there's more feeling than thinking in this film. Dialogues are substituted with picturesque scenery, details in images and poetic sounds. There's an atmosphere of seduction, frustration and empty promises. Trouble in paradise in the truest sense. I don't know if it's just me but I felt a disconnect between the leads although in the film it appears that they're crazy for each other. Still a good watch in my opinion because of how the film ended. (µ)

4. 36. The minimalist approach on how the movie was filmed was captivating for me. 36 is about Sai, a photo-hoarding location scout, who documents her life in pictures stored at one hard disk drive at a time. She then meets art director Oom for a project, and their relationship unfold with each photograph they take and each conversation they make. Jump to 2 years from that day, Sai had the need for the photographs that she and Oom took together, but finds out that all the files were inaccessible. I love how most of the conversations are only heard in the background and the leads were not visible in the scenes (Oom's face was actually not shown) and yet, the story's still well executed. (µ)

5. Castaway on the Moon. This Korean film was a perfect blend of drama, comedy and romance. It starts on a very heavy note but smoothly progresses into something more humorous and sweet. The quirky, heart-warming story won my heart from beginning to end. The initial central theme was being alone, both represented with the leads' present state -- being in an island in the city, being stuck in your own room in your own house, then it turns to emotional connection, even though it was not physically possible. I won't go further into details so as not to spoil if you're planning to watch it. This is a truly delightful film. Please do watch it before it gets an American remake. You know how that goes. (µ)

6. Mistress America. I was looking forward once again to this Baumbach-Gerwig collaboration because of how much I liked Frances Ha. The same wit and cleverness in their first film is still very evident in Mistress America, this time it was concealed under personal crises, belonging and making-or-breaking it. Lola Kirke was really great in her role as someone aggressively looking for that needed change in her life. Greta Gerwig is full of personality and sass as Kirke's supposed older sister. This film has its charms that you'll surely love. (µ)

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