My best 15 films of the 21st century

by JuguAbraham | created - 25 Aug 2016 | updated - 24 Jul 2018 | Public

My best 15 films by content, direction, music, editing and cinematography.

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1. The Tree of Life (2011)

PG-13 | 139 min | Drama, Fantasy

85 Metascore

The story of a family in Waco, Texas in 1956. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence and struggles with his parents' conflicting teachings.

Director: Terrence Malick | Stars: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain, Hunter McCracken

Votes: 157,324 | Gross: $13.30M

One of the two best works from Malick--the other being "The Thin Red Line"

2. Leviathan (2014)

R | 140 min | Crime, Drama

92 Metascore

In a Russian coastal town, Kolya is forced to fight the corrupt mayor when he is told that his house will be demolished. He recruits a lawyer friend to help, but the man's arrival brings further misfortune for Kolya and his family.

Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev | Stars: Aleksey Serebryakov, Elena Lyadova, Roman Madyanov, Vladimir Vdovichenkov

Votes: 43,786 | Gross: $1.09M

The best work of Zvyagintsev and his team--which included Philip Glass.

3. Mysteries of Lisbon (2010)

Not Rated | 272 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

82 Metascore

Follows a jealous countess, a wealthy businessman, and a young orphaned boy across Portugal, France, Italy and Brazil where they connect with a variety of mysterious individuals.

Director: Raoul Ruiz | Stars: Adriano Luz, Maria João Bastos, Ricardo Pereira, Clotilde Hesme

Votes: 2,954 | Gross: $0.11M

The crowning work of Ruiz, among those that I have seen.

4. The Return (2003)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama

82 Metascore

In the Russian wilderness, two brothers face a range of new, conflicting emotions when their father - a man they know only through a single photograph - resurfaces.

Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev | Stars: Vladimir Garin, Ivan Dobronravov, Konstantin Lavronenko, Nataliya Vdovina

Votes: 38,644 | Gross: $0.50M

The film that introduced Zvyagintsev to the world.

5. Three Monkeys (2008)

Not Rated | 109 min | Drama

73 Metascore

A family suffers from a major communication breakdown during their struggle to get through their hardships.

Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan | Stars: Yavuz Bingöl, Hatice Aslan, Ahmet Rifat Sungar, Ercan Kesal

Votes: 17,688 | Gross: $0.04M

My personal favourite Ceylan film.

6. The Consequences of Love (2004)

100 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

An introverted man's life changes completely when he finds himself attracted to a young bar-maid.

Director: Paolo Sorrentino | Stars: Toni Servillo, Olivia Magnani, Adriano Giannini, Antonio Ballerio

Votes: 13,597

My favourite work of the director.

7. Bitter Dream (2004)

88 min | Comedy, Drama

For forty years, Esfandiar has been unconcernedly preparing corpses for the journey to their final resting place. One day, whilst preparing a burial service, he's taken ill. Might he too be mortal ?

Director: Mohsen Amiryoussefi | Stars: Yadollah Anvari, Abbas Esfandiari, Delbar Ghasri, Mohsen Rahimi

Votes: 274

The best Iranian film ever made--only very few have seen it because it was banned soon after it was made and shown at Cannes and Dubai.

8. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (2011)

Not Rated | 157 min | Crime, Drama

82 Metascore

A group of men set out in search of a dead body in the Anatolian steppes.

Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan | Stars: Muhammet Uzuner, Yilmaz Erdogan, Taner Birsel, Ahmet Mümtaz Taylan

Votes: 35,190 | Gross: $0.14M

Another amazing Ceylan work.

9. The Banishment (2007)

157 min | Drama, Romance

59 Metascore

A trip to the pastoral countryside reveals a dark, sinister reality for a family from the city.

Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev | Stars: Konstantin Lavronenko, Maria Bonnevie, Aleksandr Baluev, Dmitriy Ulyanov

Votes: 6,701

A Russian adaptation of an American novel with subtle political undertones.

10. Honey (2010)

Not Rated | 103 min | Drama

70 Metascore

The quiet life of a boy and his family is endangered when his father does not return home from his work collecting honey in the forest.

Director: Semih Kaplanoglu | Stars: Bora Altas, Erdal Besikçioglu, Tülin Özen, Ayse Altay

Votes: 6,274

The crowning work of the Yusuf trilogy.

11. Locke (2013)

R | 85 min | Drama

81 Metascore

Ivan Locke, a dedicated family man and successful construction manager, receives a phone call on the eve of the biggest challenge of his career that sets in motion a series of events that threaten his carefully cultivated existence.

Director: Steven Knight | Stars: Tom Hardy, Olivia Colman, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott

Votes: 122,071 | Gross: $1.36M

An amazing script, acting and direction rolled into one film that deals with Thomas Locke's views/philosophy.

12. Certified Copy (2010)

Not Rated | 106 min | Drama, Romance

82 Metascore

In Tuscany to promote his latest book, a middle-aged British writer meets a French woman who leads him to the village of Lucignano. While there, a chance question reveals something deeper.

Director: Abbas Kiarostami | Stars: Juliette Binoche, William Shimell, Jean-Claude Carrière, Agathe Natanson

Votes: 18,534 | Gross: $1.34M

A mature work of an Iranian director working outside his country.

13. The Third Murder (2017)

Not Rated | 124 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

68 Metascore

A courtroom drama centered around the murder of a factory president.

Director: Hirokazu Koreeda | Stars: Masaharu Fukuyama, Kôji Yakusho, Shinnosuke Mitsushima, Mikako Ichikawa

Votes: 4,111 | Gross: $0.09M

The most impressive Japanese film in recent years.

14. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005)

R | 153 min | Drama

86 Metascore

Mr. Lãzãrescu, a dying old man, is shuttled from hospital to hospital by a loyal paramedic as doctors refuse to operate and no one can agree on a diagnosis.

Director: Cristi Puiu | Stars: Doru Ana, Monica Barladeanu, Alina Berzunteanu, Dorian Boguta

Votes: 12,295 | Gross: $0.08M

The best of the resurgent Romanian cinema.

15. The Intruder (2004)

Unrated | 130 min | Drama

85 Metascore

An emotionally cold man leaves the safety of his Alpine home to seek a heart transplant and an estranged son.

Director: Claire Denis | Stars: Michel Subor, Grégoire Colin, Yekaterina Golubeva, Bambou

Votes: 1,591 | Gross: $0.04M

The most satisfying work from Clair Denis



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