Best International Feature Film
Drive My Car
The Hand of God
Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom
The Worst Person in the World
Hamaguchi's Drive My Car is in a position to be one of the few films able to win both Best Picture and Best International Feature in one year. While he definitely deserves it, I think Days would’ve been my vote for this category, or What Do We See When We Look At The Sky? Both were so refreshingly original and I appreciated the experimentation in how each was structured, but I'm not surprised they were snubbed (we already talked about what kind of audience/films this award show seeks to highlight). All this being said, they better give Hamaguchi his flowers!
- Drive My Car. I could say so much about this film. Such a beautiful adaptation of Murakami’s work, and I think Hamaguchi did a fantastic job of accounting for the stories’ shortcomings in terms of their sexual politics. Every character carries so much depth and nuance, and the ending’s enough to pull a few tears out of you, at least it did for me. In my opinion, this was THE movie of 2021, not just internationally speaking. Death, love, finding meaning in our lives, these big questions are explored so poetically and personally, it’s simply stunning. Stream it on HBO Max while you can!
- The Hand of God. This movie was Fellini-esque, and I’m still not sure if that’s a bad or good thing. There are definitely a few scenes that will have you cringing, but that was most likely Sorrentino’s intention. Overall, the cinematography was pretty fantastic. There are some real breathtaking crane shots that make it clear this is Sorrentino's homage to his hometown. While I felt like the story lacked pretty heavily in some areas, I still found it to be a beautiful exploration of family, loss and coming-of-age.
- The Worst Person in the World. In my opinion, a more suitable title for this movie would be: The Worst Movie of 2021. I can definitely see why it would fool some people into thinking it was a decent movie: the cinematography was solid, and Renate Reinsve gave one of the best leading performances I’ve ever seen. That being said, the film narrowed its own scope despite its very premise necessitating that it avoid doing so at all costs. I’ll probably write a long-form critique soon, which would be the first negative review this blog has ever given. For now, suffice to say I wouldn’t re-watch, and can’t recommend it.