Best/Worst World Cinema DVD Releases 2011

Best World Cinema Films 2011


  1. The Skin I Live In

As beautiful as it is grotesque, Pedro Almodóvar’s arthouse venture is a stunning look at the bizarre. With exquisite cinematography from José Luis Alcaine and original music by Alberto Iglesias, it continues to stir the imagination long after its credits role. Its haunting subject matter is approached with a surprising tenderness, to create a deeply disturbing tale that is aided by a fantastic performance from Antonio Banderas. Whilst it may be too shocking for some, it remains the most powerful film of the year.

  1. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

For anyone with even a passing interest in ghosts or the supernatural, Uncle Boonmee is a definite must see. Deeply enigmatic, it intersperses the extraordinary with the ordinary, to create a magical tale that is incredibly touching to watch. Containing themes encompassing dreams, memories and death, it provides a thought provoking look at the concept of extinction and mortality. Beautifully experimental, its enchanting nature establishes it as a worthy winner of the Palme d’Or.

  1. Le Quattro Volte

Michaelangelo Frammartino’s philosophical film is a poignant depiction of life and the interrelation of all things. Filmed with an incredibly subtle tone, it contains virtually no dialogue but still manages to have a strong effect on the viewer. This lack of speech emphasises the surrounding sounds of each scene which often go unnoticed in most films. Rich in symbolism, it leaves you contemplating your own existence and place within the universe.

Worst World Cinema Films 2011


  1. Ninja Girl

Unlike his previous film Alien Vs. Ninja, Seiji Chiba’s latest effort fails to hit the mark. For a martial arts film, it features very little in the way of actual fighting. With poor acting that isn’t helped by a weak script, it fails to draw the viewer in and instead falls flat like the films villains. With its convoluted plot and obtuse subject material, Ninja Girl is definitely one you won’t need to worry about missing.

  1. Norwegian Wood

Adapting Haruki Marukami’s work for the big screen was never going to be an easy task, even if Norwegian Wood is one of his less surreal books. Anh Hung Tran’s bold attempt to breathe life into the well loved author, though admirable, fails to impress. In particular, Rinko Kikuchi’s portrayal of Naoko comes across as irritating making the viewer unable to give her the empathy afforded her in the book. By no means a terrible film, it is let down by its inability to do justice to the original story.

  1. About Elly

Given the success of A Separation, which has made a considerable impact at this year’s film festivals, it is surprising that About Elly is unable to offer the same level of quality. With its unbelievable characters and uninspiring plot, it comes across more as tedious and boring than captivating. Demanding a considerable amount from its audience, the shock factor it strives for at the film’s turning point fails to be delivered. As a director, Asghar Farhadi has a lot to offer Iranian cinema, but sadly this film isn’t a fair representation of his skill.

Ninja Girl (Kunoichi) Review


Seiji Chiba is a well-known name within the world of budget action flicks. Focusing predominately on martial arts, he combines impressive choreography with farfetched plots, often adding elements of comedy for good measure. Following the success of his last film Alien Vs. Ninja, a science-fiction comedy that entertained due to its relatively ridiculous premise, it is a shame that his latest effort doesn’t manage to hit the mark.

It is easy to dismiss low-budget b-list films as a result of poor cameras and often uninspiring sets, yet this doesn’t do justice to what can often be highly enjoyable pieces of cinema. However, in the case of Ninja Girl, there are a number of deviations which the director has taken from his standard style that has resulted in the film losing elements of its integrity.

Centred around a feud between two warring clans, Iga and Kouga, the period piece is set up when a number of girls are revealed to have been kidnapped by two lower class ninjas. It is slowly unravelled that the two men are merely doing the dirty work for their superiors. Coming from a village with virtually no women, they have been forced to steal members of the opposite sex from neighbouring towns to allow for the continuation of their own people. Whilst the heads of the village are the only ones who get to enjoy the fruits of these crimes, the lower men are castrated at birth to prevent any sexual urges.

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Taken from Subtitled Online, published Fri Oct 7th 2011.