SILENCE (2016)

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“I feel so tempted. I feel so tempted to despair. I’m afraid, the wait of Your silence is terrible. I pray but I’m lost, or am I just praying to nothing? Nothing. Because You’re not there.”

SILENCE illustrates the spiritual dilemma and emotional struggle of belief and doubt. How far one could withstand suffering? How much sacrifice could one spare for the sake of their faith? Which by its definition is a thing only you can answer.

The cinematography is admirable beyond anything. Well-thought framing. Beautiful perspective shots. One of the main reasons I patiently waited for the film.

Ultimately, as Martin Scorsese defines it: “SILENCE is the story of a man who learns so painfully that God’s love is more mysterious than he knows, that He leaves much more to the ways of men than we realize, and that He is always present … even in His silence.”

THE WHITE HELMETS (2016)

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“Any human being, no matter who they are or which side they’re on, if they need our help, it’s our duty to save them.”

The White Helmets is a group of voluntary rescue workers who put their lives on the line to save civilians between the rubbles of Syria.

I guess I understand why this won the Best Documentary Short Subject at the Oscars 2017. This documentary starts with heartbreak yet ends with hope.

A heartfelt display of selflessness, courage, and love in the havoc of war.

“I’m willing to sacrifice my soul for the sake of the people. This job is sacred.”

LA LA LAND (2016)

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A charming romance dedicated to the dreamers fighting to follow their passion while paying nostalgic homage to Hollywood musicals of the Golden Age and the forgotten grace of classic jazz.

If you appreciate the beauty of filmmaking, La La Land is worth seeing for its mezmerising display of lights & colors, camera movement, set design, and costumes. Such a brilliant showcase of cinematic splendor.

ARRIVAL (2016)

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I waited so long for this to arrive here only to be let down that it didn’t feel as “profound” as everyone said. At least to my experience.

With its own complexity, Arrival is a cerebral science fiction unlike the generic alien encounter stories out there. Sadly, the profoundness is too subtle for me to perceive just like in most Villeneuve works (Prisoners, Enemy). I can only comprehend the ideas on the surface, not the deep whatever philosophical concept Villeneuve trying to convey.

That being said, the movie was great and I was just lost in translation.

HACKSAW RIDGE [2016]

“In peace, a son buries his father. In war, a father buries his son.”

What I admire about war films is it’s never about the war itself. It’s always about the humanity, patriotism, courage — and this time, Mel Gibson’s directorial comeback (it’s been 10 years!) proven to be a solid victory with its portrayal of faith put as the spotlight.

Desmond Doss played by Andrew Garfield (who gives his finest performance) wrestles with his belief not to bear arms in the violence of war, and yet ultimately saves 75 lives.

Hacksaw Ridge is a remarkable visual narrative of inner struggle when man’s religious conscience conflicted with his duty and the safety of his band of brothers. Will he stand on his ground?

An honest illustration of the brutality of war and the unyielding faith of a man.

THE MAN FROM EARTH [2007]

A young professor claims he’s a Cro-Magnon who survived 14,000 years of living in front of his fellow academics ranging from a biologist, anthropologist, archaeologist, historian, Christian literary scholar, and psychiatrist. Their impromptu farewell party turns into a Q & A of history, philosophy, logic, science, and religion that makes them question his validity and sanity.

Ain’t that an amazing premise??!

Ok, this intellectual sci-fi comes from a really really well-written screenplay. I also like that it’s a one room setting, so the focus is centered on their discussion. Though the production value, directing, and acting aren’t in the best quality, this film deserves a view by the script only.