Watch these films to ‘survive’ the quarantine

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The world has been goingthrough many levels of quarantine since the COVID-19 pandemic started, and Mongolia is no exception. Even though Mongolia lifted its strict lockdown regime after about two months, the infection rate is not slowing and we all know our lives will not go back to normal any time soon.

Fear about infection, massive change in lifestyle, and alarming “fake” news can even cause mental anxiety. Finding effective ways to deal with and relieve stress in this time of distress is important for our sanity.

The UB Post presents a list of film recommendations to keep our minds off the virus, relax and ponder other matters and concepts even just for a moment.

“That of all the arts the most important for us is the cinema”  -V. I. Lenin

1. “Memento” (2000) by Christopher Nolan

One of renowned director Christopher Nolan’s early works, the neo-noir psychological thriller “Memento” is about a widower who is suffering from a condition where he can’t make new memory for extended periods due to a certain incident. The film is based on the director’s brother Jonathan Nolan’s short story “Memento Mori”. This film might be Nolan’s most un- derrated film. The film tells the story in a unique reverse chronological order, which makes the story more exciting. Interestingly, Nolan put a reverse scene in the 21-year-old film, which might have inspired him to explore time inversion in his latest film “Tenet”. Some people say that the film is hard to understand, but that’s Christopher Nolan for you.

2. “1917” (2020) by Sam Mendes

A story about a pair of young British runner-soldiers who are serving as a messenger during World War I is inspired by “fragments” of stories told by Sam Mendes’ grandfather who fought in the war. The film won the Academy Awards for Best Cinematography thanks to its one-shot take progression. It was not actually shot in one take, but rather a series of continuous, uncut shots that were then cleverly connected to give the feeling of one continuous long take. Film experts say that the film would have won more awards from Oscars 2020 if it wasn’t for South Korean film “Parasite”. “1917” cast two not-so-famous actors for the lead roles, which freed spectators from preconceived notions about their character. British stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Andrew Scott provided supporting roles in the film.

3. “Steins;Gate” (2011) written by Jukki Hanada

The anime film about time travel takes place in 2010 in Akihabara, Tokyo. The lead character Okabe Rintaro, self-proclaimed “mad scientist”, accidentally invents a method to send text message to the past and his life become more adventurous. He tries to prevent his best friend’s death and dystopia in the future. The phenomenal series calculated the rules of time travel and outcomes of each incident extremely well and is well-written.

Some film experts say that even Hollywood hasn’t made a time travel film better than “Steins;Gate”. It is followed by a sequel called “Steins;Gate 0”, which was also lauded by fans.

“The moment we cry in a film is no when things are sad but when they turn out to be more beautiful than we expected them to be.” -Alian de Botton 

4. “Community” (2009 – 2015) by Dan Harmon and Russo brothers

American TV series about a study group in Greendale Community College formed by ex-lawyer disbarred for faking his bachelor’s degree and other “lovable misfits” will make your days brighter. Quirky and whimsy adventures of so-called “Greendale Seven” might be the most unique sitcom series of all time. It is created by Dan Harmon, who is more known as the creator of the hit animated series “Rick and Morty”, and Joseph and Anthony Russo, who created four movies for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including “Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame”. “Community” paved their way to direct some of the biggest blockbuster films. The sitcom featured Ken Jeong, Academy Awards winner Jim Rash and Grammy-Emmy winner Donald Glover.

5. “The Invention of Lying” (2009) by Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson

Who told the world’s first lie? Who was the one who tricked his friend for the first time? Tricky questions indeed. These questions will be answered in the hypothetical world in the romantic comedy film “The Invention of Lying”. A man named Mark Bellison will literally invent lying thanks a technical glitch at the bank while struggling to pay his rent after getting fired in a world where lying is not invented yet. Everyone in the world tells the absolute truth without holding back even it’s their inner thoughts or embarrassing facts.

As you may have guessed, no one suspects each other since there is no lie. Bellison naturally gains a lot of power and starts to abuse it. The film is an attempt to disprove religion as the filmmakers suggest that religion was created by the first person who lied and others blindly believed them.

6. “Into the Wild” (2007) by Sean Penn

The biographical adventure drama written, co-produced and directed by two-time Academy Awards winner Sean Penn will give you deep thoughts about life. Young graduate Christopher McCandless casually renounces all his possessions, connections with his family and friends, and abandons his former life without a note to hitchhike across America. The film explores the changes he goes through as an individual after encountering several extreme and life-risking experiences. The film is based on a non-fiction book written by Jon Krakauer with the same name. The story dives deep into the Alaskan wilderness, inspired by Jack London and Henry David Thoreau’s tales. The existential self-discovery film will inspire you take a “journey” into your own “wilderness”.

“Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of oursouls.” -Ingmar Bergman

7. “Her” (2013) by Spike Jonze

Should every love be touchable and visual? That is the question asked by sci-fi romantic drama featured ac-

tors Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson. The film tells a story about a lonely and divorced soul who is drawn out by the female voice of his computer operating system. The female voice is however not just a computer voice, but it has feelings, consciousness and ability to develop thanks to artificial intelligence development. Actors in this film made phenomenal work to deliver the emotions of the film. Joaquin Phoenix’s minimal expressions are on point enough to let the audience ponder what it’s like to be in his situation. Even though Scarlett Johannson didn’t show her face in the film and mainly did voice acting, her performance was phenomenal. At the time of the film’s release, fans around the world went crazy, saying that Johansson deserves Oscars for her voice acting. The unique love story of man and an AI is one of the most underrated romantic films.

“If chess has any relationship to filmmaking, it would be in the way it helps you develop patience and discipline in choosing between alternatives at a time when an impulsive decision seems very attractive.” -Stanley Kubrick

8. “Paterson” (2016) by Jim Jarmusch

Two-time Academy Awards nominee Adam Driver’s phenomenal performance is showcased through the 2016 art film “Paterson”. The film tells the story of a humble bus driver who loves writing poems and pondering about life. The film received 96 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes from 256 reviews. Paterson goes through the same pattern every day in Paterson, New Jersey and nothing much happens in his life. Even though the film seems boring and monotonous, in the end it gives viewers a long sigh through a strangely beautiful feeling.

“A mild-mannered, almost startlingly undramatic work that offers discreet pleasures to longtime fans of the New York indie-scene veteran, who can always be counted on to go his own way,” read one review.

The melancholy-toned film will let you explore your inner poet as the film gives a likely nod to William Carlos Williams epic poet with the same name.

“The most honest form of filmmaking is to make a film for yourself.” - Peter Jackson

9. "Bedridden” (2020) by Byamba Sakhya

Mongolian film director S.Byamba’s black-and-white film will give you a unique feeling about love, life, sex and the meaning behind all these three. The acclaimed director based his latest film on famous writer G.Ayurzana’s “meta novel” with the same name about a writer who is going through an existential crisis. The unnamed young writer (Battulga Ganbat) realizes that there is no reason for him to get out of his bed until he finishes his next body of work that could, theoretically, propel his “fame” from obscure blogging to a higher level.

The film that mostly featured Mongolia’s up-and-coming actors will let you literally ride a rollercoaster since one of the “main characters” of the film is a rollercoaster. Some local and foreign critics say the film “feels more like reading a (long) love poem or a stream-of-consciousness-type novel, than as a narrative movie experience. The flat line delivery by otherwise playful actors fits the bill perfectly against all odds, even emphasizing on that feeling. Sakhya is at the top of his game when it comes to the auditive and visual components of filmmaking”.

10. “Whiplash” (2014) by Damian Chazelle

What makes a virtuoso? Is it the gifted gene and an affluent family? In Whiplash, the “musical genius” of an aspiring drummer, Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller), is dragged out of him screaming and bleeding. What unfolds behind the curtains around the spot- light is as gruesome as it is satisfying when the protagonist defeats his demons that turn out to be his very own instructor. The film about a young man who is trying to become a drummer will let your emotions explode with great story and impressive musical performances.

Khantushig B