Can you watch 384 films in a year?

Aseem Chhabra watched some great films and some huge disappointments in 2021.

The year two of the pandemic was a challenge in so many regards, but watching films, talking and writing about them helped me stay sane. And even though we were locked up during a substantial part of the year I did manage to travel a few times in search of good cinema.

In February I attended the International Film Festival of Kerala in Thiruvananthapuram, where I served on the jury for the best debut Indian film. Later in the fall, I traveled to the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado and also watched the Toronto International Film Festival’s programming in New York. And in October I had the chance to visit the El Gouna Film Festival in Egypt.

The key element of attending a film festival is to be able to discuss the films with friends and others immediately after we leave the theater. And I feel blessed that I was able to have those experiences despite the trying times we live in.

In addition to the film festivals I mention above, I attended many other such events, but all virtually — International Film Festival, Rotterdam, Berlinale, New York Indian Film Festival (which I organiSe in New York City), Cannes Film Festival, DOC NYC (where I served on the first jury for the best international documentary) and the Dharamshala Film Festival.

In 2021 I saw 384 films — mostly at festivals, but I also saw other films for work, and often for fun. In addition I watched 19 shows from around the world.

I made one change in my annual list of what I watched in the year. I have given grades — from A+ to B-. to each film and show. I hope it would help the readers to decide in case they want to watch a particular film or show.

Web Series

1) Lupin Seasons 1 & 2 (France)

2) Bombay Begums (India)

3) It’s A Sin (UK)

4) Call My Agent Season 1 & 2 (France) 

5) Too Close (UK)

6) Gangs of London (UK) 

7) Mare of Easttown (US) 

8) The Family Man Season 2 (India/ Hindi/ Tamil) 

9) Ajeeb Daastaans (India/Hindi)

10) Ray (India/ Hindi)

11) The White Lotus (US) 

12) Flowers Season 1 (US)

13) The Chair (US) 

14) Tabbar (India/ Hindi/ Punjabi)

15) The Mole: Undercover in North Korea (Norway/ Denmark/ Sweden/ UK)

16) Succession Season 3 (US)

17) Landscapers (UK)

18) Mandaar (India/ Bengali)

19) Only Murders in the Building (US)

 

Films

1/1 Barah by Barah (India/ Hindi), Shiva Baby (US), Germany Year Zero (Italy/ France/ Germany)

2/1 10 to 11 (Turkey)

3/1 The Collector (Turkey), Punch Drunk Love (US)

4/1 Ice Station Zebra (US)

5/1 Escape from Alcatraz (US)

7/1 The Untouchables (US)

11/1 The White Tiger (US)

12/1 A Simple Life (Hong Kong)

13/1 Our Time Will Come (China/ Hong Kong), Road to Guantanamo (UK)

14/1 Unpaused (India/ Hindi)

16/1 Fatima (India/ Hindi)

17/1 Three-Legged Horse (India/ Marathi), Songs for Rain (India/ Assamese), The Great Indian Kitchen (India / Malayalam)

18/1 The Climb (US), Godakaath (India/ Marathi), Promising Young Woman (US)

19/1 Zende (India/ English/ Hindi/ Marathi)

20/1 9 Hills One Valley (India/ Manipuri)

21/1 Lokkhi Chhele (India/ Bengali), Louis Kahn’s Tiger City (US)

22/1 Awakash (India/ Marathi), Murder on The Orient Express (UK/ US), So Long, My Son (China)

23/1 Tokyo Sunrise (Japan), To Ends of the Earth (Japan)

24/1 Martyr (Lebanon)

25/1 Two of Us (France)

26/1 My Little Sister (Switzerland)

27/1 Kosa (India/ Hindi)

28/1 Almost Famous (US), To Catch a Thief (US)

29/1 North by Northwest (US), Fire in The Mountain (India/ Hindi)

 

1/2 Riders of Justice(Denmark), Aristocrats( Japan), Asia (Israel)

2/2 Aurora (Costa Rica), Pebbles (India/ Tamil)

3/2. Carro Rei (Brazil), Mitra (Netherlands/ Denmark)

4/2 Quo Vadis, Aida (Bosnia Herzegovina), Landscapes of Resistance (Serbia), Madalena (Brazil)

5/2 Suzanna Andler (France), Sexual Drive (Japan)

6/2 Mayday (US), Writing with Fire (India/ Hindi), Black Medusa (Tunisia)

7/2 The Witches of the Orient (France/ Japan), Looking for Venera (Kosovo/ Macedonia), The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be Quiet (Argentina)

10/2 The Names of Flowers (Bolivia)

11/2 Memory House (Brazil), Donkey in a Brahmin Village (India/ Tamil)

12/2 Wife of a Spy (Japan)

13/2 Churuli (India/Malayalam), Hope (Norway)

15/2 Pig (India/Tamil)

16/2 Let Him Who Is Without a Sin Cast the First Stone (India/ Malayalam), Attention Please (India/ Malayalam), All the President’s Men (US)

17/2 Vaanku (India/ Malayalam)

18/2 Engagement is on Monday (India/ Malayalam)

19/2 Sun Children (Iran), La Llorona (Guatemala)

20/2 Android Kunjappan Ver 5.25 (India/ Malayalam)

21/2 Kappela (India/ Malayalam), Horse Tail (India/ Malayalam)

22/2 Azur (Switzerland/ Argentina), All Eyes of Me (Israel)

23/2 The Man Who Sold His Skin (Tunisia)

24/2 Searching for Happiness (India/ Bengali), God on the Balcony (India/ Assamese), The Girl and the Spider (Germany)

25/2 Brother’s Keeper (Turkey/Romania), Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy (Japan)

26/2 Co-pilot (America/Germany/France)

27/2 Any Day Now (Finland), Natural Light (Hungary/Latvia/France/ Germany), The World After Us (France)

 

1/3 Memory Box (Lebanon/France/ Canada), Taste (Vietnam), Language Lessons (US)

2/3 I’m Your Man (Germany), Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn (Romania), Soud (Egypt/ Tunisia/ 2121)

3/3 Drift Away (France), Death of a Virgin, and the Sin of Not Living (Lebanon), Petite Maman (France), Limbo (Hong Kong/ China)

4/3 Ballad of White Cow (Iran)

5/3 Je Suis Karl (Germany), North by Current (US), Beans (Canada), The Mauritanian (US)

6/3 Human Factors (Germany/ Italy/ Denmark), Introduction (Korea)

7/3 Mr. Bachmann And His Class (Germany), Summer Blur (China)

8/3 Tina (US)

9/3 For Lucio (Italy)

10/3 Supernova (UK), Roman Holiday (US)

11/3 Talking Head (India/ English/ Bengali)

13/3 Delhi Diaries (India/ English/ Hindi)

14/3 Dead Pigs (China)

15/3 Far (India/ Malayalam), Happy Hour (Japan)

16/3 Tremors  (India/ Tamil)

17/3 Madappally United (India/ Malayalam)

18/3 Moffie (South Africa)

19/3 Another Round (Denmark)

20/3 Time (US), Dostojee (India/ Bengali)

21/3 Mail (India/Telugu) Judas and the Black Messiah (US)

23/3 The Dreamers (UK/ France/ Italy/ US)

24/3 Apples (Greece)

25/3 Blood Simple (US)

26/3 Lost in America (US), The Father (UK)

27/3 Paggliat (India/ Hindi), All That Jazz (US)

28/3 Irma Vep (France), The Last Picture Show (US)

29/3 House of Orange Trees (India/ Malayalam), Five Easy Piece (US), Sex, Lies and Videotape (US)

30/3 Blue Bird (India/ Kannada), Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (Italy), Boys n the Hood (US)

31/3 First Night (India/Tamil), Neon Bull (Brazil), Home (Switzerland)

 

1/4 The Year of Living Dangerously (Australia)

2/4 Music of Satyajit Ray (India/English/ Bengali)

3/4 Where Is Pinki? (India/Kannada), Harold and Maude (US)

4/4 Man at Bath (France)

5/4 Parcel (India/Bengali), Zollywood (India/Marathi)

6/4 Looking for A Lady with Fangs and A Moustache (Nepal)

7/4 Atlantis (Ukraine), Portrait of a Lady on Fire (France)

8/4 Freddie’s Piano (India/ English), Biriyaani (India/Malayalam)

9/4 Moffie (South Africa)

10/4 Columbus (US), Joji (India/Malayalam)

13/4 Halahal (India/ Hindi)

15/4 Eat Drink Man Woman (Taiwan), The Wedding Banquet (US/ Taiwan)

16/4 Tasher Ghawar (India/Bengali)

17/4 The Chicken Curry (India/Kannada)

18/4 Bullhead (Belgium)

19/4 My Octopus Teacher (South Africa)

21/4 The County (Iceland)

22/4 Manhattan (US)

24/4 Asako I & II (Japan), Back to the Wharf (China)

25/4 Stars Await Us (China)

26/4 Minari (US)

27/4 They Say Nothing Stays the Same (Japan)

29/4 Vicky Cristina Barcelona (US)

30/4 King of Devil’s Island (Norway)

 

1/5 The Hunt (Denmark), The Third Man (UK), Howards End (US/ UK) 

6/5 The Courier (UK/ USA)

7/5 Kho Kho (India/ Malayalam)

8/5 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (US)

12/5 Nayattu (India/ Malayalam)

13/5 The Ice Storm (US)

14/5 Read My Lips (France)

16/5 Memories of Murder (Korea)

20/5 Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar (India/ Hindi), The Housemaid (Korea)

22/5 The Real Thing (Japan), The Dry (Australia)

23/5 Drunk Bus (US)

24/5 The Man in the Hat (UK)

26/5 The Sheltering Sky (UK/ Italy)

31/5 Oslo (US), Wuhai (China)

2/6 A Song for You (China)

3/6 The Crying Game (UK)

6/6 The State I Am In (Germany)

12/6 My Beautiful Laundrette (UK) 

13/6 June (India/ Marathi/ Hindi)

14/6 WOMB – Women of My Billions (India/ Hindi/ English), The Exterminating Angel (Mexico), Beginners (US)

15/6 Belle De Jour (France/ Italy)

16/6 Persepolis (France)

18/6 Holler (US), Sherni (India/ Hindi)

21/6 The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (France)

22/6 Julia (US)

26/6 Where Is My Friend’s Home? (Iran)

27/6 Chashme Badoor (India/ Hindi)

28/6 Paper Moon (US)

 

2/7 No Sudden Move (US)

4/7 The Swindle (France), Haseen Dilruba (India/ Hindi)

5/7 Gaey Wa’r (Streetwise) (China), Little Palestine: Diary of a Siege (Lebanon/ France/ Qatar)

6/7 H6 (China/ France), The Story of Film: A New Generation (UK)

7/7 Do the Right Thing (US)

8/7 The Employer and the Employee (Argentina. Uruguay)

9/7 From Afar (Venezuela)

10/7 The Gravedigger’s Wife (Djibouti/ Finland), Rehana (Bangladesh)

11/7 Anaïs in Love (France)

12/7 Ripples of Life (China), Europa (Iraq/ Italy)

13/7 Bruno Reidal, Confessions of a Murderer (France)

14/7 Storms of Jeremy Thomas (US), A Night of Knowing Nothing (India), Cabaret (US)

15/7 Softie (France)

25/7 Sweat (Poland)

26/7 The Player (US)

31/7 The Duke (UK)

 

1/8 Shankar’s Fairies (India/ Hindi)

2/8 Limbo (UK)

5/8 An Old Lady (Korea)

10/8 The Way We Were (US)

13/8 Shadow of Doubt (US)

14/8 Dark Waters (US), Coda (US)

17/8 Paka (River of Blood) (India/ Malayalam)

19/8 Barah by Barah (India/ Hindi)

20/8 The Killing Fields (UK)

23/8 Once Upon a Time in Calcutta (India/ Bengali)

24/8 Violet (US)

27/8 The Station Agent (US)

29/8 Silent Land (Poland), Annette (US/ France/ Germany) 

30/8 In the Mood for Love (Hong Kong)

31/8 Dug Dug (India/ Hindi)

 

2/9 Encounters, A Hero (Iran), Flee (Denmark)

3/9 Hallelujah, Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song (US), The Electrical Life of Louis Wain (UK), Red Rocket (US)

4/9 The French Dispatch (US), Spencer (UK/ US/ Chile), The Power of the Dog (A/Australia/ New Zealand), Automat (US)

5/9 The Hand of God (Italy), Rescue (US), Bergman Island (Germany/ Sweden/ France), The Lost Daughter (US/ Greece)

6/9 Julia (US), Cyrano (US/ UK), The Card Counter (US/ UK)

10/9 The Box (US/ Mexico), Aloners (Korea)

11/9 As in Heaven (Denmark), Mothering Sunday (UK)

12/9 The Hill Where the Lionesses Roar (Kosovo/ France), Mlungu Wam (Good Madam) (South Africa)

13/9 Murina (Croatia), Compartment No. 6 (Finland/ Russia)

14/9 Lakewood (US) 

15/9 Ahed’s Knee (Israel), The Devil’s Drivers (Qatar/ Lebanon/ France/ Germany)

16/9 The Falls (Taiwan), Ali & Ava (UK), The Survivor (US/ Canada), Where is Anne Frank (Belgium/ France/ Netherland/ Israel)

17/9 Titane (France/ Belgium), Întregalde (Romania), Are You Lonesome Tonight (China)

18/9 Silent Night (UK), Anatolian Leopard (Turkey)

20/9 Yuni (Indonesia), The Odd-Job Men (Spain)

26/9 Like Father, Like Son (Japan)

29/9 Being James Bond: The Daniel Craig Story (UK/ US)

30/9 Spectre (UK/ US), No Time to Die (UK/ US)

 

2/10 The Many Saints of Newark (US)

4/10 Junebug (US)

8/10 Montana Story (US), The Graduate (US)

10/10 Pedro (India/ Kannada)

12/10 Godavari (India/ Marathi)

14/10 Moving On (South Korea)

15/10 Casablanca Beats (Morocco), Paris, 13th District (France)

16/10 Playground (Belgium), Captain Volkonogov Escaped (Russia), Feathers (Egypt)

17/10 Mama I’m Home (Russia), Another World (France), Everything Went Fine (France)

18/10 The Double Life of Veronique (Poland/ France), Compartment No. 6 (Finland/ Russia), One Second (China)

19/20 The Blind Man Who Did Not Want to See Titanic (China), Invisible Dreams (India/ English), The Worst Person in the World (Norway)

20/10 White Building (Cambodia)

21/10 Unclenching the Fists (Georgia/ Russia), Happening (France), The French Dispatch (US)

22/10 The Captains of Za’atari (Egypt)

24/10 Amour (Austria/ France/ Germany)

26/10 Costa Brava, Lebanon (Lebanon)

30/10 Along the Sea (Japan/ Vietnam)

 

3/11 Lamb (Iceland), After the Rain (China)

4/11 Be My Voice (Sweden)

5/11 India Sweets and Spices (US)

6/11 The Bubble (Switzerland/ Austria), Comala (Mexico), El Planeta (Spain)

7/11 Come Back Anytime (Japan)

8/11 Jai Bhim (India/ Tamil)

9/11 [email protected] This Job (Russia)

10/11 Asuran (India/ Tamil)

11/11 Pariyerum Perumal (India/ Tamil), Go Through the Dark (China), The Forgotten Ones (France/ Israel)

12/11 The Other Side (Colombia), The Devil’s Drivers (Germany/ Palestine/ Israel)

13/11 Young Plato (Ireland/UK)

15/11 Powai (India/ Hindi)

16/11 The Beatles and India (UK)

17/11 Escape from Mogadishu (South Korea)

19/11 Simple as Water (US)

20/11 Nishiddho (India/ Malayalam/ Bengali/ Hindi) 

21/11 Garuda Gaman Vrishabha Vahana (India/ Kannada)

22/10 Vaat (India/ Marathi), Kaala Mele Ira (India/ Kannada)

23/10 Garuda Gaman Vrishabha Vahana (India/ Kannada), Gandhi & Co. (India/ Gujarati), Drive My Car (Japan)

25/10 Vazhakku (Indian/ Malayalam)

26/11 Sweet Smell of Success (US)

27/11 Flee (Denmark)

 

1/12 The Humans (US)

2/12 Belfast (UK)

3/12 Io Sto Bene (Luxembourg), Bad Roads (Ukraine)

4/12 Plaza Catedral (Panama)

5/12 Malik (India/ Malayalam)

6/12 After Love (UK), The First Wave (US)

7/12 Writing with Fire (India/ Hindi)

8/12 Private Desert (Brazil), Do Not Hesitate (Netherlands)

13/12 Prayers for the Stolen (Mexico)

15/12 Crossing Delancey (US), West Side Story (US)

16/12 The Novice (US)

17/12 Sardar Udham (India/ Hindi/ English/ Punjabi), If Memory Serves Me Right (India/ English), Parallel Mothers (Spain)

18/12 Karnan (India/ Tamil), The Killing of Two Lovers (US)

19/12 Sarpatta Parambarai (India/ Tamil), Pebbles (India/ Tamil)

20/2 Rear Window (US)

22/2 The Matrix (US)

23/12 Rosemary’s Baby (US), C’mon C’mon (US)

24/12 Cinema Bandi (India/ Telugu)

25/12 Hive (Kosovo), Don’t Look Up (US)

27/12 C.R.A.Z.Y. (Canada)

28/12 Love Actually (UK)

29/12 Big Night (US), August 32nd on Earth (Canada)

30/12 All is Forgiven (France), Kasaba/ The Small Town (Turkey)

31/12 Chungking Express (Hong Kong)

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