QUERY: Name an obscure film from the past decade I should see.

Posted by · 8:53 pm · October 9th, 2009

I’ve been preparing for my obligatory best of the decade column, which will drop in December after we’ve assessed 2009’s offerings.  I’m covering bases on films that inevitably slipped through the cracks, but I’m looking to be as thorough as I can.  If there’s a film you can think of that blew you away between 2000 and now but know in your heart of hearts hasn’t hit my radar yet, chime in.

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98 responses so far

  • 1 10-10-2009 at 7:00 am

    Ali E. said...

    films like Amores Perros, Entre les Murs, Der Untergang, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Gegen Die Wand, Chop Shop, L’Humanité, The Return are pretty widely seen films… none of them are obscure films or hidden gems…

  • 2 10-10-2009 at 7:00 am

    Patryk said...

    “The Deep End,” “Hallum Foe,” “L.I.E.,” Exiles,” and especially “Urbania.”

  • 3 10-10-2009 at 7:06 am

    slayton said...

    meant to say I own the Korean DVD of #38 (Secret Sunshine). As far as I know there’s no American DVD release or theatrical release forthcoming.

  • 4 10-10-2009 at 7:07 am

    slayton said...

    argh… and by #21 I really mean #27. why no edit button?

  • 5 10-10-2009 at 7:29 am

    Mike said...

    Memories of Murder isn’t a Korean version of Zodiac. It’s the other way around.

  • 6 10-10-2009 at 7:45 am

    Kokushi said...

    He Was a Quiet Man, Lars and the Real Girl, Lord of War, The Wackness, Waltz with Bashir.

  • 7 10-10-2009 at 8:02 am

    Louis said...

    Our Song
    Lovely and Amazing
    L’Enfant/The Child
    Chuck and Buck
    Heading South
    The Magdalene Sisters
    With a Friend Like Harry
    The Business of Strangers
    Morvern Callar
    Two Lovers
    We Don’t Live Here Anymore

  • 8 10-10-2009 at 8:34 am

    John H. Foote said...

    Atanajurat: The Fast Runner — just astonishing.

  • 9 10-10-2009 at 8:38 am

    Nicolas Mancuso said...

    Alas, my two top recommendations have already been mentioned, but I will repeat them:

    Hedwig and the Angry Inch
    Me and You and Everyone We Know

    I think that, in general, John Cameron Mitchell has proven to be one of the most exciting, under-the-radar new filmmakers of the decade. It’s a shame that his films aren’t more widely appreciated, though I completely understand why they aren’t (in North America, especially). With that said, I also highly recommend his second film, Shortbus. I think it’s a masterpiece.

    Of course, you’ve probably already seen all three.

  • 10 10-10-2009 at 8:54 am

    Silencio said...

    Sweet Land, released in ’06. Starring Elisabeth Reaser and adapted/directed by Ali Selim.

  • 11 10-10-2009 at 8:58 am

    Matthew said...

    Definitely watch “This is England” and “Somers Town” – they are great.

  • 12 10-10-2009 at 8:59 am

    AJB said...

    I’m not sure if you’ve seen it or if it’s even considered obscure, but if you haven’t seen it, I think you need to see ‘Baadasssss!’ One of my all-time favorites.

  • 13 10-10-2009 at 9:09 am

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    The Dark Knight.

  • 14 10-10-2009 at 9:30 am

    Gustavo Cruz said...

    Two unforgettable Brazilian documentaries:



  • 15 10-10-2009 at 9:51 am

    Pete said...

    La Cienaga

    Spring Summer Fall Winter…and Spring

  • 16 10-10-2009 at 10:24 am

    chris said...

    Roger Dodger (2002)

  • 17 10-10-2009 at 10:25 am

    Bing147 said...

    I’ll try to stick to the actually obscure… filmes by the Dardennes or Haneke I’m guessing you’ve seen for the most part. I might throw a few borderline ones in…

    The Widow of St Pierre (2000)
    Water Drops on Burning Rocks (2000)
    A Time for Drunken Horses (2000)
    Last Resort (2000)
    Late Marriage (2001)
    Read My Lips (2001)
    Russian Ark (2002)
    Irreversible (2002)
    Love Me If You Dare (2003)
    Saraband (2003)
    Control Room (2004)
    Nobody Knows (2004)
    Yes (2004)
    Kings and Queen (2004… be shocked if you haven’t seen this… but just in case)
    The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005)
    La Moustache (2004)
    Time to Leave (2005)
    Murderball (2005)
    The Unknown Woman (2006)
    Deliver Us From Evil (2006)
    The Dead Girl (2006)
    XXY (2007)
    You, the Living (2007)
    Three Monkeys (2008)
    Food Inc (2008)

  • 18 10-10-2009 at 10:44 am

    Patryk said...

    Also: “Chuck and Buck.”

  • 19 10-10-2009 at 10:45 am

    Paul Outlaw said...

    I forgot Read My Lips when I posted my comment above and Bing147 just beat me to it.

  • 20 10-10-2009 at 11:35 am

    Michael said...

    I know I am not Kris, but I just added about 75 films to my queue so I just wanted to thank everyone for listing out under the radar films that are worth seeing b/c now I have a lot of homework to do- in a good way! :-)

  • 21 10-10-2009 at 11:53 am

    will said...

    Did you see Reprise? If not, that’s an excellent one.

    And it’s not obscure, but if you were put off by the 6 hour running time of The Best of Youth, go ahead and watch it.

  • 22 10-10-2009 at 12:31 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I’ve seen many of those mentioned, and I know for a fact I won’t get to all of the ones listed here that I haven’t seen. But thanks for the giant selection, guys.

  • 23 10-10-2009 at 1:33 pm

    Fitz said...

    The Pledge (Jack Nicholson, Robin Wright Penn & Aaron Eckhart)

  • 24 10-10-2009 at 1:42 pm

    Michael said...

    I’ll be the second to recommend “Broken English.” The first hour of the movie is definitely stronger than the second, but Parker Posey really is astounding throughout the entire thing. Anything else that I can think to suggest, I’m sure you’ve already seen.

  • 25 10-10-2009 at 1:42 pm

    Dean said...


  • 26 10-10-2009 at 2:12 pm

    Danny K. said...

    Definitely try and catch Up in the Air if you get a chance. Just kidding! I would recommend “I’ve Loved You So Long” if you haven’t seen that.

  • 27 10-10-2009 at 2:19 pm

    /3rtfu11 said...

    From this decade – Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus
    From the 90’s – Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy

  • 28 10-10-2009 at 2:37 pm

    AmericanRequiem said...

    The Lord of the Rings
    Kill Bill
    The Dark Knight
    Pans Labyrinth
    The Departed
    Moulin Rouge
    Million Dollar Baby
    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    Wallace and Grommit
    The Ring
    There Will be Blood
    Knocked Up

  • 29 10-10-2009 at 3:03 pm

    Adriano said...

    O fantasma (Phantom)
    La ville est tranquille (Town is quiet)
    Piedras (Stones)

  • 30 10-10-2009 at 3:28 pm

    Rafael said...

    I love Lavoura Arcaica.

  • 31 10-10-2009 at 3:34 pm

    AdamL said...

    Last Life in the Universe

  • 32 10-10-2009 at 3:42 pm

    Rae Kasey said...

    Red Road

  • 33 10-10-2009 at 4:22 pm

    Sean Stangland said...

    It’s not obscure, but everyone has forgotten about Darren Aronofsky’s “The Fountain.” I thought it was easily the best movie I saw in 2006, but a whole lot of people seemed to hate it something fierce.

  • 34 10-10-2009 at 5:10 pm

    John K said...

    A second vote for “Last Life in the Universe.” Really extraordinary.

  • 35 10-10-2009 at 7:16 pm

    caleb roth said...

    Yeah yeah yeah, Lavoura Arcaica! Masterpiece! It’s named “To Left Of The Father” in America. Kino Video released the DVD.

  • 36 10-10-2009 at 7:25 pm

    decs said...

    Have to back Chad up on Lantana, an extraordinary piece of work

  • 37 10-10-2009 at 8:04 pm

    bradley said...

    Songs from the Second Floor.

  • 38 10-10-2009 at 9:14 pm

    Andrew Webb said...

    I’m going to go ahead and be the third to mention Tarsem’s “The Fall.” Beautiful film.

  • 39 10-10-2009 at 9:16 pm

    S Kane said...

    You should watch Narc

  • 40 10-10-2009 at 11:00 pm

    dcsg said...

    the nines (2007)
    the band’s visit (2007)
    heights (2005)
    the world (2004)
    goodbye dragon inn (2003)

  • 41 10-11-2009 at 1:56 am

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    How about Verhoeven’s Blackbook?

  • 42 10-11-2009 at 6:24 am

    slayton said...

    I would say its pretty widely seen, seeing as it is the highest-grossing (locally and overseas) Dutch film of all time. Great flick, though. Tubs of fun…

    I’d recommend Vier Minuten/Four Minutes just on the strength of the performances (esp. Herzsprung) and several amazing musical sequences – esp. the climax. The film itself is clumsily made.

  • 43 10-11-2009 at 1:48 pm

    Pam said...

    1. Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005, Miranda July)

    2. Shakespeare Behind Bars (2005, Hank Rogerson)

  • 44 10-11-2009 at 2:29 pm

    David said...

    Tony Kay’s abortion documentary “Lake of Fire”, visually stunning, quite graphic, but ultimately amazingly in-depth film.

    “Billy the Kid” – documentary about a loveable boy with Asperger’s (sp?)

    The Robinsons of Mansinsaari – a documentary with almost no speech, about two men living on an island off of Russia who refuse to speak to one another. Amazing film… really moving and peaceful.

    The King and the Clown – dubbed the South Korean Brokeback Mountain, if only for the homosexual relationship at the film’s centre. Really moving and funny. Visually stunning.

    The original “Brothers” by Susan Bier – shocked me. I went into the theatre knowing nothing and was blown away. I’m curious about the remake.

    A film I saw at TIFF:

    “Shirley Adams” – stylistically along the same lines as a Dardenne brothers film. About the financial and emotional results of a woman’s son being paralyzed by a gang shooting. I can’t tell you how much emotion was packed into a simple scene of the main character boiling an egg and eating it. It has stuck with me since.

  • 45 10-11-2009 at 3:47 pm

    BurmaShave said...

    Arliss Howard’s BIG BAD LOVE.

  • 46 10-11-2009 at 4:42 pm

    Dave L said...

    How about these ones…

    BEST OF 2000s…

    4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Mungiu, 2007)
    Amores Perros (Iñárritu, 2001)
    Blindsight (Walker, 2007)
    A Christmas Tale (Desplechin, 2008)
    Facing the Music (Connelly, 2001)
    Head-On (Akin, 2005)
    Heaven’s Heart (Staho, 2008)
    Hunger (McQueen, 2008)
    In My Father’s Den (McGann, 2005)
    Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport (Harris, 2000)
    Lantana (Lawrence, 2001)
    Last Ride (Ivin, 2009)
    Little Fish (Woods, 2005)
    Lust, Caution (Lee, 2007)
    No End in Sight (Ferguson, 2007)
    Noise (Saville, 2007)
    Osama (Barmak, 2004)
    Out of the Blue (Sarkies, 2007)
    Promises (Bolado et al, 2002)
    Revanche (Spielmann, 2008)
    Somersault (Shortland, 2004)
    Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story (Winterbottom, 2006)
    The Wind that Shakes the Barley (Loach, 2006)
    Young@Heart (Walker, 2008)

  • 47 10-11-2009 at 10:06 pm

    Cory Rivard said...

    There is a French-Canadian movie called “Aurore” that came out in ’05 and is probably the most heart-wrenching movie I have ever seen in my entire life.
    Please, please, please see it.

  • 48 7-05-2010 at 7:39 pm

    vancinema said...

    Dan Zukovic’s “THE LAST BIG THING”, called the “best unknown American film of the 1990’s” in the film book “Great Moments in Movies” (Editor: Chris Fujiwara), was finally released on DVD on June 29 through Vanguard Cinema. (www.vanguardcinema.com/thelastbigthing/thelastbigthing) Featuring an important early role by Mark Ruffalo (“Shutter Island”, “Zodiac”, “Collateral”), “THE LAST BIG THING” had a US theatrical release in 1998, and gained a cult following over several years of screenings on the Showtime Networks.

    “A distinctly brilliant and original work.” Kevin Thomas – Los Angeles Times
    “A satire whose best moments echo the tone of a Nathanial West novel…Nasty Fun!”
    Stephen Holden – New York Times
    “One of the cleverest recent satires on contemporary Los Angeles…a very funny sleeper!” Michael Wilmington – Chicago Tribune
    “One of the few truly original low budget comedies of recent years.” John Hartl – Seattle Times
    “‘The Last Big Thing’ is freakin’ hilarious! The most important and overlooked
    indie film of the 1990’s. ” Chris Gore – Film Threat