Monday, January 4, 2010

Synopsis and Production Credits

Rotterdam International Film Festival 2010 (World Premiere)
Goteborg International Film Festival 2010
Hong Kong International Film Festival 2010
Singapore International Film Festival 2010 (Asian Film Competition)
African, Asian & Latin American Film Fest, Milan 2010
Durban International Film Festival 2010
Montreal World Film Festival 2010
Rome Asian Film Festival 2010 (In Competition) 


"MEMORIES OF A BURNING TREE is the work of Singapore-based director Sherman Ong who made the film in Tanzania and shot it in Swahili. The result is a riveting ensemble piece that is a truly global piece of cinema. ...Beautifully shot, with a cast of non-actors and an improvised script, this is a stirring and original film."
" A Singaporean director has made a movie in Tanzania. In Swahili. With a cast of non-actors. And it's amazing. Kumbukumbu Za Mti Uunguao (Memories of a Burning Tree) is a multi-layered ensemble drama that cuts to matters of the heart and soul."
~ Wise Kwai's Thai Film Journal 

"With understated performances from non-professional actors speaking Swahili, the film gives a striking impression of urban African life without pushing violence, poverty or disease." ~ Ian Mundell, senses of cinema

IFFR 2010 Forget Africa Programme Notes by Gertjan Zuilhof:

A film maker who makes friends quickly settles in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Because he can't afford to pay much to the actors, he teaches his new friends to act. Because he hasn't written the screenplay, he asks his new actors for stories. Because he can film, the result looks great.

Just like the other film makers in the Forget Africa project, Sherman Ong had never previously been to Africa. His budget was also not higher than that of his colleagues. He did stay rather longer in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, because he stretched his financial means to the limit, but that does not explain the fact that Ong was able to make a full-length feature in that short time, in a strange country and with such limited means.

The secret is in his approach. Previously, Ong showed in his film Hashi (2008), shot in Japan, that he was able to improvise a feature in a strange country where he doesn't speak the language. Memories of a Burning Tree also came about in improvisations. Ong loves the approach of dancers and theatre makers who put together a show step-by-step. Here, all the performers were amateurs. Most had no acting experience at all. Ong's answer to that is to rehearse calmly and patiently and to involve his actors in building up the story and situation.
The basis is simple. A man called Smith arrives in Dar es Salaam to sort out some affairs. He meets the tourist guide Link, who wants to help him. Gradually he needs more helpers, such as the grave digger Abdul and the scrap collector Toatoa. Each of them is searching in his own way.


Kumbukumbu Za Mti Uunguao
{Memories of a Burning Tree}

Commissioned by
for their programme FORGET AFRICA

Directed by Sherman Ong

Written by Sherman Ong
with Peter Mbwago & Nkumi Hamis Mtingwa


Smith comes to Dar es Salaam to tie up some loose ends. He meets Link, a tourist guide, who agrees to help him. Along the way they are offered help by Abdul, a grave digger, and Toatoa, a metal scavenger, who themselves are searching for answers to their own journeys. Their search eventually leads them to realise that this is a never-ending journey of dreams and disappointments. With an ensemble cast of non-professional actors and an improvised script, this film is an homage to the road movie genre, where ultimately the road ends when you want it to end.

Download stills:
Behind the scenes:

Technical Specifications
86 mins   |  Colour  |  Stereo  |  Swahili with English subtitles
Countries of production: Tanzania, Netherlands, Singapore, Malaysia
Year of production: 2010
Original Format: HD Video
Screening Format: HDCam 60i

Main Cast

Smith K. Kimaro                           Smith (Man looking for a grave)
Link Reuben                                 Link (Tourist guide)
Abdul Khalfan Malaika                 Abdul (Grave digger)
Khalid Saleh Bilal                         Toatoa (Metal Scavenger)
Mariam Rashid                             Mariam (Food Seller)
Grace Mathayo                            Grace (Toatoa’s sister)
Miriam Emanuel                           Miriam (Toatoa’s girlfriend)
Raheli Augustino                          Link’s Aunt

Supporting Cast

Rase Ndunguru
Stephen Josephat
Silvan N Mkude
Abdullah Saidi
Halima Hassan
Gladness Charles
Christina Jumas
Zaina Saidi
Gwamaka Mwakalinga
Khadija Borna
Khadya Mohamedi
Joruh Jackson
Amina Irajabu
Secemani Husseni
Sikoca Zoni
Shomaki Zumk
Zuena Lawi
Ramadhani Shabani
Mohamed Abdalah
Earohiney Njoki
Goodlucky Simon
Adamy Hamizi
John Kachile

Excerpts of poems by Shaaban Roberts
Hali Halisi (Real condition)
Punda (Donkey)
Nipate Wapi Mwingine (Where do I find another)

Production Team

Director                                          Sherman Ong    
Producers                                       Sherman Ong, Gertjan Zuilhof
Co-Producer                                   Tan Bee Thiam
Writers                                           Sherman Ong with Peter Mbwago & Nkumi Hamis Mtingwa
Director of Photography                  Sherman Ong
Editor                                              Ming An, Kent Chan
Assistant Director                            Peter Mbwago
Sound & Boom Operator                   Nkumi Hamis Mtingwa
Camera Assistant & Sound                Malto Tambi
Script Supervisor                              Edgar Chatanda
Fixer/Location Manager                    Link Reuben   
Music                                               The 'Tribute to Mardana' gang
Sound Post                                        Takuya Katsu
Publicity Designer                             Catherine Chia

Generously supported by
Rotterdam International Film Festival

Special Thanks
Gertjan Zuilhof
Inge de Leeuw
Rotterdam International Film Festival

Link Reuben, Itangaze Tanzania
Raheli Augustino
Mosses Samseni
Raymond & Willy, Big Willy Production
Uli Schueppel
Ulrike Schwerdtfeger, Goethe-Institut Tanzania
H.D.H. Pramukh Swami Maharaj Temple
Korini Hotel, Magomeni
Safari Inn, Dar es Salaam

Asian Film Archive
Canon Singapore (Edwin Tan, Nelson Tan)
Singapore Film Commission (Kristin Saw)
The Substation
Dr. Ulrich Nowak, Goethe-Institut Singapore
Nyagela Carren Gaya
Pak-Juan Koe

Jaggu Singh
The 'Tribute to Mardana' gang

Our sincere thanks and gratitude to the kind souls and kindred spirits who have helped us along the way to make this film a reality. Asante Sana!

Press / Sales Contact

Sherman ONG
Studio ShermanO
ben [at] shermanong [dot] com

Bee Thiam TAN
13 Little Pictures
bthiam [at] gmail [dot] com
+65 9768 9986

Rome Asian Film Festival: la densa attesa dell’Africa. Memories of a burning tree

Memories of a burning tree (2010) è un esperimento decisamente riuscito. L’Asia si mescola all’Africa nella sezione Concorso, attraverso l’occhio del regista malesiano Sherman Ong, già collaboratore ‘atipico’ di Festival e Biennali internazionali. Il suo ultimo lavoro si colloca dentro un’operazione assolutamente congeniale alla propria forma mentis (con Hashi nel 2008, Ong si era intrufolato in Giappone, paese di cui non conosceva neanche la lingua, assorbendone l’aura e lo spirito).

Memories of a burning tree è frutto di Forget Africa, progetto nato dalla collaborazione tra il Festival del Cinema Africano e l’International Film Festival di Rotterdam, che ha visto 12 registi stranieri, in maggioranza asiatici e mai stati nel continente africano, approdare in 12 paesi dell’Africa centrale e australe, per mescolare il proprio occhio con lo sguardo dei registi locali e dare vita ad un incrocio singolare e promettente. Sherman Ong è arrivato in Tanzania con un budget appena passabile per girare. Ha sostato più tempo a Dar es Salaam, riuscendo attraverso l’improvvisazione degli attori teatrali non professionisti coinvolti a costruire una storia tanto semplice quanto stupefacente nel rivelare, per mezzo dei personaggi che prendono forma da essa, la realtà dell’Africa, la sua bellezza compressa dentro l’impossibilità di spiccare il volo da parte di risorse materiali ed intellettuali costrette a fare i conti con un senso di attesa e impotenza costante… Un giovane uomo di nome Smith giunge a Dar es Salaam, alla ricerca della tomba di sua madre. Incontra la guida turistica Link, che si offre quale ausilio nel ritrovamento. I due si imbattono in figure che popolano la città: Abdul, un becchino che attende gente da seppelire e appena può va a trovare Mariam, la donna di cui è innamorato, corteggiandola senza un’apparente speranza. Toatoa, che vende metallo e trafuga le croci al cimitero per trasformarle in merce da usare e studia recitazione. Sua sorella, giovane studentessa malinconica che legge poesie sul senso di peso e sacrificio di una nazione desiderosa di sbocciare, ma con poca acqua a cui attingere per crescere. La stessa Mariam, donna poco istruita ma ben addestrata alla vita, lontana dalle fantasticherie sentimentali, talmente realista da guardare all’amore per l’unico valore che, in luoghi come Dar es Salaam, può avere: un modo per cercare di sopravvivere con più sicurezze rispetto a quelle che un becchino potrebbe offrirle.

Il regista ha dimostrato intuito nel contestualizzare all’atipicità del luogo e della realtà che andava ad esplorare la forma road movie che aveva in mente, lasciando che a poco a poco la storia prendesse vita da sola, sciogliendo nell’improvvisazione e nella lingua swahili gli attori alla loro prima esperienza, che ci rendono un ritmo e un respiro dell’Africa nella sua essenza: un senso del tempo dilatato, dove si resta a pensare, a sperare, a sognare, o semplicemente ad aspettare; una quotidianità nella quale comprendiamo tutto il valore dell’acqua, ne percepiamo la reale e incommensurabile necessità; un rapporto con la morte e gli spiriti senza mediazione, perché palpabile è l’indistinto confine che segna la vita e la morte, il suo più immediato e frequente scambio in un mondo segnato da un senso di precarietà col quale si nasce e con cui si è costretti a convivere ogni giorno; una cultura dove l’uomo e la donna mantengono ruoli ben distinti, e nella quale fanno capolino l’istruzione e lo studio, le forze più importanti (e lo avvertiamo quanto vengano considerate indispensabili da chi le pratica) e preziose che cominciano a germogliare e a dare frutti. E Sherman Ong crea un corrispettivo di sguardo fatto di camera fissa e movimenti di macchina di pari significato, dove le figure entrano ed escono, oppure semplicemente sono contenute nel senso di attesa e nei silenzi che raccontano.
Maria Cera

VIII ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL - "Memories of a Burning Tree" e "Flooding in the Time of Drought", di Sherman Ong

Filmmaker e fotografo di Singapore, Sherman Ong lascia la propria firma su questa edizione dell'Asian Film Festival attraverso due opere distanti tra loro ma legate dall'interesse del regista a “guardare oltre”, laddove “oltre” può stare a significare sia lontano geograficamente che al di là del quotidiano, con maggiore attenzione e consapevolezza

sherman ongFilmmaker e fotografo di Singapore, Sherman Ong lascia la propria firma su questa edizione dell'Asian Film Festival attraverso due opere distanti tra loro ma legate dall'interesse del regista a “guardare oltre”, laddove “oltre” può stare a significare sia lontano geograficamente che al di là del quotidiano, con maggiore attenzione e consapevolezza.
Presentato in anteprima mondiale all'International Film Festival di Rotterdam 2010, Memories of a Burning Tree suscita immediato interesse per la singolarità del progetto: promuovere in Europa un film di fiction girato in Tanzania, da un regista asiatico, con attori africani non professionisti, è un intreccio di per se insolito, attira per la possibilità che concede allo spettatore di immedesimarsi in uno sguardo alieno su di una cultura altrettanto aliena –all'autore quanto al pubblico. Ma è proprio questa radicata non appartenenza che finisce, alla lunga, per non convincere, poiché non consegna chiavi d'accesso sufficientemente suggestive sull'universo rappresentato, suggerendo il panorama confuso di un'Africa sospesa, dove la trama principale - due ragazzi cercano la tomba della madre di uno dei due - si perde per strada, si fa pretesto per parlare della stasi di una nazione, di una immobilità interiore in cui anche la realizzazione dei propri sogni avviene in sordina. Nessuna tragedia umana -e questo può essere un punto a favore- ma anche ben pochi spunti per coinvolgere, laddove qualche scelta registica più azzardata avrebbe potuto proporre una lettura più profonda, ma ci si limita piuttosto a mimare la staticità dei contenuti.
Certo, non ci si poteva aspettare un cambio di rotta da parte di un regista ossessivamente dedito al piano sequenza a camera fissa, un autore che risente in ogni scelta della costruzione fotografica dell'inquadratura, e che sembra ipotizzare quale unico movimento possibile quello dei personaggi all'interno del quadro, e mai movimento del quadro.

Ma quali possono essere, allora, gli effetti di scelte tanto drastiche quando si passa ad analizzare un contesto ben noto, ossia l'odierno Singapore? Flooding in the Time of Drought, commissionato dalla Biennale di Singapore nel 2008, conduce a risultati radicalmente diversi. Si tratta di un'opera complessa e densa, dove l'autore intreccia le vicende private di una serie di coppie di personaggi -consorti e non - in una Singapore oppressa dalla siccità. La siccità quale motore di insoliti meccanismi relazionali non è una novità per il cinema asiatico, se si pensa che le perversioni amorose di Il gusto dell'anguria di Tsai Ming-Liang sono conseguenza della stessa, mortifera, mancanza d'acqua. Anche Memories of a Burning Tree allude all'importanza dell'acqua per il naturale scorrere dell'esistenza, ma se il vuoto di sentimenti del film africano generava distanza nello spettatore, qui si raggiunge una maggiore partecipazione alla solitudine dei personaggi, e la profonda conoscenza del regista riguardo il contesto preso in esame gli permette riflessioni storiche sulle vicende politiche che hanno segnato l'estremo oriente e sulle ripercussioni di queste nella esistenze private. Senza discostarsi da uno stile rigorosamente statico, riflessivo e, a tratti, estenuante, il film vanta il pregio di costruire un ritratto variegato, sincero e spassionato dell'immigrazione a Singapore, e concede, proprio in virtù dei tempi dilatati, il lusso di immergersi in usanze ibride e relazioni interpersonali inconcepibili alla cultura occidentale.
Articolo del 14/07/2010 di Elena Di Nardo



Tuesday, April 13, 2010

SIFF Production Talk - 'Memories of a Burning Tree' by Sherman Ong 


Smith comes to Dar es Salaam to tie up some loose ends. He meets Link, a tourist guide, who agrees to help him. Along the way they are offered help by Abdul, a grave digger, and Toatoa, a metal scavenger, who themselves are searching for answers to their own journeys. Their search eventually leads them to realise that this is a never-ending journey of dreams and disappointments. With an ensemble cast of non-professional actors and an improvised script, this film is an homage to the road movie genre, where ultimately the road ends when you want it to end.


Sherman is a filmmaker, photographer and visual artist. His practice has always centred on the human condition and our relationships with others within the larger milieu.

Winner of the 2010 ICON de Martell Cordon Bleu Photography Award, Sherman has premiered works in Art Biennales, major Film Festivals and Museums around the world, including the Venice, Singapore and Jakarta Biennales, Mori Art Museum Tokyo, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Martin-Gropius-Bau Berlin, Musee du Quai Branly Paris, Centre Pompidou Paris, Institute of Contemporary Arts London, Noorderlicht Photo Festival, Rotterdam International Film Festival, VideoBrasil International Electronic Art Festival, Singapore Art Museum, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Queensland Art Gallery, South Australia Contemporary Art Centre and Vilnius Contemporary Art Centre, Lithuania.

He is an Associate Artist of the Substation and a founding member of 13 Little Pictures, a film collective based in Singapore. He also serves on the committee of the Singapore International Photography Festival, as an educator at schools and universities, and as a member of juries at various film festivals. In 2009, he was invited to participate in the Singapore Pavilion, Venice Biennale which garnered a Special Mention. His works are in the collections of the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Singapore Art Museum and the Seoul Art Centre Korea. He is nominated for the APB-Singapore Art Museum Signature Art Prize for 2011. He collaborated on a project headed by Olafur Eliasson which premiered at the Tate Modern London in Sept 2012.

What is the Forget Africa project about? 
This is the statement by Gertjan Zuilhof, progarmmer of IFFR and initiator of Froget Africa:
He was assisted by 
Inge de Leeuw, IFFR.

Forget Africa, International Film Festival Rotterdam:   “Forgetting Africa is of course intended slightly provocatively in this case. It is not the intention to give up on Africa, to turn our backs on the lost continent. We do want to take a new look at Africa. See whether it’s possible to develop a fresh view. To see Africa for the first time as it were, also partly in a literal sense. The way economic and humanitarian aid organisations have also asked themselves for about 50 years whether they have helped and have not only evoked a call for help, that’s how questions about African cinema could also be asked afresh.
We shall first ascertain whether they are really there. Then we will become acquainted with them, because we have more than a simple suspicion that they do indeed exist. Then we’ll invite several of them to show their work within our project. A project in which the imagination of Africa is brought back to the earth.
 “They” are the still anonymous film makers from African countries like Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia, Angola and Zimbabwe. Countries that have been less visible internationally than other African countries with their cinema. Countries that seem to have fallen off the cinematographic map. Research still has to be carried out into a number of countries.
Films are made in Africa. If you include the commercial melodrama production of Nigeria, for instance, then a lot of films are made and even good films get made, even though there aren’t really very many for such a huge continent. In addition, the few serious films come from a relatively small part of the continent. North and West Africa, and it’s no coincidence these are the former French colonies, are over-represented which means that a large area is under-represented. If you look at the programming of international film festivals, and even of specialised African film festivals, you could conclude that no films at all are made in Eastern or Central Africa. Will have to see whether that is really the case and that is the aim of this project.

The Journey
The driving force within this project is an open curiosity about the position and work of film makers who work in the countries that are not really included on the map of cinematography. That doesn’t mean the work doesn’t exist, but it does largely mean that their work does not play any significant role – probably for a variety of reasons – in the international circuit of festivals were virtually every country in the world plays some kind of role.

The most effective and also the most elementary way to become acquainted with the film makers of unknown cinematographic countries in Africa is to visit them. Research in other areas of the world, for instance in the poorer countries of South-east Asia, has taught that saying for some time on the spot, making use of the network of local film makers and other film professionals, does not take long to offer a survey of what’s going on in such a country in the field of film.

Through this approach, the survey itself will form an interesting part of the project. A next step within the project also emerges from this. The open and curious encounter with local film makers gains extra significance and quality if they can in turn be introduced to film makers from other parts of the world who do have contacts and experiences in the international circuit of festivals and markets for film projects. The encounters and exchanges are fertile for both parties in this way. For the local film makers, it provides an opportunity to acquire concrete knowledge and experience from a colleague. For the visiting film maker, it is an equally concrete acquaintance with an unknown cultural world.

Several international independent film makers with a wealth of experience for their relatively young age have displayed an interesting incorporating on the project. After this text, we summarise their names with a concise description of their lives and work.”

How did you seek help?
I made contact w another Tanzanian, Hamis Mtingwa who also attended the Berlinale Talent Campus. From him, I got to meet his other classmates in University of Dar Es Salaam who are in the fine arts faculty which incl film, theatre, performing, painting, etc. That's how I found Smith, the young man who was looking for a grave. Smith is studying acting/theatre. And Peter Mbwago, who eventually became my assistant dir and co-writers together w Hamis. They all just graduated after we finished shooting. My arrival coincided w their submission of the final year project which was great cos then they have time to work w me on the film. Edgar Chatanda and Malto Tambi are two other classmates who were part of the crew.

I also made contact with the Goethe Institue in Dar es Salaam. Another German filmmaker Uli Schueppel, also on this project, was already in Dar shooting. Link was his guide. And of course, Gertjan meeting me at the airport lessen the disorientation of arriving in a strange city and  made my arrival more pleasant.

And how did you arrive at this story of yours? (Though I suspect the story evolved as you were making the film itself)
I went to Tanzania w another idea of a story but I junk it when I got to Dar es Salaam.
The story was conceived after I had an audition with amateur theatre actors who live in the same suburb as Link Reuben, my guide in Dar. Link works as tourist guide and a painter. It all started when I asked him to take me to his neighbourhood and meet his neighbours. When I met him, he was living w his uncle who runs a cosmetics shop and does manicure/pedicure for women.

The actors collective is like a loose grouping managed by Big Willie and his younger brother, Raymond. They make stories like afternoon soaps using dv cameras and edit them into VCDs, and sells them thru distributors in the city.
Link brought me to a cemetary near his home and as we were walking, he told me that some of the crosses on the graves are missing cos they were taken by people who sells them as scrap that planted the seed of the story. We were just taking a walk in the cemetary and talking about general things. And the Christian and Muslim cemetaries are just next to each other. So I decided to have a character looking for a grave and then everything fell into place at the audition. So it was the 'dead' that actually gave me the story and I was just the medium who channelled the stories onto the screen. 

So after the audition, I sat down w Peter and Hamis to write a structure and script in point form in 2 days. This was the blue print for the film - 50 scenes and each scene abt 2 mins. So we had a script, "a beginning, a middle and an end, but not necessarily in that order".

What were your initial fears regarding the success of the production when you first arrived in Tanzania?
I went there w an open mind and didn't have any expectations. Very much like when I went to Japan and then made Hashi.

I am sure I could make something in Dar. There is always drama in the most mundane of things...eating , drinking, crossing the road, getting stuck in a jam. And of course, a bit of luck and a truly wonderful guide, Link - who made it all happen.

Does Smith represent you, the filmmaker, in some way, since he is also trying to find his way around.

No. I had an audition w Hamis' classmates and decide to cast Smith when I found out through my interview that he lost his mother and sister in succession to malaria about a year before. So i felt he would have the emotional temperament to carry the character through and his search for some closure. But I think we are always searching for something as we move along in life...because we all have desires and dreams.

How did you manage to get people to act in your film for free? I feel this is sometimes the irony of wealth. In Singapore where life is stable and comfortable, it is actually harder to get people to act.
It wasn't for free, that was a factual error. I only met Gertjan the first 4 days in Dar and then he left to go to another African country. When I told him I made a feature, he thought I must have really squeezed the budget. 

Actually all the actors got paid equivalent to half a month's salary (of an general worker/employee in a hotel) for 2-3 days of shooting. It wasn't much but still that they could use to tide them over. In fact, except for Smith, the others are unemployed or day-rate workers, Toa Toa attends primary level schooling at  a private school and helps out as a cameraman for Big Willie. Abdul(gravedigger) writes short stories for books/magazines, which is not very often.

Mariam(gravedigger's love interest), a single mother, cooks some food at home, puts them in a bucket and sells them to construction site workers. Grace was taken out of school by the family, presumably because they can't afford it. Miriam (Toa Toa's girlfriend) and Smith are looking for a job.

In fact, the payment was the first thing I had to discuss before the actors agree to be in the film. In Dar, everything is about money, you need to pay someone (almost like a local head/leader) in charge of an area, or ask politely for permission to shoot. So most of the time, I was an exchange student at the university making a short project about Dar and the people. 

And we even had a wrap party by the beach w food cooked by Link's Aunt, who played his Aunt in the film.
I am happy that the film has helped to make a change in the actors lives as they now have the opportunity to go for auditions for other tv/ video projects. And ome money from the production budget was used to fund Toa Toa's school fees for another year.

I don't think there is a big difference between Dar and Singapore; regardless of economic level, everyone still grapples w the discomforts and crises of daily life because we are never satisfied or contented. 

In some sense, Dar feels very much like South East Asia/Indonesia...the tempo of the city and temperament of the people. 

How long was the shoot? How many people were in your production team, I would imagine everyone is quite stretched on set?
We shot for about 8-10 days, a few hours a day and non-consecutive. The team is about 5-6 people, as Link and Smith also helps w the production side. We work w the limitations. Shooting w a small camera helps, Canon 5D MkII. 

What were some of the greatest challenges you met in production?
Shooting in a Muslim cemetary without a permit in a location outside of Link's neigbourhood/territory. My crew was Afraid that they woud be put in jail and fine cos the police are very strict w unauthoried filming. 

The Tanzanian goverment was really upset about a film called Darwin's Nightmare which was apparently shot without their permission and gave a totally wrong perception about Tanzania. I have not watched this film, so I can't comment further. I was told that after the film was made, everyone in Tanzania wants money whenever you point a camera at them. 

What were some of the contraints you faced in making the film and how different woudl the film be if there were no such constraints, e.g. budget, location permissions, cast etc.
The film came out of a certain set of contraints, if the conditions are different then it would be a different film. 

What are the top 5 movies you wish you'd made? (This is just a fun question, please feel free to not take it TOO seriously or intensely. And note: it's top 5 movies you WISH YOU MADE, not top 5 fave movies)
Maybe names of directors would give an indication...
Tarkovsky, Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Jia Zhang-Ke, Fassbinder, Ozu.

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