Yi Yi (2000)

The oscillation between isolation and intimacy is just as much a part of life’s cycles as the births, marriages, and deaths that the three generations of the Jian family experience through different lenses, but while these occasions lay the foundation of Yi Yi’s grand formal structure, Edward Yang spends much of the film chasing the vivid, lonely stories that lie between them.

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Erin Brockovich (2000)

It takes a truly charismatic movie star to command the screen the way Julia Roberts does as Erin Brockovich’s titular beauty queen turned lawyer, delivering whip-smart takedowns and monologues while on her pursuit of justice, and together with Steven Soderbergh energetically infusing an infectious passion into this gripping biopic.

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Almost Famous (2000)

Almost Famous rolls along with all the thrust and exhilaration of a rock concert, as steeped in 70s pop culture as Cameron Crowe himself, and showing off a skilful tonal balance that ties each comedic and tragic set piece together into a nostalgic reflection on a musical era as joyfully uninhibited as it was potentially soul-destroying.

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The Headless Woman (2008)

From the moment Vero hits something with her car on a rural road in The Headless Woman, every second of her waking life is haunted by guilt and paranoia, closing in around her through Lucrecia Martel’s claustrophobic camerawork that keeps us removed from definitive answers regarding who or what she might have killed.

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The Yards (2000)

Even if The Yards is not a wholly original crime drama, it still retains a freshness in moving its study of classical corruption and redemption arcs in inverse directions, as James Gray draws heavily from The Godfather in style and narrative to closely examine a young gangster’s struggle within his corrupt family.

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Reprise (2006)

Joachim Trier lets the creative sparks of two young aspiring authors enthusiastically fizzle all through Reprise, tantalising us with vivacious Truffautian editing constantly leaping beyond the immediate narrative, and weaving in novelistic qualities that seek to understand his characters the way they might ultimately one day write about themselves.

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