I've been talking with Formalhaut a lot recently about good films, and about which films we each really like. That - combined with the fact I'm very opinionated, enjoy writing, and don't get to write quite as much as I'd like - has led, in a roundabout way, to this:

Mr. Carnelian's Entirely Subjective Guide to 21st Century Cinema

I've picked one film that I've seen to represent each year of the 21st century. E.g. the pick for 2000 is a film that first came out in 2000, the pick for 2001 a film that came out in 2001, and so on. I've tried to pick an interesting variety, but it IS skewed towards science-fiction and fantasy.

Every day for the next two and a half weeks, I aim to post an entry for each year of the century, starting with 2000 (for those tempted to argue that the century actually started on 1 Jan 2001, just don't).

Whilst it's no secret to those that know me well that I'm partial to a "so bad it's good" film (thouroughly recommend the glorious garbage that is Gods of Egypt to any connoisseurs of the entertainingly awful), I've picked out films that I think of as "good" films.

And now, onto 2000: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

The first wuxia (kung-fu fantasy, an enduringly popular genre in China) film to really break the Western market, Crouching Tiger is a truly beautiful film. It codified the framework which later imitators (House of Flying Daggers, Hero), eager to echo its success, would follow: tragic romance, balletic fight scenes and a visually sumptuous evocation of Imperial China as a lost Golden Age.

Absolutely one to watch in the original Chinese with English subtitles, due to the character-led nature of the film. The power of the main cast's performances are somewhat lost in the dubbed version. This is particularly evident in the case of Zhang Ziyi, who plays troubled martial arts prodigy Jen Yu, living a double-life as a demure aristocrat's daughter by day and a fierce bandit by night.

Those eager to see more of Michelle Yeoh's Yu Shu Lien, a tough and capable warrior and businesswoman carving a path through a society inclined not to take independent women seriously, should consider watching the 2016 sequel, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny. Although inferior to the original, and rehashing many of the same themes and ideas, Yeoh's reprisal of Yu Shu Lien, now world-weary from the events of the first film but rediscovering her passion and her sense of duty and honour by its end, makes it worth the watch.

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