Tropical Malady, notwithstanding an underwhelming premiere at Cannes, is one of the most admired of 21st century films, if you have happened to see it. Directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, maker of 2002's Blissfully Yours, it sort of starts like a Thai Brokeback Mountain about a soldier who meets a country boy while on this official duties. Unlike Weerasethakul's previous movie, which included explicit sex, Tropical Malady is much more tasteful and restrained. But instead of Jake Gyllenhall being murdered, about halfway through the movie he sort of turns into a tiger, and the movie becomes distinctly stranger.
Innocence, which got a supporting actress nomination for Marion Cotillard, is one of the stranger movies of 2004. It starts with an isolated girl's dormitory. Where the students arrive in coffins, and play in strange, cloistered gardens. It's based on a story by Frank Wedekind, from whose work Pandora's Box was based on.
The Weeping Meadow is a Greek film by the important, but crucially underappreciated in America, director Theo Angelopoulous. It was actually supposed to be the first part of a trilogy. The second movie was made, but Angelopoulos was hit by a car and killed before he could complete the third movie. The movie, like many of Angelopoulos' deals with Greek history. It starts with refugees expelled from long standing Greek communities in Turkey after Greece's decisive defeat by Turkey in the war they fought shortly after the first world war. The movie deals with a love story between a refugee girl and the boy in the family that takes her in. As they engage in an unhappy romance, with suitors forced on the young woman, Greece goes through the Depression, the second world war, and the civil war that followed it. One part of the film is that the part of Greece where the characters live often floods, so we get shots like the one above.
Here is the couple, with the woman being one of my runner-ups for best actress. The movie focuses on her, since she is often separated from her lover/husband, and her sons get involved in the civil war. The movie is filled with beautiful, comparatively spare tracking shots, and it ends with a homage to Sansho the Bailiff. The movie, along with others Angelopoulos made, came out on DVD from New Yorker Video, which unfortunately went bankrupt. However, it is currently available on youtube with English subtitles, and can be seen below: