Every month LIH’s staff will each put in our vote for a “must see” film. Today our focus and discussion will be on “must see” foreign films. As an exercise to hone our cinephile senses we will review films with positive buzz from word of mouth. We hope you enjoy!
Comic Relief-A Unique Treat!
I saw a unique French romantic comedy; I saw the film Romantics Anonymous. Making its international premiere at the 2011 Tribecca Film Festival, to give you synopsis of the film, two extremely shy people meet at a chocolate shop in Paris. The couple was distinguished by two unique individuals; one being the managing employer; the other being the chocolate company’s newest employee. So shy are they that they can barely communicate while attempting to fashion a relationship. Many comic scenarios ensue before they find themselves almost unable to function without one another. Ultimately a story about courage Romantics Anonymous makes one ponder about how shy people can persevere when the odds can appear to be firmly stacked against them.
Open Book-Must See!
The Wave or Die Welle German film directed by Dennis Gansel was released in 2008 and is based on a true story. I loved this film because of its unpredictability and bold honest look at a politically incorrect social issue.
Ozzie– One of My Favorites!
One of my favourite foreign films is Pan’s Labyrinth. Set in 1944 fascist Spain, the film tells the story of a young girl called Ofelia. Ofelia and her pregnant mother go to live with her new stepfather, who is a psychopathic Captain in the Spanish Army, with orders of to hunt down the remaining rebels of the Spanish Civil War. She finds a way to escape her own harsh reality when she meets a faun (a half goat, half human with goat horns) who convinces her that she is really a princess and must complete three tasks to prove it. The film is beautifully shot and has a haunting soundtrack. Most of the special effects are done by make-up and animatronics but the CGI work is still as breathe taking the real life effects. The film’s director Guillermo del Toro calls it “a fairy tale for adult” which it most definitely is! Whether you’re male or female, it has something that will captivate you. It has many themes; war (there is plenty of violence and it is quite graphic), survival (how loved ones protect each other and the length they go to in order to do so), fantasy (the rich and detailed mythical world that Ofelia enters), horror (the brutality of war and the scary creatures Ofelia meets), morality (whether the actions taken are right and wrong on both sides, plus how far to take it in order to survive and protect loved ones) and love (between the families, fellow countrymen and the complexity of Ofelia’s mother and step father’s relationship). Whether you end up loving this film or hating it, it will definitely move you and make you think!
Parisienne– All Time Favorites!
Bliss is a Turkish film that came out in 2007. It starts out slow and there are plot holes, but it was a very well done film. A young girl is raped and to bring honor back to her family she is sent away to be killed. The man charged with her execution cannot go through with it and they take off. In the midst of their journey, they meet a former University teacher and he takes them under his wing. Unbeknownst to them, they are being tracked down by her Uncle (the one who sent her away) and his henchman because they know the young man did not do the job. It’s very eye opening to see old customs meet the new ones, how women are treated even in this day and age, and how being open minded can bring about more compassion. It’s a slow film until the last 10 minutes. That is when we see who it was that raped the young girl and what happens to her once she is found.