What’s considered foreign of course depends on where you’re from, but late fall always gets me in the mood for warm bevis and good flicks! I recently examined my movie list thus far, looking over some of my favorite foreign flicks, and decided to share. This isn’t anywhere near the full list, but all of these movies, in one way or the other, pushed me. I dig it when that happens.
I don’t like spoiler reviews so I just tried to give a very brief overview. What do you think? Which ones would be on your list?
Dear Frankie, 2004 (United Kingdom)
This is about a mother-son relationship, where the mom has gone to some extremes when it comes to the father. Simple at heart, but a real solid dosage of family matters.
The sweet hereafter, 1997 (Canada)
This is a story about a small town, and how it is forced to deal with a tragic bus accident. Not meant for the weak at heart. Full of intense emotions.
Biutiful, 2010 (Spain)
Ultimately, this story is about death, or about how a life can be impacted when knowing more about death. I love Javier Bardem; everything he is in is gold: Before Night Falls, No Country for Old Men, just to name a few. I also appreciate the director Alejandro Inarritu, who also did Babel, among others.
Amelie, 2001 (France)
This is about a girl who takes justice into her own hands to help others, and she discovers love along the way. I don’t have much background in French film, but this one is perfect.
The Edukators, 2004 (Germany)
This is about a trio of activists, but one night, their prank doesn’t go as planned. They end up dealing with a particular businessman on a more personal level, which teaches them lessons about themselves.
Life is Beautiful, 1997 (Italy)
This is an excellent movie to watch when you are feeling like you have a rough life. It’s so inspirational and optimistic with regards to the human spirit.
The Stoning of Soraya M., 2008 (Iran)
I watched this in public, which I wouldn’t recommend. During the movie, several people had to get up, and walk out of the theater for a break. It slowly grinds on your spirit, but in a powerful way. This film is very controversial in nature when it comes to human rights, religion, and law. It also makes you question our role on this planet and morality.
In A Better World, 2010 (Denmark)
Winner of best foreign language film, for me, this movie has two stories that meet in the middle, one that centers around Anton, a doctor who commutes between his home in Denmark and work in refugees camps in Africa, and another around a friendship between two boys, one of which is the son of Anton. There are parallels put in place between the two settings and the father is forced to face his beliefs around violence and human dignity in both worlds, where his actions don’t always align. I enjoyed growing with Anton during the film.
The Boxer, 1997 (Ireland)
This one stars another favorite actor of mine, Daniel Day Lewis. For some reason, I like almost every movie I watch surrounding the conflicts in Ireland and the IRA. I just saw Shadow Dancer, which came out recently, and loved that one as well. Of all of them as there are several out there, The Boxer is still my favorite. I like how it concerns a very serious problem, but has love, humor, and action all rolled into one at the same time.
Paradise Now, 2005 (Palestine)
In general, I find that most Americans are way naive, and lack education with regards to the Israel and Palestine history and relationship. It angers me too because much of what is happening today has been funded and supported by the U.S. I’m not in support of suicide bombers, but people need to understand that it isn’t just about what you hear on the news. I’m not suggesting that this film is holistically accurate, but it does an amazing job at providing you with a different perspective of that region.
City of God, 2002 (Brazil)
This is about two boys who grow up in a violent neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, where one uses his passion for photography to fuel his honesty, and desires to escape his lawless slumland. This is somewhat a handshake with good vs. evil, as well as a deep exploration on the trial one must go through to resist getting taken over by the exact ideology that you loathe.
Hotel Rwanda, 2004 (US/France)
I somewhat cheated by including this one, but I couldn’t resist. This is another area where Americans lack education and I find this to be well done as far as the historical references. Based on a true story, this is about a hotel manager who decides to house Tutsi refugees during the conflict with the Hutu militia in Rwanda. Fantastic. Don Cheadle is phenomenal in his portrayal as the hotel manager.
The Last King of Scotland, 2006 (US/United Kingdom)
Uganda-how much do you know about that country? Forest Whitaker, who plays the inhumane dictator Idi Amin won an academy award for his performance, and honestly, he is the reason it’s on this list. James McAvoy also does an amazing acting job, and while I don’t particularly feel the overall screenplay is the best out there, watching these two on the screen makes you want to learn how to act.
So, looking at my list, I have several dealing with human rights abuses and depressing environments-awesome! I’m known to like the intense movies that take you out of your comfort zone. In any case, I hope you check out those that you haven’t already seen.
When you can’t get out there, go somewhere via a book or movie; it can be just as good!
What films would be on your list?
Thanks for stopping by!