Movies

My Favorite Foreign Films

Times must really be desperate if I’m devoting an entire post to the foreign film genre. Did I even use the word ‘genre’ right? I feel like it’s interchangeable with the word ‘category’ but I could be wrong. Also, am I using those single quote marks correctly? I don’t even know who I am anymore.

Sooo yeah foreign films. This is a dry subject that I’m going to try to make fun and colorful! Most people roll their eyes at foreign films because they’re a lot of work:

A) They’re hard to find. You can’t just run to Target an pick up a copy of Gomorra. It’s just not gonna happen. They do have every season of Friends available though.

B) They require a lot of attention. You can’t play Candy Crush and read subtitles at the same time (much to my chagrin).

C) It’s hard to know which movie to choose when you’re unfamiliar with another country’s actors and actresses. It’s also difficult because you most likely haven’t heard much about any titles or watched any trailers for these movies. So how do you know where to start?

The words ‘foreign film’ mean different things to different people. To some, it simply means any movie with subtitles. To others it means films made by foreign directors. And a lot of people equate the term with anything that isn’t American made.

I personally feel like it’s a combination of all three. It definitely depends on the film, but not all movies with subtitles constitute a foreign film in my book. For example, I don’t think of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds as a foreign film even though most of the movie is subtitled. However, I feel like some movies that are spoken in English are foreign to me simply because they take place in a different country, like Slumdog Millionaire for example.

If you have no idea where to start, here are some of my favorite foreign films:

Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006) This magical tale takes place in fascist Spain in the 40’s. The main character is a young girl who moves with her mother into a new, grand house with storybook surprises around every corner. It’s a beautiful movie and a captivating story.pans-labyrinth-movie-screencaps.com-

The Magdalene Sisters (Peter Mullan, 2002) Taking place in the harsh Catholic society of Ireland, this movie shows the devastating struggles that women had to endure in asylum laundry houses. It’s unbelievable. A great story that you’ll never forget. (No subtitles)magdalene_sisters_verdvd

Raise the Red Lantern (Yimou Zhang, 1991) The fascinating story of the four wives to a powerful lord in 1920’s China. At just nineteen years old, Songlian is sent to become the master’s fourth wife and learns the ins and outs of her new home. Raise_the_Red_Lantern_DVD

Amélie (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001) Amélie is just trying to make sense of the world around her. She wants adventure and something worth living for. Her escapades in Paris are sweet and fun to watch. She’s an enjoyable character that you can’t help rooting for.amelie_ver1

Bicycle Thieves aka The Bicycle Thief (Vittorio De Sica, 1948) The touching story of a man and his son looking for their stolen bicycles. The twosome run all over Rome in search for their bikes. It’s frustrating and sad but overall a good watch.bicycle_thieves_criterion_dvd_image

Let the Right One In (Tomas Alfredson, 2008) A true vampire classic, this story is about a lone female vampire living in the frozen tundra of Sweden. She befriends a young boy living in her neighborhood and protects him when he needs her help. A great and creepy story of what life must really be like for those sad vampire children.MV5BMjE1OTY2MTM5MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzQ5Mjc5MQ@@._V1._SX640_SY949_

M (Fritz Lang, 1931) This early black and white tale takes place in a German town where a child murderer is on the loose. Unable to catch him, locals keep their eye out for the criminal. It’s a great early cinematic production worth watching.M

Do you like foreign films? What are some of your favorites?

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Movies

Analyzing Snow White and The Huntsman

Last night I saw Snow White and The Huntsman (or SWATH). It had the right amount of fairytale feeling, enough action to keep you going, and at least one of the Hemsworth brothers.

I would definitely recommend this movie. It had a Pan’s Labyrinth kind of feel to it which I really liked. The acting was well done. Kristen Stewart was likable which is a large feat for her. I was a bit distracted by her mouth because she’s what I like to call, long in the tooth. But besides that, she was really good. The storyline is a clever and realistic take on the well-known fairy tale. Throughout the movie I was semi distracted during certain scenes. Here are some of my observations.

At the beginning of the movie it’s obvious that Snow White’s mother, Queen Eleanor, loves her. Snow White is a happy child and is a kind person with a good heart. In fact, her mother tells her how beautiful her heart is and touches her daughter’s chest. I would’ve been like, “Umm mom? Can you not touch my prepubescent boobs? I know where my heart is. Thanks.”

Charlize Theron plays Ravenna, the evil queen that takes over Snow White’s father’s kingdom. I’m guessing she’s named after the ravens that she randomly morphs into during the film. Don’t even try to tell me that no birds were harmed in the making of this movie because there was some cray cray bird shite going on. I’m sorry but I was seriously waiting for Charlize to start strutting around the room and then look into the camera and say “J’adore Dior” and then go back to being Ravenna. I, for one, would’ve appreciated it.

One thing that you learn in the movie is that England during the 14th century is basically a world of mud. Like, mud is everywhere. Everyone is covered in it. All of the character’s fingernails are dirty, even the Queen had grungy nails. So let me get this straight. You can turn yourself into a flock of birds but you can’t clean your nails? Priorities, Ravenna. J’adore Dior!

The Seven Dwarves made me nauseous more than anything. All of their teeth were rotten and each and every one of them looked smelly. None of them had loveable characteristics like the ones from the Disney classic. Except one dwarf was blind. That’s kind of cute, right? I kept thinking that one of them really looked like Nick Frost. Turns out it was Nick Frost. Couldn’t they get actual dwarves?  If they could do it with hundreds fourteen Oompa Loompas in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, surely the makers of SWATH could find at least 7 real dwarves. Note: Do dwarves really exist or should I be referring to them as little people?

There were also a lot of conveniences in the movie. After Snow White escaped from the castle, there was a white horse just chillin on the beach. Hmm that’s handy. The team that’s tracking Snow White picks up her tracks pretty easily by smelling the ground and the trees, etc. Like, don’t pretend for a minute that humans have an innate sense of smell. There’s no way you could smell anyone by sniffing some dirt. Also, when Snow White’s in battle, she and her army are pelted by arrows and she’s unharmed the entire time. There’s literally a shower of arrows and not one hits you? How is she all of a sudden the best knight around?

Did pony tails even exist back then?

And lastly, Ravenna’s relationship with her brother is a weird one at best. Her albino brother, Finn, is basically her slave. He does whatever he’s told and helps her rule the kingdom ruthlessly. I find this slightly unbelievable since my brother will barely even fetch me a can of soda. Their relationship is taken to a new level of creepy when Finn watches her take a random milk/paint/wax bath.

J’adore……

Hopefully this doesn’t stray you from seeing the movie. It’s actually very entertaining and beautifully done. I’m just unable to fully appreciate something until I make fun of it.

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