Monday, September 04, 2006

International film fest weekend

I happened to think after watching a movie that I rented from Netflix that I had a very international movie weekend. Saturday night my friend and I went and saw a subtitled French film called "La Moustache". It was a 'spur of the moment' decision because there wasn't much else to choose from. We're going through another movie drought at the moment. I find it disturbing that films like "beerfest" and "Snakes on a plane" and "Accepted" are topping the box office charts. I thought movies had taken a turn and things were getting better.
Anyway... La Moustache was... lets say "French" :) It was confusing as anything, had strange cut scenes and both my friend and I came away laughing that it must be becaues we are American that we didn't get it. But then as we were talking about it, it hit me and I "think" I figured it out. Once I did I think I can actually say that I enjoyed the movie, in spite of being confused for all of it. My friend joked that at the end of the movie he was going to make an announcement to the 11 people in the theatre to see if any of them understood it, since we will probably be the only 11 people in America who has seen this movie. :)

Then last night, I watched a movie called "Tsotsi". It was a movie filmed in South Africa, again with subtitles. It started off rather brutally, and I had a real difficult time feeling "sorry" for the main character. It was one of those "bad guy isn't really that bad, just put in a difficult situation" type movies, but this guy was pretty bad. I could not cut him any slack for what he did, and resented the movie for trying to make me feel sorry for him. But after I watched the movie and thought about it a second, again, I realized I did like the movie overall. It was well acted, a good story (though a bit too long), and had a good ending.
What I also enjoyed about both of these movies was seeing how different cultures live. I tend to get sidetracked in these foreign films looking at details like this. For example how the main character in La Moustache brushed his teeth, then rinsed his brush using his thumb. (maybe that's not a french thing?) Another example was the "sugar bowl" on the counter of the small coffee house. It was this cool looking metal sphere (kinda like pac man) that had sugar cubes. How come Sugar cubes never took off here in America?
The lifestyle in South Africa was just as interesting, though more depressing... To see these "shacks" that these millions of people live in. The levels of violence, the people standing in long lines just to get a bucket of dirty water. Yet there are people who can make the best of things by going to a local bar, or putting colored glass in their door windows to bring some color into a gloomy world. That was inspiring. (and I'm sure intentional by the director of the movie).
After watching these movies back to back this weekend I wonder how many films I've seen from differnt countries. I can think of these off the top of my head... America (of course), French, Spain, Africa, Japan, China, Brazil, Mongolia, England. I'm going to have to keep track more and make an effort to see more foreign films. (By the way, of all these the two from Spain that I saw were the most memorable... The Motorcycle Diaries, and Mondays in the Sun.)

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