Day 27 – Your favourite non English-language movie
I have been thinking about this a lot and again it’s difficult to pick just one movie. So, I have decided to pick 5 movies in 5 different languages instead. It’s not really cheating if you pick movies from 5 different countries, is it? Besides, good international cinema can always use a boost, so that’s what I’ll do here!
Germany makes some awesome movies, think Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others) which won a Best Foreign Film Oscar, or Goodbye Lenin or Lola rennt or Der Untergang or even the 1927 silent movie Metropolis, which really is a fascinating watch. It’s awesome that I speak German fluently, I am never dependent on subtitles. 🙂 I think my absolute favourite German movie has got to be Jenseits der Stille.
It’s about a girl who has deaf parents and is their interpreter in the hearing world. She discovers a love for music, specifically the clarinet, and wants a career in music, something that especially her deaf father can not fathom. There are many heartwarming scenes, I love how Lara interprets and interacts with her parents. For instance, there is a scene when her parents are asked to come speak to the teacher about Lara (who has some issues in class) and her interpreting between her parents and her teacher is, well, not quite literal. 🙂 Or when Lara tries to explain to her dad what the snow sounds like. Or when 18 year old Lara’s almost-boyfriend signs “I will survive” for her. Here is the clip, watch it and honestly tell me this does not make you smile. Come on, I dare you!
Beautiful beautiful movie!
The French famously make great movies as well. The ones that spring to mind are Intouchables or Amelie or the silent movie The Artist made in 2011 which I adored! But my favourite one is a very heart breaking movie from 2008 called Il y a longtemps que je t’aime
It’s about a woman who is released from prison after 15 years and comes to live with her younger sister. Due to her unspeakable crime, the sisters were cut off from each other and are trying to rebuild a relationship and a life. Heart wrenching stuff as the layers of Juliette’s history are slowly peeled away to reveal the heart of why she did what she did. The movie ends on an emotional but ultimately positive note and Kristin Scott Thomas (fluent in French with a little English accent) has never ever been better! It will make you cry but it’s worth the watch. Seriously.
I don’t think I know that many Italian movies (I recall some “Spaghetti Westerns”and Bud Spencer/Terence Hill movies) and there are even less Italian movies that I remember really liking (and yes I do know I should still really watch Cinema Paradiso). However, La Strada from 1954 with Anthony Quinn and Giulietta Masina springs to mind and Stromboli, the first movie Ingrid Bergman made with Roberto Rosselini, which I remember as somewhat weird but good. The Italian movie I would like to highlight here, however, is La Vita E Bella.
From IMDB: “When an open-minded Jewish librarian and his son become victims of the Holocaust, he uses a perfect mixture of will, humor and imagination to protect his son from the dangers around their camp.” Yes, a lovely movie that is funny and tragic at the same time, and that’s a difficult combo to achieve! Robert Benigni famously went wild when he won an Oscar for this movie… and thanked his parents for the ‘gift of poverty.’ 🙂
I know even less Chinese movies but there is one I saw in the cinema in the 1990s and then went to watch it again and later again… The movie is called Raise the Red Lantern, a tragic movie with Chinese actress Gong Li about a young woman who becomes the 4th wife of a Chinese man and must adjust to life with 3 other wives (you never see the husband properly, it’s all about the 4 women).
Absolutely fascinating and gutting movie, with an unhappy ending but so very very good!
And I am including a movie from my own country. The Dutch can make some nice children’s movies but generally I am not a huge fan of Dutch cinema. There are a few good Dutch movies, however, and I think my favourite one is De Aanslag (The Assault), which also won a Best Foreign Film Oscar. It is also a very good book by Dutch author Harry Mulisch.
From IMDB: “One fateful night in 1945, the Dutch Steenwijk family sit down to dinner when shots are heard next door. Moments later, Nazi soldiers invade their home and hold young Anton’s father, mother, and older brother responsible for the murder of a Nazi collaborator found dead outside their door. Anton’s family is shot before his eyes, and he is sent away to family in Amsterdam. As an adult, Anton desperately seeks answers to the night that changed his life.” That fateful night has such an impact on Anton’s whole subsequent life, influencing his life’s decisions. It takes almost 40 years of searching and finding small pieces of the puzzle before he can finally fully understand and make peace with what happened that night. Book and movie really are excellent!