30 Day Movie Challenge – Day 27

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

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!

France

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.

Italy

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.’ 🙂

China

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!

The Netherlands

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!

(30 Day Movie Challenge – the full list of questions)

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22 thoughts on “30 Day Movie Challenge – Day 27

  1. Lots of great ones here! I loved “Raise the Red Lantern.” Did not know about “Jenseits der Stille” but you’re right, the trailer is very good. My favorite bit was where she and another girl play jazz clarinet in the club 🙂

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    • I couldn’t find a trailer with English subtitles for “Jenseits der Stille” but, yes, it’s beautiful. The woman she plays the clarinet with is her aunt (her dad’s sister) and a big reason for why her dad resents his daughter taking up the same career path. It’s a movie about music and about growing up, disentangling yourself from your parents’ hopes and dreams and becoming your own person without denying your past/background.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You really do not disappoint. There are always gems in your movie posts. Jenseits der Stille – I had forgotten about that movie, even though it impressed me so much. I must rewatch that, preferably with my music-loving children.
    Otherwise, I am afraid I am a real ignoramus when it comes to foreign language films. I just hate subtitles, and hence avoid such movies. I know I am missing out, and your list today has shown me just that. Must kick myself up the bum.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Guylty!
      Well, you’re lucky, you can also watch great German films without subtitles. 🙂 Do your kids speak German?
      This post might raise the impression that I watch foreign language movies all the time, but really, I don’t. I too prefer directly understanding the language a movie is made in. I’m lucky I speak 3 languages fluently. Just sometimes I wish the third language was French instead of Dutch as in my opinion French movies (and French acting) is better than Dutch movies (and Dutch acting). Having said that, I don’t mind subtitles so much. Everything here in NL is subtitled, you get used to it. Of course, it gets annoying when you know the language well (like for me English and German) and you feel that some subtitles don’t correctly reflect what is said on screen. Makes you wonder what else you’re missing from other languages…

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      • Well, there aren’t enough GOOD German films, really… So I am stuck with English and/or subtitles. I find them hugely distracting (visual person speaking here LOL), even when they are in English on a German film, I find myself reading rather than listening. Ugh.
        Yup, my kids are bilingual (hehe, which means they have interference in both mother tongue German and majority language English LOL), but prefer English language films. Lazy bums.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. To your German list, I’d add “Gegen die Wand,” which I thought was an awesome film.

    Also (Japan), “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” and “Shall we Dance?” and (Argentina) “The Tango Lesson” … actually I really like foreign films — they tend to have plots.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Actually I have heard of “Gegen die Wand” but have not seen it yet! Thanks for the reminder!
      LOL on foreign films having plots! Maybe that’s only the ones that make it into international distribution because I can’t really always say the same for Dutch movies… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Stimmt, ‘Jenseits der Stille’ war ein wunderbarer Film. Mir wäre sonst im deutschen Bereich noch ‘das Leben der Anderen’ spontan eingefallen oder “good bye Lenin”…
    Es gibt noch viele andere, die es aber leider nie in den internationalen Verleih schaffen 😦 und bei uns auch nur im Kino/Fernsehen laufen. Ich fand auch “Vincent will Meer”, “da geht noch was” oder “Hin und weg” von Florian David Fitz gut. “Viktoria” soll sehr gut sein, habe ich aber noch nicht gesehen :-)…..

    Liked by 1 person

  5. […] And I think of some favourite French movies like The Artist, Intouchables, or Il y a longtemps que je t’aime. […]

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