December 1st and I am thinking Christmas is 4 months away not 3 weeks. I am decorating but taking it easy. If you read my previous post, you will know I got great news and I don't have cancer. I figured I didn't, but was glad to hear it none the less. Now, Wandering Through The Shelves has Best Foreign Film for the theme this week and I am wondering how many have seen some foreign films. Well...off we go.
1. 8 1/2-1963 (ITALY)
This is a true classic and worthy of its fame as a great film even if it is not one of my favourites. I get the reasons for its fame from the great acting to the cinematography but the Avant-Garde film needs several viewing from me to understand it. Frederico Fellini created this work based on his own life and he ended up loving this film he created. I love Marcello Mastroianni and he is great here as a director having "director's block". He is making a film but can't seem to get it together and between the film people coming after him plus his wife and mistress, he can't seem to get it together. In between this, he sees his perfect female star in his head but then brought to life when he actually sees her. Anyway, I should see this film again and see if I like it better than the first time.
2. CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN TIGER-2000(TAIWAN)
Taiwan got the Oscar but it was an International co-production between Taiwan, China, The U.S. and Hong Kong. It was filmed all over China and the locales are stunning, even the desert locale. This film takes on a mystical role but it is also a love story between the 2 young loves who are passionate and the older couple who share a deep love but they prevent themselves from taking the passionate route for reasons you find out in the film. The stunt work was done by the actors and there was no CGI except to get rid of the wires holding the actors up (for example, when they fight in the trees). A warrior wishes to retire and he asks the woman he loves, also a warrior to bring his sword to their benefactor. When back at the benefatcor's place, she meets the young Jen who is unhappy in her life. The sword is stolen and off goes the female warrior to reclaim it. There is a lot more to this poetic film directed by Ang Lee. I am not giving the film justice from my written words so please have a look at the film and see if you are not transfixed.
3. THE LIVES OF OTHERS-2006 (GERMANY)
I came across this film one evening and was transfixed by how intelligently written and directed it was. It takes place in the 1980s, when there was still an East Germany run by the Communist regime. At that time, everyone was watching everyone else and fear of being sent to the Gulag was very real. The "hero" of the film is a famous writer who holds opposing views to the Communist regime. The Staazi (secret police) can't take him away as it would cause an international incident. They decide to bug his place and see if they can't get something concrete on him. The hero is having a relationship with a well known actress and the secret police listen to everything. The head of this police starts listening more and more and develops a close bond with this couple even though they have never met. It gets to the point where this police man wants to help them and not have them disappear. I hope you get to see this well acted film that truly brings out what it was like in East Germany when the Communists were in power. Just so you know, my great Aunt still lived in Wittenberg (a mile south of Berlin) and she had to request the government for a fridge. She had to prove that a 70+ year old lady with bad legs needed a fridge. It took 7 years of bureaucratic crap for her to finally be approved to have one.
So...know any foreign films? Let me know.