Friday, December 10, 2010

Foreign Films

I like long walks on the beach, dancing in the rain, foreign films...wait, no I just like foreign films.

In all honestly, how many people really like foreign films in those classified ads anyway? I do. Well, not that I've placed an ad in the classifieds (do they even still have those, what with CraigsList now?) but I do enjoy foreign movies.

Growing up, I was always that strange child who enjoyed things a typical child wouldn't have. I loved listening to classical music and opera, watching ballet and musicals, and reading Shakespeare before it was ever assigned in school. I remember always being told I was weird because of those "likes" by my friends and family. I didn't care, they were and still are some of the things I get the most enjoyment out of.

I was first introduced to foreign movies in high school. It was the last day of class before summer started and to kill time my teacher ended up putting on a movie titled La Vita e Bella or Life is Beautiful. Class ended before we could finish the movie but I was hooked.

A few weeks later I was hanging with a friend and we decided to walk into town and rent a movie, I saw that one on the shelf and said something about how good it had started out in class so we rented it. If you've seen the movie then you won't be surprised that both of us ended up sitting on the living room floor, glued to the T.V. with a box of tissues between us. The power of the story the movie told resonated with me and it is still one of my favorite movies to date.

I still get weird looks when something is brought up about foreign movies and I tell people I like them. Not that ALL foreign movies are good, I think it's mostly the culture difference in the stories that are told in the movies. Where American cinema can crank out the same movie multiple times and all they change are the setting and the characters, but the plot stays basically the same, i.e.; boy meets girl, they dance around liking each other, finally girl and boy fall in love and all is perfect, happy ending, etc. etc., it can get boring.

And so every now and then I'll put on a movie from France or Italy or wherever that I've heard was really good, or read the reviews on and I'm always reminded of how much I enjoy them. When I tell people that, I always get the comment about "I can't stand subtitles" which I understand, sometimes it can be frustrating where I wish I just spoke French/Spanish/Italian/German and so on and so forth, so I could just watch without the distraction of reading at the same time. While most movies now come dubbed in English if you prefer, I would rather have the subtitles because I find the words not matching up with the lips far more distracting than just speed reading.

For the most part though, I just stay quiet about those things I enjoy, the classical music, ballet, opera, foreign films and all that because either people perceive me as trying to appear above them, or they question my enjoyment of them.

But now with Netflix I have more and more access to foreign movies I normally wouldn't have come in contact with. Before, movie stores either had a very limited foreign section or didn't have one at all. Just one more reason for me to love Netflix.

So, before I go, here is a list of foreign films I've enjoyed a lot that anyone else interested in checking out might be interested in as well. These are the English titles since it would probably be easier to find them that way.

1. Life is Beautiful

2. Amelie

3. Pan's Labyrinth

4. Love Me if You Dare

5. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

6. La Vie En Rose

Let the Right One In (Soon to be an American remake Let Me In)

8. Spirited Away (If you're in the mood for something animated, but the again you can never go wrong with anything by Miyazaki)

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