I would like to confess that I am a big movie fan, specially b/w Bollywood classics. I watch a lot of movies and not just Hollywood or Bollywood but from a vast variety of foreign films, more like world cinema. Sometimes, I even take the risk of watching movies which are 5 or 6 on the IMDB ratings. My friends tell me that I have too much time on my hands. Actually, I believe that movies can sometimes tell a lot about the time in which it is made, the place, the people, the culture and most importantly the mindset of people. And that intrigues me the most. So, I thought maybe I put up some foreign films of my choice from recent times. I make it a point to watch foreign movies in original version with English subtitles. I believe that the true emotions and feeling of the actor is lost after dubbing a movie. Something like lost in translation. The ones which I can recommend undoubtedly to anyone are:
The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen - German)
Many people might have seen and appreciated the movie, Schindler’s List. It narrates the horrors of the Nazi rule and the rescue of many Jews by Oscar Schindler. But what many people might not know about the German history after the Second World War is the creation of a secret police and intelligence agency (state sponsored) commonly called Stasi in the communist East Germany. It was notorious for finding and arresting people who tried to go against the State or even tried to belittle it. The movie is set in those times. A police investigator (superbly played by Ulrich Muhe) is asked to monitor few people, mostly artists and writers who are suspected of plotting and speaking against the State and its apparent abuse of power. The highlight of the movie is this investigator. He looks pretty unemotional and expressionless from the outside throughout the movie but there is a lot going on in his head. Disclosing anything more about the movie might not be a good idea. There should be a surprise factor for the audience which should leave the audience contemplating at the end about the events which unfolded in complete story. The movie left me thinking about the contrasts that exist in humans and there is a constant fight between the right and the wrong.
The Secret in their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos - Argentina)
Amongst all languages I have experienced so far listening, I find Spanish one of the most expressive and Italian comes close second. By expressive, I mean that just with the pronunciation and the tone of words, a person who doesnt know the language can pretty much make out the mood of the conversation. Unlike french, where I feel that it is so polite and mushy that a listener can mistake a guy cursing her girlfriend like he is actually proposing to her. Therefore, I enjoy watching Spanish language movies and I might be even biased for them. More-so because of the bold themes sometimes which they portray where the actors and directors are not afraid trying something new. Coming back to the movie which is also in Spanish language is a suspense thriller in a broad perspective. But ideally, it has a dash of many human emotions like obsession, friendship, unfulfilled love, revenge etc. I find it pretty challenging to write a review of a suspense film without giving out too much but still I would try. I want the reader to actually enjoy the movie and get absorbed in it rather than remembering the things and matching it with the scenes while watching it. So, the movie is about a retired prosecutor, Benjamin who is trying to write a novel about an unsolved case he took in the past which almost blew up his career and life since he developed an obsession around it. It was a case of the rape and murder of a girl. The movie keeps jumping to flashback now and then to give the details of the case he was trying to solve. It beautifully portrays his undisclosed love for Irene to whom he is never able to present his love in words. The audience can clearly see their attraction for each other in their eyes but not communicated otherwise. It also show the unconditional friendship he has with Pablo, who is an alcoholic but a true partner. Ricardo who was the husband of the dead girl is desperate to find the culprit and makes Benjamin promise him that he will catch the murderer. Under some tragic circumstances, Benjamin has to give up on the case and town. But, while writing his novel, he has an urge to meet the widower of the murdered girl who now lives in some village. The movie already goes through a lot of twists and turns but the quite easily predicted end turns into something else. One should see it to feel it. Truly speaking, it left me in shock and for some reasons my heart turned cold and hard and my brain got numbed. Such was the power of the climax. I would give full marks to all the actors who did complete justice to all the characters and would highly recommend this movie. It is definitely a roller coaster ride. I would also confess that I secretly developed a crush on Soledad Villamil who played Irene in the movie :)
I have a couple of more recommendations. Maybe, I will write about them in the next post!