FOUR MORE "WORLD MOVIES"
Here are a few more films we liked or loved recently. You can find more
about each of these films by searching at www.imdb.com . "West Beirut"
appears there, though, under the title "West Beyrouth". (I'm not even sure what
language that is).
Italian, takes place on a little island off Sicily. A glimpse
at this "carefree" Mediterranean culture, where Grazia, the lovely
female protagonist, is "a bit much" for the people of the small town.
And also has some real "bi-polar" issues. The whole matter of being
"different" in a provincial society is explored from the point of view
of several affected characters. Like several movies we've seen recently,
this one ends in a way that is, well, extremely ambiguous.
A wonderful film that came out in 1998, about the
difficulties, cum impossibility, of maintaining a semblance of "normal"
family life as the Lebanese civil war begins from out of nowhere in the
previously prosperous and joie-de-vivre-filled city of Beirut. The
simulations of civil was are breathtakingly real. One of the lead
actors, according to a review, had never acted before and may be still
living in a refugee camp outside Beirut.
"The Wind Will Carry Us"
An Iranian film, a glimpse into the life of an
ancient Iranian village. Reminiscent to me of villages I've visited in
the Hamirpur district of India. The village is gloriously beautiful,
with angles, doorways, arches, and such things that I just wanted to
look at forever.
The village life is the meat of the film, though
there's a "story" of sorts about a photographer from Tehran who is on
assignment in the village, waiting for a very old, ill woman to die so
that he can photograph an ancient Muslim death ritual. Barbara and I
both felt the "story" to be a little thin, though some of the reviews we
read found it an example of masterful understatement, a "fairy tale",
and so on.
They also spoke of the director's wry humor, which we also
found, as when a boy shepherd and a herd of goats invade the screen
after the main character has exited, and the last two goats are mating.
There ARE a lot of natural, humorous touches having to do with the
teeming village life.
This movie about a Chinese boy who is a violin protégé' from
a small village, and his father, moving to Bejing to try to win musical
fame and fortune for the boy, is touching in many ways. Reviews spoke of
it as a Chinese film with almost Hollywood-style sensibilities, and I
think I did see some of that. And yet, we found many aspects of the
movie quite moving.
Another fascinating feature of the film is how "modern" and
Western-influenced some of the Bejing characters, like one music teacher
and a young woman who befriends the violinist, are.
Lately , we've found the endings of MANY films to be odd, to lack
closure. Wonder if that's just something about us--what, if anything,
this phenomenon means?
The ultimate I've seen in abrupt endings was "Blazing Saddles", where
they just ran out of film, and you see those black frames with the
strange, colorless numbers and then it just ends. Ha.
These, recently, are so ambiguous as to sometimes give us pause what
really "happened" in the story--whether the resolution goes into a dream
sequence, makes the story into a myth, or is meant to resolve the
situation on some "realistic" level. Ideally, I think, a movie should
resolve ALL levels, even if it's operating in some symbolic realm,
because when it's over it's supposed to be really *over*. Ah, but that
may be old-fashioned thinking.