Most of my friends know that I have an affinity for foreign film. Of course, when it's bad, it's pitiful. But when it's good, it's phenomenal. I recently saw Neils Arden Oplev's film adaptation of Larsson's Millenium Trilogy. The films are entitled The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (GDT), The Girl Who Played with Fire (GPF), and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest (GKHN). I watched all three films over the span of twenty-four hours. They were enthralling. The first installment, GDT, might quite possibly be the most disturbing film I've ever seen. I could barely sleep so I figured I should just watch the second part, GPF, since there is little else to do at 3 AM. After that was finished, I began to panic since GKHN has not yet been released on Netflix instant streaming. By the providence of God, a local indie theatre was playing GKHN for that weekend only! It was the first time I have ever gone to the theatre alone, but enduring such a social faux pas was entirely worth it. While GKHN was a bit of a letdown considering the fact that relationship between leads Rapace and Nyqvist all but vanished, Rapace's acting still left me mesmerized. Her performance was one of the best I have ever seen. She embodied her character so well, it was borderline disturbing. I am constantly amazed at how much foreign film delivers compared to the average American cinematic experience (Sophie Scholl, The Sea Inside, Tell No One, Summer Hours, Paradise Now, Children of Heaven, The Class, Once, The Counterfeiters, Cache, Maria Full of Grace, Water, La Vie en rose, to name a few).
Thankfully, 2011 offers a host of foreign films that seem promising. I am only going to list three because it is so much work to put up these nice little photos! These are my top three choices:
1. Des Hommes Et Des Dieux (Of Gods and Men) - Thanks to my friend, John C. for pointing me toward this gem. This 2010 French drama won the Grand Pix from the Cannes Film Festival. One can only pray that it will be released in cities beyond LA and NYC after Feburary. The cinematography in the trailer is breathtaking and I am excited to view a film that reveals a neglected issue that will become much more pressing for future inter-religious dialogue. I also wonder if the film will deal with issues of force and violence. While some arguments for pacifism are compelling, they are often left wanting especially in light of realities such as this.
2. Leaving - Okay, I should offer a few disclaimers. I am fully aware that this film offers nothing but a well-worn cliche that is morally bankrupt. However, Kristin Scott Thomas is one of the best actresses of our time (yes, I'm thinking English Patient). I make it a point to see every film she makes, especially her French films. I will most likely be angry and frustrated after viewing her in a role that condones the embodiment of selfishness (nothing short of a classic Kate Winslet role). But something about Ms. Thomas still makes you want to go along for the ride.
3. Biutiful - Starring Javier Bardem, this Spanish film directed by