Foreign Films — a small review

I have a new weekend hobby–watching foreign films on TV through Netflix streaming video via ROKU. Foreign movies give a bit of insight into other countries’ people, customs and sociological convention. Also, climate, dress, and even food. I hear a foreign tongue, see them eat tongue, and watch them tongue each other while having sex. (Foreign movies having much more naked and writhing bodies than your typical Hollywood films.) I like the subtitles, since my partial deafness usually gives me difficulty during low-speaking or breathy dialogues.

Here are a few films I’ve seen lately.

“Jar City” an Icelandic film–a pretty good murder mystery. The main character is an older detective with a complicated personal life and a nice, young associate detective. Did you know you can get sheep’s head through the fast food drive-up window in Iceland? And, of course it’s very cold and bleak. Not the sheep’s head, the landscape. The sheep’s head, complete with eyeball, is greasy and gross. They also have close up autopsies and dig up a 20 year-old grave.

“Harem” a Turkish-Italian movie. Won some award at Cannes. Lots of beautiful women, of whom you see lots of. It tells the story of the women in the last harem of the last Sultan of the Ottoman Empire around 1900. An interesting story which encouraged me look up more information on the history of the times. Gorgeous sets and costumes, when they were wearing any.

“A Somewhat Gentle Man” a Norwegian film staring one of my favorite actors, Stellan Skarsgard. Mostly you think of Ulrik as “that poor bastard.” He’s just been released from prison and is stumbling his way into several unsatisfactory relationships and quickie sex acts. He’s also eats many meals, all of which contain some kind of fish. But, the characters are quirky and fun and it does end fairly well.

“Biutiful” a Spanish film which is not pretty or even attractive. It’s ugly, sweating, dirty, sad, depressing…need I go on? Sometimes these kind of films are called arty. I call this one awful and waaaay too long. Interesting mix of multiculturalism, though.

Last one, “Vidocq” a French film, starring Gérard Depardieu. It’s a mix between a supernatural thriller and detective movie. Intriguing and interesting with great characters and interesting sets. Looks like France in the 1830‘s had plenty of decadence and opium smoking.

You can find these films and more at Netflix or IMDB.

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