Monday, April 11, 2011

On the Viewing of Foreign Films

I realize that this column will do nothing to slow down the Hammer train view of me as an effete, elitist, Country Club Republican, but I must admit to a new guilty pleasure--foreign language films.  It seems the combination of Netflix and Apple TV conspires to serve up for me a menu of the best movies produced from around the world.  No longer do I simply have the option to 1) rent bad Hollywood movies and a few good ones 2) on-demand bad Hollywood movies and a few good ones or 3) sign up for cable channels that run bad Hollywood movies and a few good ones now and then.  Because of the wonders of the interwebs, I am able to select from the moviemaking of the entire world, and it is wonderful.

Why do I like foreign films so much?  Mostly, it is a cheap way to travel.  Through these movies, I see places I've been and loved or to which I wish someday to go.  I get to see how people live, what they wear, what they drive, what they feed their families, what their furniture looks like, what their offices look like.  I finished watching "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" the other day (a fine series of three films made in Sweden) and I was able to watch a dramatization of a Swedish criminal trial--a very different process than a US trial, made even more different by the interesting arrangement of the courtroom (defense and prosecution faced each other on the long sides of a rectangle, with the judge(s) on one end and a witness chair on the other).  I watched "Talk to Her" yesterday, and was treated to a wonderfully made story of friendship--though it was downright screwy at times and the subject matter somewhat disturbing.

The bottom line is that at least for the time being, these web content services are delivering the goods--the best movies from all over the world--while still serving up a steady diet of Hollywood crap.  I'll take the good stuff.

1 comment:

"The Hammer" said...

I only read the first sentence of your comment but I have to call bullshit. I see you as a competent naval officer, an outstanding military theorist, a bit of a bureaucrat, and a blatant social climbing UVA prick, all in keeping with your training. As far as foreign films go, I like them as well.
There was a cinema (pronounced chenema, like cheese) just in front of the main gate in Vicenza, and it was cheap as dirt, like 500 lira. I used to go there quite often. Mostly domestic films but some American. You've never lived until you've seen Peter Bogdonovich's "The Last Picture Show" dubbed in Italian.
Also, while in college at good old Wassamatta U. they used to show free movies at the student center and a Maryland girl actually, dragged me to see the original La Cage Aux Folles. It was very funny, although strangely uncomfortable. To this day I love French comedies like "The Dinner Game". Now you start getting into these Marcello Mastroianni, vaseline coated lens bullshit and you lose me.
Oh yeah, I really like some of the commercial German films like Downfall and Baader-Meinhof that have come out recently. I will check out those films you mentioned though.

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