International movies: Taste of the month October 2017

In the age of streaming, Netflix, Hulu or Amazon, our movie options are endless. But endless options means endless choices, and we often settle for the obvious.

At your service, SuperHeroin Marine (aka Sheikha Mama) spots the best international movies to help you widen your horizons! Enjoy the sample, stay connected, and send your favorites.

For our first month, travel to Scandinavia, where art is raw and honest and where the woman condition is surprisingly prevalent... Enjoy!


 The 2017 Cannes Palme d'Or is the very least this piece of art deserves.

The 2017 Cannes Palme d'Or is the very least this piece of art deserves.

A few years ago, I was watching The Laureate with a friend. After an odd scene, he said: « this is where you recognize a masterpiece. When a seemingly dull moment still works in the piece ». Well indeed, life is full of unrelated moments which eventually surrender as a whole to our own interpretation. And remembering my friend’s wise words, I can surely say that The Square is a masterpiece.

I read everything bad about this movie: I read it was an easy take down on the art world, I read it was pretentious, I read it was consensual, I read it was a condenscending … But I didn’t read what I saw: a smart, freeing, interesting movie, an invitation to introspect on as many topics as inequalities, power relationships, the true role of art, and more and more and more….

You’ll see in The Square whatever you’re looking for. If you search arrogance, sure you’ll find it. But if you leave your comfort zone and accept to be the same observer as many of the movie, you’ll embark on a trip towards incredibly strong questions.

Really, when do we start feeling numb and when do we stop? Where will cynism end ? What does it take to be a hero or a treator? To be kind to your employee, treat your one night stand honestly, become accountable towards this little boy or save that helpless woman? When do we start to finally care, to finally take action? Or to finally just enjoy a movie and the magical it wishes to bring?

Why watching?

  • The infamous poster scene
  • Greta performances, laughs and tears 
  • An uncomfortable mirror of our own lives

What to dread ?

  • It can get slow with an unstructured plot 

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Cries and Whispers

Ingmar Bergman's 1972 movie is no less than a masterpiece and its description of the woman condition is brutaly contemporary. 

For years, I identified Ingmar Bergman to the Nouvelle Vague's pope - I actually may have spent a few years believing both that he was French and Ingrid Bergman's cousin/father (after all, she'll always have Paris!). This etheral perception only ended when I...started watching his movies. 

I came across Cries & Whispers whilst preparing an audition where my character was inspired by Liv Ullman's (fingers crossed I'll get the role). Truth be told, I never heard of this actress before and was extremely curious. Not only did her performance blew me away (note to myself: boiling hot and ice cold are only far apart if you decide them to be), but I was also completely aspired by this movie. No other movie chose is better titled and the brutal contrast of colors, characters, noise, expressions, comfort, pain, ease, ... gives the mind a perfect storm!

Why watching?

  • Diverse and powerful performances
  • An outlook on the woman condition as well as a wider sociological critic
  • Grand esthetics

What to dread?

  • It's Bergman --> it's slow, long, and not very entertaining to say the least.

 


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      Festen      

Why we hate loving our family.

Cannes Festival again! My Frenchness is blatant… In any case, I remember very well watching this movie with my father who explained to me: "In this movie, there was only one take per scene. So the actors really couldn’t screw up!" Well that’s a first…just for that I salute the movie and its team – its incredible actors of course, but also the crew along with them…I mean I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a first take without technical issues!

That being said, I also salute the incredible work of honesty from that piece. What’s frightening is really how relatable this family gathering was to me. I won’t give away any spoiler, let’s just say that, watching this movie, you’ll be facing hightened circumstances of family dynamics, secrets, tensions, judgements, guilt, etc. You’ll hate some characters to your guts (special mention to the sister when she apologizes for her brother) and you’ll almost feel unconditional love for others (I hereby name the cook!). The authentiticy of the performances and the strength of the scenario will hold your breat...although it was a little too out there for me around the beginning of the 3rd tier.  

One last note. Despite all the hypocrisy and lies that the movie showed and reminded me of, when rewatching it last month, I fond myself in the difficult realization that I couldn’t help but feeling a strange nostalgia. As screwed up as this family is, it still is a true family in every sense of the word. Having lived far from mine for a while, I do miss this incredible bond, this shared history that nothing and noone will ever replace, this love and hate we can't stand living but have to put up with. I guess that’s also the magic of movies and theater: catharsis and trenscendance!

Why watching?

  • The technical challenge
  • The truthfulness and relatability
  • A great moment!

What to dread?

  • How good it is!

HONORABLE MENTIONS

You're sold and just became a die hard Scandinavia lover? Explore more with these useful links: IMDb's top 20 and a selection of 21st century scandinavian movies.