Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wonderful Foreign Films: Part 1 – Movies Spotlight – April 2011

Film: A Prophet
Country: France
Director: Jacques Audiard
Plot Summary: A young Arab man, Malik, is sent to prison where he befriends a man highly connected within the mafia, Cesar. Malik finds that prison is a different world, and he must serve Cesar to be protected and accumulate benefits. But like all gangster stories, a fast rise often leads to bloodshed and a fall.
Why You Need to See It: Starting with all the film’s accolades: nominated for Best Foreign Film at the 2010 Oscars, won Best Film/Foreign Film at the Cesar Awards and BAFTAs (the French and British equivalent to the Oscars) and won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. Audiard is a fantastic auteur. His last two films, this one and The Beat That My Heart Skipped, are among the best films to come out of France in the last decade. The performances by Rahim and Aresturp are both very good, and the film is such a great entry into the gangster genre. Check out the trailer.
Available On: Blu-ray, DVD and to Rent

Country: Australia
Director:  David Michod
Plot Summary: J, a seventeen year-old, must go live with his estranged grandmother and uncles after his mom overdoses. His uncles are notorious bank robbers, which a special unit of the police is hunting with intent to kill. The cops target J as a possible weak point to get to his uncles. Now, J needs to navigate difficult terrain just to survive.
Why You Need to See It: Like A Prophet, this crime-drama/gangster film is highly decorated with awards, dominating the Australian Film Institute Awards in 2010. Michod’s use of tension in the film is brilliant (primarily created by the excellent camera work collaboration between cinematographer Adam Arkapaw and Michod). It builds slowly (like the narrative), but creeps up on you and engulfs you. The performances are also quite good, especially the work of Weaver (who got a supporting Oscar nod), Mendelsohn (who scares the crap out of me) and newcomer Frecheville. This is a film that will stay with you long after it is over. Check out the trailer.
Available On: Blu-ray, DVD and to Rent

Film: Fish Tank
Country: UK
Director: Andrea Arnold
Plot Summary: Mia, a fifteen year-old, wants to be a dancer. She lives in a tenement (so to speak) on an Essex estate with her little sister and ‘stuck in her twenties’ irresponsible mother. Having been dismissed from school for fighting, Mia spends her days aimlessly – practicing her dance moves, wandering around and drinking. When her mother brings home yet another new boyfriend, she strikes up an uneasy friendship, as he encourages her to pursue her dancing. But all is not totally innocent here.
Why You Need to See It: The drama also won its fair share of awards: winning the Jury Prize at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival and the 2010 BAFTA for Best British Film. It is highlighted by extraordinary performances by Fassbender and Jarvis (who had never been in anything previously, and was discovered while director Arnold was scouting locations). Arnold is able to mix a lot of different moods and small sub genres into this coming-of-age story, as the film will have you laughing, crying and shocked – her use of tension and suspense is very good. There is also an interesting moral dichotomy at play in the film, making it an interesting study both of the characters and of you, the viewer. Check out the trailer.
Available On: Blu-ray, DVD and to Rent

No comments:

Post a Comment