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This time it's real: Film Festival - International Perspectives

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This time, I'm not just curious.

This time, I've been invited to lay the groundwork for a new film festival on the theme of global awareness: movies that help us understand how the world looks to people from different cultures.

So, help me out. I've been asked to submit a list of recommended films.

What movies have helped you get inside the minds and perspectives of people from other cultures around the world? I'm not very interested in films made by Americans giving an American perspective on another culture, but rather a film that really takes us inside another worldview, another perspective.

Films like Born into Brothels, which help us understand the experience of young children in the Red Light District in Calcutta.

Or The Circle.

Or The Story of the Weeping Camel.

Or Promises.

I want to boil it down to a list of 10 or 12.


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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You can cover several at once with 11'09"01.

My Country, My Country

Osama


A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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Darn it. I had a long post but silly browser died on me. Shorter version.

When I ran an international film club in San Francisco, we all argued about what the first film to be shown would be. The only one we could all agree on was "Night on Earth". Arguably American but a good summation of our intent.

It may be worthwhile thinking more about how you plan on achieving the aims of the festival before making a list. However, here's a helping hand.

Italy: perhaps a comedy such as Francesco, Giullare di Dio. I've always loved The Conformist although not sure how much it complies with 'demonstrating national character'.

UK: Powell & Pressburger would be good. The Life & Death of Colonel Blimp is my personal favourite and a wonderful evocation of the British character. Brief Encounter speaks for itself. A slightly more left of field approach would be Distant Voices Still Lives: a stunning, if very languid portrayal of working class community life. There's that great postal train documentary from the 1940's too. Love it but I forget what it's called.

Spain: The Spirit of the Beehive is an utterly fabulous treat and by far my favourite Spanish film. I think it captures rural Spain wonderfully.

Australia: I think Whale Rider did its job pretty well.


"There is, it would seem, in the dimensional scale of the world a kind of delicate meeting place between imagination and knowledge, a point, arrived at by diminishing large things and enlarging small ones, that is intrinsically artistic" - Vladimir Nabokov

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Australia: I think Whale Rider did its job pretty well.

Obviously not, since it was set in New Zealand. :)


Kent Brockman: Now, here are the results from our phone-in poll. 95% of the people think Homer Simpson is guilty. Of course, this is just a television poll, which is not legally binding. Unless Proposition 304 passes, and we all pray it will.

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Australia: I think Whale Rider did its job pretty well.

Obviously not, since it was set in New Zealand. :)

Doh! That's what I get for not learning the difference between accents (and not checking on IMDB).

::blushing::


"There is, it would seem, in the dimensional scale of the world a kind of delicate meeting place between imagination and knowledge, a point, arrived at by diminishing large things and enlarging small ones, that is intrinsically artistic" - Vladimir Nabokov

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(Sorry, meant to post this subject in the Lists section, not here. Maybe someone can move it.

Done and done.

Methinks some of Majid Majidi's films, such as The Children Of Heaven or The Color Of Paradise would be perfect for this.


"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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One of my favourite films of the year so far is Le Grand Voyage - a road movie where an aged French Muslim takes his more western culture friendly son on a pilgrimmage to Mecca.

A beautiful film, which purports to speak for the 95% of muslims the world never listens to.

Matt

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Monsieur Ibrahim et les fleurs du coran is a nice interaction between cultures Edited by Darrel Manson

A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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It may fall into the American made category that you don't want, but Men With Guns is a possibility, albeit probably not as strong as more indigenous films

Smoke Signals might also be an interesting choice, even for Pac. NW.


A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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Winterbottom's In This World.

-s.


In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Again this may not be exactly what you're looking for, but Etre et Avoir gives a very focused look at a particular aspect (school age children) of French rural culture. I imagine (and I might be assuming too much) that you are looking for films that highlight drastic differences between cultures, but a few that focus on universal commonalities of human experience regardless of the cultural milieu might be a good counterbalance.

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Gatlif's Exils is one of the best films I have seen which allows us to watch the process of two people encountering their own cultures. However, it may not be suitable for your audience.

America: Perhaps Leningrad Cowboys Go America would be suitable here (no joke). Not for the faint of heart, but Stroszek fits your topic very well. Maybe In America is an easier film for your audience.

France: To Be and To Have is a good choice, though Small Change is arguably more entertaining. La Promesse may be the most incisive choice. (Or maybe you should just go ahead and watch Le Cercle Rouge just because it is so cool.)

Belgium: Rosetta is a great fit for this topic.

Turkey: Distant, though it may be too slow for your audience.

Africa: Yeelen, according to the experts, offers the quintessential "African" film experience (and is endlessly watchable), though Ceddo, Yaaba, or Zan Boko are worth watching as well. (Or of course: The God's Must Be Crazy.)

Iran: Close-Up, Red Balloon, and Where is the Friend's Home? all seem specifically intent on tapping into cultural particulars.

New Zealand: Whale Rider is an excellent choice.

Russia/Japan: Dersu Uzala - classic cultural encounter here.

Britian: If Ae Fond Kiss were a better film, it would be the perfect choice here, as it is all about the exchange between two cultures. All or Nothing, Navigators, and Ratcatcher still strike me as three great recent products of British culture, but I don't think any of these would be suitable for your audience. Perhaps Lawrence of Arabia? Very long, but that is a quite dramatic collision between two cultures.

Edited by MLeary

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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If it wasn't for a Christian film festival (which frowns upon the R ratings), I would suggest "The Wicker Man" (1973). As I watched it, I thought that it was a very strong representation of the pagan environments that someone like St. Patrick stumbled upon in the third century, but in a modern context. But the nudity and overall creepiness might be too much. (Ok, I saw it a couple of nights ago, so I still have it on the brain).

Of course, for fun, you can always play "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom". ;)

I was going to second Tampopo, one of my favorite comedies... but I suspect that this film is more of a Taiwanese culture embrasing Hollywood motifs, not the other way around.

Better to go with the quintessential culture shock movie: "Lost in Translation."


Nick Alexander

Keynote, Worship Leader, Comedian, Parodyist

Host of the Prayer Meeting Podcast - your virtual worship oasis. (Subscribe)

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Walkabout

Which is slowly creeping its way on to my top ten of all time, but maybe not suitable for the audience? What I like best about this film (besides the mise en scene) is that it sets these cross-cultural issues in a coming-of-age framework. For these kids, forging a set of mutual understandings (in terms of language, identity, sexuality, domesticity, etc...) becomes a means of maturation, something which is obscured by the myth of adolesence in Western society.

If it wasn't for a Christian film festival (which frowns upon the R ratings), I would suggest "The Wicker Man" (1973).

Yeah, that one may not go over so well on big screen at a Christian university.


"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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Another troubling film for Christians, from Down Under: The Last Wave. That one might be too upsetting as well.


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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