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Monday, June 16, 2008

it's all FOREIGN to me....


Growing up in America, I developed my love for Foreign films at a very young age... I believe it stems for my LOVE of traveling; discovering new cultures...seeing new places..... and hearing different languages... they all seem and sound sooooo exotic to my ears..... and I figured, i I cannot travel to those faraway places, I could at least experience them through the art of movies.... PURE ESCAPISM.....

In the 80's it was all about EUROPE - SPAN in particular for me... telenovelas.... Almodovar films.... Chayanne, Alejandro Fernandez, Luis Miguel & Miguel Bose..... then I got to live in SPAIN and everything was 100 times much more beautiful as I already had pre conceived notions of what I would like to see, try, and eat.....

Then in the 90's it was time to turn my eyes into ASIA - Japanese & Chinese.... life was filled with animes, kung fu / fantasy films.... Wong Kar Wai artsy films.... Korean & J POP music.... soap operas.... food.... and now am living in Taiwan and traveling to JAPAN & CHINA at least 3 X a year.... so everything is a bit easier. too.... streets to navigate.... things and people to comprehend.... and so much more....

Living in Taiwan though makes it a bit rougher at times... most everything is in Chinese... though I can speak & comprehend it pretty well (thanks to numerous Chinese flicks and Mandarin Music) I cannot read Chinese.... Foreign movies are subtitled in Chinese... and for the most part - NO ENGLISH... so my trips to see foreign films are a bit limited to those of Chinese films only....

yesterday though, I was really itchy to see something FOREIGN besides a Chinese movie - I was in luck, The Orphanage, from SPAIN was playing and it was going to be in SPANISH with Chinese subtitles.... so I knew it was going to be work to understand but nonetheless a very good & exciting challenge.... am was I glad I did.... though I understood maybe only 75% to 80% of the dialogue - it brought back, and actually revived, my love for everything foreign....

and so I have decided, I MUST make it a habit to see more foreign films as often as I could... and not just HOLLYWOOD Blockbuster films... even if I have to resort to buying the DVDs...
am even beginning to develop an appreciation for PINOY films.... if only I can get over the long kissing scenes.... and the the even longer crying scenes..... lols!!!
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and for my REVIEW of The Orphanage:

I decided to be more adventurous and go see The Orphanage
-- produced by the GREAT Spanish director, Guillermo Del Toro... though I knew it was going to be a bit of a struggle as it is in Spanish with Chinese subtitles, I just could not let it pass by without seeing it... I just knew that it would be another classic ghost story that does not involve gore and dismemberment to scare you. Definitely not perfect but a good antidote to the schlock put out by Hollywood! If I have to compare it to anything from Hollywood, I would got with The Others starring Nicole Kidman... which incidentally was also directed by another talented Spanish director.

It is a ghost story set, as the title suggested, in an old haunted orphanage building. The house is lived by a family of parent and their adopted child, incidentally, the mother used to be one of the girls from this very own orphanage. It starts with the little kid making comments about seeing and playing with other kids in the house, which cannot be seen by the parent. The director has led us by peeling layers of clues in uncovering the mystery of the orphans who used to inhabit the house. The movie is quite scary in the vein of the Sixth Sense or The Others complete with it's own surprise ending. This film also resembles some of Del Toro's, the executive producer, style (like last year's super cool, Pan's Labrynth).

2 comments:

Sher said...

I love foreign movies too! I get tired of Hollywood's predictability
:-<

I have seen loads of Spanish and French films. I never thought about how films give you a little of the flavor of the country they are from.

I had heard about the Orphanage. Will have to go check that one OUT!

wtsrudi said...

Hope you get to see the movie Sher... really is a good suspenseful film....

if you see any ALMODOVAR films - you will see it is definitely SPAIN... the colors... the flavors... the music.... and all the characters' PASSION... his movies always take my breath away...