Sunday, June 26, 2011

5 Foreign Films You Should Watch (If You Haven't Already)

Hey Poppers! Tressa has posted a few fun movie-oriented lists in the past few days, and there was a list I wanted to share with you all too.
I love foreign films. Something about them... it's hard for me to really explain. But especially in a time where Hollywood doesn't want to do more than remakes and....American ports of foreign films... *cough* ... I guess it's something about how foreign movies still have fresh ideas to them. Amazing, really. So, in no particular order, I give you some of my favorite foreign films!!

Moon Child (April 2003)
My initial draw to this movie was the two stars of it: famous Japanese music artists Gackt (Malice Mizer) and Hyde (L'Arc-en-Ciel). In high school I was introduced to the glory that is J-Rock, and when I found out these two had done a movie, I was beside myself.
This movie takes place in 2014, where Japan has suffered a major economic collapse and its' people are forced to emigrate to China. It focuses on 3 orphan boys (one of which is Gackt's character, a boy named Sho) and their encounter with a young-looking man named Kei who turns out to be a vampire (Hyde). It follows the lives of these two as Sho grows up, leading to complications in their relationship where Kei doesn't age. The complications only start there, dealing with gangs, drugs, death... A movie that has it's real funny moments, but loves to make me cry. I have watched this movie so many times that I really don't need subtitles anymore.

Night Watch (July 2004)
Another supernatural movie. In this, the forces of Light and Darkness have co-existed for hundreds of years due to a truce created on both ends of the spectrum. They have been monitored by each other by specific "police" groups called the Night Watch (those who monitor Dark Others) and the Day Watch (who monitor the Light Others). The Dark Others are made up of beings like vampires, witches, shape-shifters...etc. A chain of events that has been prophesied since medieval times starts to occur, where an immortal with very special powers switches sides and shatters the balance, unleashing an apocalyptic war.
It is based off the first of a book trilogy written by Sergey Lukyanenko. The second book, Day Watch, has also been adapted. Twilight Watch, the final book, has not started production yet, though rights have been acquired by FOX to do so.
I thought this was a very unique story involving things like vampires and humans who have supernatural abilities that are usually life-changing. The different skill sets you get to see are too cool - one girl can shape-shift into a tiger - and is just fascinating.

The Lives of Others (March 2006)
This movie takes place in the German Democratic Republic in 1984-85, and involves the Stasi (GDR's secret police) monitoring the cultural scene of East Berlin. It focuses on one of the agents being assigned to monitor/spy on a successful playwright, all because a corrupt government official wants the playwright's girlfriend and will do anything to incriminate him and bring him down.
In college, I took a History of Berlin class. This was one of the many movies we watched in the duration of the semester. I went in to this a little....skeptical. It didn't seem like something I would stay interested in watching. Boy, was I wrong. I got sucked in watching this Stasi agent Gerd Wiesler as his job begins conflicting with his dedicated socialist beliefs. It really is a beautiful, struggling journey.

A Tale of Two Sisters (June 2003)
South Korea
Ah...the Asian psychological horror film. It focuses on sisters Su-Mi and Su-Yeon moving back home with their father and step-mother after being in hospital for a period of time. The relationship between these two and the step-mother is a VERY tense one. Around the same time, strange events start occurring around the same time as them returning. Things get creepy with dead lurky girls, and things between the girls and step-mother go from bad to worse. And the twist at the end... Whew.
I had to watch this movie twice before really taking in everything and having it all make sense. And when I did it was like "Whaaaaa omg!". It is freaky and brilliant. Unfortunately, this movie has suffered the disease I like to call "Americanization". The 2009 movie The Uninvited is a remake of it. I have refused to see it... From everything I've understood, they took the basic idea of A Tale of Two Sisters but at the same time, is so different, I just know it would drive me crazy to watch. The original is just too amazing.

Death Note (June 2006)
Yes indeed! The live action movies based on the popular manga of the same name. The premise is, of course, the same. Brilliant student Light Yagami comes across a notebook called the Death Note - a shinigami notebook that kills anyone whose name is written in it.
This adaptation went along with the story perfectly. They deviated only slightly from what we all know and love, and was done with care. In the end, the outcome is slightly different than the manga as well. Not giving anything away, obviously, but I personally like the outcome of the movies better. No matter which you prefer, though, it's very refreshing to see a "could have been" scenario.
These movies were dubbed when brought over to America, and while I prefer watching the Japanese audio, I actually enjoy the dub. Something I NEVER thought I would say! They got every single voice actor they hired to do the anime, and the way they dubbed it, the words matched the actors' mouths quite well. None of that distracting I'm-still-talking-even-though-my-mouth-is-no-longer-moving issue, or vice versa.

And there you have it!! I hope all of you enjoyed this post, and hopefully have found one or two new movies to try and enjoy! If you do, send a comment my way and let me know. :-D


Bills said...

Cool, I've seen (and enjoyed) Night Watch. I'm gonna have to see these others. Have you ever seen Versus? One of my favorite low-budg Japanese adventure flicks.

CommunionNimrod said...

I haven't seen Versus! I'll have to check it out. :)

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