Tag: Spanish


Wild Tales

January 29th, 2015 — 11:38pm

*****Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 11.06.54 PM

Wild Tales sp  – Damiean Szifron is a young Argentinian director and playwright who had a drawer full of short screenplays all of which have an element of revenge that more or less spins out of control. He put six of them together for an anthology that ended being the Argentina entry in the Academy Awards for the best foreign films. Out of the 82 entries from all over the world, this became one of the six nominated in this category for an Oscar. By taking each storyline to a point of seeing the main character or characters losing control, Szifron also has created at times a hilarious comedy. The acting is great as apparently some of the best actors in Argentina were drawn to this project. It starts off with a airline flight where the passengers realize that everyone is in some way connected to the same guy from their past who they learn has taken over the cockpit of their plane.. The movie concludes with a wedding scene that you will never forget and may even have some elements in it with which you will identify. Although they are not all very pretty, they will have you laughing. Each of the sections of this movie, while different in content, do flow together. The editing is crisp, the camera views are thoughtful, the music appropriately carries the mood and the subtitles are very readable if you don’t understand Spanish. It is a most creative, brilliantly executed film that is well worth seeing! (2015)

Comment » | 5 Stars, Comedy, Foreign

Strawberry and Chocolate

June 13th, 2014 — 7:45pm

****Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 11.01.33 PM Strawberry and Chocolate-nf  (Spanish with subtitles) Prior to our first trip to Cuba several friends told us that we have to see this award winning movie. (It won the Goya Award for the best Spanish language film in 1994 and was nominated for an Academy Award for the best foreign language film that year. There was a long waiting list for it on Netflix so we couldn’t catch it before we left. While being shown around Cuba by a young Cuban guide, we were taken to dinner up a beautiful staircase in Havana, which we were told was part of the main location for this movie. He also highly recommended this film. When we finally caught up with the film, we not only appreciated the specific location in Havana, which we had visited but some of the conflicts, which the film portrayed so well. David (Vladimir Cruz) is a college student very appreciative of this communist revolutionary government, which has allowed him, from a poor family to go to college and choose to study political science. David subsequently is having chocolate ice cream in a public square and he meets Diego (Jorge Perugorria) who is symbolically having strawberry ice cream since it turns out that he is clearly gay and very attracted to David who we learn early in the movie is clearly attracted to women although rejected by one (Marilyn Solaya) who married someone else while he remains a “virgin “. Diego is not only gay but he is someone who is a free thinker in regard to art music, literature and invariably in regard to politics. He loves Cuba but can’t love the revolutionary Cuban government, which rejects all types of creativity from the non-communist world and of course completely rejects homosexuality. David’s college roommate Miguel (Francisco Gattomo) is a rigid pro government ideologue who encourages David to befriend Diego in order to spy on him and turn him in. Nancy (Mirta Ibarra) is a neighbor and friend of Diego who may be a prostitute, with a “heart of gold.” The inflexibility of some people in their views on homosexuality are used as a metaphor for rigidity of the supporters of the Cuban government to consider the contributions of other non-communist cultures and vice versa. There also is depiction of the ability of human beings to love and connect with each other that goes beyond sexual and political orientation. These are special ideas and Directors Tomas Gutierrez Alea and Juan Carlos Tabio made this story with a very sensitive touch. This included many scenes of the characteristic grandiose but now decaying Spanish architecture as well as the lovely settings by the water of this historic island. (1994)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama, Foreign

Biutiful

February 22nd, 2011 — 3:11am

*****

Biutiful- rm – You will be taken to underside of the streets of Barcelona and get inside people who are scraping by trying to survive and put food on the table for their children. You will meet a man who engages in illegal doings but seems fair and sensitive to his troubled wife, his innocent children and to the immigrants whom he encounters  functioning in the worst possible conditions. You will see him face his own mortality and get a glimpse at what perhaps is Director/Writer Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s view of where death will take us. Make no mistake about it, this is a powerful and depressing movie. Inarritu uses the technique of  weaving together various jarring scenes as he did in his 2006 Oscar nominated film Babel. He very effectively uses dim lighting in many scenes with dark blue colors reflecting the mood of the people and times.  Ultimately it is the journey of Uxbal ( Javier Bardem) which will captivate and haunt you. His empathic nature, love of his children, desperate attempt to survive when the odds are against him which make him a tragic but “biutiful” figure. It may also bring Bardem his second Oscar (he won for Best Supporting Actor in No Country for Old Men in 2008) . There are a lot of things going on in this movie which may not be immediately clear in your consciousness since they are subtle and most of us are relying on the subtitles. All the more reason why the emotional impact that you cannot help but feel as the story runs it’s final course confirms that you have seen an outstanding movie. (2010)

Comment » | 5 Stars, Drama, Foreign

The Secret in Their Eyes

September 6th, 2010 — 8:19am

The Secret in Their Eyes* * * *
The Secret in Their Eyes
– sp – When Juan Jose Campanella is not directing episodes of Law and Order, CSI or the like, he periodically returns to Argentina make a movie. In this case he directed and co-wrote the screenplay of The Secret in Their Eyes. Thus far it is the most successful movie in Argentina in the past thirty-five years and now in just few days after we saw it, we will find out if this Academy Award nominated movie for the Best Foreign Film will win an Oscar. ( addendum note: It won !!) It reminds us of the French movie, Tell No One, one of our all time favorites, as it is also a sophisticated detective story with an easy flowing but yet a complicated plot that keeps you thinking and guessing throughout the story and even afterwards. It is in Spanish, of course, with good subtitles. This movie is not only a mystery and a crime movie but it is also a subtle romantic film which has very good comedic moments. There is the use of a narrative technique that allows you to see the story through the imagination and the memory of the main character Benjamin Esposito played by well-known Argentine actor Ricardo Darin. There are skillfully done movements, which go back and forth in time as well as shifting the point of view, which on a few occasions took a few moments for us to orient ourselves. The acting, directing and photography were superb with great realism and therefore it surprised us to learn that the budget was only two million dollars. As required for all good movies of this genre, there is a strong ending, which will hold your interest and encourage further reflection. (2010)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama, Foreign, Mystery, Romance

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