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I am listing out the best Foreign Films of 2008 which I could lay my hand on.The term “Foreign Films” means Non-English films,they might be even Indian films.


I’ve Loved You So Long

Original Title: Il y a longtemps que je t’aime

“I’ve Loved You So Long ” is a very rare film which we find these days,it reminded me of Ingmar Bergman films. “I’ve Loved You So Long ” is a film which is filled with emotions of a depressed sister who is released from jail,feelings of a younger sister who she used to love when she was a child,pain of Juliette Fontaine which she never exudes.The film wonderfully depicts the sense of alienation with in a women,the difficulties of life,the desperate attempts of Léa Fontaine to make her sister feel the love and affection which she has towards her and Juliette’s encouter with every day life by facing the truth that she has lost the most loved one.Director Philippe Claudel makes a remarkable debut by handling and balancing such a sensitive story.

Waltz with Bashir

Original Title: Vals Im Bashir

“Waltz with Bashir” is a animated film about the experiences of a ex-Israeli soldier from the 1982 Israel-Lebanon War.The film is directed in a semi-documentary style which shows conversations and interrogations of various other people.”Waltz with Bashir ” has some good animation but its heart is in the story which depicts the tradey,massacre and evil.Its not as good as “Persepolis” but definitely one of the best film i have seen from a Israeli.

Gomorrah

Original Title: Gomorra

Its been a long time that we have seen good films from Italy.Gomorrah is a film which in which we can find a wonderful marriage between facts and drama.The film is mingled with five stories which depict the illegal activities which took place during a period of time in Italy.The film captures the true essence of mafia,drug business, youth,etc.. in a different way.Its an epic film of the contemporary Italy.Gomorrah also contains the seriousness in it which makes the viewer contemplate about the issues raised in the film.

A Christmas Tale

Original Title: Un conte de Noël

“A Christmas Tale” is a comedy film mixed with drama with a different flavour.This film exhibits the hidden talent of director “Arnaud Desplechin”.The film shows different feelings of different characters,the film flirts with past and present,the plot of the film looks quite simple but its been directed and narrated brilliantly.”A Christmas Tale” is a film which we can watch multiple times without having any complaints.You laugh,you smile,you think.you anticipate and you enjoy when you watch “A Christmas Tale” .

Il Divo

This italian film by Paolo Sorrentino will be called as a masterpiece in the years to come.This biographical film about Italian Prime Minister “Giulio Andreotti” is a wonderful example of story telling.The film hardly gives the true idea of what happened during the tenure of “Giulio Andreotti” but it cleverly reveals many things.

The performance of “Toni Servillo” as Giulio Andreotti is amazing,the character demands a composed acting and Toni Servillo excels in it.The films plot draws its own perimeter but it explores different aspects.The film contains wonderful scenes of trial,the confessions,the voting etc..Its not only a good Biographical film but also a good Trial film.


The Class

Original Title: Entre les murs

The novel is a autobiographical film on François Bégaudeau experiences as a literature teacher.François Bégaudeau himself acted and worked on the screenplay of the film.The film narrates different experiences of a teacher who looks himself as a different human being and the flexibility of being a literature teacher.The beauty of the film lies in its honesty and trying to evolve itself from every scene.”The Class” received the Palme d’Or at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival.

The Baader Meinhof Complex

At last after many years we have a good german film to watch.”The Baader Meinhof Complex” is the film about the incidents which took place during the Student Revolution in Germany and about the rise of terrorist group “Red Army Faction”.

The film shows the events which shook the whole country,the situation of the german students,the rise and terror created by “Red Army Faction” and the communist ideology.It can be seen as one of the good films which contains student revolution other being Berenardo Bertolucci’s “The Dreamers”.

Let the Right One In

Original Title: Låt den rätte komma

“Let the Right One In” is a vampire romantic film from Sweden directed by Tomas Alfredson.The relationship shown between the vampire and the boy is very fresh.The director’s depiction of evil in the character of Vampire is intriguing.The director creates fear and sympathy towards the girl vampire who has been 12 years for a long time.

The heart warming story between a boy and a girl has never been represented in such a way and wonderful acting by Lina Leandersson.I was very disappointed when Lina Leandersson lost the “Most Promising Performer” award to Dev Patel of “Slumdog Millionaire”.

Gamyam

English Translation: Destination

“Gamaym ” is a telugu Road film directed by debutant Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi(Krish).Gamyam might not be the best film of 2008 from India but it is a very good telugu film,there might be films which are better than gamyam ,as i did find the chance to watch other language films i am including gamyam as one of best foreign films.

Gamyam had low production values,no big stars and new director with a very good story.The film tells about the journey of two guys Abhiram and Gaali Seenu in search of Abhiram’s love.This is a film which tells about acceptance of true love,social issues of our country and Self Discovery.I am sure “Gamyam ” will win at least one National Award

“Premani Preminchina Prema Premakai Preminchina Premani Premistundi”—Mahakavi SRI SRI

This article is originally published on passionforcinema.com

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Orginal name:Novecento

Bernardo Bertolucci is one of the best writers of Italian Cinema. Bertolucci is the only one who can be counted with Federico Fellini, Sergio Leone and Luciano Vincenzoni as one of the instrumental people who elevated and enhanced Italian cinema to a different level. Sergio Leone always wanted Bertolucci to write the script besides Luciano Vincenzoni, but he never got the chance of writing the script for Sergio Leone. In fact he was asked by Sergio Leone to write the story and script for “Once Upon a Time in the West”, but later he was just asked to devise the story and not the script as Sergio Leone felt that the script would be too cerebral for American audience.

 Bernardo Bertolucci is the only director who can verbalize ‘The Proof of Love’ in the most innovative way. He makes his convictions of sexual love in an uncompromising manner which is clearly visible in his works like ‘Last Tango in Paris’, ‘Stealing Beauty’, and ‘The Dreamers’. I felt that Bertolucci is the perfect director who can infuse politics into films in the perfect way after watching ‘The Conformist (1970)’. Bernardo Bertolucci is the only director who never compromises on issues like Politics, Sex, Nudity and Incest in his films.

 1900

 ‘1900 ‘or Novecento(Italian) is the lengthiest film I have ever seen. I was told that I cannot find the Director’s Cut version of ‘1900’ but fortunately or unfortunately I did find the ‘302 minutes, 49 seconds ‘version which is slightly less than the original one which is 311 minutes.

 ‘1900’ is an epic film directed by Bernardo Bertolucci. It tells the story of 2 friends during the 1900-1945 period. Robert De Niro (Alfredo Berlinghieri) and Gérard Depardieu (Olmo Dalcò) are born on the same day in 1900. Alfredo is born to the family of Landlords and Olmo is a peasant son.

Part1

In the part1 of ‘1900’ Bernardo Bertolucci shows the Social community of Italy. He tries to show the way in which both Alfredo and Olmo are grown in their respective communities. The first part is reserved for portraying the situation of Italy, the pathetic nature of the workers and peasants. The first part also depicts the families of both Alfredo and Olmo. The family of Olmo works in the fields of Alfredo.

Alfredo and Olmo become friends in their childhood and later Olmo leaves his native place and after many years he is back. Even after the long gap Alfredo and Olmo become more closer and they continue their friendship. Alfredo and Olmo find their women. Olmo is married to Anita who shares the same convictions of Olmo i.e. Communism and Alfredo finds Ada.The first part of 1900 introduces us to 2 characters called Attila and Regina who are very crucial in the Part2 of ‘1900’.

 The Part1 of 1900 is about 2hrs 35 minutes. After watching the first 90 minutes I lost my patience and I felt that

‘What  am I watching?’

‘Is this a Bernardo Bertolucci film? ‘

‘Does he needs to put this shit about Communism? ‘

I am very much inspired by the ideologies of Communism and I am very much aware that Bernardo Bertolucci is a true communist and an Anti-Facist but does he needs to put that much amount of his love towards communism and hatred towards facism in it. I did not even complete watching the Part1 and my feelings towards the film are almost negative but at the very end of the Part1 Bernardo Bertolucci exposes his true talent.

Best of Part1

  1. The scene in which Olmo catches the frogs and ties it to his hat.

  2. The Train scene which is used several times in the film.

  3. The scene in which one of the worker cut his hear.

  4. The last of scene of Part1 with Attila and the cat.

The last scene of Part1 took me by a surprise and i wanted to see that bertolucci who is a master in writing such unusual scenes.


 

Part2

The last scene of the Part1 raised my hopes for the second part. In the second part Olmo and Alfredo get married. Anita dies during child birth and she gives birth to a daughter named Anita and Alfredo does not have a good relationship with Ada .The first 40 minutes of the Part2 looks promising but it does not stand up to the expected and falls flat. The way in which the monster in Attila has been portrayed is just terrific. Attila and Regina (Alfredo’s cousin) are same in their perception towards communism and fascism .The last one hour of the film just shows the communism and the fall of fascism and there is no dramatic representation.

When I was watching the last one hour of the film I felt like I was watching a documentary film on Italian communism and fascism during the end of World War II .The second part just shows the fatigue part of the film. I was just hoping that film will be completed as soon as possible. I patted myself saying that I have a lot of patience.

 Best of Part2

  1. The scene in which Attila and Regina abuse a child and kill him.
  2. Killing of a pig by Olmo.

  3. The snow filled day during Christmas Eve.

  4. Killing of workers by the Fascists.

 

Bernardo Bertolucci directs a epic film which show the culture,social status of different communities and the fall of Fascism along with rise of Communism, the social status of the workers ,farmers etc…

 
I am not against lengthiest films; I loved ‘Once upon a time in America’, Schindler’s List, etc..,The problem with 1900 is that Bernardo Bertolucci doesn’t really know where the film is heading because his love towards Communism has made him to infuse many unnecessary scenes. We just don’t understand what he is trying to covey and what he is trying to convey himself.

This is definitely not a film which should be watched by normal film goers. Bernardo Bertolucci’s direction is good in parts and there are some amazing moments in the film and the way he portrays Italy is wonderful, he is brilliant in capturing the beauty of harvesting fields, the movement of the camera in the film is wonderful, he takes some long shots while the camera moves effortlessly from left to right, right to left etc .

No one could have directed such a film, may be this the best way in which any director can do.1900 falls below expectations but its a film which has to be watched by film lover’s .

Originally published on Passionforcinema.com

As expected Berenardo Bertolucci comes with a surprising and shocking theme with The Dreamers.It was beyond my imagination.The Dreamers is filled with Incest.

The Dreamers is set against the background of the ’68 Paris student riots.Eva Green and Louis Garrel are twins,they meet a guy called Matthew (Michael Pitt) and these three live togather in Eva Green and Louis Garrel house.All three have an avid love for movies, especially “the classics”. As their friendship grows, Matthew learns of the extreme intimacy shared by the siblings and gets pulled into their world. Over time he falls in love with them, and the three seclude themselves from the world, falling further and further from the reality of the 1968 student rebellions. An abrupt ending to this relationship comes when that world is shattered and they are compelled to face the reality of 1968 France.

To experience ‘The Proof of Love’ tag in the film which bertolucci owns it is very much visible,the innocence and the audacity of adolscents has been portrayed very well. Be prepared to see some audacious scenes, as we know Berenardo Bertolluci is not a man who compromises on many things.

The direction of Berenardo Bertolucci is excellent.The riots,student rebellion,classic films and the intimate relationships are showed in a very peculiar manner.As always we have a face of Communism in this film too.If you are a strong belief in morals,ethics etc..,. then i dont recommend this film.If you want to enjoy the film and the direction of Berenardo Bertolucci then forget everything about ethics and watch the film as i did.

An audacious endeavor which looks perfect on the celluloid due to Bertolucci.I recommend this to be watched only by people above 21,even at 21 i don’t think that we can comprehend Bertolucci’s artistic view.