Sometimes it is good to look beyond your culture and surroundings and experience something totally different to give you perspective. A great way to do that is to travel abroad--but sometimes that is not always so easy. My back up idea is to rent an amazing foreign film! Here are my top 5 with summaries (wikipedia) and my opinion. Please feel free to share more in the comments! Also, to respect the actors--you have GOT to see them with subtitles--no english voice overs. It really kills the mood.
5. La Vie en Rose
La Vie en Rose (French pronunciation: [la vi ɑ̃ ʁoz], literally "Life in Pink"; released in France as La Môme, referring to Piaf's nickname "La Môme Piaf," meaning "The Little Sparrow") is a 2007 French-Czech-British biographical film about the life of French chanteuse Édith Piaf.
Plot: Essentially the life story of singer Edith Piaf
My review: This movie captured my interest because the actress Marion Cotillard (the wife in Inception) won best actress for playing Edith Piaf (also the singer of the songs they woke up to in Inception). I actually watched it on a long flight home and was so intrigued by the story line. I had heard her songs before but never knew who she was or what her story was about. It is a bit sad, but it kept my interest the entire 140 minutes! My recommendation--you may want to watch this one on your own-its kinda heavy.
4. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (simplified Chinese: 卧虎藏龙; traditional Chinese: 臥虎藏龍; pinyin: Wòhǔ Cánglóng) is a Chinese-language film in the wuxia martial arts style, released in 2000.
Plot: Two warriors in pursuit of a stolen sword and a notorious fugitive are led to an impetuous, physically-skilled, teenage nobleman's daughter, who is at a crossroads in her life.
My review: This story had some awesome cinimatography and my favorite part was that the women were the bad asses! It was the perfect balance of action and romance to keep both women and men's attention...so feel free to see it with any type of friend....that is willing to read subtitles the whole time that is...
Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain (French: [lə fabylø dɛstɛ̃ d‿ameli pulɛ̃], French for "The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain"), or simply Amélie, is a 2001 romantic comedy film directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
Plot: It tells the story of a shy waitress, played by Audrey Tautou, who decides to change the lives of those around her for the better, while struggling with her own isolation.
My review: This story is the cutest little chic flick--and I absolutely adore it! My big sis recommended it years ago when it first came out and actually bought the movie for my mom, but I never got around to watching it until very recently. It is choc full of wit and whimsy and a really cool thing is that you will recognize several themes/songs that are derivatives of/inspired by this movie (Wale's song, Travelocity gnome) So invite your girls over, break out the Nutella and crêpes and prepare to say "awww!!"
2. City of God
City of God (Portuguese: Cidade de Deus) is a 2002 Brazilian crime drama film directed by Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund, released in its home country in 2002 and worldwide in 2003.
Plot: It depicts the growth of organized crime in the Cidade de Deus suburb of Rio de Janeiro, between the end of the '60s and the beginning of the '80s, with the closure of the film depicting the war between the drug dealer Li'l Zé and criminal Knockout Ned. The tagline is "Fight and you'll never survive... Run and you'll never escape."
The film received four Academy Award nominations in 2004: Best Cinematography (César Charlone), Best Directing (Meirelles), Best Editing (Daniel Rezende) and Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay) (Mantovani).
My opinion: This movie is HEAVY and extremely raw, but packed full of action! When I say raw I mean children shooting children...slums...shoot outs...crime--anything you can think of that does NOT typically come to mind when you think of Rio de Janeiro. But there is a lot of reality that you should be aware of. Great movie. The guys love it--and make sure you see it with people who are not afraid to voice their opinion, because there is a lot to talk about after you see this movie!
1. Slumdog Millionaire
Slumdog Millionaire is a 2008 British film directed by Danny Boyle, written by Simon Beaufoy, and co-directed in India by Loveleen Tandan. It is an adaptation of the novel Q & A (2005) by Indian author and diplomat Vikas Swarup.
Plot: Set and filmed in India, the film tells the story of Jamal Malik, a young man from the Juhu slums of Mumbai who appears on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (Kaun Banega Crorepati in the Hindi version) and exceeds people's expectations, thereby arousing the suspicions of the game show host and of law enforcement officials.
Slumdog Millionaire was nominated for 10 Academy Awards in 2009 and won eight, the most for any film of 2008, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. It also won seven BAFTA Awards (including Best Film), five Critics' Choice Awards, and four Golden Globes.
My opinion: This movie was so amazing! You have a roller coaster of emotions as you watch it--sad, happy, disappointment, suspense--you name it! You are truly rooting for this boy to make it--after all of the craziness he has survived and had to tolerate. That's all I can tell you without ruining anything! Okay one more thing--the soundtrack is also pretty amazing--and includes M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes" (if you are into her). 2 thumbs WAY up!
Well that rounds out my 5...share your opinions after you see them!