Wednesday, August 17

A Meal of Moments

There is something purely and compulsively wonderful about foreign films.  It's sometimes indescribable, and sometimes obvious, but there is always a refrain of some hidden and secretive joy and delight that we can only snatch a glimpse of. 

Foreign films are definitely an acquired taste - something that some people will never find quite palatable.  But I've grown to enjoy foreign films by watching them scandalously late on week nights with my dad, and they have been perhaps not my favourite films, but some of my most memorable and fondly recalled. 

There are several things that stand out to me as components that contribute most to that incredible effect that foreign films always have:

1.  The lack of background music or otherwise very strange and wonderful foreign music.  Silence is a powerful tool that is scarcely utilised in Hollywood films because of the profound power and risk involved.  Foreign films weild this tool beautifully. 

2.  The slow pace and attention to processes e.g. walking from one place to another.  This is something Hollywood films will not and probably frankly cannot do.  You will never spend ten minutes, or even five for that matter, watching an elderly woman climbing a hill with a chair in a Hollywood film.  They can't afford it and most people wouldn't appreciate it anyhow.  But it is definitely something well worth appreciating, or leaning to appreciate. 

3.  The narration.  In French films, this is something that I have always noted.  That narrator becomes a dear friend as well as the voice within your mind as you live everyday.  Foreign films are often no more than just living, but they 'live' so clearly and well, so that, even when watching nothing in particular, you are challenged by their thoughts, values, actions etcetera etcetera.  It's quite incredible. 

4.  The language.  For me, listening to the dialogue even without reading the subtitles is entertaining.  I love the French language particularly.  It is so very lyrical and confident and expressive, and just having this music of voices to break the silence is music enough to my ears. 

I cannot wait a day longer to unveil to you two of beautiful things I have come across in foreign films.  Now, you will probably notice quite quickly that these scenes are from the more 'known' of foreign films, but I assure you that this is only because it is nigh impossible to find the particular scenes I love most out of the smaller ones. 

I encourage you to make some time in which you can completely relax and savour each of these scenes like a meal. 

For the main course, a short film from Paris Je T'aime. 

I feel so ridiculous rambling, trying to find the right words to say what I mean, but really, in apologetically frank terms, this just makes me feel thoughtful and happy.  And I love that about it. 

I'm so glad you've made it this far.  Perhaps I have saved the best for last.  To my delight I wish to present to you a decadant and glorious dessert, Amelie.  Please be prepared so a shockingly sweet aftertaste.

It can take a long time to find the ones that make you sigh pleasantly in memory of them for the rest of your life, but you find one, and something, somehow is lovlier in life. 



  1. Beautiful post. Amelie and Paris, Je T'aime are two of my favourite films.

    My favourite short from the latter is the one with the nanny from a lower middle class neighbourhood who leaves her baby at a creche and then, goes on to work as a housekeeper taking care of a small child at a mansion singing the same song to soothe both children.

    That is such a moving short film. It's got no dialogue but it can be wrenching without it. In fact, it is almost crude when put down in words but lovely on the screen.

    Oh, and have you seen A Very Long Engagement? Very cute film, too.

  2. Wow, yes I thought that someone would have heard of them before. They're some of the most well known ones, but definitely worthy of renown. Aren't they beautiful? I actually haven't seen all of Paris Je T'aime, and so I haven't seen your favourite film. Nevertheless, I completely know what you mean about words and silence and I think that you managed to explain it perfectly, even if you think it sounds crude in words.

    Sorry, I haven't seen A Very Long Engagement, but I know which movie you mean. Is that a reccommendation then?

    Here's a couple of reccommendations for you! (Foreign films)
    1. The Hedgehog (another more famous one but underestimated in its brilliance)
    2. As it is in Heaven (very sad, very powerful and very beautiful)
    3. Everything is Illuminated (it's not exactly a foreign film, but it has every sparkle of beauty that a foreign film has, and a hilariously great soundtrack.)

    Thanks for your comments and reccommendation! Take care.

  3. What a wonderful post! I love foreign films, but I have never been able to put my finger onto why this is. I agree with everything that you said :) I love both movies you mentioned! Have you seen 'The Dinner Game' (very funny in an over the top way) or 'City of God' (very moving)? Both are really great! Also thanks so so so much for your last comment, you are the sweetest person ever!!!!


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