I am still slowly working on seeing all five 2011 Best Foreign language film nominated for an Oscar. I saw and previously wrote about I am Love (see below) and this summer I have also seen Biutiful, the Mexican nominee, even though it takes place in Barcelona. Javier Bardem plays a father who is dying and tries to figure out a way to help his children after he is gone. This movie is wrenching. It takes you into the underbelly of Barcelona where foreign workers are treated like animals and making it through life involves despair and anguish. I can see why it was so acclaimed when it came out, but it is really hard to watch.
The Concert -- I also saw The Concert which was nominated for a Golden Globe. When a former Russian conductor, who is now working as a janitor, decides to get the old crew together for a concert in Paris, he is met with many difficulties. He was fired many years earlier because he hired Jewish musicians. While there are moments of sweetness in this movie, overall it fails because it becomes too ridiculous, full of slapstick moments and some bad acting.
I am Love
is the Italian nominated film with Tilda Swinton, speaking Italian. It’s a doozy! It begins with a formal family dinner with the mega-rich Reccci family where cracks in the beautiful family demeanor become apparent. The cracks become chasms as the film progresses. The way the movie is filmed is interesting. Long, languorous shots of empty rooms or bees buzzing over flowers, for example. It also a lot about passion and love as the title suggests, but it all seems very chaste, until whoza, a very revealing sex scene, which seemed out of place, I thought. It’s a pretty fascinating film, overall, and it’s good to watch a movie that pushes the boundaries of what you think film should do.