Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Movie Madness

I don't know about you, but I'm not that impressed with Hollywood's current fare. I mean, Little Miss Sunshine was a chuckle, but Academy Award material? You've got to be kidding. And I watched Brad in "Babel" last night, and came away less than enlightened, or satisfied for that matter. Where's Johnny Depp when you need him? I am, on the other hand, watching some fine foreign films - a few of which I've already mentioned in previous posts.

In the last week, I watched a couple of new titles worth mentioning. First: Vengo. A wonderful film that captures family and village life among Spanish Gypsies, Vengo features some great Flamenco music. Very authentic. The film also does a great job capturing the role of family honor, and the age-old practice of blood feuds among ancient cultures that disdain modern law and authority. The music is excuse enough to rent this film, the interesting plot, authentic setting and very credible acting are icing on the cake. Nobody makes movies about Gypsies better than film maker Tony Gatliff. His earlier works, Gadjo Dilo and Latcho Drom, are definitive cinematic reflections on Gypsy life and culture.

The second movie is a Mexican comedy entitled Benjamin's Woman. The unlikely and comedic tale pairs a blossoming seventeen year old girl with a middle-aged village suitor who, with the drunken assistance of the girl's uncle, kidnaps her and locks her away. How, you might ask, is this funny? Turns out the girl is no fool, seizes the opportunity, and in the end, somehow almost everybody wins. Quirky and improbable, the film also turned out to be enjoyably different and fun. Three plus stars. Here's my current list of Foreign Favorites.

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