Movies That Inspire You To Travel

Movies That Inspire You To Travel

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”Ibn Battuta

Sitting in the dark with strangers is for me the best way to see a film. Movies take me to places I have never been. For a couple of hours, I escape into worlds quite different from my own. Movies are a way of traveling. They offer a window into a bigger world, broaden our perspective and open our eyes to new things. Here are some movies that made me want to see the places that they were filmed in.

Two For The Road

Motorcycle Diaries

The Way

Indiana Jones And The  Temple Of Doom 

Darjeeling Limited

Midnight In Paris

Australia

Lost In Translation

Y Tu Mama También

Under The Tuscan Sun

The Wind Will Carry Us.

Indochine

Fly safe,

JAZ

Advertisements

Politics At the Academy Awards In Los Angeles

Politics at the Academy Awards In Los Angeles

“If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time – a tremendous whack.” Winston S. Churchill

First part written on Saturday

I do usually cringe when celebrities use award shows to promote their political views. Trump is all Americans talk about these days anyway so I don’t think we will get though the Academy Awards without him. The Trump supporters will be disgusted by the out of touch Hollywood elitists who are trying to tell the normal people what to do. The liberals will say the overpaid celebrities are making it worse. The ceremony takes place in California and Hilary won easily here so we pretty much know how they feel. I think a few will be brilliant and most won’t. Something political will happen with best Foreign Film.  I liked Salesman the best  so I’m hoping for a win. It would be cool if Moonlight won.  Jimmy Kimmel is a given for political commentary, though he will probably tone it down for the event.  I hope it doesn’t turn into and the best anti Trump moment is. I think the speeches will be more about inclusion and diversity. Some of us are still PC.

To be continued tomorrow

Sunday

Well, I was pleasantly surprised. The show was a bit more stripped down and low-key than usual. It was going along smoothly and predictably. Everyone I wanted was winning. Jimmy Kimmel was the Greek chorus. A lot of it was expected  but he had a few really funny lines. In his praise of Meryl Streep for  her many overrated and underwhelming performances (Trump tweet), he asked if she was wearing an Ivanka? He told  all the people who worked for CNN and anyone with the word Times in their job – even Medieval to leave the room.

Viola’s speech was better than even I thought it would be. August Wilson would have been proud. Salesman won which it should have. The most powerful political statement of the evening  was read for the film’s director Asghar Farhadi who did not come in protest of the travel ban. All the “immigrants’ (I know because they said they were immigrants – I wasn’t judging)  expressed their disapproval and solidarity.

 Hollywood did what it does best at the Oscars. Hollywood celebrated its own with beautiful dresses, humor, reverence and appreciation. The attention was focused on the people in the room and the magic and healing of movies. Candy was flying everywhere. 

The reality is that I’ve always been a fan of the simple thank you at award shows. It was a simple thank you kind of night.

And then Oscar history was made. Presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway accidentally announced the wrong winner for best picture. I was worried when they came on. Warren always seems dazed to me and they are both way too vain to wear their glasses onstage. I was expecting some uncomfortable banter about that.  After La La Land’s producers made their thank you speeches, they were told it was a mistake and Moonlight had won. “This is not a joke.” and I quote.  Everyone was as dazed and confused as Warren (who apparently had been handed the wrong envelope).  It was a perfect Hollywood Ending with a twist.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Things That I Have Learned From Watching Movies

Things That I Have Learned From Watching Movies

“Everything I learned, I learned from the
movies.” Audrey Hepburn

I watch a lot of movies on planes. I love watching old movies and here is some of the things I have learned when flying across the world.

Characters seem to always find a parking spot directly in front of the building they are going to even in a large metropolitan area where parking is impossible.

When foreigners are alone, they prefer to speak English to each other.

When you are in a film, it is easy to control any vehicle you need to – especially landing a plane.

If you decide to start dancing in the street, everyone around you will know the steps you come up with and hear the music in your head.

The ventilation system in any building is the perfect hiding place. No one will ever think of looking for you in there and you can travel to any other part of the building.

Bad guys die quickly, good guys die slowly.

No matter how crowded the bar is, there are always stools by the bartender who is waiting to take your order.

Women can never find their car keys when being pursued by a killer. Once they find them it takes them a long time to find the ignition, giving the killer a chance to reach the car and pound on the window.

When driving down a straight road, it is always necessary to vigorously turn the wheel to the right or left every few minutes.

Cats always make a noise. If someone is scared by cat, it always has to meow before running off.

If you want to pass yourself off as a German officer you do not need to speak German. A strong guttural accent will suffice.

Aliens will always have more technology than we do.

Fly safe,

JAZ

25 Things That I Wanted To Do In 2015. Did I Do Them?

25 Things That I Wanted To Do In 2015. Did I Do Them?

Promises are like babies: easy to make, hard to deliver. ~Author Unknown

1. Do something big that I am afraid of. Yes
2. Drink less coffee. No
3. Go to Rio. Yes
4. Go To Another Grouplove concert. Yes
5. Finish my hamburger blog. Yes
6. Get more people to read my blog. Trying
7. Try eleven more new restaurants in LA. Pistola, New Port, Stir Market, Gracias Madre, Ledlow, Pot, Zinc, The Larder, Burger Lounge, Terrine, MessHall, Fred, Odys and Penelope, Tacoteca, Bel Campo Meat Co, Jon and Vinny, SMYC, Ingo Diner, Aestus, Kiriko, Superba Food and Bread, Scopa Italian Roots, Ox and Son, Sushi Park, Cassia, Trois Mec, Leona
8. Try eleven restaurants in other places. Yes
9. Go to another place on my bucket list. Amazon
10. Read more books – the kind you hold in your hand that smell like books. Yes
11. Go to São Paulo.Yes
12. Meditate every day. Nope.
13. Look up less random questions on the internet.Yes
14. Go To Brazil. Yes
15. Have more real friends. Not sure but definitely less fake ones.
16. Go to The Stanley Film Festival. Not yet.
17. Get more involved at 826 LA. No
18. See ten documentary films. Finding Vivian Maier, Muse – Kobe Bryant, Deli Man, Going Clear, Sinatra – All Or Nothing At All, Monk With A Camera, Bolshoi Babylon
19. See ten foreign films Force Majeure, Leviathan, Timbuktu, The Gett, Wild Tales, A Borrowed Identity, Second Mother, Embrace of the Serpent, Sweet Bean, Son of Saul, Mountains May Depart, Lady In A Van
20. Eat less gluten. Think so
21. Read more of other people’s blogs. Yes
22. Do more beach walks.Yes
23. Be more grateful every day. Trying
24. Finally do that urban art tour in LA. No
25. Be a tourist in LA. No

Still Trying . Merry Christmas.

Fly safe,
JAZ

Top Ten Movie Locations That I Would Like To Visit

    Top Ten Movie Locations That I Would Like To Visit

 “There is something particularly fascinating about seeing places you know in a piece of art – be that in a film, or a photograph, or a painting.” Sara Sheridan

Some of my favorite movies and movie scenes did not take place on a Hollywood set or in a studio. Ordinary and extraordinary places were transformed forever in cinematic history. I see Holly Go Lightly at Tiffany’s in New York and Sylvia and Marcelo in the Trevi Fountain in Rome. Movies bring their stories to places in the world . Here are the top ten movie locations that I would like to visit someday.

1. Stanley Hotel “The Shining”

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park Colorado was the inspiration for Stephen King to write The Shining. Though it was not in Stanley Kubrick’s film, it was used in the television miniseries. Kubrick’s feature film is on a continuous loop on all guest room televisions. The best time to visit the Stanley Hotel is during the Stanley Film Festival April 30 – May 3, 2015. The Stanley Film Festival showcases classic and contemporary horror films and interactive scary experiences all weekend. It is the perfect horror vacation weekend. Don’t miss it if being scared is your thing.  http://www.stanleyfilmfest.com

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 11.39.20 PM

2.Baseball Field “Field of Dreams”

The homemade baseball field in the middle of an Iowa corn field is really in Dyersville Iowa. 65,000 people visit a year. You can show up, walk around, play some catch and melt into the corn. It is kept up like the movie. Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa.http://www.fodmoviesite.com

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 11.28.35 AM

3. The Apartment “Amelie”

Most of the Fabulous Destiny of Amelie Poulain is shot in Montmartre, Paris.  It is here where she decides to change the lives of those around her while she struggles with her own isolation. The grocery store is Au Marche de la Butte Rue De Trois Frères at Rue Androuet. The entrance to the apartment is just around the corner at 55 Rue de Trois Freres. Not far away is the Lamark – Caulaincourt Metro station with the beautiful double staircase. The Cafe des 2 Moulins  at 15 Rue Lepic where Amélie works is a real place.

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 11.22.03 PM

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 11.37.03 PM

4. The Place “Whale Rider”

This film tells the story of a 12-year-old Māori girl and her family’s struggle to accept her ability to lead, despite the tribe’s tradition of being guided by men. But it is the spectacular little visited Eastern New Zealand scenery that captures us as well. Whale Rider was shot in Whangara, New Zealand, which is 10 hours from Auckland by car. The Māori village with thirty residents wasn’t prepared for the hordes of fans. The land is private, so book a guided visit through the Gisborne Visitor Information Office (gisbornenz.com). You may be able to book Hone Taumaunu. He is one of the film’s cultural advisors who leads a two-hour tour: Walk on the beach where Pai’s namesake landed 1,000 years ago, see the house where the movie was shot, and learn about the Ngati Konohi people.

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 11.34.10 PM

5. The Bench “Forest Gump”

The bench was located on the north end of Chippewa Square Park at the corner of W. Hull and Bull streets in Savannah Georgia. It was situated near the one way sign.   Forrest told his life story on that bench to anyone who would listen. It was there only for the filming of the movie and is now in the Savannah Museum down the street – which makes the tourists and fans of the film very sad. The benches in the park are replicas of the “Forest Gump” style.  You can sit down on any one of them and try to tell a stranger your life story. (the original)

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 9.18.26 PM

6. The village, bamboo forest ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”

Most of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was shot at Hengdiang Studios which is equal to Universal Studios in China. You can visit the the studio and sets. There are hotels, restaurants, and tours. It is now the largest film studio in the world. The village where Wudan master Li Mu Bai has gone to retire and meditate is Hongcunzhen in Anhui province. The 900 year old village is now a Unesco World Heritage Site. The village is supposed to resemble the outline of an ox. Water flows through or around  every house in the village to keep the yang and insure eternal prosperity. The tree top fight between Li and Jen was shot in the Anhui Bamboo forest near the village. It is the largest bamboo forest in China and also has a bamboo museum nearby. Jens flashback with outlaw Lo was filmed in the Ghost City in the Gobi Desert in China. It is hauntingly beautiful but not much tourist infrastructure so you will have to be adventurous if you go.

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 11.14.59 PM

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 12.59.34 AM

7. Park Hyatt Hotel “Lost In Translation”

The Park Hyatt is located in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo. A lot of the movie was shot in Shinjuku and Shibuya. Bob spends most of his nights in the New York Bar on the top floor. There is a one night “Lost In Translation Package” which includes the spa (also in the film) and a free drink in the New York Bar. It is still glamorous with great views of the city.

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 11.31.18 AM

8. The Deli   “When Harry Met Sally”

The famous fake orgasm scene in this movie was shot at Katz’s Delicatessan 205 Houston St, NY, NY. Growing up in NY, I would have the pastrami on rye but you may want to have what she’s having.

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 9.20.47 PM

9. The bookshop “Notting Hill.”

Trying to recapture the magic of Anna Scott and William Thacker while walking around Notting Hill is not hard to do. The blue door is at 280 Westbourn Park Road, just off Portobello’s Fruit and Vegetable Market. Interestingly, this was the flat at the time of the film’s screenwriter Richard Curtis. The interior was a film studio. London flats are not usually that large. There used to be a “Travel Bookshop” off Portobello Road on Blenheim Crescent, which inspired William Thacker’s bookshop in the film. It is now open again as The Notting Hill Bookshop at 13 Blenheim Crescent. The Travel Book Company owned by William Thacker doesn’t exist.

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 9.48.38 PM

10.The steps “Rocky”

Re-enact Rocky’s run up the 68 steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, USA . Try not to hum ‘Gonna Fly Now’ too loud.

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 9.14.42 PM

 

Any more?

Gonna Fly Safe.

JAZ

Favorite Foreign Documentary Films

“In feature films the director is God; in documentary films God is the director. “  Alfred Hitchcock

Favorite Documentary Films in A Foreign Country

As I get older, photography and documentary films fascinate me.  It is capturing that moment in time that will never be the same.  Documentary films are like reality TV but with good editing and less manufactured drama.  Watching a  movie that takes place in a foreign country is a way of traveling for me.  I can see things  that I would  not see as a tourist. It is  learning the mentality, resilience and heart  of the people.  I am always amazed at how much I have in common with someone in a village in Africa, or a woman in a burka . At our core,  human beings are not very different.  Apparently we need to be reminded of this all the time.    They are in no particular order and you can probably get them on netflix or watch them on HBO.

Burma VJ  (Myanmar)

Director: Anders Ostergaard

Stars: George W. Bush, Ko Muang,  Aung San Suu Kyi

Using smuggled footage, this documentary tells the story of the 2007 protests in Burma by thousands of monks. Burma’s videojournalists risking torture and life in jail make undercover videos and news reports with small hand video cameras. They smuggle the tapes out of the country to the international media. I saw this film after I planned to go to Burma (Myanmar) and instead of frightening me, it made me feel that there were so many brave people in this country.  How many people would be filmmakers if it meant risking their life every day?

A Small Act (Kenya)

Director: Jennifer Arnold

Writers:  Jennifer Arnold, Thomas Schlesinger

A young Kenyan’s life changes drastically when his education is sponsored by a Swedish stranger. Years later, he founds his own scholarship program to replicate the kindness he once received. It is a true story of  the ripple effect of a single act of kindness. You always get back more than what you give.  It is my favorite documentary film. I gave it as Christmas gifts one year.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi  (Japan)

Director: David Gelb

Stars: Jiro Ono and Yoshikazu Ono

A documentary on 85-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono, his business in the basement of a Tokyo office building, and his relationship with his son and eventual heir, Yoshikazu. It is also a good insight into the Japanese mentality about family and obligation.

Buena Vista Social Club (Cuba)

Director: Wim Wenders

Writer: Nick Gold

Stars: Compay Segundo, Ibrahim Ferrer and Ruben Gonzalez

Aging  Cuban musicians who had performed at a music club in Cuba in the 1940’s and fifties,  were brought together to play with guitarist Ry Cooder on an album entitled Buena Vista Social Club. (the club’s name) Wim Wenders documented the performances and lives of these musicians. It was a resurgence of their careers and the golden age of Cuban Music. They only enjoyed it for a short time because they died soon after.

Born Into Brothels (India)

Director: Zana Briski, Ross Kauffman

Stars: Kochi, Avijit Hlader and Shanti Das

Born into Brothels follows the lives of seven children. Their mothers are prostitutes in the red light district of Calcutta. The children are given cameras and taught to see the world. It won the Academy Award for best documentary film  in 2005.  It is another example of how teaching the arts to underprivileged children can only help.  I love this movie.

The Desert of Forbidden Art (Uzbekistan)

 Writer -Directors: Tchavdar Georgiev, Amanda Pope

Risking being denounced as an ‘enemy of the people,’ Igor Savitsky rescues 40,000 forbidden fellow artists’ works and creates in a far desert of Soviet Uzbekistan a museum now worth millions.

Pray the Devil Back To Hell (Liberia)

 Director: Gini Reticker

Stars: Janet Johnson Bryant, Etweda Cooper and Valba Flomo

This film tells the remarkable story of the courageous Liberian women who came together to end a bloody civil war .

Thousands of women — ordinary mothers, grandmothers, aunts and daughters, both Christian and Muslim — came together to pray for peace and then staged a silent protest outside of the Presidential Palace. Armed only with white T-shirts and the courage of their convictions, they demanded a resolution to the country’s civil war. Their actions were a critical element in bringing about an agreement during the stalled peace talks.
 Pray the Devil Back to Hell honors the strength and perseverance of the women of Liberia

Wasteland (Brazil)

Director : Lucy Walker

Stars:  Vic Muniz, Zumbi,  Taio,  Sulo,  Isis

Wasteland is filmed in the world’s largest garbage dump Jardin Gramacho outside of Rio de Janeiro Brazil. It is here that artist Vic Muniz and the garbage pickers ‘catadores’ create art. The project evolves into photographic portraits of the garbage pickers out of the garbage.   It is a beautiful transformation story of art and the human spirit.

An African Election (Ghana)

Director: Jarreth J. Merz, Kevin Merz

Writers: Erika Tasini, Shari Yantra Marcacci

This political film follows the elections in Ghana in 2008. Anyone who takes their vote for granted should see this third world democracy struggle to have a fair election.

Koran by Heart (Egypt)

Director: Greg Barker

Koran By Heart follows two boys from Senegal and Tajikistan, and a little girl from Maldives – who go head-to-head with kids nearly twice their age in the pronunciation, recitation and  memorization of the Koran during Ramadan. It the oldest Koran competition and takes place in Cairo.  They are caught between fundamentalist and modern Islam. It shows  our similarities more than our differences.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams (France)

Director: Werner Herzhog

Writer: Werner Herzhog

Stars: Werner Herzhog, Jean Clottes and Julien Monney

The film ( shot in 3D) follows an expedition into the  Chauvet Cave in France, home to the most ancient cave drawings known to have been created by man. This pristine artwork dating back to human hands over 30,000 years ago  is almost twice as old as any previous discovery.

Beneath the Veil (Afghanistan)

Director: Cassian Harrison

Stars: Saira Shah

This is a documentary film made in 2001 about the conditions of women living in Afghanistan under the Taliban. It is brutal and barbaric and worst of all true.

Al Wei Wei Never Sorry (China)

Director: Alison Klayman

Al Wei Wei is China’s most famous artist. The film chronicles Weiwei’s struggle for human rights within his country and his use of art and social media to rally global audiences to his cause. I am a big fan of him and his work. When he was in jail, I  signed the petition to free him. Apparently because of the internet, it went on my permanent record. It was interesting for me to see this in depth film.

Let me know some of your favorite foreign documentary films.

also, see favorite foreign films.

https://havefunflysafe.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/favorite-foreign-films/

Fly safe,

JAZ

Favorite Foreign Films

“Toto, I have a feeling we are not in Kansas anymore.”  Wizard of Oz 1939

Favorite Foreign Films

There is nothing I like better than sitting in a dark theatre with subtitles. It combines  some of my favorite things –  reading , movies and foreign countries.  The best thing is  to be eating popcorn, red vines and a diet coke.  Lately,  it  is  healthy snacks brought from home  – almonds, Tcho chocolate and water.  I know when people think of the best foreign films they include names like Fellini, Kurosawa, Trauffaut,  Eisenstein, Bunuel,  De Sica etc.  This could be another blog.  Im sure most of you have at least heard of those.  I thought I would  list some of the ones that I have really enjoyed  a little more recently.  You might find a few that you have missed.  They are in no particular order. Im sure you can get them on netflix.  Sadly, I feel the need to add a disclaimer.  None of these films  will cause trauma or violence to anyone.

Cinema Paradiso (Italy)

Writer Director:  Giuseppe Tornatore  Cast: Philippe Noiret, Enzo Cannavale

It is my favorite movie and my favorite movie score (Ennio Morricone). Cinema Paradiso won the Academy Award for best foreign film in 1989. It takes place in a village in Italy during World War ll and has a wonderful cast of villagers.  The film  follows Toto (Jacques Perrin), a Sicilian boy who persuades the town projectionist, Alfredo (Philippe Noiret), to teach him how to show films. Spanning nearly 50 years, it draws parallels between Toto’s life and those lives he sees on screen. As Toto matures into Salvatore, a successful Italian filmmaker, the Cinema Paradiso ages as well.

The Lives of Others (Germany)

Writer Director:  Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck   Cast:  Ulrich Muhe, Martina Gedeck and Sebastian Koch

In 1984 East Berlin, an agent of the secret police, conducting surveillance on a writer and his lover, finds himself becoming increasingly absorbed by their lives. The film does a beautiful job of questioning integrity or duty while keeping you on the edge of your seat with the suspense.  The acting is  superb and has one of the most satisfying endings. It won the 2006 Academy Award for best foreign film.

Amelie  (France)

Director: Jean Pierre Jeunet   Writer: Guillaume Laurant, Jean Perre Jeunet Cast: Audrey Tatou, Mathieu Kassoviz

Amelie is a young waitress in Montmarte. She has grown up isolated from other children, very shy and  with a vivid imagination. She begins to get involved in the lives around her by matchmaking and fixing problems from a distance. She forms a friendship with a man who slowly helps her breakdown her own isolation and shyness .

A Separation (Iran)

Writer Director:  Asghar Farhadi   Cast: Peyman Moadi, Leila Hatami and Sareh Bayat

The film focuses on an Iranian middle-class couple who separate.   More conflicts  arise when the husband hires a lower-class caretaker for his elderly father, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. It shows life in current day Iran.  The film won the Academy Award for best foreign film  in 2011.  I think it is the closest thing to a perfect film – it is very well written, acted and directed.

Moscow Doesn’t Believe In Tears  (Russia)

Director:  Vladimir Menshov  Writers:  Valentin  Chernykh, Valdimir Menshov Cast: Vera Alentova, Irina Muravyova, Aleksey Batalov

The story of three women takes place in the nineteen fifties and continues twenty-three years later.  It depicts life in Russia for these three women who come to Moscow to follow their dreams. (A Soviet chick flick).  It is mainly the story of Katerina and her daughter.  The film won the Academy Award for best foreign film in 1980.

All About My Mother (Spanish-French)

Writer – Director: Pedro Almodovar  Cast: Cecilia Roth, Marisa Paredes and Candela Pena

Esteban wants to become a writer and also to discover the identity of his father.  His mother searches for his father. That is is the simplified version of the story. Almodóvar dedicates his film “To all actresses who have played actresses. To all women who act. To men who act and become women. To all the people who want to be mothers. To my mother.” It won the Academy Award  for best foreign film in 2000.

Strictly Ballroom (Australian)

Writer – Director:  Baz Luhrmann  Cast: Paul Mercurio, Tara Morice, Bill Hunter

While studying at the National Institute for Dramatic Arts in Sydney, Baz Lurhmann and friends wrote a short dramatic piece about competitive ballroom dancing. A dancer risks his career by performing an unusual routine  with a new partner at the Pan Pacific Grand Prix Dancing Championship.  The characters are great and if you are a Dancing with The Stars fan this is a must see. It is being made into a musical in Sydney.

.Life Is Beautiful (Italy)

Director: Roberto Benigni  Writers: Vincenzo Cerami and Roberto Benigni Cast: Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi

A Jewish man uses his humor and imagination to get the girl and later to protect his son in a Nazi concentration camp during World War two.  It won the Academy Award for best foreign film in 1999.  Robert Benigni won the Best Actor award that year.

City of God (Brazil)

Directors: Fernando Meirelles, Katia Lund   Writers: Paulo Lins, Braulio Mantovani   Cast: Alexandre Rodrigues, Matheus Nachtergaele and Leandro Firmino

This is a story about two boys growing up in a favela (slum) of Rio de Janeiro.  They take different paths: one becomes a photographer, the other a drug dealer. The story is based on real events. It is about the growth of organized crime in the Cidade de Deus (city of God) suburb of Rio de Janeiro. Many of the actors are residents of the favelas. “If you run, the beast catches; if you stay, the beast eats”.

Goodbye Lenin (Germany)

Director:  Wolfgang  Becker Writer: Bernd Lichtenberg, Wolfgang Becker Cast: Daniel Bruhl, Katrin Sab, Chulpan  Khamatova

In 1990, to protect his fragile mother from a fatal shock after a long coma, a young man must keep her from learning that her beloved nation of Communist  East Germany as she knew it has disappeared.

Y Tu Mama Tambien (Mexico)

Director: Alfonso Cuaron  Writers: Alfonso Cuaron and Carlos Cuaron  Cast: Maribel Verdu, Gael Garcia Bernal, Ana Lopez

In Mexico, two teenage boys and an attractive older woman embark on a road trip ( yes, a Mexican road movie)  and learn a thing or two about life, friendship, sex, and each other.  It also depicts the economic- political scene of Mexico at that time.

Together (China)

Director: Kaige Chen  Writers: Kaige Chen, Xiao Lu Xue  Cast: Yun Tang, Peige Liu and Hong Chen

A violin prodigy and his father from a poor peasant  family travel to Beijing, where the father seeks the means to his son’s success while the son struggles to accept the path laid before him. He learns  not only music but what is important in life.

The Untouchables ( France)

Writer -Directors:  Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano  Cast: Francois Cluzet, Omar Sy, Anne Le Ny, Audrey Fleurot, Clotilde Mollet

The Untouchables is a story of a rich quadriplegic, his daughter and staff and what happens to them all when he hires a caretaker from a Paris ghetto. It is corny, calculating and commercial and I loved every minute of it.

The Wind Will Carry Us ( Iran)

Writer Director  Abbas Kiarostami Cast:Behzad Dorani, Noghre Asadi and Roushan Karam

“The Wind Will Carry Us is a film about nothing and everything—life, death, the quality of light on dusty hills.”

A city engineer comes to a rural village in Iran to keep vigil for a dying relative. In the meanwhile the film follows his efforts to fit in with the local community and how he changes his own attitudes as a result.  The villagers are played by real people in the village. It is a very hard film to describe because it is so visual that you are in it and so symbolic and poetic that you are always searching for the deeper meaning.

The Class  (France)

Director: Laurent Cantet  Writers: Laurent Cantet, Robin Campillo  Cast: Francois Begaudeau, Agame Malembo-Emene and Angelica Sancio

The film is based on the semi autobiographical novel by Francois Begaudeau  who plays himself as he negotiates a year with his racially mixed students from a tough Parisian neighborhood. The camera never leaves the school, so we see what he saw as a teacher.

Salaam Bombay (India)

Director: Mira Nair  Writers: Mira Nair, Soona Taraporevala  Cast: Shafiq Syed,Hansa Vithal, Chanda Sharma

Salaam Bombay chronicles the life of street children in Bombay.  The children are played by the real street children. It centers around the story of Krishna who has been abandoned by his mother and is trying to make enough money to return. It is another one of my most  favorite films.

Shall We Dance? ( Japanese)

Writer-Director: Masayuki Suo   Cast: Koji Yakusho, Tamiyo Kusakari, Naoto Takenaka

A successful but unhappy Japanese accountant finds the missing passion in his life when he begins to secretly take ballroom dance lessons. There was an American remake of the film in 2004 with Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez but it was not  good. The Japanese version is very good.

The Lady (France)

Director: Luc Besson  Writer: Rebecca Frayn  Cast: Michelle Yeoh, David Thewlis, Jonathan Raggett

The film is the story of Aung San Suu Kyi as she becomes the core of Burma’s democracy movement, and her relationship with her husband, writer Michael Aris. She is a real life heroine, a female fighter who uses no other weapons than her human virtues. She was the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Asia. She could not be there to accept because she was under house arrest in Burma (Myanmar) for over a decade. Michelle Yeoh who plays her in the film is not allowed into Burma. It is an important movie, especially if you don’t know much about her.

Let me know about some of your favorite films.

also see favorite foreign documentary films.

https://havefunflysafe.wordpress.com/2012/12/05/favorite-foreign-documentary-films/

Fly Safe,

JAZ