Clippings by agnesd

 Sort by: Last Updated Post Date Post Title Forum Name 

RE: Tips and Tricks (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: ravencajun on 06.07.2008 at 03:12 pm in Computer Help Forum

calpat getting firefox is very easy, just go to the link which I will provide and download it then follow the wizard, it will even ask if you want to import your favorites/bookmarks from your IE browser you can say yes to that and they will all be automatically put in your firefox too.

Then to put the special add-on extensions to firefox all you do is click on tools add-ons then click get add-ons or just go to that link I gave, on each individual add-on there is a download link just click that and it will put it right into your firefox for you, then you will have to close firefox and reopen it for the add-on to go into effect.

You can also change the look of firefox by adding themes, there is a special page on the mozilla site for those too and they install just like the add-ons. Once you have them installed you go to tools, add-ons, themes and select the one you want to use.

stargazer you have to have the program installed to be able to use as instructed. it is called one click answers
one click answers
be real cautious with this download because it will try to install a tool bar that you really do NOT want so be alert and read carefully and make sure when it ask if you want tool bars or anything else do not take them.
the firefox add-on for this is called Answers 2.2.48 you can get that directly from the firefox add-ons page.

Here is a link that might be useful: firefox

NOTES:

<none>
clipped on: 05.03.2009 at 09:27 am    last updated on: 05.03.2009 at 09:28 am

Finished quilt

posted by: dian57 on 03.03.2008 at 07:18 am in Quilting Forum

Finished the binding on Emma's I Spy. It's for her first birthday, October 4, 2008. For once, I'm ahead of the game.
Photobucket

NOTES:

<none>
clipped on: 03.08.2008 at 09:02 am    last updated on: 03.08.2008 at 09:02 am

RE: coke fabric pouch (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: crafteedee on 11.04.2007 at 04:19 pm in Quilting Forum

I used this tutorial to do my pouch, just ignore the vinyl ingredient & think of the potato chip bag as the outside layer. Not sure if I posted a pix of my SpaghettiO pouch that I made or not, but this is the tutorial that I used for that as well. http://www.flickr.com/photos/33083392@N00/498702043/in/set-72157600215861276/

Here's one that not a "trash to treasure"...
http://www.splityarn.com/split_yarn/2007/06/sew_a_zippered_.html

I found an unopened bag of Hershey's kisses in my pantry, & the bag fits perfectly in the pouch. It will be in my luggage, so won't even be with me. I know chocolate is OK because many families have given US chocolates as gifts.

BTW, the bag is a gift for an adult, not our child. We'll be shopping with her while we're there because she will be coming with just the clothes on her back...& HOPEFULLY the care pkg ingredients that we sent. We meet her on the 12th!

Here is a link that might be useful: zippered bag tutorial

NOTES:

<none>
clipped on: 01.05.2008 at 12:47 pm    last updated on: 01.05.2008 at 12:47 pm

RE: RECIPE: Need Coleslaw recipe (Follow-Up #16)

posted by: Linda_inTennessee on 04.10.2005 at 04:53 pm in Recipe Exchange Forum

24 hour slaw
Ingredients
1 large head cabbage, shredded
1 medium pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 cup vinegar
1/2 cup oil
2 tsp celery seeds
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. dry mustard

Mix the cabbage, pepper and onion. Pour over it a mixture of 1 cup sugar and the salt. Heat the vinegar, oil, celery seeds, 2 tablespoons sugar and mustard. Cool this completely, then pour it over the other ingredients. DO NOT STIR. Refrigerate. Wait 24 hours. Stir and place in containers. Will keep a long time. Keep refrigerated.

NOTES:

<none>
clipped on: 09.17.2007 at 11:01 pm    last updated on: 09.17.2007 at 11:01 pm

RECIPE: brie & sausage breakfast cassrole

posted by: lizzynola on 09.11.2007 at 11:04 pm in Recipe Exchange Forum

You can make this the night before, and it travels well to be baked in another location.

1 8 oz. round of Brie
1 pound ground hot pork sausage
6 white sandwich bread slices
1 cup grated parmesan cheese (not from the green can)
7 large eggs, divided
3 cups whipping cream, divided
2 cups fat free milk
1 T. chopped fresh sage or 1 t. dried sage
1 t. Creole seasoning or seasoned salt
1 t. dry mustard

Trim the rind from the brie, cut the cheese into cubes, and set aside.
Cook the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat stirring until it crumbles and is well cooked, and drain well.
Cut the crusts from the bread slices and place crust evenly in the bottom of a lightly greased 9X13 inch baking dish.
Layer ebenly with bread slices, sausage, Brie and parmesan cheese.
Whisk together 5 of the eggs, 2 cups whipping cream, and milk, sage, seasoned salt, and mustard, and pour evenly over the cheeses.
Cover the dish and chill 8 hours.
When ready to bake whisk together the remaining 2 eggs and remaining 1 cup of the whipping cream and pour evenly over the chilled mixture.
BAKE in preheated 350 degree oven for about an hour or until set.
Garnish with sliced green onions and shaved Parmesan cheese.
NOTE: you can sub 2 cups grated swiss cheese for the Brie.

NOTES:

<none>
clipped on: 09.17.2007 at 10:58 pm    last updated on: 09.17.2007 at 10:58 pm

PIC: Mexican Tiles Quilt....Finally!

posted by: mexicomarti on 10.29.2006 at 12:32 pm in Quilting Forum

I thought I would never get the quilting finished on this quilt. I was afraid it was going to become a permanent fixture on my frame!

Anyway, this is a design created by Kay (Quiltdiva). When I saw it, I was so excited because I have seen many colonial Mexican floors in old buildings that were so similar to this in design and color. Kay was kind enough to send me the pattern which I named Mexican Tiles. Kay also made this pattern and posted her version. Maybe if we ask politely she will post her quilt again on this thread so you can compare.

The somewhat unwilling quilt holder is my DH who is anxious to get to his football game. LOL

Marti in Mexico

NOTES:

<none>
clipped on: 11.02.2006 at 11:40 am    last updated on: 11.02.2006 at 11:41 am

RE: Foreign Films 101 (Follow-Up #15)

posted by: mozart2 on 10.24.2006 at 02:05 am in Circle Theater Forum

Bill zone 6

Thanks much for the suggestions!

I am assuming that your comment was directed at my last - extensive - post, the credit should be given where credit is due - Clairabell. Since I had the time and was interested in seeing what I could find out, I simply went searching and posted the links and reviews and added a few comments here and there.

To everyone:

Sorry for the extensively long posting, but here goes. More to come later.

Since there have been additional suggestions and since I not only have the time and am willing to see what I can find out, Ill go through this new set of responses and do likewise.

But first Id like to make some comment about searching for good foreign films to watch as it might be helpful to someone in the future.

Some time ago, I came across a description of a film by Werner Herzog - Herz Aus Glas - Heart of Glass The description/synopsis looked rather intriguing and I interpreted as something of a Medieval Cadfael mystery:

In director Werner Herzog's most conceptual film, a small Bavarian town is plunged into a mysterious and haunted despair when the owner of the town's glass factory dies without passing on the secret formula for its special ruby-colored glass. Desperate to discover the formula, the townspeople turn to superstition and murder. When a mystic appears out of the mountains, will his premonitions save them or foretell their doom?

Despite its three star rating and upon reading some of the "better reviews", I placed it upon our Netflix Queue and Sue and I ended up viewing it one evening.

I must say that it was one of the strangest viewing experiences that either or both of us had. Everything, especially the actors lines, methods of delivery, their mode of delivery, the plot seemed to be out of place. Well, we made it to the bitter end. A few days later, I went online to do some further research on this film and the director. Much to my surprise, I discovered the following:

In his tireless crusade to expand the vocabulary of cinema, Werner Herzog turned Heart of Glass into a bold and challenging experiment. By placing all but one of his actors under hypnosis, Herzog achieved his desired effect, eliciting performances that seem oddly detached and trancelike, perfectly appropriate to a story about 19th-century Bavarian villagers who have lost their collective vision, cast adrift and descending into madness. They've lost the life-sustaining secret to the magical ruby-red glass that was once made in the local glassworks, and their predicament cannot be solved by the mystic (Josef Bierbichler, the only actor not hypnotized) who appears with premonitions of the fate of all humankind. All of this is mere pretense for Herzog's loftier (and not altogether successful) ambition: to present haunting, mysterious images that seem directly drawn from our collective subconscious. In his visionary defiance of conventional narrative, Herzog crafted a timeless, mesmerizing allegory, and one of the most eerily beautiful films ever made. --Jeff Shannon

I not certain that I would (totally) agree with the following review, but it also provided some greater insight into our viewing experience.

The essential metaphor which beats at the heart of glass, is the terrible and frightening fragility of existence. Hias the prophet, sees a future in which not only the village is engulfed in flames, but the world itself, he foresees the raise of nazism and like a good many Herzog productions the echoes of fascism reverberate. This is a village in which the capitalist dictator who owns the glass factory, can enter peoples houses on a whim and take their property, and can almost get away with murder. That murder, insanity and death should hang palpably over this film is no accident; the glass is red for a reason as it represents the very life essence of the village, with the demise of its vital ingredient, so the village slowly dies. Herzog's articulation of this mass breakdown is rendered beautifully, in a way which is quite simply painterly. Whether one considers the hypnotism of many cast members a gimmick or not, the result is perhaps the most accurately displayed example of mass hysteria committed to celluloid. There is an abyss at the centre of the film, which the audience itself finds itself walking into. A sense of somnambulism which emerges out of the screen. Structurally this is a confusing film, jumping all over the place, no regard for time or space - which gives it a dream logic perfect to the content of the film. The forces of creation and destruction are at work in this film and in many ways it is reminiscent of FATA MORGANA. Like the earlier film HEART OF GLASS is challenging and disturbing and in my opinion has the greatest opening 10 minutes in cinema. Wonderfully obtuse, wonderfully mythical - Herzog's finest moment.

If one is seriously in the history of film, etc., this film makes for an interesting view and brings up an interesting matter of discussion: how does one "translate" certain feelings, expressions, caresses, etc. onto a piece of film.

Worth a look? - perhaps, but I gave only one star after returning it.

So it pays to do your "homework" with regard to many films - not just foreign.

A few additional suggestions:

1.

Enigma

Having been born modest and at an early age (1941), I grew up during the reign of World War II movies and somehow became intrigued with submarine movies a little more than the others. Aside from Das Boot, I would give a high recommendation to Enigma for a number reasons. Although it is a World War II dealing with the time period when the Nazis added a fifth wheel to the Navel Enigma machine and through British intelligence into completely disarray, this is a multi-layered film - namely the breaking of the new code; romance; and mystery - which many people will appreciate. While Sue normally doesnt usually go for WW II movies, she well appreciated Enigma and weve added it to our growing collection. It has good to excellent reviews with a few poor ones thrown in.

Heres one review:

I read the book after watching the film and my initial impression was the film was better; how often does that happen? When you find out Mick Jagger is a prime force behind the film you begin to realize the attention to detail and historic accuracy. He has his own Enigma machine! At the center of the story, but not revealed until near the end is a war crime as horrible as any ever committed. Who did it? Our ally, our enemy? Is everything 100% believable, probably not, but you get the sense of urgency of what they were doing at Bletchy Park. These were men and women fighting a war with pure intelligence. The problem of creating a British film suitable for an American audience may or may not have been achieved, but if intelligence is what the British want, then they got it, and we Americans need to sharpen up a bit. Jeremy Northam's character has a biting edge that got my attention, using his subtle but direct questions that penetrate with that British humor. The way the story merges from present to past is excellent, bringing the correct piece of information in at the right time. Saffron Burrows' (poor you) character is smart and sexy, creating the Romilly effect on each man she comes in contact with. I was impressed with Kate Winslet's prudish character, conservative, but convinced to take chances, confronting her superiors with subtle tact and wit. How Dougray Scott manages to look constantly exhausted is something I don't understand, did he just not sleep during the filming? This "historical fiction" is believable because its based on a truly world changing event. Do you need to be smart to understand it? Watch and find out for yourself.

Unfortunate, the real, main character of the real story, Alan Turing, is missing. He was "the autistic savant" - the mathematical genius - "who, very possibly, was instrumental in winning the second world war." Derek Jacobi played Alan Turing in a BBC Masterpiece Theatre production.

Further information on Turings contributions and his "interesting" life can be found here: AlanTuring

2.

Among the recently viewed and recommended is:The Last of the Blonde Bombshells

Since seeing Judi Dench in Chocolate, we have become an admirer of her work. While this film isnt as exceptional as some of her other films, it is very, very good.

Heres the synopsis followed by two short reviews:

While grieving after the loss of her husband, a widow (Judi Dench) finds comfort in an old friend: her saxophone. A chance meeting with a man from her past (Ian Holm) prompts her to reunite her all-girl bandmates who played all over England during World War II -- for one last gig. As she tracks down each one, she remembers what made them swing. Includes cameos from Leslie Caron, Olympia Dukakis and Cleo Laine.

Get Judy Dench, Olympia Dukakis, Cleo Laine, and Ian Holm together and you're bound to have a good time. This film is Haagen Dasz for the brain - a wonderfully acted piece about the coming together after 50 or so years of an all-girls "big band" in England. It's "League of their Own" in the music world. How fascinating to see how each band member's life has developed over the years. Some good, some not so good. But all superbly acted and a whole lot of fun!

My wife and I loved this movie but it's another of those movies where our opinion is very biased. We grew up in England during WWII and after the war was over and the Yanks had all gone back home we used to dance several times every week in dancehalls to live big band music and compositions just like the ones that the "Blonde Bombshells" played. We have also seen Dame Judy Dench in so many great movies and TV shows that anything with her in it always seems to be good. Younger people, such as my kids probably wouldn't like it, and as for the grandchildren, forget it!!!

3.

Along the same WW II nostalgic lines, I highly recommend Mrs Henderson Presents

What makes this film also interesting is the history of the Windmill Theatre

If I had to really choose between these two Judi Dench films, I think that I would give a slight edge to Mrs. Henderson Presents - probably because of the wonderful inter-play between Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins. Ive included the synopsis and two reviews:

Having already cultivated an offbeat reputation among high society in 1930s London, Laura Henderson (Judi Dench) embarks on her newest adventure: the transformation of an old movie theater into the Windmill, a space that will host, of all things, a nude musical revue. Members of her social circle don't quite know what to make of Mrs. Henderson's controversial enterprise, a shocking venture that has everyone up in arms.

When one thinks of Stephen Frears, one might think of "Dangerous Liaisons" and "High Fidelity" as I do. If thats the case, then one also thinks then of the wonderful witty banter that is so predominant in both of these films; "Mrs. Henderson Presents" follows in the same thread. Bob Hoskins and Judi Dench make this an enjoyable treat of a movie with their back and forth banter. It is classic British comedy that embeds itself in playful tongue-in-cheek so that one can become enamoured with the characters before moving into more serious matters; and though the movie takes place during the fire-bombing of London, it emphasizes not the evils of the world but all the simple joys that should be cherished. Though the script is well-written in its back and forth word-play, it is the characters that sustain the film and the superb acting gives everything its depth and nuance that connects the viewer to these people and their intertwining lives. All the characters are vibrant from Hoskins and Denchs main characters all the way to Christopher Guests downplayed Lord Chamberlain, Kelly Reillys young statuesque beauty, and Will Youngs lisping male virtuoso of the stage. All in all a fabulous treat for those who enjoy Frears movies. This might not be a movie for everyone, but if you enjoy British comedy nuance, wonderful witty banter, and great acting, then I recommend this for you. If you dont enjoy nuance, I suggest something a bit more blatant like "Wedding Crashers."

Apart from spectacular vaudeville staging, Judi Dench plays her eccentric, mischievous widow to perfection and the excellent Bob Hoskins is cast surprisingly out of type as a reserved, rather complex, gentlemanly but iron-willed theatre manager. Their argumentative relationship is amusing without being overbearing, as the film is essentially a nicely balanced ensemble piece. Well constructed film based on true events in the history of the Windmill Theatre.

4.

Probably at the top or at least on equal terms with Amadeus is Fanny and Alexander Shortly after watching Siskel & Ebert review this film many years ago, I saw that it was playing a few weeks later and took my then young daughter, Heather, to see it. What a visual delight and a feast for the eyes, body, and soul to say the least.

The link above will take you the new Criterion Collection edition, which I received as a gift two Christmas ago. This link will take you to the Theatrical Version at Netflix: Fanny and Alexander - Netflix

Highly recommended, extraordinary, and a Masterpiece Film. Below is a long synopsis and then one review.

Amazon.com essential video

It was instantly acclaimed the crowning masterwork of Ingmar Bergman's career, and time has not dimmed the Olympian status of Fanny and Alexander. Bergman drew upon memories of his own childhood for this portrait of the Ekdahls, the upper-class Swedish family whose celebrations and tribulations are seen through the eyes of 10-year-old Alexander (Bertil Guve). The world of the theater, of puppet shows and magic lanterns, does battle in this scenario with the cold realities of the palace of the bishop--a man whose influence over Alexander's mother gives the movie the stark outlines of a fairy tale.

As for the Criterion five-disc DVD: This may be the most beautiful DVD release ever devoted to a single film. The original 188-minute international release is here, of course, in all its original glory. (It won four Oscars: foreign language film, costumes, art direction/set decoration, and cinematography--the last to longtime Bergman collaborator Sven Nykvist.) An audio commentary by Peter Cowie gives useful background.

That film was carved out of Bergman's preferred 312-minute version, telecast on Swedish TV and included here. While the shorter cut remains a wonderful movie, and complete unto itself, the five-hour film is a deep, luxurious expansion. There is more of the Christmas Eve party that begins the film, more of the theater, more of Alexander's imagination. Especially meaningful is a long sequence between Fanny and Alexander and their doomed father, as he demonstrates the nature of storytelling with a simple chair.

Also here is The Making of Fanny and Alexander, Bergman's feature-length self-portrait, and a fascinating look at the rapt attention he bestows on actors and camera. DVD extras include a penetrating hourlong TV interview Bergman gave in 1984, and a 40-minute documentary shot in 2004 with reminiscences from cast and crew (including actors Guve, Pernilla August, and Erland Josephson). A handsome booklet includes essays by Rick Moody and Paul Arthur, and one disc is made up of pithy introductions shot by Bergman in 2003, for 11 of his classics, plus a sampling of trailers. Fanny and Alexander was Bergman's final theatrical film, though he has gone right on making TV movies and writing screenplays. This is a fitting treatment of his triumph. --Robert Horton

One of the greatest movies of the past fifty years, an absolute gem and one of the most realistic portrayals of youth ever caught on film. This movie will haunt you for days, it's breathtaking, frightening, funny, sad, it runs all the gamut of emotions, the epitome of a timeless film that transcends any language. Within any darkness there is always light, and when the light is revealed in this movie, it is an overwhelming flood of joy, magical and dark, it captures both worlds in their peak. The story is a semi autobiographical reflection from Ingmar Bergman's own childhood and is very telling in his body of work, where religion was always portrayed in a very dark and powerful oppressor. Fanny & Alexander is Bergman's crowning jewel, which is saying a lot, I mean he's responsible for these favorites of mine, The Virgin Spring, Cries & Whispers, Wild Strawberries... Also, the acting is as good as it gets, with the lead boy being the absolute best!

5.

The Magdalene Sisters

The Magdalene Sisters is not a "light" film, but it is - IMHO - a must see. High and extensive ratings, highly recommended and will someday add it to our small collection of DVDs. Interviews with some of the actual Magdalene Sisters women is included in the DVD.

As usual, a synopsis and two reviews (2nd review by Roger Ebert):

This unflinching drama charts several years in the young lives of four "fallen women" who were rejected by their families and abandoned to the mercy of the Catholic Church in 1960s Ireland. While women's liberation sweeps the globe, these women are stripped of their liberty and dignity and condemned to indefinite servitude in The Magdalene Laundries, so that they may atone for their "sins."

I put off seeing this film because I knew when I watched it, it was going to be a kick in the gut. It was. The Magdalene Sisters tells the story of four girls who are essentially sold into the slavery of the Catholic Church for redemption of their sins. If you are not familiar with the Magdalene order just imagine a place where pure evil is masqueraded behind a mask of supposed virtue. Imagine a place where a nun can stip down a group of young women and critique their bodies, where another nun can dispense severe corporal punishment on a whim, where priests are given a blind eye as they sexually abuse the girls in the church's keep. This movie will take you unflinchingly to that place. It's hard to watch at times but the acting is strong. The story is relavent and moving. The direction is fantastically understated. This film really has it all. One of my favorite films that I have seen in a long time. Some have said this movie was anti-catholic. Hmmm, well, it certainly doesn't show a pretty side of the church. But this film, I also watched a few documentaries on the Magdalene order, is honest. It has first person accountability. And maybe we should look at this coupled with the priest sexual abuse scandals and try to figure out what is going on with the church. Anyway, that's not the point of this review, I just want to get as many people as I can to watch this film because it really is moving and well worth your time.

I was an unmarried girl I'd just turned 27 When they sent me to the sisters For the way men looked at me. --Joni Mitchell, "The Magdalene Laundries" Here is a movie about barbaric practices against women, who were locked up without trial and sentenced to forced, unpaid labor for such crimes as flirting with boys, becoming pregnant out of wedlock, or being raped. These inhuman punishments did not take place in Afghanistan under the Taliban, but in Ireland under the Sisters of Mercy. And they are not ancient history. The Magdalene Laundries flourished through the 1970s and processed some 30,000 victims; the last were closed in 1996.

"The Magdalene Sisters" is a harrowing look at institutional cruelty, perpetrated by the Catholic Church in Ireland, and justified by a perverted hysteria about sex. "I've never been with any lads ever," one girl says, protesting her sentence, "and that's the god's honest truth." A nun replies: "But you'd like to, wouldn't you?" And because she might want to, because she flirted with boys outside the walls of her orphanage, she gets what could amount to a life sentence at slave labor.

This film has been attacked by the Catholic League, but its facts stand up; a series of Irish Times articles on the Internet talk of cash settlements totaling millions of pounds to women who were caught in the Magdalene net. What is inexplicable is that this practice could have existed in our own time, in a Western European nation. The laundries were justified because they saved the souls of their inmates--but what about the souls of those who ran them? Raised in the Catholic Church in America at about the same time, I had nothing but positive experiences. The Dominican Sisters who taught us were dedicated, kind and brilliant teachers, and when I see a film like this I wonder what went wrong in Ireland--or right at St. Mary's Grade School in Champaign-Urbana.

"The Magdalene Sisters" focuses on the true stories of three girls who fell into the net. As the film opens, we see Margaret (Anne-Marie Duff) lured aside by a relative at a family wedding, and raped. When she tells a friend what has happened, the word quickly spreads, and within days it is she, not the rapist, who is punished. Her sentence, like most of the Magdalene sentences, is indefinite, and as she goes to breakfast on her first morning she passes a line of older women who have been held here all their lives.

Two others: Bernadette (Nora-Jane Noone) is the girl who flirted with boys outside her orphanage, and Rose (Dorothy Duffy) is pregnant out of wedlock. She bears her child because abortion would be a sin, only to have it taken from her by the parish priest, who ships her off to a Magdalene institution.

Other inmates include Crispina (Eileen Walsh), whose crime is that she is mentally handicapped and might fall victim to men if not institutionalized. And there is an older prisoner who acts as a snitch to gain favor with the sisters. The nun in charge of this institution is a figure of pure evil named Sister Bridget (Geraldine McEwan), a sadist with a cruel streak of humor, who in one scene presides as new girls are forced to strip so their bodies and the size of their breasts can be compared. This is not fiction; the screenplay, by director Peter Mullan, is based on testimony by Magdalene inmates. McEwan's powerful, scary performance evokes scarcely repressed sadomasochism.

The drama in "The Magdalene Sisters" is not equal to its anger. The film turns, as I suppose it must, into a story of escape attempts. A previously inexperienced girl finds herself making direct carnal offers to a young truck driver, if he will slip her a key to the gate. A priest who violates Christina is paid back with poison ivy in his laundry. There is an escape attempt at the end that belongs more in an action film than in this protest against injustice.

But the closing credits reminds us once again that the Magdalene Laundries existed and did their evil work in God's name. The Church in Ireland has changed almost beyond recognition in recent years, and is now, like the American church, making amends for the behavior of some clergy. And the Irish Times articles report that some Protestant denominations had (and have) similar punishments for sexuality, real or suspected. The movie is not so much an attack on the Catholic Church as on the universal mind-set that allows transgressions beyond all decency, if they are justified by religious hysteria. Even today there are women walled up in solitary confinement in closed rooms in their own homes in the Middle East, punished for crimes no more serious, or trivial, that those of the Magdalene laundresses.


Movies suggested in the last several posts

1.

First on the list of newly suggested movies is Breaker Morant - Masterworks Edition

After reading the synopsis and the two reviews below, Ive added to our already long list of movies on Netflixs Queue - about 366 to be exact. In light our this countrys current unjustified presence in Iraq, I wonder what additional light this film might shed on our own situation.

Three Australian soldiers (Edward Woodward, Bryan Brown and Lewis Fitz-Gerald) find themselves court-martialed for murder in 1901, at the end of South Africa's bloody Boer War. With just one day to prepare a defense, attorney major J.F. Thomas (Jack Thompson) must retrace his clients' steps -- and prove they acted under orders. Based on a play by Kenneth Ross, the film won 10 Australian Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

This is one of my favorite movies of all time, and one that many people have never heard of, let alone seen. It centers around the a true story of the court-marshal of a group of Australian soldiers fighting for the British against a group of white South Africans. Told from the Australian's point of view, I understand that the Australians are perhaps more sympathetic than they might have been in reality and the British less so, but that is not the issue. This story is the very definition of "Kangaroo Court," with the British politically motivated to find the defendants guilty. It is riveting, heartbreaking, sad and yet funny at times, with a sprinkling of action and not a bad actor or moment throughout. The fact that the story is true only lends weight to the action. If you are a fan of courtroom dramas such as "A Few Good Men" you must see this movie.

This is perhaps the best military/courtroom drama ever made. And the issues raised by the story are timeless and applicable to every war since the Boer War of the 1890s. Men tasked to fight wars by civilian and military leaders are expendable, a historically undisputed truth. Here, Morant and his men followed the very orders of their leaders, only to find themselves expendable when those leaders saw an opening for political and diplomatic gain. Morant was killed by his government when it became convenient to do so. Woodward, Brown and Thompson are brillant. Woodward is perhaps the most underrated actor of the '70s and '80s...he exudes the emotional resignation of Morant while refusing to surrender Morant's pride and integrity. This is Bruce Beresford best film and it remains as topical today as it did in the early 1980s.

2.

Cry Freedom

Since this film is not listed as a "foreign film", but under the "genres" of a "Drama"; a "Political Dramas"; and a "Tearjerker" Ill just pass and provide the link above.

3.

Again, since Hotel Rowanda is not listed as a "foreign film" under Netflixs genres listing, Ill also pass and just provide this link.

4.

Le Trou - The Hole

Even though this film currently has 3.75 stars, Ive added to my own queue because of a few well written reviews. It should be noted that there were mixed reviews of this film. Heres the synopsis and one exceptional review.

Claude Gaspard (Marc Michel) is in a Paris prison awaiting trial for the attempted murder of his wife. When Claude learns that a group of prisoners are plotting an escape, he decides to go along with their plan -- only to learn that his wife has dropped the charges and his sentence has been reduced. He still agrees to participate in the jailbreak, knowing that he's risking his freedom by doing so. This was director Jacques Becker's last film.

Those of you who love world cinema will love Le Trou (1960), an amazing prison-break movie from the master of understatement and realism, Jacques Becker, who died shortly after this brilliant film's release. As in Becker's other films like Casque Dor and Touchez Pas Au Grisbi--also both undeniable masterpieces--Le Trou is not only interested in its story of a five prisoner escape from a brutal French prison, but also in its characterizations, which are all first rate. Le Trou (The Hole) is mezmerizing in its intensity, with a suspense level that never lets up. You will love the characters in this film, so much that by the end you will be rooting for them to succeed. Francois Truffaut called Le Trou a perfect film; that sounds about right. The Criterion Collection has issued a print that looks and sounds beautiful, and should once again be commended for bringing the films of Jacques Becker to light.

5. While March of the Penguins is a remarkable film, it is - obviously - not a "foreign film" and so - once again, I shall just provide this link.

6.

La Gloire de Mon Pre - My Fathers Glory looks intriguing, is rated with 4.5 stars and has a number of short, but excellent reviews.

As usual, heres the synopsis and two reviews - (2nd review by Roger Ebert)

Based on the best-selling memoirs of French novelist and filmmaker Marcel Pagnol, this humorous and captivating recollection of a young boy's life in turn-of-the-century southern France focuses on his memorable summer holidays. Mystified by nature, Marcel turns to his father for an education on the ways of the wild. But his father comes up short in Marcel's eyes when Uncle Jules, an experienced woodsman, proves to be far more knowledgeable.

Here we are offered a cinematic memoir of turn of the century France that is unparalled in it's pure beauty. Only the sequel, "My Mother's Castle" rivals this movie, they are equally amazing and both are among France's best. It so magnificently recreates it's own world that there is no separation between viewer and viewed. Every actor here, including the children, becomes their character completely. The innocence, the human-ness of this simple story will leave a sweet impression that will last you a lifetime. Of course this isn't for everyone, it has a leisurely pace, is subtitled and is sans special effects or artifice of any kind. I love this movie and will certainly watch it again someday. A delight.

"My Father's Glory" is the first in a series of two films that creep up on you with small moments of warmth and charm. At first this film and its companion, "My Mother's Castle," don't seem to be about much of anything. They meander. To a viewer accustomed to the machinery of plots, they play like a simple series of episodes. Then the episodes add up to a childhood. And by the end of the second film, the entire foundation for a life has been re-created, in memories of the perfect days of childhood. Of course the films are sentimental. Who would want it any other way? "My Father's Glory" is based on the childhood of Marcel Pagnol, the French novelist and filmmaker whose twinned novels, Jean de Florette and Manon of the Spring, were turned into wonderful films a few years ago. Those were stories based on melodrama and coincidence, telling of a poor city man who tries to make a living from the land, the bitter local farmers who hide the existence of a spring from him, and the shocking poetic justice that punishes a cruel old man. The films provided showcases for the considerable talents of Yves Montand and Gerard Depardieu, the two ranking stars of French cinema.

There are no recognizable stars in "My Father's Glory" - and there's no melodrama, either. The movie is narrated by the hero, Marcel, as an adult. We see him as a young man of 10 or 12. His father, Joseph, is a schoolteacher in the city, and his mother, Augustine, is a paragon of domestic virtue. One summer they journey out to the hills of Provence to take a cottage and spend their vacation. These hills are to become the focus of Marcel's most enduring love affair. He loves the trees and the grasses, the small birds and the eagle that nests high in a crag, the pathways up rock faces and the way that voices carry from one side of a valley to another.

His guide and teacher for the lore of Provence is a local boy named Lili, who becomes his fast friend. Together they explore the countryside, which in this film seems bathed in a benevolent light and filled with adventures but not with dangers. The evenings are spent sitting around a battered old table in the yard, under a tree, eating the food that Augustine has prepared from the local markets and orchards.

There are others in his life: Uncle Jules, so full of secrets and wit, who becomes married to the charming Aunt Rose. And all of the local people, who seem through good luck to have found the place, the occupation and the partner who will make them contented. The nights are filled with stars, and dreams of adventure.

The days with Lili are spent learning the names and ways of all the living things that share the valley. Then autumn comes, and school begins again, and Marcel must leave his beloved hills.

The movie has a deliberate nostalgic tone. It is most definitely intended as a memory. The narrator's voice reminds us of that, but the nature of the events makes it clear, too. What do we remember from our childhoods? If we are lucky, we recall the security of family rituals, our admiration for our parents, and the bittersweet partings with things we love. Childhood ends, in a sense, the day we discover that summer does not last forever.

Because not much "happens" in these films, there is more time for things to happen. There is time to dash out of the rain and into a cave, and discover that a great eagle has gotten there first.

Time to run through the dusty orchards and climb up hills to the top of the world. Time to admire the perfect handwriting of Joseph, as he writes out the lessons on the board. Time to bask in the snug bourgeois security of the family, which is blessed, for a time, with perfect happiness.

"My Father's Glory" is opening now, and "My Mother's Castle," the continuation, will open in a few weeks. That is the best way to see them - the first film about memory becoming a memory itself, to be reawakened by the second. What is surprising about the two films is the way they creep up on you emotionally, until at the end of the second one, when we discover the meaning of the movie's title, there is a deeply moving moment of truth and insight. The films were directed by Yves Robert, whose previous titles, including "The Tall Blonde Man with One Black Shoe," did not prepare me for the joy and serenity of these films. Like all the best movies, these memories of Marcel Pagnol work by becoming our memories, as well.


7.

Since Whale Rider has already been recommended and reviewed, I shall just provide this link.

8.

In my meanderings around the "foreign film" section of Netflix some days prior to seeing this post and posting responses, Ive already added Zelary to our Queue. Highly rated and recommended.

Here is a synopsis followed by two short reviews.

This gorgeously shot World War II drama tells the story of a clash between two different worlds and two different people. Eliska, a nurse in a city hospital, donates her blood to save the life of injured mountain-dweller Joza, and the two form a strong bond. When the resistance group Eliska belongs to is discovered by the Gestapo, she's forced to seek refuge with Joza, leaving her urban life behind and starting anew in the remote mountains.

This WWII epic uses the war as a catalyst for a deeper story of two worlds colliding and eventually learning from each other. Eliska is a young city girl who has helped the Czech resistance movement one time too many and now must find a way to hide from the Gestapo or be killed. Joza is middle aged woodcutter from the country who has been brought to the hospital where Eliska works as a nurse. Joza's life has been saved and he offers to hide and protect Eliska in gratitude. This requires their marriage of convenience in order to be accepted by Joza's fellow villagers and to elude detection by authorities. What starts out as a prickly relationship blossoms into a deep and abiding love that only the war can tear asunder. What makes this film so good is the attention paid to the varied villagers as well as our central couple. The cinematography is rich in detail and scope. This is a love story that it will be hard to forget for a very long time. Highly recommended.

Anna Geislerova and Gyorgy Cserhalmi give strong performances. Their love for each other evolves as the drama of Hana's escape from the Nazis unfolds in a remote farming village. The beauty and simplicity of Hana's surroundings and the gentle strength and caring of Josa gradually seduce her and transform her into a woman who can girlishly enjoy the simple pleaures of life without sacrificing her talents and ambitions as a member of the resistance. Excellent performances by this predominantly Slovakian cast.

9.

Bob Le Flambeur - Bob the Gambler

Although has achieved a four star status, is historically significant, and has received good reviews, such as Roger Eberts below, I have placed it my queue and have let it rise by itself. Since this is a film about a gambler, I believe a more interesting non-foreign film to watch is Owning Mahoney starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who starred as Capote in the film of the same name.

Heres the synopsis and Roger Eberts review:

In Jean-Pierre Melville's intelligent drama, Bob (Roger Duchesne) is a compulsive gambler with a deep well of compassion. He's a father figure to street kids Paulo (Daniel Cauchy) and Anne (Isabelle Corey), and he cares for them as if they were his own. When he runs out of money, the three hatch a plan to rob a Deauville casino. Can they pull off the ultimate heist, or has Bob run out of luck?

Before the New Wave, before Godard and Truffaut and Chabrol, before Belmondo flicked the cigarette into his mouth in one smooth motion and walked the streets of Paris like a Hollywood gangster, there was Bob. "Bob le Flambeur," Bob the high-roller, Bob the Montmartre legend whose style was so cool, whose honor was so strong, whose gambling was so hopeless, that even the cops liked him. Bob with his white hair slicked back, with his black suit and tie, his trenchcoat and his Packard convertible and his penthouse apartment with the slot machine in the closet. Bob, who on the first day of this movie wins big at the races and then loses it all at roulette, and is cleaned out. Broke again.

Jean-Pierre Melville's "Bob le Flambeur" (1955) has a good claim to be the first film of the French New Wave. Daniel Cauchy, who stars in it as Paolo, Bob's callow young friend, remembered that Melville would shoot scenes on location using a handheld camera on a delivery bike, "which Godard did in 'Breathless,' but this was years before Godard." Melville worked on poverty row, and told his actors there was no money to pay them, but that they would have to stand by to shoot on a moment's notice. "Right now I have money for three or four days," he told Cauchy, "and after that we'll shoot when we can."

This film was legendary but unseen for years, and Melville's career is only now coming into focus. He shot gangster movies, he worked in genres, but he had such a precise, elegant simplicity of style that his films play like the chamber music of crime. He was cool in the 1950s sense of that word. His characters in "Bob" glide through gambling dens and nightclubs "in those moments," Melville tells us in the narration, "between night and day ... between heaven and hell."

His story involves a gambler named Bob Montagne (Roger Duchesne), who is known to everybody. Yvonne (Simone Paris), who owns the corner bar, bought it with a loan from Bob. A local police inspector (Guy Decomble) had his life saved when Bob pushed a killer's arm aside. Paolo (Cauchy) is under Bob's wing because his father was Bob's old friend. As the movie opens, Bob sees a young streetwalker named Anne (Isabelle Corey) eat some French fries and then accept a ride from a client on a scooter. Later, when Anne seems about to fall into the power of the pimp Marc (Gerard Buhr), Bob orders Marc away and brings Anne home to his apartment--not to sleep with her, because that would not be cool, but as a favor to Paolo.

It is 1955. Bob has gone straight for 20 years. Before that, we understand, there was a bank job that led to some time in prison. Bob was a gangster in prewar Paris; "it's not the same anymore," he observes. Cauchy, whose memories are included in a filmed monologue on the DVD, explains that the war brought an end to the old criminal way of life: "These days, gangsters are pathetic delinquents. Gangsters back then, there was more to them." Everybody understands that Bob belongs to the old school.

Melville (1917-1973) was born Grumberg. He changed his name in admiration for the author of Moby Dick. He was a lover of all things American. He went endlessly to American movies, he visited America, he shot a film in New York ("Two Men in Manhattan"), and Cauchy remembers, "He drove an American car and wore an American hat and Ray-Bans, and he always had the Armed Forces Network on his car radio, listening to Glenn Miller." He inhaled American gangster films, but when he made his own, they were not copies of Hollywood but were infused by understatement, a sense of cool; his characters need few words because so much goes without saying, especially when it comes to what must be done, and how it must be done, and why it must be done that way.

"Bob le Flambeur" opens by establishing the milieu. We see water trucks washing the streets at dawn. We follow Bob to the track, to the casino, and finally back to the neighborhood to lose his final 200 francs. He hears an amazing thing: The safe of the casino at Deauville sometimes contains 800 million francs. He determines to assemble a gang of friends and experts and crack it.

Melville is well aware of the convention where a mastermind uses a chart so his confederates (and the audience) can understand the logistics of a heist, but "Bob le Flambeur" surprises us: First, Bob walks everyone through their paces inside a large chalk outline of the casino, painted on the grass of an empty field. Then, "here's how Bob pictured the heist," the narrator tells us, and we see the gang moving through a casino which, in this fantasy, is entirely empty of customers or employees.

The scheme is fairly simple, involving gunmen who hold everyone at bay while an expert cracks the safe. As the expert practices on a duplicate safe, he uses earphones and finally an oscilloscope to hear what the tumblers are doing, and Melville punctuates the intense silence of this rehearsal with shots of the safecracker's dog, a German Shepherd who pants cheerfully and seems encouraged by his progress.

The safecracker is played by Rene Salgue, who was, Cauchy says, a real gangster. It was not easy for Melville to find successful actors who would agree to work for nothing and drop everything when he had raised more money; Duchesne, who plays Bob, was considered a risk because of a drinking problem. And as for Isabel Corey, whose performance as Anne is one of the best elements of the movie, Melville picked her up off the street. Offered her a ride in his American car. Found out she was almost 16.

Partially as a result of the legend of "Bob," famous actors came around later. Melville's "Le Cercle Rouge" (1970), which his admirer John Woo restored for a 2003 release, stars Alain Delon and Yves Montand. Delon also worked for him in "Le Samourai" (1967), and "Un Flic" (1972); Jean-Paul Belmondo was in "Aine des Ferchaux," also known as "Magnet of Doom" (1963). Oddly enough, Jean Gabin, the quintessential French crime actor, who specialized in the kind of restrained acting Melville admired, never worked with him.

The actors are not required to do much. Like actors in a Bresson film, they embody more than they evoke. Most of what we think about Bob is inspired by what people say about him and how they treat him. Duchesne plays the character as poker-faced; he narrows his eyes, but never widens them, and after Paolo blabs in bed to Anne about the plan and she blabs in bed to Marc, who is a police informer, Bob slaps her and walks out without betraying any emotion. Oh, first he leaves the key to his apartment with Yvonne, "for the kid," because he knows Anne will need a place to stay now that Bob knows about Paolo and Paolo knows about Marc.

Women are the source of most of the trouble in Bob's world. Anne's imprudence is repaired in the film, but there is also betrayal from the wife of a casino employee, who finds out about the plot from her husband. Melville liked women, Cauchy tells us, but he preferred to hang out with his pals, talking about the movies. Bob gets Anne a job as a bar girl in a nightclub, notes her quick advancement to cigarette girl and then to "hostess," and tries his best to prevent Marc from becoming her pimp.

One night, perhaps because despite her coldness she feels a certain gratitude, she hands Bob a flower. The gesture must have meant something to Melville, whose "Le Cercle Rouge" also has a man being offered a flower by a cigarette girl.

The climax of "Bob le Flambeur" involves surprising developments that approach cosmic irony. How strange, that a man's incorrigible nature would lead him both into and through temptation. The twist is so inspired that many other directors have borrowed it, including Paul Thomas Anderson in "Hard Eight," Neil Jordan in "The Good Thief," and Lewis Milestone and Steven Soderbergh, the directors of the "Ocean's Eleven" movies. But "Bob" is not about the twist. It is about Bob being true to his essential nature. He is a gambler.

10.

Next on the suggested list is Le Cercle Rouge - The Red Circle which is by the same director as the recommended film noted above. Since this has a higher rating and also excellent reviews, Ill also put it on my list of movies and may bump it up a notch or two as time goes by.

Again, here is the synopsis and a review by Roger Ebert:

French director Jean-Pierre Melville's hugely influential film remains a cornerstone of the crime genre. Recently released from prison, thief Corey (Alain Delon) finds himself caught up in a dangerous triangle with a mysterious man (Gian Maria Volonte) and an ex-cop with some pressing issues of his own (Yves Montand). This bona fide classic is considered the epitome of cool.

Gliding almost without speech down the dawn streets of a wet Paris winter, these men in trench coats and fedoras perform a ballet of crime, hoping to win and fearing to die. Some are cops and some are robbers. To smoke for them is as natural as breathing. They use guns, lies, clout, greed and nerve with the skill of a magician who no longer even thinks about the cards. They share a code of honor which is not about what side of the law they are on, but about how a man must behave to win the respect of those few others who understand the code.

Jean-Pierre Melville watches them with the eye of a concerned god, in his 1970 film "Le Cercle Rouge." His movie involves an escaped prisoner, a diamond heist, a police manhunt and mob vengeance, but it treats these elements as the magician treats his cards; the cards are insignificant, except as the medium through which he demonstrates his skills.

Melville is a director whose films are little known in America; he began before the French New Wave, died in 1973, worked in genres but had a stylistic elegance that kept his films from being marketed to the traditional genre audiences. His "Bob le Flambeur," now available on Criterion DVD, has been remade as "The Good Thief" and inspired elements of the two "Ocean's Eleven" films, but all they borrowed was the plot, and that was the least essential thing about it.

Melville grew up living and breathing movies, and his films show more experience of the screen than of life. No real crooks or cops are this attentive to the details of their style and behavior. Little wonder that his great 1967 film about a professional hit man is named "Le Samourai"; his characters, like the samourai, place greater importance on correct behavior than upon success. (Jarmusch's "Ghost Dog" owes something to this value system.) "Le Cercle Rouge," or "The Red Circle," refers to a saying of the Buddha that men who are destined to meet will eventually meet, no matter what. Melville made up this saying, but no matter; his characters operate according to theories of behavior, so that a government minister believes all men, without exception, are bad. And a crooked nightclub owner refuses to be a police informer because it is simply not in his nature to inform.

The movie stars two of the top French stars of the time, Alain Delon and Yves Montand, as well as Gian Maria Volonte, looking younger here than in the spaghetti Westerns, and with hair. But it is not a star vehicle--or, wait, it is a star vehicle, but the stars ride in it instead of the movie riding on them. All of the actors seem directed to be cool and dispassionate, to guard their feelings, to keep their words to themselves, to realize that among men of experience almost everything can go without saying.

As the film opens, we meet Corey (Delon) as he is released from prison. He has learned of a way to hold up one of the jewelry stores of Place Vendome. Then we meet Vogel (Volonte), who is a handcuffed prisoner on a train, but picks the locks of the cuffs, breaks a window, leaps from the moving train, and escapes from the veteran cop Mattei (Andre Bourvil).

Fate brings Vogel and Corey together. On the run in the countryside, Vogel hides in the trunk of Corey's car. Corey sees him do this, but we don't know he does. He drives into a muddy field, gets out of his car, stands away from it, and tells the man in the trunk he can get out. The man does, holding a gun that Corey must have known he would find in the trunk. They regard each other, face to face in the muddy field. Vogel wants a smoke. Corey throws him a pack and a lighter.

Notice how little they actually say before Corey says "Paris is your best chance" and Vogel gets back in the trunk. And then notice the precision and economy of what happens next. Corey's car is being tailed by gunmen for a mob boss he relieved of a lot of money. It was probably due him, but still, that is no way to treat a mob boss. Corey pulls over. The gunsels tell him to walk toward the woods. He does. Then we hear Vogel tell them to drop their guns and raise their hands. Vogel picks up each man's gun with a handkerchief and uses it to shoot the other man--so the fingerprints will indicate they shot each other. Corey risked his life on the expectation that Vogel would know what to do and do it, and Corey was right.

There is one cool, understated scene after another. Note the way the police commissioner talks to the nightclub owner after he knows that the owner's son, picked up in an attempt to pressure the owner, has killed himself. Note what he says, and what he doesn't say, and how he looks. And note, too, how Jansen, the Yves Montand character, comes into the plot, and think for a moment about why he doesn't want his share of the loot.

The heist itself is performed with the exactness we expect of a movie heist. We are a little startled to realize it is not the point of the film. In most heist movies, the screenplay cannot think beyond the heist, is satisfied merely to deliver it. "Le Cercle Rouge" assumes that the crooks will be skillful at the heist, because they are good workmen. The movie is not about their jobs but about their natures.

Melville fought for the French Resistance during the war. Manohla Dargis of the Los Angeles Times, in a review of uncanny and poetic perception, writes: "It may sound far-fetched, but I wonder if his obsessive return to the same themes didn't have something to do with a desire to restore France's own lost honor." The heroes of his films may win or lose, may be crooks or cops, but they are not rats.

11.

Number eleven on this list is Diarios de motocicleta - The Motorcycle Diaries

Although Roger Ebert only gave this film 3 stars, the reviewers at Netflix have given it 4.5 stars. So Ive also added this film to our long growing queue. My own possible objection to this film may come from the manner in which it was shot as noted in the review below.

Again, here is the synopsis and one review.

This film tells the incredible true story of a 23-year-old medical student from Argentina, Che Guevara (yes, that Che, played here by Gael Garcia Bernal), who motorcycled across South America with his friend Alberto Granado (Rodrigo de la Serna) in 1951-52. The trek became a personal odyssey that ultimately crystallized the young man's budding revolutionary beliefs. Based on Che's own diaries of the trip.

A beautiful, thoughtful exploration of how a 5 month road trip across Latin America in 1952 made a lasting impression on a pair of idealistic young medical students, one of whom would later famously go on to become the Communist revolutionary Che Guevara. Exposed for the first time to rural peasants without adequate medical care, land rights or other basic necessities, we see how the seeds of social change are planted in the young Che's mind. Beautifully shot on hand held Aaton cameras, the film has a grainy documentary like feel to it. The acting is superb and the use of local, non-professional actors adds to the feel of authenticity in each country the two men visit. It's important to note that, unlike the lusty, vibrant road movie "Y tu mama tambien," this film is much more subdued, introspective and slow. Also, a word of caution for viewers who've suffered the violent consequences of well-intentioned militarists like Che: the film's depiction of him may feel overly reverential and sentimental. Personally, it left me sad knowing that such a promising young man would later cause so much harm. But politics aside, the film is unquestionably excellent. I highly recommend it.

12.

Number 12 on this growing list is Nowhere in Africa which I already had place in my queue some time ago. No wonder, the reviewers at Netflix have given this movie 4.75+ stars and Roger Ebert has given it 5 stars. Im looking forward to seeing it.

Here is the synopsis and Roger Eberts review:

Shortly before World War II, a Jewish couple and their young daughter emigrate to Kenya from Germany to escape the Nazis. Not all members of the family are happy with this drastic change -- but going home isn't an option. Ultimately, they must all come to terms with a new life in a new continent. Director Caroline Link's epic drama won the 2002 Oscar for best foreign film.

It is so rare to find a film where you become quickly, simply absorbed in the story. You want to know what happens next. Caroline Link's "Nowhere in Africa" is a film like that, telling the story of a German Jewish family who escapes from the Nazis by going to live and work on a farm in rural Kenya. It's a hard-scrabble farm in a dry region, and the father, who used to be a lawyer, is paid a pittance to be the manager. At first, his wife hates it. Their daughter, who is 5 when she arrives, takes to Africa with an immediate and instinctive love.

We see the mother and daughter, Jettel and Regina Redlich (Juliane Kohler and Lea Kurka), in their comfortable world in Frankfurt. The mother likes clothes, luxury, elegance. Her husband, Walter (Merab Ninidze), reading the ominous signs of the rise of Nazism, has gone ahead to East Africa and now writes asking them to join him--"and please bring a refrigerator, which we will really need, and not our china or anything like that." What Jettel brings is a ballroom gown, which will be spectacularly unnecessary.

The marriage is a troubled one. Jettel thinks herself in a godforsaken place and Walter, who works hard but is not a natural farmer, has little sympathy with her. Their sex life fades: "You only let me under your shirt when I'm a lawyer," he tells her once when his advance is turned away. But little Regina loves every moment of every day. She makes friends with the African children her age, with that uncomplicated acceptance that children have, and seems to learn their language overnight. She picks up their lore and stories, and is at home in the bush.

Jettel, meanwhile, has a rocky start with Owuor (Sidede Onyulo), the farm cook. He is a tall, proud, competent man from the regional tribe, the Masai, who soon loves Regina like his own daughter. Jettel makes the mistake of treating him like a servant when he sees himself as a professional. He never compromises local custom regarding cooks. Asked to help dig a well, he explains, "I'm a cook. Cooks don't dig in the ground." And for that matter, "Men don't carry water." They are outsiders here in three ways: as white people, as Germans and as Jews. The first presents the least difficulty because the tribal people on the land are friendly and helpful. Their status as Germans creates an ironic situation when war is declared and they are rounded up by the British colonial authorities as enemy aliens; this is absurd, since they are refugees from the enemy, but before the mistake can be corrected, they are transported to Nairobi and interred--ironically, in a luxury hotel that has been pressed into service. As high tea is served to them, a British officer asks the hotel manager if the prisoners need to be treated so well. "These are our standards and we are not willing to compromise," the manager replies proudly.

To the Africans, they are not Jews, Germans or aliens, but simply white farmers; the rise of anti-colonialism is still in the future in this district. Regina, so young when she left Europe, therefore hasn't tasted anti-Semitism until her parents send her into town to a boarding school. Now a pretty teenager (played by Karoline Eckertz), she is surprised to hear the headmaster say, "The Jews will stand outside the classroom as we recite the Lord's Prayer." As time passes and the beauty and complexity of the land becomes clear to Jettel, she begins slowly to feel more at home. Her husband is vindicated in moving his family to Africa; letters arrive with sad news of family members deported to death camps. But he always considers Africa a temporary haven, and his attention is focused on a return to Europe. Each member of the Redlich family has a separate arc: The mother grows to like Africa as the father likes it less, and their daughter loves it always.

The story is told through the eyes of the daughter (Eckertz is the narrator); Link's screenplay is based on a best-selling German novel by Stefanie Zweig, who treats such matters as Jettel's brief affair with a British officer as it might have been perceived, and interpreted, by the daughter. Link's style permits the narrative to flow as it might in memory, and although there are dramatic high points (such as a fire and a plague of locusts), they are not interruptions but part of the rhythm of African life, and are joined by the sacrifice of a lamb (for rain) and an all-night ritual ceremony that the young girl will never forget. Link's film, which won five German Film Awards, including best film, has now been nominated for an Academy Award as best foreign language film, and comes after another extraordinary film, her 1996 "Beyond Silence," also an Oscar nominee. That one was also about the daughter of a troubled marriage; the heroine was the hearing child of a deaf couple. I respond strongly to Link's interest in good stories and vivid, well-defined characters; this film is less message than memory, depending on the strength of the material to make all of the points. We feel as if we have lived it.

13.

Making number 13 on the list is Mon Oncle - My Uncle It received 4 stars from Netflix viewers and 5 stars from Roger Ebert. As usual, here is the synopsis following by a review at Netflix. Of course, Ive added it to our growing list.

Jacques Tati plays Monsieur Hulot, a self-absorbed chucklehead wrestling with neoteric gadgetry -- and losing -- in this satirical masterpiece that makes sport of mechanization, class distinctions and modernity. While visiting his sister's surreal, ultra-trendy home, Hulot finds himself incessantly at odds with newfangled contraptions that get the better of him. The tongue-in-cheek French comedy garnered a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

Made in 1958, "Mon Oncle" picked up the 1959 Oscar for best foreign language film. As with all Tati, the jokes are in the details and not in the story, it is among Tati's gifts that his gags are often so subtle as to threaten to get away unnoticed. If the plot is minimal, "Mon Oncle" may well be the first film to directly target rampant consumerism. Introduced by Terry Jones, the DVD also features an earlier movie by Tati, "LEcole Des Facteurs (the mailmenschool). There are few words or subtitles in this movie all is is the actions and situations. For those who have seen "Mr. Hulots Holiday" made 5 years ealier, M. Hulot is still the awkward, likable bachelor invariably attired in a sporty hat and trenchcoat, who clenched a pipe in his teeth at all times and takes an interest in anyone or anything that passes his way. Tatis Mr. Hulot embodied all that is warm and human in his homeland: he frequents the kind of small caf that Paris is famous for, buys food from vegetable carts, lives in a Mansard-roofed walk-up, and knows all his neighbors and all his neighbors' pets. In Hulot's France friendly dogs play the day away in packs, laundry hangs from balconies, and the girl downstairs has a taste for sweets. The kids buy crepes made by a street vendor that wipes his hands on his pants This contrasts with another kind of France wending its way into the Old World. It is an ultra-modern, fully automatic, squeaky clean and utterly sterile world where the young nephew lives. This last prefers the old, confused, jumbled, noisy even dirty Paris in which his uncle lives. He also prefers the company of his odd ball uncle to the one of his mother who cares more in impressing the neighborhood or of his father, an executive in a plastic factory. I recommend that you try this one; you may well discover a gem.


14.

Fourteen on this long list is Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot - M. Hulot's Holiday

Ive added it to our queue and as usual have provided the synopsis and two brief reviews below with a surprising revelation in the second review.

Jacques Tati followed his acclaimed directorial debut Jour de Fte with this gently satirical comedy that introduced Tati's alter ego, Monsieur Hulot. When Hulot spends a holiday at a seaside resort, he accidentally (but good-naturedly) wreaks havoc wherever he goes. Falling all over himself to impress a beautiful girl, Hulot inadvertently crashes a funeral, topples a priceless vase and ignites fireworks with his pipe -- all to hilarious effect.

A rarity in cinema: a poetic comedy. The official description doesn't do it justice, making it sound like an Ernest movie or something; this is slow, virtually silent comedy, with a plot kept purposefully thin so you can watch the physical and visual gags without distraction. This is a beautiful print, as well, much better than the old VHS transfer. If you watch the Terry Jones introduction, watch it afterwards, as it gives away a few small-but-tasty surprises.

When my mother was still in college she went to see this film's Chicago premier. Afterwards this overly tall guy left the theater imitating Jacques Tati. She joked about this to her friend who gasped- it WAS Jacques Tati. I saw this film around age 10 during a Jacques Tati film festival. I thought this was the greatest quiet film I had ever seen. Much like the summer vacations we'd take in old Maine fishing towns - as opposed to day trips to the boardwalk arcades- this film captures a certain kind of summer vacation. European, yes, but the recurring hit song that you hear everywhere, the interaction between kids and adults, unfulfilled crushes on the ladies. Don't look for something deeper than vacation itself. Kick back, open the windows, let the breeze flow in and let that same old song play again 50 years later. Mr. Hulot's Holiday is one of my top ten films.

Well folks, since it is long pass the "bewitching hour", I am going to temporarily call it a night and will continue tomorrow sometime.

Until then,

Bill

NOTES:

<none>
clipped on: 11.01.2006 at 02:31 pm    last updated on: 11.01.2006 at 02:32 pm

RE: Foreign Films 101 (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: bill_zone6 on 10.23.2006 at 01:15 am in Circle Theater Forum

Thanks much for the suggestions!

Some I like a lot. "Breaker Morant", "Cry Freedom", "Hotel Rwanda", "Le Trou", "March of the Penguins", "My Father's Glory", "Whale Rider", "Zelzary", "Bob Le Flambeur", "Le Cercle Rouge", "The Motorcycle Diaries", "Nowwhere in Africa".

NOTES:

<none>
clipped on: 11.01.2006 at 02:29 pm    last updated on: 11.01.2006 at 02:29 pm

RE: Foreign Films 101 (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: mozart2 on 10.22.2006 at 12:13 am in Circle Theater Forum

Agnesd

Now that you have a growing list of suggested movie, I am going to make the simple request that you keep us informed of the movies chosen and the general reaction of your audience.

Didn't suspect that you might end up with a wee bit of "homework". ;>)

1.

I tried to locate the film Le Mari de la Coiffeuse at netflix, but nothing came up either with the French title or the "translated" title: The Hairdresser's Husband.

You'll find information about this film here: Le Mari de la Coiffeuse Unfortunately, it is not currently available through Amazon and, obviously, I am not certain where you might be able to rent it. Sounds a bit interesting - only briefly read through the description.

2.

Cinema Paradiso

I've often thought about renting this movie, but have never done so. So I'll give thanks to Clairabelle putting it on her list of recommended movies. In the meantime, you might wish to pay attention to the following review as to which version might be chosen/view. Fortunately, both versions on on the same disc.

I'll be honest, on one hand I like director's cut, (mainly when they're the original edit before the studio trims it for time or rating), but am at the same time a little weary of "revisiting" clasic films. This seems like revisionist history to me, more than anything. Films often become a part of the public consciousness, and become diluted when re-worked. I think this new version is an example of that. I still give this director's cut 5 stars, I just didn't like it as much as the original theatrical version. I've see the theatrical version over a dozen times (including it's 1989 theatrical run), so the additional scenes give new insight into some familiar characters. It is certainly of interest to finally discover what happens to the young lovers after 30 years. However, I think the theatrical version has a better build and climax to the end. With all the new additions to the final third, I found the ending not as powerful or as emotional, and that's why I loved the filmed in the first place. If you've never seen Cinema Paradiso, I recommend the original theatrical version (also included on the B side of this disc). If you have seen it before, the Director's cut is certainly of interest, but it takes the film in a different direction. The film changes from being about Salvatore's love of film, for his love of Elena. And that probably isn't the film you originally fell in love with.

3.

Les Ripoux(FR)

Les Ripoux - My New Partner

Unfortunately, as well, I couldn't locate this film at netflix either under its french title or its translated one. Information on this film at Amazon is in French and I only took German in high school and during my undergraduate days.

I did, however, find the following information at the Rotten Tomatoes web site: Les Ripoux - My New Partner

Rene, a lowlife and corrupt undercover detective, is given a new partner, the rigorously honest and reputable Francois. When Francois refuses to adopt his partner's seedy lifestyle, a frustrated Rene resorts to an underhanded scheme to make Francois change his rule-following ways.

4.

Well this is getting really interesting. In checking with Amazon, I did find this movie, but it won't play on the usual DVD players unless you have a compatible system.

Viva la Vie

Germany released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: it WILL NOT play on standard US DVD player. You need multi-region PAL/NTSC DVD player to view it in USA/Canada. LANGUAGES: French (Dolby Digital 2.0), German (Dolby Digital 2.0), English (Subtitles), ANAMORPHIC WIDESCREEN (2.35:1), SYNOPSIS: The movie starts with an interview with director Claude Lelouch. He pleads viewers not to disclose the plot of the movie after leaving the projection room. Even the movie's trailer shows only a long sequence of faces gazing speechlessly in space. 'Like all my movies, this one is about a man and a woman', says Lelouch in the interview. SPECIAL FEATURES: Scene Access, Interactive Menu

However, just in case you're interested and have a compatible player, here's one small review source: Viva la Vie

5.

An Angel at My Table Well, it looks like we hit paydirt with this DVD.

Originally produced as a three-part miniseries for New Zealand television, this extraordinary film is based on the life of Janet Frame, an introverted, sensitive girl who was later misdiagnosed as schizophrenic and spent eight years in a psychiatric hospital. She would later become one of New Zealand's most celebrated poets and novelists, publishing her first books while she was still confined to a mental ward. She had endured over 200 electroshock treatments and had almost been lobotomized by careless physicians who took no time to understand that she was merely awkward and shy and suffered from little more than routine depression. From a solid screenplay by Laura Jones, director Jane Campion (The Piano) tells this story without soapy melodrama, but rather as an exploration of a challenged creative spirit--a journey into a writer's mind, exploring the power of imagination as a mechanism of survival and self-defense. Three talented actors play Janet Frame at different ages throughout the film, with Kerry Fox giving a powerful performance as the young-adult Janet, whose own skill and creative tenacity would prove to be her salvation. Frightening, harrowing, and ultimately a source of humanistic enlightenment, An Angel at My Table (titled after Frame's autobiography) is a film you won't soon forget. --Jeff Shannon

It looks exceptional and I've added to my Netflix Queue. You could pair it with The Chorus previously recommended - but show it at a later time. Either film might make for good topics for discussion, it that's also within your intent.

6.

Whalerider Obviously, an excellent choice; I have in our small DVD collection and I've given a copy to our granddaughters. Highly recommended. I would have recommended this film, but I suspect that it has been largely viewed within the U.S.

Here's a review:

One of the most charming and critically acclaimed films of 2003, the New Zealand hit Whale Rider effectively combines Maori tribal tradition with the timely "girl power" of a vibrant new millennium. Despite the discouragement of her gruff and disapproving grandfather (Rawiri Paratene), who nearly disowns her because she is female and therefore traditionally disqualified from tribal leadership, 12-year-old Pai (Keisha Castle-Hughes) is convinced that she is a tribal leader, and sets about to prove it. Rather than inflate this story (from a novel by Witi Ihimaera) with artificial sentiment, writer-director Niki Caro develops very real and turbulent family relationships, intimate and yet torn by a collision between stubborn tradition and changing attitudes. The mythic whale rider--the ultimate symbol of Maori connection to nature--is also the harbinger of Pai's destiny, and the appealing Castle-Hughes gives a luminous, astonishingly powerful performance that won't leave a dry eye in the house. With its fresh take on a familiar tale, Whale Rider is definitely one from the heart. --Jeff Shannon

For an interesting comparison, you might wish to also compare this film with Once Were Warriors
I've seen this film and it is superb, but it is more than a bit heavy. Nevertheless, it is highly recommend and would be an excellent source of discussion of what happens when an entire culture is devastated, especially such devastation hurls upon families.

Here's a review:

I have seen this movie over a month ago and have wanted to write a review of it ten minutes into beginning the movie. Alas, I never found the words to perfectly describe the movie's beauty and power. Because really this movie is beyond words and beyond moving pictures.

Once Were Warriors is a movie about a poor Maori family. Jake is unemployed and is also an alcoholic. His wife doesn't work and his children are heading straight for the life of crime and no future. A suicide in the family forces the family to reevaluate their culture, their friends and their complacency. (I am aware that I am being vague, but I have opted to do so, because I believe that the viewer is entitled to know as little about the plot as posssible preceding the viewing. Read another review for more plot).

Before watching this film, I hadn't the slightest clue as to what it was about. The beginning didn't give me too many hints either, but it could have gone in a thousand directions. The first half of the movie shows us the disintegration of the family. One son is sent to a Maori boarding school where he learns about his culture, another is initiated into a Maori street gang with tatoos on their faces just like those worn by traditional Maori warriors, the Mother gets beaten, and the daughter finds no place to go.

About halfway through this movie, I had a dirty t-shirt in my hand and began to wipe the tears from my face with it every few seconds. My roomates were in the room and I was doing everything in my power to hide my emotions, but alas they probably leaked out (quite literally). As an 18 year old male, I seldom cry while watching films. Instead I typically laugh at the emotional scenes ,while everyone else has a tissue to their face. For some reason, Once Were Warriors managed to break down my defences and open the floodgates. It wasn't that the act itself was so horrible, there are many movies with far worse instances of abuse and hopelessness, but somehow the presentation of the suicide transcended any presentation of a death that I have ever seen before.

So far, I have only gotten halfway through the film... but the movie keeps improving from there. The decisions made by Jake's wife and his son Nig reflect true and utter power and conviction. Each scene was acted out to its utter potential, each line (especially the line "once were warriors") reflects true and pure emotion of the characters, actually, I'll call them people because they were nothing short of it.

I could write a thousand essays on this movie, analyzing each action and each subtext, but alas, I will just suggest that everyone see this movie, for it is more than just watching a film is a literal experience in the brutality and reality of the life of a family. Watch it alone with a clear mind and I am sure that any viewer will be able to experience the movies sheer intensity.

7.

Le Diner de Cons - The Dinner Game

Well it looks like we hit paydirt again and I've added it to my Netflix Queue.

Here's a review:

Le Diner de Cons - The Dinner Game

THE DINNER GAME: Comedy. Starring Thierry Lhermitte and Jacques Villeret. Written and directed by Francis Veber. (PG-13. 82 minutes. In French with English subtitles. At the Clay.)

The dinner game in ``The Dinner Game'' is cruel. A group of smug yuppies compete to find the biggest idiot by inviting unsuspecting people to a dinner party and getting them to talk about their obsessive hobbies: collecting boomerangs, for example. Or making models of famous landmarks using matchsticks.

It takes about 10 minutes for ``The Dinner Game,'' which opens today, to set up. It takes perhaps five more minutes for the audience to get over its disappointment that it will not see an idiot dinner in ``The Dinner Game.'' After that, the laughs come nonstop. The picture, written and directed by Francis Veber, the screenwriter of ``La Cage Aux Folles,'' is a complete success.

Two men are paired. One has everything, the other nothing. The roles are well cast. Thierry Lhermitte plays a successful publisher. He's fit and handsome, with an attractive manner and blue eyes that are just a bit too light. They have a glint of cruelty in them. Jacques Villeret is Francois, an accountant with the Finance Ministry (the equivalent of the IRS). He's squat and rumpled, and his face is an open book.

When the publisher finds out about Francois and his hobby of building models with matchsticks, he invites him to a dinner game under the cruel pretense that he wants to publish a book about it.

The obvious thought that occurs is, who are the real idiots? The publisher is one of a self-satisfied class with nothing to talk about but money and golf, while Francois, as well as the fellow with the boomerangs, has a genuine and original passion.

Veber balances that idea by making it certain that Francois, for all his humanity, really is an idiot. An amazing idiot. A world champion of idiots. When the publisher throws out his back on the night of the dinner, Francois winds up at his apartment. With the comic precision of a master farceur, Veber finds reasons to keep him there.

The humble man and the superman are paired off. The superman has the physical handicap of a bad back -- and the emotional handicap of discovering that his wife may be leaving him. The comedy comes out of the fact that each time Francois tries to help, he makes things worse and worse.

Veber strings together a series of comic bits and circumstances. The timing of Villeret and Lhermitte is clean and winning -- and unencumbered by the subtitles. The film's many phone bits are particularly brilliant.

Francis Huster has a nice supporting role as the publisher's friend and former rival. His amusement and delight at his friend's misery are contagious. ``The Dinner Game'' is the funniest film this season.''

8.

I found Le Bossu - On Guard! at Netflix under its translate title and found an interesting review of it at The Boston Globe. I'll take a chance and add it to our Netflix Queue.

By Wesley Morris

Boston Globe
Published: 01/03/2003

Just in time for 2003, the French present us with a nugget from 1997. So it should go without saying that the winking fence-a-thon ''On Guard'' is scarcely newsworthy. But despite its postdated irrelevance and its dopey title, this Daniel Auteuil vehicle is ludicrous fun. The film finds Auteuil in the early 18th century, enjoying rare weightlessness. He plays Lagardere, a street urchin turned expert swordsman who avenges the murder of his best friend and shields the friend's daughter from a nefarious cousin.

Auteuil is one of the movies' great swaggering, psychology-minded actors. Here, he's all face and arched back. Before showing up in this bon-bon, he'd been tortured by the Germans in the Resistance melodrama ''Lucie Aubrac'' and played the Tom Cruise character to Pascal Duquenne's Dustin Hoffman in the Down syndrome weepie ''The Sixth Day.'' In ''On Guard,'' he appears thrilled at the prospect of speeding through period sets and pretending to know what to do with a rapier.

In an early scene, Lagardere learns from his good friend, the dashing duke of Nevers - Vincent Perez, of the bedroom eyes and the outhouse acting - the art of extreme fencing: smirking while flinging your blade over every inch of the sound stage. (The film is so gleeful with anachronism, you might wonder why the duke didn't just sit his pal down in front of ''Captain Blood.'')

The tone is set almost immediately. The duke is a preening lady killer who gets off on finding the perfect outrageous wig. But Nevers is also a gentleman: When he learns that one of his conquests has recently given birth, he and Lagardere head to the countryside to meet his new daughter and to marry the mother.

Soon after, however, the whole gang is besieged by the duke's scheming cousin, the Count de Gonzague (Fabrice Luchini), who wants so badly to be duke that he quite literally stabs him in the back. His goons go after down Lagardere, who has escaped with Nevers's child. When it appears they've fallen into a ravine and drowned, Gonzague is satisfied, marries the widow, and stands to inherit all the duke's property.

But unbeknownst to him, man and baby were, in fact, taken in by a troupe of Italian performers. Years whiz by. The baby is now a full-blown teenage hottie (Marie Gillian). And you know where that's going. Meanwhile, the Italians give Lagardere the idea that to gain the count's trust he needs a disguise. So Lagardere slaps on a false nose and nasty wig and stoops over. Yes, he'll become ''le bossu,'' the film's original title and the French term for hunchback. Hired as the count's bookkeeper, he plots revenge, which is saved from anticlimax only by Luchini's excellent approximation of prissy disbelief.

The story is a mess. But ''On Guard'' was directed by the reliable Philippe de Broca, who imbues the whole affair with high-calorie silliness. If the action seems familiar, and the comedy too - it's like a holdover more from 1987, or 1937, for that matter - now we know what a Victor Hugo-penned Errol Flynn movie might have been like: ''Zorro'' with bad posture and cheesy grin

9.

La Grande Sduction - Seducing Doctor Lewis

I must say that searching for this list of movies has been most interesting. Simply because you have to go to several sources in order to find the translated title. Surprise, surprise, I found that I had already listed this movie in my Netflix Queue. Here are two reviews:

Get past the heavy-handed and unfunny "cricket" game that occurs maybe 20 minutes into SEDUCING DR. LEWIS, and the rest'll be smooth sailing. Actually most of that first 20 minutes is sweet and dear, as this little fable (of a French-Canadian island trying to stay afloat in a bad economy) unfolds. The ex-fishermen of the island now have the chance to work in a factory that will be built there--if the community has a live-in doctor. So they all must band together to first find and then convince the doctor that their island is a paradise in which to live and work. In movies like this, the outcome is a foregone conclusion; the fun comes in how that conclusion is reached. "Seducing Dr. Lewis" has a splendid group of characters (and actors who bring them wonderfully to life) and the plot offers a few nice twists along the way. And it's never amiss, as this movie does, to remind us of the importance of productive "work" in fulfilling one's life, along with sex, food, fun and friends--all of which are doled out here in generous helpings.

I saw this film at the Seattle International Film Festival and it was a real crowd-pleaser. Don't expect any steamy sex scenes in this film. This "seduction" is of a different nature. It's about how a bunch of quirky characters in a economically depressed tiny coastal town charm a big city doctor into moving there. We've seen this plot before, including in a long-running TV series (Northern Exposure), but the filmmakers manage to make this fresh, unexpected and charming. I really enjoyed the scenes where a bunch of hockey-loving, fisherman pretend they are rabid cricket fans. I also liked the scenes where the crowd moves from the restaurant to the bingo hall. My other favorite scenes were when the doctor goes fishing and the aftermath of his phone calls to his girlfriend back in the city. This is an entertaining, charming movie.

Well, I believe that this is more than sufficient for this evening. It has been an interesting and rewarding project - and I've added a few interesting movies to our Netflix Queue. In fact, I believe that I'll move this last movie to the top of our list.

Again, hope that this is more than helpful.

Be well.

Bill

NOTES:

<none>
clipped on: 11.01.2006 at 02:29 pm    last updated on: 11.01.2006 at 02:29 pm

RE: Foreign Films 101 (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: clairabelle on 10.21.2006 at 09:19 pm in Circle Theater Forum

agnesd, you beat me to it with Italian for Beginners!
carla, you beat me to it with Amelie!

And I will not be so thorough as mozartbill (I work 2 jobs, both on computers so I like to keep it short and sweet lol) but here are some 'lighter' ones:

Le Mari de la Coiffeuse (FR)
Cinema Paradiso(IT)
Les Ripoux(FR)
Viva La Vie(FR)
An Angel at My Table(NZ)
Whalerider(NZ)
Le Diner de Cons(FR)
Le Bossu(FR)
La Grande Sduction(CAN)

NOTES:

<none>
clipped on: 11.01.2006 at 02:28 pm    last updated on: 11.01.2006 at 02:29 pm

RE: Foreign Films 101 (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: mozart2 on 10.21.2006 at 06:17 pm in Circle Theater Forum

Agnesd:

I've seen "Mostly Martha" and it is an excellent choice; loved this movie so much that I purchased a copy. Haven't heard or seen "Shall We Dance", but I just added it our netflix queue. Some of the movies below offer both spoken english as well as english subtitles for the hearing impaired. Even if your audience is watching a movie in English, I'd opt for placing the subtitles on.

Althought I have listed ten highly recommended movies, I'd also consider examining the possibility of using some of the less known, independent films that are available. I didn't list any in this round, but will be more than happy to recommend a few, if desired.

All of these films are available via Netflix, but I made use of Amazon for simplicity.

As for other highly recommended movies, the next one on your list should be (Pane E Tulipani) Bread and Tulips. Being half-Italian - second generation American, this film brought back a delightful array of memories. The florist in this picture reminded me of my maternal grandfather. It has received exceptional reviews elsewhere as well. See this source: Movie Review Query Engine for additional reviews.

A third recommendation is Shower Although it is in Chinese, there are English subtitles. This quiet film is so enjoyable that you won't notice the difference within a very short period. Again, highly rated.

A fourth recommendation is Kolya A real charmer to say the least. Again highly recommended. I haven't added this film to my collection as yet, but I have recently re-rented it from Netflix - just to share with some friends of ours.

A fifth recommendation is Antonia's Line Again, highly recommended, exceptional reviews, subtitled, etc. I've copied one review below.

To a small Dutch town filled with characters known by such names as Crooked Finger, Loony Lips, and the Mad Madonna, Antonia returns with her daughter Danielle after 20 years away. Covering the next 40 years, Antonia's Line looks at the matriarch and her offspring, stretching out to her great-granddaughter, Sarah. A whimsical story with fairy-tale conventions, this movie deals with the cyclical nature of time as well as the strength of women. While this is not just a "woman's movie," men are regulated to the background in a story that tells of women breaking free of traditional roles. Surprisingly, this movie achieves a light-hearted tone while tackling serious subjects: small-town prejudices, rape, and suicide. Yet the drama's comedic heart shines through as Antonia collects a rather odd assortment of people, outsiders who become part of her extended family. Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, Antonia's Line is moving and beautiful, imparting a sense of hope and joy to the viewer. --Jenny Brown

A sixth recommendation is The Chorus As with the others on this list, it is highly recommended, has excellent reviews, and can be heard in English. Here's a brief description of the plot.

An inspirational story in the rich tradition of MUSIC OF THE HEART and MR. HOLLAND'S OPUS, THE CHORUS has moved critics everywhere to declare it one of the year's very best films! When he takes a job teaching music at a school for troubled boys, Clment Mathieu is unprepared for its harsh discipline and depressing atmosphere. But with passion and unconventional teaching methods, he's able to spark his students' interest in music and bring them a newfound joy! It also puts him at odds with the school's overbearing headmaster, however, locking Mathieu in a battle between politics and the determination to change his pupils' lives!

A seventh recommendation is one of the best animated features that I've seen in decades. It is: Hayao Miyazaki's "Spirited Away" It is so extraordinary that I've already purchased a copy for our granddaughters for Christmas! Subtitled and in English.

An eighth recommendation comes as a "teaser". Instead of being a full length movie, it is a several part series, which could be used either in one sitting or using one segment as a prelude to the main feature. It depends upon the patience and understanding of your audience.

The series is The Vicar of Dibley - The Divine Collection As the review below suggest, this series is a sheer delight.

The sleepy English village of Dibley gets shaken up when their new vicar turns out to be a woman--and not just any woman, but Geraldine Granger, played by Dawn French of the peerless comedy duo French & Saunders. With wit and warmth, Gerry swiftly trumped her parishioner's chauvinism and turned British sitcom The Vicar of Dibley into a cult favorite. Over the course of 16 episodes and specials, Gerry grappled with everything from a broken church window to getting smeared in the tabloids, from the demise of the Easter Bunny to the possible destruction of the village. While The Vicar of Dibley routinely trafficked in the absurd--pop star Kylie Minogue happens to drop by, just when she's most needed--at its best, the show found its greatest absurdity (and its greatest humor) in the everyday life of an English village and the everyday quirks of its daffy inhabitants.

While the brilliant French was unquestionably the axis on which the show happily spun, much of its success was due to the clever writing (Vicar was created by Richard Curtis, who wrote the screenplays for Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, and Love Actually) and a rock-solid comic ensemble, including Emma Chambers as Gerry's dim-bulb assistant Alice; Gary Waldhorn as the pompous landowner David Horton; James Fleet as his none-too-bright son Hugo; and Roger Lloyd-Pack, Trevor Peacock, Roger Bluthal, and Liz Smith as maddeningly eccentric villagers. It's no wonder the show has inspired devoted fans on both sides of the Atlantic; from the clever stories to the joke that follows the credits of every episode, The Vicar of Dibley is sheer delight. --Bret Fetzer

A ninth recommendation is Greenfingers
As usual, it is also highly recommended. Here is one review:

The first word that comes to mind when I think of this British film is "lovely." It's a wonderful comedy with a touch of drama and romance -- a perfectly lovely combination, if you ask me...

The story, which is based on true events, revolves around Colin (Clive Owen), a prison inmate who's transferred to an experimental prison called Edgefield. There, inmates live with more freedom. There aren't any high fences or armed guards. And each inmate gets to do a job that will give him the experience he needs to get hired once he's released.

Colin is a somewhat anti-social prisoner who won't talk to anyone -- not even his friendly old roommate, Fergus (David Kelly). But when Fergus gives Colin a package of violet seeds for Christmas, everything starts to change. The violets bloom in the spring, and they give Colin his own personal calling. After the warden finds out about the violets, he appoints Colin and Fergus (along with three other inmates) to create a garden for the prison.

Greenfingers is a light-hearted feel-good movie that's guaranteed to put a smile on your face. It's got the same light-but-potent humor as Waking Ned Divine (in which David Kelly played Michael O'Sullivan) -- and it's absolutely perfect for winding down from a long week on a casual Friday night.

For a tenth and final recommendation - at least for this round - I'd recommend: The Emperor and the Assassin It is extraordinary and I soon added to our DVD collection after seeing it. In Mandarin with English subtitles. Again here is a review.

Watching the Emperor and the Assassin is like watching history come alive. Before going into anything else about this picture, just the site of the costumes and watching the Emperors soldiers, living breathing moving terra cotta warriors is simply awesome. The history of ancient China leaps at you in this film. The pictures of Xian's Terra Cotta Warriors are famous, but to see them alive in this film is just unbelievable.

Kaige Chen is one of the world's greatest directors. His previous film, Temptress Moon, was an interesting look at the decadence of the warlord and KMT period in Chinese history, but its his epic Farewell My Concubine that made him famous. If you are not familiar with Farewell My Concubine, its the history of China from the Fall of the Dynasty system through the end of the Cultural Revolution as seen through the eyes of two Peking Opera stars. If you like Chinese history, you must see Farewell My Concubine.

The Emperor and the Assassin is a fantastic look at how the first Emperor of China came to power and unified the various parts of China under one ruler and Dynastic system.

Also, if anyone is not familiar with the awesome Chinese actress Gong-li, this film is a great introduction.

Often Chinese cinema and Hong Kong action cinema get lumped together. This is unfortunate because they are worlds apart. The films of Yimou, Kaige Chen, and Gong-li are very different from those of Jackie Chan. Both are great, but very different.

Watch this awesome historical epic and then I recommend Farewell My Concubine, Raise the Red Latern, Red Sorghum, and the most powerful of all Chinese films of late: To Live.

Hope you find this more than useful!

Best wishes in your good endeavors!

Bill

NOTES:

<none>
clipped on: 11.01.2006 at 02:28 pm    last updated on: 11.01.2006 at 02:28 pm

RE: 9 to 4 block (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: ngmnewlywed on 10.13.2006 at 10:11 pm in Quilting Forum

All you do is sew a nine patch. Cut it half both ways, turn the upper right block and the lower left block and then sew it back together....easy as pie!!!
Susan

NOTES:

NINE PATCH
clipped on: 10.30.2006 at 09:37 pm    last updated on: 10.30.2006 at 09:38 pm

RE: Signature Quilt (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: meginfl on 09.11.2006 at 11:08 pm in Quilting Forum

I did a signature type thing, and I assembled it before I had folks sign. I found that folks were a little freaked out at signing the final one. Folks felt like they had to think harder and "practice" what they were going to write first. Now that wasn't too bad because it was a work thing and I could let it sit around for a week or so while folks got enough "nerve" up to sign it. So, I think I'd vote for sending blank blocks up there. This way folks wouldn't feel so intimidated... and assuming you sent a few extra up there, if they did mess up, the could start another block.

Regarding markers: I've been using the super fine point sharpee markers. I bought a set that had like 40 colors in it. It's great because you can match almost any color scheme. I also use them to make my quilt labels...

Here is a picture of the going-away "card" I did for a co-worker:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The folks eventually signed notes in all that white area

NOTES:

<none>
clipped on: 09.13.2006 at 04:39 pm    last updated on: 09.13.2006 at 04:39 pm

RE: What Movies Do You Watch Repeatedly? (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: woodnymph2 on 06.29.2006 at 10:39 am in Circle Theater Forum

My goodness, where to begin? I think I've got you guys beat with Dr. Zhivago, as I've seen it at least 7 or 8 times and know whole parts of it by heart.

Here's my list: Jules & Jim, Shakespeare in Love, Elizabeth, Girl With the Pearl Earring, Wild Strawberries (Bergman), La Strada, The Little Thief, Au Revoir, Mes Enfants, The Red Shoes,Yentl,Night of the Shooting Stars, Fanny, An American in Paris, Il Postino,The English Patient, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Excalibur, Hope & Glory, Gallipoli, Immortal Beloved, --- for starters!

Yep, my taste is primarily for foreign films, and I would have to say my all time favorite would be the classic "Jules & Jim."

NOTES:

<none>
clipped on: 08.01.2006 at 09:16 am    last updated on: 08.01.2006 at 09:16 am

My Free Motion Class

posted by: juttz on 07.26.2006 at 10:16 pm in Quilting Forum

Well guys I had a ball at my class tonight..both my friend and I learned alot and hope to use what weve learn in finishing a quilt the fast way..lol..we usually hand quilt what we make....
I started out slow but after getting the right gloves I was off and running...the gal teaching us was one of the people that works there and she got me on her machine that cost 6000.00...gosh got to get one of those babies....lolol...she told me I could get one of the floor models for 2900.00..sorry but my daughters wedding is draining me of cold hard cash...lol...it will be a long time before I think about buying a new machine...anyway, I learned alot and will keep practicing to I can be able to machine quilt my next project.....Judy

NOTES:

<none>
clipped on: 07.27.2006 at 03:45 pm    last updated on: 07.27.2006 at 03:45 pm