Two Foreign Films To Watch ASAP

I found myself lacking anything to review for today since I still have yet to watch Gone Girl, even if I have finished the book last week. I should have that review up next week. So I just decided to do two mini-reviews of two movies I’ve seen recently that really stayed with me. They could not be more different in source material but they both deal with life, relationships and are in a foreign language. Here are my spoiler-free reviews and why you should definitely carve up some time to watch them:
The first is a French movie that was released last year and is now available on Netflix (or at least it was a month ago): Blue is the Warmest Color (La Vie d’Adèle) It’s based on a graphic novel of the same name by Julie Maroh. I have not read it so I can’t really comment on the adaptation but I did read the synopsis and the ending of the book is very different from the movie. I’ll probably read it one of these days. But I could imagine that the images and the panels are similar to the scenes and cinematography. Basically the story follows the main character Adèle, a teenager in France, and her relationship with intriguing, blue-haired artist Emma. I watched this film one rainy afternoon when I was missing Quebec and just craving to hear some French. I remember my director friend Adrien liking it a lot plus I had read tons of amazing reviews and it did win the Palme d’Or so I gave it a chance. And I’m extremely glad I did.

First of all, the film is gorgeous. It definitely helped that they filmed in Lille (Northern France). I’ll just add that to my must-visit places. There’s just something about movies based on comics. Now, this is speculative on my part, but some of the shot compositions must have been taken from the book because you could easily pause a scene and imagine the illustration equivalent. The comics are in black and white except for the blue hair. The movie’s in color but they definitely emphasized the blue. Most of the clothes Adèle wears are blue. I also think you can draw parallels from the way the color blue is depicted at various points of their relationship.

The acting is on another level. I only knew Léa Seydoux from her minor role in Midnight in Paris. And I had never seen Adèle Exarchopoulos before. They had great chemistry and I’m not just talking about the (graphic) sex scenes but all the tender and funny moments as well. Aside from the themes of freedom and social class, in essence, it’s just a touching love story. Don’t be deterred by the run time, you’ll be too busy falling in love with the main leads that the hours will just fly by.

Watch this alone or with your significant other.

The second movie you should watch is a Swedish comedy: The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (Hundraåringen som klev ut genom fönstret och försvann). Yeah, no I’m not kidding. You’re probably reading this and making a face similar to the one I made when Keith suggested we go see this movie with his family this weekend. I have to admit he pretty much dragged me to the cinema. I had not heard of this movie nor did I have any desire to watch it despite the curious title. It’s based on a novel by Jonas Jonasson, which apparently is a best-seller yet I have never once seen a copy. The film also happens to be the highest grossing Swedish film of all time. Seriously how have I not heard of this before?

You only have to watch the movie, which is partly in English just FYI in case you’re a little intimidated by subtitles, to understand exactly why it’s hugely successful. It stars Robert Gustafsson, a Swedish comedian, in the role of the titular old man named Allan Karlsson. He is hilarious and I’d love to see more of his other work. The story tells the life of Allan who escapes from a retirement house to go on a crazy adventure while he reminisces on his life, which as it turns out was basically one wild escapade after another. I won’t go into details but it’s a century’s worth of unbelievably funny anecdotes, similar to Forrest Gump. And as much as it is about life and living in the moment, it doesn’t come off as preachy at all. It’s pretty amazing. Keith, if you’re reading this, thank you for forcing me to watch it.

Watch this with the whole family and prepare for fun night.

Happy Hump Day!


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