foreign films

‘Adios Buenos Aires’ Is Another Poignant, Notable Film From Argentina

Tara Taghizadeh

John Lennon once said: Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans. And Adios Buenos Aires captures this sentiment perfectly.  As Julio dreams of abandoning Buenos Aires in favor of a fresh start, he is forced to reckon with the people and events that hold him back.

The Unsettling Banality of Evil in ‘The Zone of Interest’

Ben Friedman

What differentiates The Zone of Interest from other lesser films centered around the Holocaust is its refusal to engage in the tropes. The atrocities of the Nazis are so inhumane that filmmakers humanize these characters. Whether it is Winslet in The Reader falling in love with a boy, all while “accidentally” committing genocide due to her inability to read, or Tom Cruise in Valkyrie playing a real- life German soldier who conspired to kill Hitler.

‘Walid’ Is a Curious Mixture of Drama and Fierce Fighting

Ulises Duenas

All that being said, this movie does have a saving grace and it’s the fight choreography. Roughly half of the scenes in the movie are all back-to-back fights. Aside from Walid, it’s hard to tell who the characters in combat are or why they’re even fighting, other than a general “good guys vs. bad guys” thing, but the choreography makes it entertaining.

‘The Worst Ones’’ Take on Meta-Filmmaking Creates a Compelling Piece of Art

Ulises Duenas

The entire movie is also a commentary on the practice of street casting, which is the exact thing that the fictional director in the movie and the actual director of “The Worse Ones” does: taking people who aren’t professionals and having them portray alternate versions of themselves. The criticism of reinforcing negative stereotypes is brought up and characters say that the film risks showing that the neighborhood is worse off than it really is.

‘Blanquita’ Shows a Compelling Depiction of Victimhood

Ulises Duenas

Laura Lopez as Blanquita does a great job of portraying a character that has been through a life of trauma but does her best to fight through the difficulty of pursuing the case. She has strong resolve but does show weakness and doubt when things escalate and the danger rises. Alejandro Goic as Father Manuel also puts in a stellar performance as a priest who is tired of children’s suffering being swept under the rug. The film’s writing and direction go a long way in establishing a quiet, serious tone.

‘Rickshaw Girl’ Tells an Interesting Coming-of-Age Story of a Bangladeshi Youth

Ulises Duenas

Naima’s family struggles to make ends meet and when her father becomes too sick to pull his rickshaw, Naima decides that the only way she can help bring in money is to find work in the big city of Dhaka. One of the film’s most interesting aspects is the authentic portrayal of life in Bangladesh -- from the bustling outdoor markets in the village to the frantic, crowded streets of the city.

‘Missing’ Is a Brilliant, Dark Story About Mystery and Death

Ulises Duenas

Santoshi is a newly widowed father going through depression and dealing with debt as he tries to keep his daughter Kaede happy and in school. After telling his daughter that he plans to track down a serial killer for the reward money, Santoshi vanishes, leaving Kaede to investigate what happened to him. The first quarter of the movie has an almost lighthearted tone as Kaede does her best to find leads on her father’s whereabouts, but things get dark quickly after she has a confrontation with the serial killer.

Fine Acting, Wit, and Stunning Visuals Make ‘Umbrella Men’ a Fond Addition to the Heist Film Genre

Ben Friedman

Everyone knows the filmmaking conventions that make a good heist movie: a mismatch of eccentric characters each with their own skill set, speeches about how the impossible task is actually possible, and the execution. Heist movies always feature the debonair hero, the hothead, the uneasy alliance, the romantic interest, and a villain. A heist film lives and dies on its storyteller’s ability to overcome the derivative and craft something exciting. John Barker’s The Umbrella Men represents the highs and lows of the genre.

‘A Silent Party’ Tackles Patriarchy, Sexual Assault and Victim Blaming, Yet Misses the Mark

Ulises Duenas

The way the story comments on Laura’s standing in her relationship and family is the only poignant aspect of the movie. You feel sympathy for her from early on and can tell she feels constrained in a relationship that’s lost its spark. Once she tells David what happened to her, he quickly takes on the responsibility of revenge as a way of proving his masculinity, and Laura’s father soon does the same. While the movie tries to do something different with an old cliché, the way it’s executed stills seems a tad exploitative .

How South Korea, Japan, and Other Countries Came to Dominate the Pop Culture Landscape

Garrett Hartman

The growth of foreign media’s popularity poses many interesting questions as to the future shape of media in the U.S. and worldwide. While platforms like Netflix seem content to purchase and serve as a distributor for foreign content, how will American media producers, especially in fields in which they are lagging behind foreigners, try to appeal to domestic audiences? How will questions of media representation be perceived with art created in different nations and different local contexts?

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