In my last entry I revealed a valuable discovery that´s been successfully turning into a new hobby: Video Place and its wide array of international movies. I also promised to include a selection of the films I consider some of the best I’ve watched so far. Here are some of the titles categorized by their country of origin.
The first position goes to Poland, primarily because of the fact that I will shortly be living in this country and have become increasingly obsessed with anything born and bred there.
The trilogy Three Colors or Trois Coleurs occupies first place among my favorites. Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieślowski geniously co-wrote, produced, and directed this series while living in France during the 90’s.
The three very interesting movies: Red, White and Blue represent the colors of the French flag, as well as the revolutionary ideals of this country.
1. In the first film Red (Rouge), the main theme seems to be a strange relationship or bond that forms between a model and student played by actress Irène Jacob and a retired judge played by Jean-Louis Trintignant who spends his days eavesdropping people’s telephone conversations in an effort to establish justice. The film is my favorite among the three, and develops an important lesson between good and evil and a criticism towards law professionals and the judicial system. The color red is present throughout the plot, as well as other symbolism such as telephone conversations, broken glass, and the characters’ link to their past (a common theme in the other two films also).
2. White (Blanc) my second favorite movie in this trilogy, where this color is present throughout the whole plot (mainly through snowy scenes), begins in Paris and continues in Warsaw. Here, Karol Karol plays the main character: a shy man who is left by his wife and desperately tries to get back together with her after a series of despiteful events. He then attempts to restore his life and obtain revenge from her. The main theme here traces itself back to another of the French revolutionary ideals: equality. White’s tone is satiric combined with black humor.
3. My third favorite film of this trilogy is Blue (Bleu), and actually the first of the three. Juliette Binoche plays the main character, a woman whose husband and children have been killed in a car accident and now has to face being alone. She decides to cut all bonds from society and live secluded from anything that ties her to other human beings. The only belonging she keeps is a blue lamp: the color present throughout the film. The main theme here is liberty (emotional rather than political). In Blue’s last scene, the main characters of all three films come together.
4. Katyń (2007)
Is a film directed by Academy Honorary Award winning director, Andrzej Wajda and takes place in 1940 Poland during the massacre of Katyn, where more than 20,000 POW (prisoners of war) officers were executed by the Soviet authorities. The truth about this crime was covered and denied by the Soviets, who blamed the Germans, until 1989 when the Soviet rule collapsed. The film is based on the book Post Mortem: The Story of Katyn by Andrzej Mularczyk, a true story. The main character in Katyń is a captain played by Artur Zmijewski, who has been captured by the Soviet army and keeps a diary of all of his experiences and the horrid tortures he witnesses. Throughout the plot it is possible to see the censorship that took place during this time, first with the closing of a university and deporting its professors to concentration camps, and finally with a detailed description of the massive execution that took place at Katyń. The movie is definetely worth watching, especially because it is based on the director’s father’s memoir and displays a historic account of events, although extremely explicit and harsh at times.