5 FOREIGN FAVOURITES
PUBLISHED 24 AUG 2017
BREATHLESS / A BOUT DE SOUFFLE
JEAN-LUC GODARD / 1960
"Informers inform, burglars burgle, murderers murder, lovers love.”
Jean-Luc Goddard’s BREATHLESS is one of the earliest and most influential films of the French New Wave due to its use of unconventional jump cuts and breaking the fourth wall. However, it is the long tracking shot that serves as the end sequence with Michel Poiccard (Jean-Paul Belmondo) can be seen as the most iconic moment of the film and perfectly sums up the chic and influential nature of this film.
JEAN-PIERRE JEUNET/ 2001
“We pass the time of day to forget how time passes."
It comes as no surprise that AMÉLIE won two BAFTAS and was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Foreign Language Film and Best Original Screenplay. Despite being over a decade and a half old the film still holds the quirky magic it did on its release. To date, it is one of the biggest international successes for a French film and although it may not carry a serious message nor will it change world beliefs with its content, it will certainly leave audiences charmed and feeling more positive about life than they did before the film began.
HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE / ハウルの動く城
HAYAO MIYAZAKI / 2004
"They say that the best blaze burns brightest, when circumstances are at their worst."
Based on the novel of the same name by British writer Diana Wynne Jones, HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE was created within the Studio Ghibli umbrella and written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Heavy influence for the film came from Miyazaki’s opposition to the United States of America’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 and despite knowing that this film would be poorly received in the USA, Miyazaki felt this film and messages that were attached to it needed to be seen. In fact, HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 78th Academy Awards and was positively received by critics. The film has the remarkable ability to both dazzle and entertain a child audience while simultaneously providing sophisticated emotions and heartfelt performances for adults about serious world issues.
PAN'S LABYRINTH / EL LABERINTO DEL FAUNO
GUILLERMO DEL TORO / 2006
“A long time ago, in the underground realm, where there are no lies or pain, there lived a Princess who dreamed of the human world."
With almost universal critical acclaim, PAN’S LABYRINTH is the product of the imaginative mind of writer and director Guillermo Del Toro. The film intertwines the cruel realities of war in the early Francoist period and mystical fantasies of creatures of the underworld. PAN’S LABYRINTH is an adult fairy tale that speaks to its audience on multiple levels and captivates their supernatural minds for the entirety of the film. It is unsurprising that the film received a 22-minute standing ovation after its first screening at Cannes Film Festival.
APRIL AND THE EXTRAORDINARY WORLD / AVRIL ET LE MONDE TRUQUÉ
CHRISTIAN DESMARES, FRANCK EKINCI / 2015
"Lizards? Those lizards took my parents?"
APRIL AND THE EXTRAORDINARY WORLD depicts an alternate steampunk world in 1870. The film cleverly includes the names of real-life scientists such as Albert Einstein and Enrico Fermi interwoven with the elements of the science fiction genre such as magical serums and talking cats. The animation is based on the visual style of French cartoonist Jacques Tardi and this stylistic approach is just one of the many aspects of this film that makes APRIL AND THE EXTRAODINARY WORLD such a delight to watch.
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