The International Language of Love

by December Lambeth on February 9, 2011

in Theme Week, Top Tens & Lists

Don’t you just love crazy foreign romance films? They can really get your blood boiling and heart pumping with their sexy love scenes, beautiful actors with all their accents and breath taking landscapes. Most foreign films are no holds bar; they let all the dirty bits hang out and not always in the most tasteful way. If you want to get your sweetheart in the mood, then these are the films to see on Valentine’s Day.

A Very Long Engagement:
very-long-engagement-picIf you enjoyed the French film Amelie then you will be completely in love with A Very Long Engagement. Mystery and romance all mixed into a beautiful setting in a very tough time. A Very Long Engagement is set in World War I and mixes just enough war and peasant life to give the viewer a happy medium. A love story about a young cripple girl, Mathilde (Audrey Tautou), who meets her soul mate early in life and gets to grow up with him. On the brink of their very happiness he get’s sent off to the front, she worries everyday for his safety until the grim day comes that she is told he has died. Mathilde does not believe a word of this and begins an investigation into what truly happened to her true love. Discovering all types of associations with her lover and his comrades who died with him. The audience is completely tied up in this investigation and hoping beyond hope that he is still alive. Completely entertaining and never boring this English sub-titled film, A Very Long Engagement, is a wonder to experience.

Love Me If You Dare:
Love Me If You Dare, actually Games of Children from the original French title Jeux d’enfants, stands out of the crowd giving the audience a cinematic carnival of colors and contrasts. Is it a Greek Tragedy? Is it Romeo and Juliet with a twist? Or is it child’s play turned into true passionate and engulfing love? Yann Samuell has been flattered for the comparisons to Jean Pierre Jeunet’s hit “Amelie”, but states that Love Me If You Dare had been written at the same time and had been story boarded and conceptualized way before “Amelie” hit the big screen. He’s just clearing up any questioning behind the true original thoughts and ideas that had gone into a story; no, an experience that he believed so strongly in. Yann handled every detail from writing multiple scripts handling different angles of the game of life, adding brilliant details in every magnificent storyboard, handling set designs down to the last tiny dot of brilliant color and pizazz and hand picking the perfect actors to play Julien and Sophie. First notice is the French style of exciting and fast paced storylines and set design, they sure have an exquisite eye for detail and fantasy. The sets are a mix of child like cut outs and painted backdrops mixed in with a brisk harsh reality of adulthood. The story is uncanny at times and always an intense roller coaster ride as the characters started out as children longing for acceptance and approval, finding both in each other. A toy handed down by a dying mother becomes the root of all evil and controls the turn of the dare. Starting with simple childhood pranks and turning into a whirlwind of adult danger and despair the little tin can runs the gamete of emotions and risks. Julien (Thibault as a child and Guillaume Canet as the adult) was a young frisky boy full of sparks and adventure, whose father misunderstood and didn’t want to be bothered after his mothers death. Sophie (Josephine Lebas-Jolly as a child and Marion Cotillard as the adult) was looking for acceptance, but never willing to conform and always a rebel ready to take head on any challenge. The children had found a true and strong bond that turned into a even stronger love that neither wanted to admit as they became young adults. When college had began, Julien became more sensible and down to earth, but Sophie was flying off like a free bird; never the two should agree and went their separate ways. Years later wanting for each others company they had reunited only to keep the game alive and purposefully destroy their destiny to be together. Once again taking their leave, this time for a great deal more time and finding life quite mundane with out each other in their lives. Once again to meet back up for a most tragic or maybe not so tragic ending, finally admitting their love for one another and living or dying a true unbound romance. A dark comedy with twists and turns that will keep you squirming in your seats, Love Me If You Dare is life, romance, and true love at their finest moments. A French Film with English Subtitles that is an adventure to witness. If you enjoy “Amelie” then this is the film for you. After all it is the game of life.

Beautiful Thing:
beautiful-thing-picA beautiful coming of age film. Two boys in southeast London realizes their preference for companionship falls for each other. Of course, this seems to be out of the norm for their friends and family. Beautiful Thing has close ties to Muriel’s Wedding, a self preservation and self confidence story; as a story with strong family ties and great acting. Well made and approached by the writer and director with great respect and finesse. Beautiful Thing pulls at your hearts strings and sense of support for those who have a different way of life. Gives education to the ignorant and gratification to those represented. A unique and natural way of coming out. The actors seemed to be quite comfortable with each other, as if the whole crew had been working together for years, it just clicked. In addition to such a sense of family, the good and the bad, the film gives a sense of community and what role they play in your living room. Family stories are told between thin apartment walls and community spice is added on the balconies. Realizing who you are and what you want in life is tough, but letting everybody know and standing up for it can be war.

Read My Lips:
read-my-lips-picHow can a film be so steamy, leading male not so cute, no nudity, leading female not so hot, and an oddity amongst the 2 main characters? I will tell you how “it’s french” for starters and subtitled. The built up tension between Carla (Emmanuelle Devos) and Paul (Vincent Cassel) just about bursts off the screen. Very well written, yet an off beat, erotic thriller; Read My Lips keeps the audience on their toes and panting. Give it a chance, I think you might be surprised and fall in love with it. Art House/Foreign film lover’s dream, very stylish and filmed in excellent taste. Read My Lips makes it about the characters, not just about the gimic.

Japanese Story:
japanese-storyAn odd love story that is so convincing and real that my heart broke at the end. Australia is a large vast empty land that has many dangers and Hirotmitsu (Gotaro Tsunashima) hales from a more over populated and full Japan. Hirotmitsu is a business man from Japan who takes a sabbatical disguised as a work trip to Australia, he finds that so much space is too overwhelming, but helps him clear his head. The amount of work and responsibility on his shoulders is overbearing and he finds a way to release some of it in Sandy (Toni Collette). Sandy is a high strung loud and somewhat obnoxious Australian geologist that is stuck showing Hirotmitsu around. The two have nothing in common and a large amount of disdain for each other. Hirotmitsu makes Sally take him further into the outback where they get stuck and find themselves at odds, yet falling for each others companionship. It is a short romance and at many times it seems extremely uncomfortable for the viewer. The pairing of the two actors is odd and not a match at all. Toni Collette and Gotaro Tsunashima did a wonderful job at their individual roles and completely convinced the audience of their presence towards each other. The pairing of such a strong woman that has so much humph behind her with a more mild mannered and not so large of a presence man is uncomfortable and so real. How intriguing, Japanese Story is the most real thing I have seen in years. There is no overly beautiful skinny lollipop headed model like actress (by the way Toni is a real beauty and very talented) and some big macho brawny man standing there before the audience, it looks as if there are two real people for all to see, naked and raw. Japanese Story is real with true emotions. DVD Extras: Include Commentary, Photo Gallery, and Deleted Scenes. Most of the Deleted Scenes are unnecessary and easy to see why they were taken out, but one scene caught my eye. There is a scene where Hirotmitsu is taking a photograph of himself off of the top of his car. He stands out in this huge sand like field with the Australian scenery behind him and he looks so small and insufficient in a little black and white suite with the large empty space. What an artistic point to make, someone from an overpopulated and crowded way of life photographed out in this empty large landscape.

My Summer Of Love:
my-summer-of-lovePowerful, sweet, tender, intoxicating, hypnotic, sultriness, exquisite…My Summer of Love

My Summer of Love is a story of young and not so innocent love between two intoxicating beauties Mona (Natalie Press) and Tamsin (Emily Blunt). Both young ladies having a great deal in common with their beauty, intelligence & style, yet exact opposites in every way from social standards, dress, and demeanor. My Summer of Love shows a little adventure in sexuality and testing the boundaries of a friendship amongst two girls in a passionate summer tale. The lead actresses and new comers, Natalie Press and Smily Blunt, are spectacular and quite convincing in their roles and award-winning director Pawel Pawlikowski, brings us a tale of intrigue, faith, mystery, love and intoxicating tenderness. Read the full review.

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