I don’t remember what my first foreign film viewing was. It might have been at the International Cinema at BYU, or on VHS at home with my sister. It certainly was during my early university years, but one thing is certain–working at the Orem Library has been a boon for my love of films made outside of the United States. These are a few staff favorites from my colleagues, many of which I heartily agree with. Come check out the wealth of dvd options in our foreign language section to find some favorites of your own.
Eat Drink Man Woman: A retired master chef and widower is worried about the future of his three unmarried daughters who are skeptical about marriage. Yet he himself surprises them with his secret love affair with a young woman many years his junior. It’s a great family story, embellished by scenes of the most delicious-looking food I have ever seen. Also, Ang Lee.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople: Raised on hip-hop and foster care, defiant city kid Ricky gets a fresh start in the New Zealand countryside. He quickly finds himself at home with his new foster family: the loving Aunt Bella, the cantankerous Uncle Hec, and dog Tupac. When a tragedy strikes that threatens to ship Ricky to another home, both he and Hec go on the run in the bush. As a national manhunt ensues, the newly branded outlaws must face their options.
Children of Heaven: A young boy, Ali, loses his sister Zahra’s school shoes and in order to stay out of trouble the two come up with a plan to share Ali’s shoes, but they must keep it a secret from their parents.
Whale Rider: As her beloved grandfather, chief of the Maori tribe of Whangara, New Zealand, struggles to lead in difficult times and to find a male successor, young Kahu is developing a mysterious relationship with whales, particularly the ancient bull whale whose legendary rider was their ancestor.
Amelie: Amélie is a young woman who had a decidedly unusual childhood; misdiagnosed with an unusual heart condition, Améliedidn’t attend school with other children, but spent most of her time in her room, where she developed a keen imagination and an active fantasy life. Despite all this, Amélie has grown into a healthy and beautiful young woman who works in a Paris cafe and has a whimsical, romantic nature. She decides to step into the lives of others around her to help them out.
Babette’s Feast: With the mysterious arrival of Babette, a refugee from France’s civil war, life for two pious sisters and their tiny hamlet begins to change.
The Lives of Others: East Berlin, 1984. Captain Gerd Wiesler, Stasi officer and surveillance specialist has a simple assignment: keep an eye on Georg Dreyman, a respected playwright, and his actress girlfriend, Christa-Maria Sieland. Though Dreyman is known to associate with blacklisted director Albert Jerska, a known dissident, Dreyman’s record is spotless. Wiesler discovers that Minister Hempf has an ulterior motive in spying on this seemingly upright citizen. During the investigation, Wiesler unexpectedly finds himself in sympathy with the people – or at least to this one particular person.
The Bicycle Thief: A long-unemployed workman is robbed of the bicycle he needs for his new job, and he and his son search Rome for it.
Raise the Red Lantern: Following the death of her father, Songlian, a beautiful nineteen-year-old college student agrees to marry a wealthy nobleman. She is to be wife number four at his estate, where daily life revolves around an ancient family custom: the master raises a red lantern outside the house of the wife with whom he desires to spend the night. On the surface, there is harmony between the wives, but trapped inside their gilded cages, with nothing to do but compete for their husband’s favor, the four women are drawn into a web of petty rivalries that soon escalate into treachery.
Deux Jours, Une Nuit (Two days, One Night): Sandra has just been released from the hospital to find that she no longer has a job. According to management, the only way Sandra can regain her position at the factory is to convince her co-workers to sacrifice their much-needed yearly bonuses. So, over the course of one weekend, Sandra must confront each co-worker individually in order to win a majority of their votes, before time runs out.