Friday, February 8, 2013

Foreign Film Oscars from the 1980s (Part 2)

This is the third in a series of five blog posts dedicated to the 2013 '31 Days of Oscar Blogathon' hosted by the blogging divas Kellee (of Outspoken and Freckled), Paula (of Paula's Cinema Club) and Aurora (of Once Upon a Screen).

(For a complete summary of what I'm writing about, check out this post.)

Post 1: Foreign Film Oscars from the 1950s
Post 2: Foreign Film Oscars from the 1980s (Part 1)

Because the 1980s were so awesome, I had to create a second post for the all of the foreign film goodness that came out of this decade.  In this post, I'm going to examine the following films:

Candela, Marisa, Lucia y Pepa

It's been a while since I've watched this, but I used to watch it quite a lot.  It's a very funny 'light feminist comedy' from Spanish director Pedro Almodovar.

Basic Plot:
Womanizer Ivan is stepping out on his girl, Pepa by taking a trip with new girl, Paulina. While Pepa tries to communicate with Ivan to work things out, various characters show up including: 1) Ivan's son, Carlos (Antonio Banderas); 2) Carlos's fiancee, Marisa (Rossy de Palma); 3) Pepa's friend Candela; 4) Ivan's previous lover, Lucia and 5) a hilarious taxi driver.  As the spineless Ivan burns bridges with all the women, stories intertwine with plot twists, gazpacho is drunk and hilarity ensues.

Great Scenes:

  • Pepa does voice-over work, but she has also done a clothes detergent television ad that's pretty funny.  She uses the product to wash the bloody sheets from her serial-killer son.
  • Every scene with El Mambo-taxi driver (Guillermo Montesinos) is to die for...he (and his cab) steal every scene he's in.  I especially love the eye-drops gag.
  • When Pepa is trying to hire an attorney for Candela, there's a slap that would make Joan Crawford proud and a great line that follows.
  • Near the beginning where we see Pepa doing voice-over work for the film Johnny Guitar (with Joan Crawford and Sterling Hayden.)

Why it's a great film:

  • A very young Antonio Banderas is actually quite good in this
  • The women are great in this film, epecially Carmen Maura and the Picasso-esque Rossy de Palma. Such an interesting face...I'm mesmerized.
  • It's a farsical romantic's a little off-kilter...quirky.
  • There are some scenes that play as homages to other great classic films:
    • Rear Window
    • Citizen Kane
  • Director Pedro Almodovar became globally known after this film

If you liked this film, also consider:

Toto loves movies just like me

Simply put, this a love letter to the movies.  I feel that this is a must-watch if you love classic film and you love how films can affect people.

Basic Plot:
A young boy in a small town befriends the local aging projectionist (Alfredo, played by Philippe Noiret) and learns how to run the projection equipment from the grandfatherly figure.  The boy eventually grows up and leaves the small town to become a big-time film director.  When Alfredo dies, he returns to his small town and reminisces of days gone by.

Great Scenes:
  • If you've seen this before, the huge payoff scene is the final one. I won't give any more away than and find out what I'm talking about.
  • You can say that the final reel of this film is over-sentimental...but I love when Toto returns to his childhood home and revisits family and landmarks.  I love every scene at the end.

Why it's a great film:
  • It's a love-letter to the movies, about people's love for movies and how movies affect people.

If you liked this film, also consider:

Jesus crucified on Mount Royal

A little shout-out to all my Canadian friends on Twitter! Easter is just around the corner and this modern telling of the Passion is a great film to watch.

Basic Plot:
A group of young actors try to breath life into the tired Passion play given by the church year after year.  What they produce is beautiful, informative and controversial.  The church does not approve and eventually life imitates art.

Great Scenes:
  • The Passion play that the actors put on is wonderful.
  • The actors hamming it up playing different styles of acting for the priest is hilarious
  • The scene near the end of the film where the two girls are busking in subway station, that song they sing is so beautiful (Stabat Mater)
  • The final scenes where you see the list of donor recipients is heartwarming.

Why it's a great film:
  • It's a unique take on the traditional Passion play
  • While the actors are educating their audience in the film about the end of Jesus's life, they're educating us about what happened as well.

If you liked this film, also consider:

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