Thursday, February 28, 2013

Foreign Film Oscars from the 2000s

This is the fifth (and final) 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)
Post 3: Foreign Film Oscars from the 1980s (Part 2)
Post 4: Foreign Film Oscars from the 1990s

In this final post, just two films.  I'm going to examine the following Oscar nominated films from the 2000's:

Zhang Ziyi kicks ass

This is Ang Lee's best film (in my opinion.)  It's a wuxia film set in Qing Dynasty China, it has actors from many different nationalities and terrific martial arts sequences choreographed by Yuen Wo Ping.

Basic Plot:
Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun-Fat) is an accomplished swordsman late in his career looking to avenge the death of his master (his master was killed by Jade Fox.)  Meanwhile Governor Yu, his wife and daughter, Jen (Zhang Ziyi) are guests at Sir Te's estate.  Li Mu Bai's sword, the Green Destiny is stolen; he and Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh) track it down, fall in love, and battle with Jade Fox.

Great Scenes:
  • All of the martial arts scenes are out of this world. The scenes dabble in fantasy (people have ability to temporarily 'fly')  but if you can get past that bending of reality, you'll enjoy the film much more.
  • I love the quiet scenes like when Li Mu Bai and Shu Lien are drinking tea in the bamboo forest.  There are moment of no dialog and they're very nicely done.
  • The ending scene with the bridge is so surreal and beautiful (I won't give away what happens for those that haven't seen this.)  The music is wonderful here and throughout the film (the combination of the cello and percussion is amazing.)

Why it's a great film:

  • Martial arts scenes are unbelievable...paired with percussion music in many cases
  • Cinematography is wonderful
  • The music (cello solos by Yo-Yo Ma)
  • Kick-ass women

If you liked this film, also consider:

Amelie (2001)
I've only seen this film once...but it left its mark.  One word: quirky.

Basic Plot:
A sheltered girl with a terrific imagination becomes a waitress at a cafe inhabited by eccentrics. Quirkiness ensues.

Great Scenes:
  • Escorting the blind man across the street while describing in some great detail all things around them
  • The list of the small things that Amelie when she pushes her fingers into the bag of grain.
  • Amelie wonders: 'How many couples are having an orgasm now?'

Why it's a great film:
  • Audrey Tautou is so good in this.
  • Cinematography is very nicely done
  • If you're a fan of 'light quirk', I think you love this...the filmmakers put just enough in to make it interesting.

If you liked this film, also consider:
  • Gotta be honest...not much else like this!

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