For the 48th week of 2021 as part of Wandering Through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks. We return to the subject of Oscar winners in the Foreign Language film category as it is an award that celebrates the best of what countries outside of America and other English-language speaking countries have to offer as some of those films are usually better than the American films as it has recently been renamed as the Best International Feature Film. Here are my three picks:
1. Nights of Cabiria While Federico Fellini has won the award four times in such classics as La Strada, 8 ½, and Amarcord, it is the film where he won the award the second time around that kind of gets overlooked as it doesn’t have the ambition of the latter 2 films nor the whimsical melodrama of its predecessor. Yet, the film is this touching story about a prostitute who is trying to find love in Rome as she is mistreated and shamed through a series of events. It is the performance of Giulietta Massina that is the heart of the film as her performance as the titular character is full of heartbreak but also charisma.
2. Z Costa-Gavras’ political drama about the assassination of a left-wing activist and the government’s attempt to cover it up is definitely a groundbreaking film that explores this growing political discord that is to come in not just in the 1970s but also in today’s climate. Set in Greece, the film stars Yves Montand as this activist who is killed where a magistrate investigates the assassination but also the government’s role in this plot. It is a film that definitely showcases the power of government and how someone who doesn’t fit in with their agenda could be a threat with an outsider being more troubling.
3. Dersu Uzala Akira Kurosawa’s adaptation of Vladimir Arsenyev’s novel is an unusual bio-pic of sorts as it came at a time when many thought Kurosawa’s time had come following the poor reaction towards his last film and his falling out with 20th Century Fox during his early involvement in Tora! Tora! Tora! Teaming with Soviet producers for this film, it is a film that explores a friendship between Captain Arsenyev and the titular character who is this eccentric guide as the film is set during the 20th Century. There’s not much plot in the film where Kurosawa would favor settings and themes about nature and the modern world. The film would give Kurosawa his second win in the category just 22 years after his first win with Rashomon.
© thevoid99 2021