Category Archives: Best Foreign Language Film

Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2 (1963)

Enough of symbolism and these escapist themes of purity and innocence.

— Guido

I have always wanted to see a Federico Fellini movie. I tried to watch La Dolce Vita, but it turned out to be a bad copy of the movie and I had to scrap the viewing of that movie. I hope to get back to that particular movie soon. The next movie that every film fans rave over is the #188 Movie of All-Time on IMDb, 8 1/2. This is inspiration of the musical, Nine, which I reviewed in 2009 that I liked. The two-time Academy winning film has been given a lot of unwanted praise in my opinion.

Guido Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni) is a down and out director that trying to start his creative juices before his next production doesn’t go down the toilet. The production is already underway without a script or a concept of what the end product is going to be.

Guido has driven himself sick with debilitating headaches. He tries to get inspiration for the people around him like his friend,  Mario Mezzabotta (Mario Pisu), his younger girlfriend, Gloria Morin (Barbara Steele). Nothing is coming to his mind. Guido’s screenwriter is pulling his hair out to extract Guido’s thoughts into paper. Guido’s daydreams are a menageries of Catholic imagery, man kites and random women from his life pop in.

Guido’s mistress, Carla (Sandra Milo) comes to town to give Guido some inspiration for his next big screen hit. Their late night romps are not helping matters. To make matters worse, Guido wants to have his wife, Luisa (Anouk Aimée) to come to the set. He wanted to start the fireworks, but his life is going down in shambles. He has no way of getting out of the mess that he is in.

This film is so different from Nine, because Nine simplified the story and made it coherent. There were some positives that I liked in the movie with the relationship between Guido and Luisa. The movie felt like a Greek tragedy to me. Guido’s life is a production and everybody has to play their part in it.

I felt that the film was all dubbed. Nobody’s mouths were matching up to the words. Even thought I was reading the translation, I felt distracted from the non-sych of the actors mouths. Also, Guido’s daydreams were very random and cluttered. It was an assault to the eyes.

Judgment: Just because a movie is over twenty years old and in another language doesn’t mean that it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Rating: 6/10

The Counterfeiters (2007)

The Counterfeiters won the Foreign Language Film Oscar last year for Austria. The movie tells the true story of the greatest counterfeiter working for the Nazi in exchange for their lives, Salomon “Sally” Sorowitsch (Karl Markovics).

This was based on the book by Adolf Burger, played in the movie by August Diehl. He worked alongside with Sally. During last months of WWII, the Nazis were secretly outsourcing Jews in Sachsenhausen to create fraudulent British pound notes and also the American dollar.

At first, I thought the movie spoiled the ending at the beginning of the film. It starts with Sally in Monte Carlo spending the “money” that he stored in a bank. He meets a woman. They spend the night together. She looks at his arm to see the prisoner number from the concentration camp. Then, he flashes back to when he was captured by a secret SS soldier, Herzog (Devid Striesow) and taken to Mauthausen.

After seeing his talent for drawing, he is taken to Sachsenhausen to head up the operation to help the Nazis. They were fed, clothed, showered while others were exterminated around them. They feel guilt that they are treated better then their follow bretheren.

It was a good movie. It wasn’t best movie I have ever seen. It beat out Mongol, which I thought it was a shoo-in to win. You have to wonder was this movie better than Mongol. I can’t answer that.

My rating: ***1/2 stars.

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