Unfortunately, it’s been awhile… I’ve been reading but for some reason am struggling to write any reviews lately. I’ve also been succumbing to a guilty pleasure of mine — foreign films. I’m in love with Netflix instant viewing and can’t get enough of it right now. Also, I’ve had some DVDs on my shelves for awhile that I’ve finally made time for as well. So, up first is what I’ve been reading and hope to finish by January, and then on to some short movie reviews.
I finally finished Thousand Cranes by Nobel laureate Yasunari Kawabata. It’s a short book, but for some reason I couldn’t rip right through it like I usually do with shorter works. It’s about a son whose dead father’s ‘women’ insert themselves into his life. A tea ceremony also had quite a bit to do with the story, but of course I couldn’t quite fully understand the cultural significance of that part.
I’m almost done with Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels, which I read to fit into the Canadian, 1%, Book Awards, and Orange January challenges. (I’m a master at overlapping.)
I’ve also started Kafka on the Shore by Murakami to try to fit in one more Japanese title before the end of January. It’s also on the 1001 list.
In addition, I hope to finish Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford so I can put up a review before it’s released on January 27.
Now on to my movie madness… With the exception of the first title, all of these are slow character movies. I happen to love slow character movies, so your mileage may vary on these if you don’t have similar tastes.
Run, Lola, Run (German) — A+
Lola and her boyfriend Manni must get 100,000 Marks before a certain time or Manni’s probably dead. I’ve had this one on my shelf for awhile, and with great music, dialogue, and action, it’s going to stay there!
Kinamand (Danish) — A+
(Kinamand is Chinaman in English) This one really surprised me. Very touching. Keld’s wife divorces him and he marries Ling solely so she can get a visa to stay in Denmark. Will their relationship remain one only of convenience?
Carol’s Journey (Spanish) — A
Great movie set during the Spanish Civil War. Carol moves from New York to her mother’s village in Spain and meets her relatives for the first time. I really loved Carol’s spunk and her growth in her family relationships. This one taught me a bit of Spanish history as well.
The Lovers of the Arctic Circle (Spanish, set in Spain and Finland) — B+
It was very interesting to watch this one after Run, Lola, Run — some similarities but without all the action. Otto and Ana believe in fate and coincidences. Their names are both palindromes (the same forward and backward) and fairly important to the story. One scene in this movie was so amazing — a shot of the midnight sun moving horizontally to the horizon in the arctic circle. Beautiful!
(This movie has some graphic scenes.)
Something Like Happiness (Czech) — B
This was kind of depressing but I liked the story. Apartment dwellers living in a factory town trying to make the best of their lives. Home is still home, no matter the circumstances.
(Graphic scenes and language)
Now I have some more Japanese films on my shelves that I want to get to!