Foreign Cinema: French and Spanish

This Sunday we decided to add a more European flavour to our blog! For all those who are interested in stories and plots that go beyond the scope of the British/American scenery and language, here you will find our carefully selected lists of films from two of the largest European Cinema industries: the French and the Spanish.

*Click on the titles for the trailers!

Enjoy!

French Cinema 

by Chara

Known for its avant -garde, high culture and allusive material, French Cinema has always been at the forefront of the industry. From Marion Cotillard to Audrey Tautou, to Louis de Funes here are my choices for must-see French films!

  1. La Vie en Rose (La Môme) – the spectacular and moving true story of France’s little sparrow, Edith Piaf, that brought an Academy Award Win to the talented Marion Cotillard. In this remarkable biographic adaptation, you’ll experience the amazing sounds of Piaf with songs such as ‘La Vie en Rose,’ ‘L’Hymne à l’Amour’ and ‘Non, Je ne Regrette Rien’ and a glimpse of Paris you have never seen before.
  2. Serial Bad Weddings (Quesque on na Fait au Bon Dieu) – a funny, witty and contemporary movie about the evolving dynamics between the members of a conservative Catholic family and the surprises their four daughters bring. Starring Christian Clavier and Chantal Lauby, this film will make you laugh, cry and miss the peculiar relations in your own family.
  3. Amelie (Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain) – an endearing coming-of-age story of young and unique Amelie Poulain. Born into an eccentric family and thrown into 21st century Paris, the life of Amelie is a story about anyone who has ever tried to find his/her way in a wide and unexpected world. Starring Audrey Tautou and featuring Yann Tiersen’s incredible original score (La Valse D’Amélie, La Dispute) this movie is a must for every cinema lover.
  4. The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob (Les Adventures de Rabbi Jacob) – in this story of disguises, mistaken identities and confusion, an ill-tempered factory owner and his abductor, an Arab rebel leader, find themselves in the middle of a Parisian neighborhood awaiting the return of Rabbi Jacob. The talent and magnificence of Louis de Funes reveals itself in this incredibly funny film that will have you laughing to tears.
  5. The Chorus (Les Choristes) –  an intricate French take on ‘Dead Poet’s Society’, Les Choristes is a story about music, creativity, imagination and the power of having something to believe in. Gérard Jugnot stars as the inspiring music teacher in a French boarding school for troubled boys. Featuring great music by Bruno Coulais (Voir sur ton chemin) incredible performances and the moving story of a teacher fighting for his students, this film will surely warm your heart.

PS: Although in English, for the fans of life in Paris and those who crave to get that extra 20’s taste, make sure you check out Woody Allen’s magnificent Midnight in Paris – we can all look past Owen Wilson’s American accent…

Spanish Cinema

by Rali

Spanish cinema is all about the taboo topics in life that deserve to be discussed! The Spanish are bold in their expression, sense of decency and levels of honest nudity. With famous directors such as Pedro Almodóvar and actors such as Gael García Bernal and Penélope Cruz, here is the list of my Spanish must-see suggestions!

  1. Julieta – the latest film by the master of human drama, Pedro Almodóvar, was released in London last year. It is the story of Julieta (played both by Emma Suarez and Adrina Ugarte to trace the passage of time), a widow and a mother who has lost touch with her daughter and tries to reconcile as grief and guilt are following her around. Watch in HD for the effect of the prevalent red colour, which is constantly associated with the passionate protagonist.
  2. Y tu mamá también – No official English title for this one, but we all get it has to do with a mother. A mixture of comedy and drama, the film follows two young-adult friends (Gael García Bernal and Daniel Giménez-Cacho) and a middle aged woman (Maribel Verdú) on a road trip, who defy life’s rules but eventually have to learn some things are inevitable. Note: Highly sexual content that, thankfully, does not involve family members!
  3. 3some (Castillos de Cartón) – The unusual story of three youngsters  – Jose, Marcos and Jaime (Adrina Ugarte, Nilo Zimmerman and Biel Duran), who form a poly-amorous relationship. A peek into a rather particular situation in life and the emotional journeys of the people involved.
  4. I’m So Excited! (Los amantes pasajeros) – Here’s another one by Almodóvar but this time a comedy! An up-beat performance by three flight attendants and a surprise cameo by Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz. Warning:  Watching this film might cause a laughter attack!
  5. Open Your Eyes (Abre los ojos) – Starring the one and only Penélope Cruz once again but this in collaboration with Eduardo Noriega. This psychological drama explores the troublesome relationship between Sofia and Cesar after an accident that disfigures his face. Will his former beauty be enough to keep the love of his life? What about his sanity?

PS: Another favourite starring Gael García Bernal and Charlotte Gainsbourg, The Science of Sleep is a quirky film in all three languages – English, Spanish and French!

Let us know about your favourite French and Spanish films in the comments section 🙂

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