Yesterday I had the pleasure of watching the Spanish film The Skin I Live In at a friend’s house. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Everyone had an opinion, and it was always favorable. During the film, our host mentioned how he liked the use of the color red in Almodóvar’s cinematography, and another friend mentioned his movies are always visually stunning. I added that his movies also always have psychological depth.
The film we watched was made by Pedro Almodóvar, one of the most brilliant film makers of our generation. I had the distinct pleasure of being in attendance in the mid-nineties when he visited the University of Puerto Rico for a lecture and Q&A session, and over the years I’ve seen many of his films and enjoyed them. All About My Mother stands out as one of his most memorable movies.
I’ve always enjoyed foreign films, and sometimes have preferred them over American films. But Spanish films tend to rank very high in my esteem. My favorite Spanish movie was not actually by Almodóvar: Pan’s Labyrinth was made in Spain and with Spanish actors and source material by Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro–who has also been involved in the Hellboy movies, Pacific Rim and others. Pan’s Labyrinth is the best Spanish film I ever saw–NO CONTEST! It’s absolutely one of the most magical movies ever made.
I don’t usually watch anime, but when I read good reviews, I give them a shot. Two of my favorite Japanese films are in the anime genre: Princess Menonoke and Spirited Away. The other Japanese film I consider among my favorites is The Hidden Fortress, and that’s mainly because it inspired the Star Wars saga, and a friend of mine went through great lengths to find the movie for me so that we could watch it as a birthday gift a few years back. (Thanks to which I noticed that many of the American movies I enjoy most, including the movies in the Star Wars franchise, are heavily influenced by foreign film-making traditions.)
France also has an animated film industry, though not many know of it. My two favorite French anime movies are The Painting (an artsy, existentialist, and thoroughly French work of art) and Kaeena–which is more typical of anime style and content, and a bit slow at first, but well worth watching, and (bonus!) has an anti-organized-religion morale.
For 2018, I have decided that I’ll begin experimenting with brewing kombucha again, and with making homemade tempeh. Yesterday I was reminded that there is a world of fine arts and amazing movies that I’m only superficially familiar with. I’ve added a new plan to my 2018 list of things to do: I plan to watch a few more foreign films.