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  • I Served the King of England

    I Served the King of England 2006

    ★★★ Watched 22 Mar, 2015

    30 countries challenge - film 18 - Czechoslovakia

    I Served the King of England hits all the marks of a Czech film about the sorry state of its nation and its people during the war and under Soviet Occupation. There is humour. There is self-depracation, although not as much as other films. There is a bit of resistence, but not too much. The marks of what I love about Czech films about that era.

    This one though wasn't quite as…

  • The Raid 2

    The Raid 2 2014

    Watched 20 Mar, 2015 13

    30 countries challenge - film 16 - Indonesia

    I hope I can get around to finishing this one just that I can tick the damn thing off my list as seen, but boy oh boy, talk about a real March 'challenge'. I bought the Blu because I was under the impression that a bunch of my friends gave this 4+ stars. Now I see that just as many gave it less than 2-1/2. Way to go, Lise. Check out those ratings before purchasing next time.

    Anyone want the blu? I'll pay you ;-)

  • La Strada

    La Strada 1954

    ★★½ Watched 04 Jan, 2015 15

    Ok, well, here goes for my records.

    I finished it, at least.

    Fellini always scared the beejeezus out of me, what with his infatuation with the circus and all, so I avoided him like the plague. It turns out that I picked the absolute best first Fellini I could have picked: Nights of Cabiria. One of my all time favourite films. I fell in love with both Fellini and Giulietta Masina. And that was the end of the affair.

    Now…

  • Life, Above All

    Life, Above All 2010

    ★★★★★ Watched 18 Mar, 2015

    30 countries challenge - film 14 - South Africa

    A true gem.

    Khomotso Manyaka is perfect as Chanda, a courageous 12 year old girl who takes on the responsibility of keeping her family together when it starts to fall apart.

    Her small village just outside 'Jo-berg' is brought to life meticulously, through various characters and traditions, good and bad. There is the step-father who is the town drunk. There is Esther, Chanda's best friend, who is poorer than poor and…

  • Rain

    Rain 2001

    ★★★★½ Watched 19 Mar, 2015 4

    30 countries challenge - film 15 - Iran

    Baran is a lovely story of boundless generosity that keeps giving. A young man gives all he can to help an Afghan family barely making a living when the only provider is injured. The young man gives all that he has and then he does it again, and again. Of course the recipients of his generosity are generous themselves and try to help others who are more in need than they are.…

  • Flickering Lights

    Flickering Lights 2000

    ★★★½ Watched 15 Mar, 2015

    30 countries challenge - film 12 - Denmark

    Flickering Lights has its moments. The humour isn't as dark as Adam's Apple, but it is an entertaining film about a band of misfit gangsters whose last job goes south, and they follow suit to start anew. They meet a questionable Doctor and a happy hunter along the way, while trying their hand at being legitimate. It includes quite a few laugh out loud scenes, including one involving a cow that I'm not likely to forget anytime soon. There is a long stretch without laughs but there is always something to keep the film light in spirit.

  • The Maid

    The Maid 2009

    ★★★★½ Watched 15 Mar, 2015 5

    30 countries challenge - film 11 - Chile (featured country)

    Two completely contrasting films, back to back. Tarkovsky's The Mirror and this little indie gem The Maid. And yes, I'm going to compare them, I'm feeling that brave.

    If the former hinted at how history isn't so much a window as a reflection of who we are, The Maid showed it. As soon as Raquel, a family maid of 20 years, makes a friend, as soon as they share inside…

  • The Mirror

    The Mirror 1975

    ★★★ Watched 15 Mar, 2015 16

    30 countries challenge - film 10 - Soviet Union

    I'm quite certain we've all been there. Standing before a huge canvas at one of the more famous galleries, a canvas depicting some battle scene or other from a time that includes initials and whose history we don't know well. We stare at it for a while trying to do it justice, trying to notice things, trying to figure out what is going on. From the corner of our eye, but…

  • The Silence

    The Silence 2010

    ★★½ Watched 14 Mar, 2015

    30 countries challenge - film 9 - Germany

    Some of the ideas in this film were good and some of the execution was effective but for the most part the film suffers from what looks to be newbie mistakes.

    The crime drama seems to seek out too much sympathy from the audience for a child killer. There is one camera shot in particular where we see the killer in his doorway after something happens to make him sad. The piano…

  • Blind Date

    Blind Date 2007

    ★★ Watched 08 Mar, 2015 2

    30 countries challenge - film 8 - USA

    I always have issues with films that use a repeating structure. I never like them much on first viewing because I get impatient when I discover the trope being used. I cross my fingers that the cycle won't start up yet again but of course it does. Only one film has managed to make me love it despite this structure and that is Living in Oblivion. Yes, I am saying that I…

  • 25 Watts

    25 Watts 2001

    ★★★★ Watched 08 Mar, 2015 7

    30 countries challenge - film 7 - Uruguay

    A lovely portrait of three teenage boys hanging about in their neighbourhood. Shot in black and white with a stationary camera, the focus is very much on the characters and the scenes being played out before us. When the camera does move it is unexpected and usually done for dramatic effect, as when one of the young boys puts on a record while studying for an Italian exam. Suddenly the camera spins…

  • Un 32 août sur terre

    Un 32 août sur terre 1998

    ★★★★ Rewatched 07 Mar, 2015

    30 countries challenge - film 6 - Canada (Québec)

    Denis Villeneuve got his start on a reality tv show before 'reality tv' had a name.

    From 1988 to 1999 Québec had a game show called "La course destination monde", a remake of a French tv series that ran from 1976 to 1984. Every year six or so Québec youngsters (usually around 18-22 years old) were selected from well over 300 entrants to take part. They were given a compact VHS…