Thursday, May 12, 2016

Thursday Movie Picks: Non - English Language Movies - Spanish


Yup, Thursday has rolled around once again. That means it's also time for Thursday Movie Picks. Of course, you already knew that or you might not be here. After you're done, stay awhile if you've never been here, poke around the place, see if you like it. In the meantime, let's move on to the topic at hand. The wonderful and talented Wanderer at Wandering Through the Shelves has chosen a wonderful one for this week's edition. She chose Spanish language films. Ahem...AHEM...she had a little help. It was suggested by yours truly. To honor that, I'm going to play it straight this week. Finding some rare obscure crap cinema is fine, most weeks, but just in case one of these might be your first Spanish language flick, I want you to make your entry with some of the finest films in any language.

Or...

Sí , jueves ha rodado alrededor una vez más . Eso significa que es hora de que también los jueves Elecciones de película . Por supuesto , usted ya lo sabía , o puede que no sea aquí . Después de que haya terminado, pasar un rato si nunca has estado aquí , hurgar en el lugar , ver si le gusta . Mientras tanto , vamos a pasar al tema que nos ocupa . El vagabundo maravilloso y talentoso en errante través de los estantes ha elegido una maravillosa para la edición de esta semana. Ella eligió películas en español . Ejem ... ejem ... que tenía un poco de ayuda . Se sugirió por su servidor . En honor a eso, voy a jugar esta semana recta . Encontrar algún cine porquería oscura rara está muy bien, casi todas las semanas , pero por si acaso uno de ellos podría ser su primera película de la lengua española , quiero que haga su entrada con algunas de las mejores películas en cualquier idioma .

Hagámoslo.

Oh, I meant...

Let's get to it.


Maria Full of Grace
(2004)
Maria is a seventeen year old girl who quits her job after being treated unfairly by her boss. Unfortunately, her income helps support her family and they're none too pleased about it. Things get a little more stressful when she becomes pregnant by her boyfriend. As luck would have it, she runs into some shady dudes and agrees to become a drug mule for them. She is tasked with smuggling some of their product into New York City. I'll leave it there. Just know that this is a fantastic film about a young woman's harrowing journey. Catalina Sandeno Moreno is wonderful as Maria. For her effort, she earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.


Sin Nombre
(2009)
Speaking of harrowing journeys, we have the tale of Willie, AKA El Casper. He's a gang member in Mexico who finds himself at odds with his leader Mago. When an altercation breaks out between the two breaks out El Casper winds up killing Mago. He figures it best to get out of dodge and joins a bunch of folks trying desperately to get into the United States. To say El Casper goes through some ups and downs is an understatement. Given the subject, and a certain candidate for Presidential candidate, this might be the most relevant of the films I'm recommending.


Broken Embraces
(2009)
This film is also about a harrowing journey, but of an entirely different sort. It follows Harry Cain, a famous screenwriter and director who is also blind. One day a young guy named Ray X shows up on his doorstep begging to work with him on his next project. This causes Harry to reflect on his life. We get to reflect with him. And it is a great ride. The selling point here is a powerhouse turn by Penelope Cruz. She just dominates the screen. What will stick with you is how much is going on beneath the surface. Nothing going on is as tangible to the rest of the world as the events of the other two movies I picked. This is just tremendous storytelling.


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34 comments:

  1. Oh, Maria Full of Grace and Broken Embraces, great films. The latter of which I think is one of Pedro Almodovar's best films as anything he does with Penelope Cruz is gold. Sin Nombre is the one film I haven't seen but it's the one that it's something I hope to see soon as I think it is partially set in my parents home country of Honduras.

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    1. Sin Nombre is also great. Definitely give it a look. I don't remember part of it being in Honduras, I could be wrong, but the family the hero takes up with is from there.

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  2. I've been meaning to watch Maria Full of Grace, but I have yet to acquire a copy. Same goes for Broken Embraces, I really need to get on with watching more of Almodovar's work. Sin Nombre sounds interesting. Great list!

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  3. I've only seen Maria Full of Grace. Catalina Sandeno Moreno was wonderful in it but I can't say I enjoyed the film. I've heard of the others but so far haven't caught them. I do like Penelope Cruz though so I'll have to check out Broken Embraces.

    I'm not particularly strong in foreign language films and somehow never thought about Almodovar, a few of whose films I have seen. Be that as it may I have seen at least enough to come up with three.

    Before Night Falls (2000)-Based on the writings of Cuban author Reinaldo Arenas this film spans his lifetime through his country youth, embracing of the Revolution and his later persecution as a writer and openly gay man in Castro's Cuba, his escape in the Mariel Harbor exodus of 1980, exile and death in the United States. Not a pleasant film but worthwhile. Javier Bardem is staggering in the lead, earning a well deserved Oscar nomination.

    Burnt Money (2000)-Argentine action thriller about two violent bank robbers who are also lovers, a bank job they pull that goes wrong and the pursuit and standoff that follows. Very erotic for this type of action film, based on actual events.

    Tristana (1970)-Luis Buñuel directed this murky tale of emotional battery and vicious score settling. Tristana (Catherine Deneuve) is orphaned and taken under the protection of respected elder Don Lope (Fernando Rey). He takes advantage of the situation and makes her a virtual prisoner while demoralizing her to break her spirit, eventually the tables are turned in an unexpected fashion. Good acting by Deneuve, Rey and Franco Nero but the characters are ultimately all a pretty loathsome bunch to care too deeply about.

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    1. Do see Broken Embraces. Almodovar is a master and this is my favorite of his films that I have seen.

      Haven't watched any of your picks. They all sound good, but I'm especially excited for Before Night Falls. That sounds fantastic. Have to admit, I wasn't expecting to see the name Catherine Deneuve, here. I have seen a couple of her French films, but didn't know she did any Spanish ones. Thanks for teaching me something.

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    2. Glad to help. Before Night Falls is intense but worthwhile and has quite a varied supporting cast including Johnny Depp, back when he was doing challenging work, as a cross dresser.

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    3. Johnny Depp? Now I really gotta see it.

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  4. LOVE Maria Full of Grace. It might be a perfect film. Catalina Sandino Moreno is definitely perfect in it, at any rate. Both Broken Embraces and Sin Nombre are on my "MUST SEE ASAP" list, along with like a hundred or so others LOL.

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    1. She is perfect. No doubt about it. Those other two films...yeah, see those.

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  5. I love Maria Full of Grace, and I'm kicking myself for not using it this week. I haven't seen the other two. Sin Nombre sounds like something I'd enjoy, and I've heard good things about Broken Embraces.

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    1. It is a great film. Glad you love it. Hope you get to see the others soon.

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  6. Can't believe I haven't seen Maria Full of Grace yet. I have to do something about it.

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  7. I wonder what Sin Nombre would be like if Trump got his wish and built a giant wall with armed guards, searchlights, alarms and a giant video of Trump warning people to stay away.

    Anywho...Interesting choices, none of which I have seen. Maria Full of Grace is certainly a popular pick.

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    1. Omg...I'm imagining a hyperviolent version of Escape From New York. Or, would that be Escape To New York?

      I highly recommend Maria Full of Grace.

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  8. I wanted to see Sin Nombre when it was released but as usual it was on at the cinemas for about 5 seconds so I missed it. I'll find it on demand somewhere I;m sure....

    Excellent picks though! I love it how nearly everyone has picked a Pedro film!

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    1. I happened to stumble across it at the local library after hearing some good things about it. Glad I did.

      Pedro is the man.

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  9. I've seen an awful lot of Almodovar's films but Embrazos rotos didn't do a whole lot for me. I did like the movie-within-the movie (Chicas y maletas, I think, which translates to Girls and Suitcases) because it's the same plot as Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios (known as Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown in English), which is my favorite Almodovar movie. Also my favorite Spanish-language film.

    For later Almodovar, I love Volver and La piel que habito.

    For Spanish-language films in general, El espiritu de la colmena, La llorona(1960) and El angel exterminador.

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    1. Too bad you about Broken Embraces for you. I loved it.

      Thanks for the other recommendations. They now join my ever-growing watch list.

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  10. You are the 2nd person to talk about Maria, Full of Grace. It sounds quite good and so does the film with Cruz. I am sorely lacking knowledge for this week's theme.

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  11. Look for El espiritu de la colmena. In English, The Spirit of the Beehive. The film was made in the 1970s with Franco still in power but artistic restrictions getting a lot looser. The movie takes place in Spain in a rather remote village during the Spanish Civil War. There's a couple of little girls, the older one is rather mean to the little one. The 1931 version of Frankenstein is shown projected on a wall at the church. (The village doesn't have a regular movie theater.) The littlest girl becomes fascinated with Frankenstein's monster, and the results make up one of the most amazing movies I've ever seen.

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    1. I've never heard of that one, but it sounds great. I will see if I can find it. Thanks again!

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  12. Wow... I haven't seen any of these, though I've been meaning to see Maria Full of Grace for years.

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    1. It's never too late, especially for a great movie.

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  13. Sign me up for all three of these. I think starting at the top and working my way down is how I'll approach it.

    Damn, Dell. Too many good flicks I gotta see (well, the last batch weren't 'good', but you get me, right?). You gotta knock this shit off. No mas!

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    1. Exactly. The Yays and Boos for Maria should be a doozy.

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  14. I haven't heard of any of these, imdb here I come! There is a Spanish Film Fest playing at the moment, I hope to catch some movies. I don't think I could come up with a Spanish film like you did (times three!), the only one that comes to mind is Marshland, but that was only from last year. The only other one I can think of is Wild Tales, which also was from last year.

    Great post mate!

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    1. There is a whole other world of Spanish language movies. I, myself, have only scratched the surface having seen somewhere in the neighborhood of 2-3 dozen. These are a great place to start. Hope you get to attend that festival.

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  15. I know of all of them but I haven't seen any. I think I just haven't got around to them because they all look a little depressing.

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    1. I understand that, at least as far as the first two. They're definitely heavier themed films. The last one is pure Almodovar so it's got some heavy stuff going on, but I wouldn't call it depressing.

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  16. Havent seen Maria Full of Grace but your another two picks are both great films. Heck, any film by Almodovar deserves to make the list, if it was up to me, I'd pick either this, Broken Embraces or Talk To Her, which i really like as well.
    And I guess, Amores perros and Y Tu Mama Tambien would be two of my other picks.

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    1. I highly recommend Maria Full of Grace, obviously. And yes, Almodovar is a master. I still need to see Talk to Her, though. Amores Perros and Y Tu Mama Tambien are both outstanding.

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