2008 has so far turned out to be an annus horribilis for fans of Tamil and Hindi movies.
If you are sick of crappy movies like Dasavatharam, Sarkar Raj, Tashan, Bhoothnath, Kuruvi and Azhagiya Tamil Magan coming out of the Augean pits of Bollywood and Kollywood we don’t blame ya. So are we. Sick to the stomach.
The blundering buffoons of Bollywood like Ram Gopal Varma and Abhishek Bachchan and the know-nothing knuckleheads of Kollywood like Kamal Haasan and Vijay have heaped rubbish on the heads of fans this year even as they extort hefty sums in ticket prices.
But despair not, film buffs.
If the Bollywood buffoons and the Kollywood knuckleheads can’t deliver, there’s plenty of fine foreign films out there, if only we are willing to expand our sights.
Here are a few nice foreign movies that the Bollywood buffoons and the Kollywood knuckleheads can’t hope to match for many, many years. Some of them are old, others very old and a few relatively new.
The Year My Parents Went on Vacation (2006, Portugese): Set in a politically turbulent moment in Brazil’s past (1970) that coincided with football player Pele’s heydays, The Year My Parents Went on Vacation is the moving story of a young boy Mauro (Michel Joelsas) who accidentally lands in the care of an unwilling and orthodox Jewish old man Shlomo (Germano Haiut). The little girl Hannah (Daniela Piepszyk) also turns in a noteworthy performance in a brief role.
Cinema Paradiso (1988, Italian) – (Watched this Italian movie based on the recommendation of a SearchIndia.com blog reader. Available at Blockbuster and Netflix in the U.S.)
Cinema Paradiso is a notable classic that puts Bollywood and Kollywood to shame and exposes our desi film-makers as impostors. In this Academy Award winner, the little boy Salvatore Cascio and the late Philippe Noiret deliver a virtuoso performance that should be an eye-opener to Indian movie buffs who are under an illusion that stars like Shahrukh Khan and Ajith (Tamil) are actors. If you are renting fromÂ Blockbuster, do not forget to watch the other side of the DVD for a slightly different version. An added attraction is the fine montage of kisses at the end. Progress always comes too late, says the projectionist Alfredo in a touching scene in the movie. How true.
Kontroll (2003, Hungarian with English sub-titles) – Kontroll is one of the finest movies we’ve seen in recent years. Filmed completely on the Budapest subway, the movie follows a bunch of misfit employees. Every single actor in Kontroll has delivered a knockout performance.
Mafioso (1962, Italian, Black & White) – Featuring the great Italian actor Alberto Sordi, this is yet another classic. Sordi delivers a powerful performance as a Milanese worker back home in his beloved Sicily on a short vacation. Just when you think that Mafioso is a nice comedy, you realize that there is so much more here.
Central Station (1998, Portuguese) – This is a moving story of a middle-aged letter-writer for illiterate folks at the Rio de Janeiro train station and a nine-year-old youngÂ boy yearning to locate his father.Â In her marvellous portrayal of the letter-writer Dora, Fernanda Montenegro shows so-called Indian actressses like Aishwarya Rai, TrishaÂ and Kareena Kapoor what acting truly is.
La Vie en Rose (2007, French) – This is a fairly new movie and earned Marion Cotillard the Oscar for Best actress for her brilliant portrayal of the singer Edith Piaf. The movie nicely alternates between the present and past. Awesome.
In the Mood for Love (2001, Cantonese) – Director Kar Wai Wong delivers a winner in this story of two adults, both with unfaithful spouses. Tony Leung is simply superb and richly deserved the Cannes Film Festival best actor award.
You can rest assured that in a millennium our Bollywood Bozos and Kollywood kunckleheads won’t be making movies like this. Our hunchback artists in Bollywood and Kollywood are too busy patting each other on the back for a job shoddily done.
Forget making good movies. That bozo Ram Gopal Varma can’t even do a decent job of copying a classic movie like Sholay…what a pathetic mess that Ram Gopal Varma ki Aaag was, Abhishek Bachchan can’t act to save his life despite exposure to movies since his birth and Kamal Haasan is utterly clueless about makeup or writing a story.