Archive for April 14th, 2011

One of the reasons why foreign films are truly enlightening and engrossing is because they serve as visual guides into different cultures of the world. As an adolescent, growing up in a small city in the Midwest, I did not have that face to face contact with many people of different cultures of the world. In order to satisfy my growing fascination with different cultures I would obsessively page through old National Geographic magazines and travel books. Although these pictures and articles were fascinating, I felt like something was missing. I realized what I wanted was to see these pictures come to life. I knew that the only way that I could experience this type of phenomenon was to view it on the silver screen.

Growing up in a household where you’re introduced to remarkable films like The Godfather and On the Waterfront at an early age you learn to appreciate and value quality cinema. As my peers were seeing the latest blockbuster horror films, I was scouring the local libraries for old Hollywood films like All About Eve and City Lights. This was around the time I finally noticed a section where few people seldom frequented in the audio visual department. The foreign film section was like a secret world teeming with cultures, experiences, and histories waiting to be viewed. Like a child in a candy store, I began to grab two or three films at a time gazing at them in wonderment. Although it has been ages since that first time of discovering the world of foreign cinema, I still experience that same jolt of excitement and wonder when I venture into a foreign film section.

I have found that there is a two dimensional aspect with foreign films. They are compelling because they reveal a different culture but at the same time they are comforting because they often express universal human experiences. People of all different cultures have in some way experienced some form of human suffering, achievement, blessing, etc. Viewers can appreciate and recognize through films that people of all different societies and cultures are unique but also individually and collectively share like experiences and emotions.

STAY TUNED – For next time, I will be discussing the film Latcho Drom. This documentary film captures the rich culture and history of the Romani gypsies.

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