The Seventh Art from Seven Nations
Different aspects of the world and life
We employ diverse art forms to express our ideas, creativity, philosophy and so on, and cinema is the most widespread among them all. However, when directors venture beyond the entertainment purposes of movies, they effectively deliver groundbreaking messages that reach beyond language, culture, ideology and art itself. As a sequence to the previous article, the following are further artfully crafted movies and resources bearing equally important messages pertaining to different aspect of the world and life.
From Brazil: The Second Mother
Director Anna Muylaert takes motherhood and class hierarchy to a whole different frame when mother Val encounters her grown-up daughter Jessica, whom she leaves with relatives since childhood as she works as a nanny for a wealthy family in Sao Paolo to support the daughter despite the pain of leaving her alone. The two have to live within the same house, but with different motivations as the mother is a housekeeper/nanny and the daughter is an aspiring student. Trying to fill the gap between them, they also have to come to terms with the wealthy owners and their son who aims for the same studies as the less wealthy nanny’s daughter. Tackling motherhood, sacrifice, poverty, class differences, ambition, desire, and commitment, the characters skillfully convey each of these challenges while also forging the destiny of future generations.
From Lebanon: Where Do We Go Now?
In a country deeply founded on sectarianism and patriarchy, males must be the primary dictators of what they deem as the appropriate behavior as well as what is right and wrong. But when war strikes, they become too immersed in the fighting and patriotism that the social environment of their everyday life becomes distant and secondary. However, in this movie, director Nadine Labaki puts the wheel in the hands of eccentric women who turn the pain and hostility inflicted by war into a dark comedy while highlighting existential observations on religion, patriotism, masculinity, war, co-existence and so on. This movie reflects the prevalent scene in Lebanon and how the resilient people of this country manage to find hope and humor in the most devastating situations.
From Pakistan: Waar
Unfortunately, some of the most beautiful countries have become associated with terrorism more than any other aspect. Behind the scenes of this expanding propaganda, sorrowful losses of loved ones leave people paralyzed in the face of an already burdened life, and an increasing polarization drift every chance of recovery beyond the realm of possibility. Director Bilal Lashari crafts a vicious circle of corruption, anger, sacrifice, patriotism in a nation crippled by selfish and ignorant entities and greedy politicians. It is sad to see such scenarios still prevailing in our supposedly civilized world, but the only hope are the people who still believe in a better world and devote their life to do good. Waar is a story set in one of many countries that share the same fate as well as the same hidden beauty.
From Palestine: Omar
The conventional logic we use to reflect on what is right and what is wrong are inadequate to judge the unfortunate events of Omar’s story. The manipulations of the politically powerful people set Omar on a path barren of all his dreams while falsely and cruelly making him believe in a victory over injustice, atrocity and misfortune. Omar has to live and adapt by force to a world where friendship fails, love fades, family falls apart, home is violated and dreams become the worst nightmare. The setting is a contested territory and thus alone is enough to deliver countless messages about a shattered people and a shattered land. This movie by Hany Abu-Assad is a must see not only for the light it sheds on a major and intricate cause, but also for its beautifully crafted and touching plot that literally leaves you speechless.
From France: Amour
Michael Haneke’s movie is an intensely slow decay of a women’s life whose husband patiently shares her journey down the hill until her last breath or maybe the one before the last. Haneke offers a smart and thrilling challenge to test love, devotion, patience, and pain. The hardest decision is to be able to choose yourself over someone so precious and loved that they become a part of you. In such a situation the choice you make is all the same because either yourself or a part of you will be lost forever. Within the limited setting of the story, the plot is universal and touches every human who has experienced the devastating sorrow of watching a loved one in pain without being able to help them. The movie focuses on the couple George and Ann during their final test within their isolated and intensely calm world.
From the US: Dancer in the Dark
Lars Von Tier’s genius in this movie captures the road a mother would take for the sake of her children. While treading on such paths is a sacrifice not everyone is willing to make, Selma takes each step of the way in full confidence and unwavering determination to the end. She defies her physical challenge and consumes herself for the sake of her son, but when greed, selfishness and jealousy present a harder challenge, Selma’s determination costs much more than she was hoping to sacrifice. This is one of the rare movies that puts a smile on your face while tears stream down your face against your will. The innocence of Selma along with her delightful approach to life will dwell long enough in your memory and leave a significant mark.
From Australia: Rabbit-Proof Fence
Native people have always been a controversial issue though it is not so hard to simply understand that invading someone’s land and destroying their culture, history, traditions, and life is in itself the main and only problematic issue to resolve. However, imperial powers always projected their rotten motivations and hunger for hegemony on native people to transform them into culprits and justify their colonialist ventures that defy every reason and logic. In the hope of escaping the civilizing process of missionaries imposed against each and every aboriginal’s will in Australia, three girls set on a journey back to their family and back to their childhood not knowing that the price for such courage are miles and miles of trekking barefoot along a rabbit-proof fence that becomes their only hope for freedom. The movie is directed by Phillip Noyce.