Known as the seventh art, cinema has become a sophisticated mean of expression since the turn of the 20th century. Whether silent or musical, black and white or color, cinema is a universal language spoken by those endowed with a talent to communicate stories, causes, history, ideas, philosophy and other contents to an audience always eager to relate and reflect on what is presented on the screen. Movies express communal concepts and ideas no matter where they have been produced or by whom they have been directed. From East to West, the barrier of language surrenders before the expression of a picture that tells a thousand words.
From Iran: Where is the Friends Place?
This is a movie by Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami. It is extremely engaging that you almost feel that you have been carried to the setting itself and you have become a part of the story. The random face expressions of the characters, the authentic progress of the story and the struggles of the little boy trying so hard to save his friend from punishment make the movie a personal experience, so intimate that you almost feel exhausted by the end of the boy’s journey. What should be stressed is that such a work of art is not to be missed, not to mention of course the other masterpieces by this genius director, who knows how to have an audience utterly absorbed by what they are visually experiencing. A friendly advice, the Iranian cinema in general must be explored.
From Lebanon: Very Big Shot
Director Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya depicts the corruption of a country emerging from decades of war. It is a story of young people striving for a living, a story of friendship, of betrayal, of morality and immorality, of cunningness and innocence, of sorrowful memories and hopeful aspirations, it is a story that must be watched and known. This black comedy will definitely make you laugh, but it will also make you tearfully reflect on the challenging realities humans are bound to tolerate. The characters will make you laugh and the story will make you think.
From the US: Dogville
The unconventional setting of the movie will either attract you or repel you, though I doubt the latter option. Lars Von Trier’s movies are all a must see, yet Dogville sheds light on the vile nature of people when they sense the vulnerability of others. Given the chance, men and women would take advantage of whatever is offered to them, disregarding their dignity and morality, for the sake of their insatiable instincts. It is a display of human’s hunger for power in its most simple form. The story bears a universal aspect where an isolated village and its modest inhabitants communicate an ignored communal reality.
From India: New York
This movie directed by Kabir Khan depicts the price of stereotypes and misjudgments for causes that gravely defy moral ethics in the name of protecting one nation, and the lack of all sorts of consideration for fellow humans negates their most natural right for equal existence. Quite an elaborate description, yet it cannot be communicated otherwise for the crimes committed under the pretext of one nation’s security are drastically exaggerated and cruelly outrageous. The countries discussed are for you to discover and the judgment is yours to reason. Simply, prejudice and stereotypes are the most cowardly means of defense.
From France: Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain
Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet will definitely succeed in putting a genuine smile on your face while watching this beautifully crafted movie. Amelie’s innocent character and her positive attitude towards life will lift your spirit and totally engage you in her personal love story. With lots of coherent digressions, the story involves different sub-stories of different people that also adds to the light humor of this piece of art. This original story line imbedded with romantic suspense is a movie not to be missed for those who appreciate and love cinema. What is also totally worth seeing is Amelie’s personal and eccentric perspective of the world around her.
From Brazil: Waste Land
The directors are Lucy Walker and Karen Harley, the artist is Vik Muniz and the story is a chef-d'oeuvre. In Jardim Gramacho, the world's largest landfill located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, garbage is the prime resource for the people to make a living. Artist Vik Muniz turns this miserable reality into a celebration of art, empathy, solidarity and social awareness. Workers get the chance to realize that they are as valuable and productive as any other human being by creating portraits of themselves using garbage and the outcomes turn out way beyond what they had anticipated.
From Ireland: Hunger
Steve McQueen is behind this legendary movie about IRA member Bobby Sands's 1981 prison hunger strike in the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland. The movie details the extent to which one would sacrifice their body and existence for the sake of taking a stance and having their voice heard. Michael Fassbender’s epic performance is mesmerizing and the movie is another masterpiece not to be missed.