Author Topic: Around the World in 86 Movies  (Read 36269 times)

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #60 on: March 26, 2013, 03:32:01 AM »
Where We Are:  Botswana
wikipedia



Relentless Enemies
Year of Release: 2006
Starring: Lions & Cape Buffalo
Directed By:  Dereck Joubert
Genre: Documentary

Overview:
It is a spectacle few have seen firsthand. Two foes trapped on an island in a remote part of Africa. And a dramatic battle to survive captured in high-definition over two years by award-winning filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert.

National Geographic travels to a unique battlefield in the Okavango Delta to witness the grueling fight for survival of highly specialized lions that prey almost exclusively on buffalo who are forced to devise defensive tactics in order to fight back. Relentless Enemies tracks the fierce battles from the air and up close for an unforgettable account of a struggle that has been playing out for eons.

My Thoughts:
All of the films I have from Botswana are made by the same company: Wildlife Films Botswana.  This was the only one we haven't watched, so it we watched it for the marathon.  All of the wildlife films the Joubert's have made are really great, but this is by far the best.  It really illustrates the tactics and intelligence of both the buffalo and the lions, and I challenge anyone to watch this and still think that animals are stupid.  It has really great footage of both species and their habitat, it's well filmed and the narration was also well scripted, so I'd easily recommend this to anyone who likes wildlife documentaries.

Bechdel Test: Not applicable

Overall: 4/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #61 on: March 31, 2013, 12:42:51 AM »
Where We Are:  Morocco
wikipedia



What a Wonderful World
Year of Release: 2006
Starring: Nezha Rahile, Faouzi Bensaidi, El Mehdi Elaaroubi, Fatima Attif
Directed By: Faouzi Bensaidi
Genre: Thriller, Romance

Overview:
Souad is a prostitute whose best friend is Kenza, a tough traffic cop.  Kamel is a stony-eyed contract killer who receives his hit orders via the Internet; he is also Souad's favorite customer.  When Kenza falls in love with Kamel, the two begin a bizarre courtship doomed by their disparate lines of work, and a persistent cyber-snooping hacker who stumbles upon the site where Kamel receives his murderous contracts.  Moroccan actor-director Faouzi Bensaïdi promiscuously stylish film is a new vision of an old culture, unveiling an uncommon Casablanca caught in a world wide web of associations and consequences.

My Thoughts:
What a beautiful film!  Bensaidi's set pieces, choreography and cinematography create a beautiful, stylish art film.  This truly is film as art.  The scenes with Kenza on the roundabout, with the cars moving around her, are really spectacular pieces of art.  It's a very modern piece, with a mashup of genres and influences from both east and west.  With all that's good about it, the film is very disconnected from the viewer.  Perhaps this is because it is film as art rather than film as story.  The plot definitely takes a backseat to the cinematography.  You are always aware you are watching a movie.  There is never a time in which you are immersed in the film.  The characters, stylish and beautiful as they are, are also very superficial.  There is no connection between them and the viewer.  You don't really care about them.  But it's still a worthwhile film to see, for it's beautiful artistry.  It's easy on the eyes.  Just don't expect depth.

Recommended for art film lovers only.  I was reminded, in some ways, of Breathless, so if you like Godard, you should give this film a look.

Bechdel Test: Pass, but barely

Overall: 3/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #62 on: April 02, 2013, 05:54:09 AM »
Where We Are: Tunisia
wikipedia



Un été à La Goulette (A Summer in La Goulette)
Year of Release: 1996
Starring: Sonia Mankaï, Ava Cohen-Jonathan, Sarah Pariente, Mustapha Adouani, Guy Nataf, Ivo Salerno, Gamil Ratib
Directed By: Férid Boughedir
Genre: Comedy, Slice-of-Life

Overview:
The year is 1967 in La Goulette - a small harbor town in the suburbs of Tunis where various cultures have lived together for ages in effortless harmony. Youssef, Jojo and Giuseppe are as inseparable as their three 16-year-old-daughters, Meriem, Gigi and Tina. In a fit of teenage provocation, the three girls swear that they will lose their virginity by the day of the procession of the Madonna. To make matters worse, each of them has her eyes on a boy of a different religion, thus challenging an inviolable taboo. This leads the three families to cut off all ties with one another. But the bonds tying the three fathers are too strong. They end up making up, more like brothers than ever, just before the Six Day War breaks out in the Middle East, tearing apart Jews and Arabs the world over.

My Thoughts:
This is the image of an idyllic, peaceful place, a "paradise on Earth" as one of the mothers describes it, a place where Jews, Christians and Muslims live side-by-side happily.  It has a nostalgic view of a simpler time, when it seemed like there might still be a hope for peace in the Middle East.  It's a fun film, part coming-of-age, part slice-of-life, part comedy.  None of the performances stand out, but all of them were decent and the girls were all very lovely, especially the girl who plays Meriem.  It's also a film where summer is fleeting, a time to enjoy romance and live without worries before the coming storms.  Recommended for just about anyone, unless you don't like subtitles. 

Bechdel Test: Fail

Overall: 3.5/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #63 on: April 05, 2013, 05:22:41 AM »
Where We Are: Angola
wikipedia



Na Cidade Vazia (Hollow City)
Year of Release: 2004
Starring: João Roldan, Custodio Francisco, Carlão Machado, Domingos Fernandes Fonseca, Raúl Rosári
Directed By: Maria João Ganga
Genre: Drama

Overview:
One of the few films to have been made in Angola since it was torn apart by civil war, this eye-opening drama is set in Luanda, the capital of Angola, in the aftermath of the war. N'dala is a war orphan who escapes from his caretakers, hoping to find his way back to the village where he grew up. Wandering the streets of Luanda, he meets an array of characters, all the while pursued by a missionary nun across the bewildering and dangerous city.

My Thoughts:
This was a very poignant film.  N'dala hopes to return to his village to see his family again - to see them in the sky, where the Sister has told him they are, though he believes they are only in the sky over his own village.  N'dala is naive, trusting, and lonely and his interactions with the people he meets show some of the best, and some of the worst, parts of human nature.  Hollow City is a good, simple story, but it's also likely a metaphor for the situation in Angola after their civil war, with N'dala confused and frightened, seeking a return to a life that is destroyed.  The film is also a subtle critique of colonialism, and a stronger critique of westernized society over the traditional ways of life.  The old fisherman is the one who shows N'dala the best way of living, the way that reminds him most of the home he has lost, but just as he decides to grasp at this and perhaps make a home with the fisherman, he is caught up with the westernized hoodlums who have also shown him some kindness but seek to use him for their own ends with the result being only tragedy.  It's not a complete indictment of non-Angolans, as the nun is portrayed very positively.  Both she and the fisherman only want to help N'dala, but the point is that the fisherman's traditional way of life is the better for him because it is his culture, it is familiar and does not frighten or confuse him.  Wonderful no-budget film, but very sad, recommended for fans of foreign films and drama particularly.

Bechdel Test:  Fail

Overall: 3.5/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #64 on: April 08, 2013, 04:20:29 AM »
Where We Are: Kenya
wikipedia



Masaï: Les guerriers de la pluie (Masaï: The Rain Warriors)

Year of Release: 2005
Starring: Ngotiek Ole Mano, Paul Nteri Ole Sekenan, Parkasio Ole Muntet, Musurpei Ole Toroge, Swakei Kiplosh
Directed By: Pascal Plisson
Genre: Adventure

Overview:
Faced with a dangerous drought, Masai elders are convinced that they have been cursed by the Red God—the God of Vengeance. Following the death of the war chief, a group of adolescents band together to form a new generation of inexperienced but brave warriors, forcing them into adulthood. The young men must return with the mane of the legendary lion to appease the wrath of the Red God and bring back the rains. The survival of their culture depends on this quest. MASAI: THE RAIN WARRIORS, the debut feature film of noted nature documentarian Pascal Plisson, is the first film to be solely populated by real-life Masai and spoken entirely in their native tongue.

My Thoughts:
First, I should say, yes this is technically a French film since the production companies are French.  However, I'm counting as Kenyan since it not only was filmed in Kenya but also all the actors are Maasai, it's a look at their traditional way of life, was developed in partnership with their community, and is spoken in Maa.  So I'm counting it for Kenya (however, for sticklers with my marathon here, I also watched the short film Pumzi which is from a Kenyan production company). 

We enjoyed this film quite a lot.  It was beautifully filmed, definitely showing Plisson's nature documentary background and showcasing the gorgeous African savanna that the Maasai inhabit.  The actors, while undoubtedly amateurs, all did good work and it was interesting to see their characters develop over the film.  It's a story of initiation and courage, and learning to work together and make sacrifices for the greater good.  In that respect it has a lot of positive messages to share with viewers.  It's also a look at a traditional African way of life, uncluttered by questions of modernism, colonialism, or westernization. It has a rich, authentic, ancient feel to it, and I'd recommend it to anyone.  It's also suitable for family viewing with anyone old enough to read subtitles.

Bechdel Test: Fail

Overall: 3.5/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #65 on: April 09, 2013, 04:32:07 AM »
Where We Are:  Burkina Faso
wikipedia

What We Watched:


La nuit de la vérité (The Night of Truth)
Year of Release: 2004
Starring: Moussa Cissé, Georgette Paré, Adama Ouédraogo, Naky Sy Savané, Sami Rama Goumbané, Rasmané Ouédraogo
Directed By: Fanta Régina Nacro
Genre: War, Drama

Overview:
This award-winning feature debut by one of Africa’s most talented female directors takes place in an unnamed country, where two peoples, the ruling Nayak and the opposition Bonandés, have finally embarked on a path to peace after a decade of atrocities. To commemorate the reconciliation, a celebratory feast is planned. But with each side haunted by memories of the past, will the night of truth bring understanding - or revenge?

My Thoughts:
This is one of the most powerful anti-war films I have ever seen, and one of the very best films about war.  It's also a brutally honest film.  There are no good guys, no bad guys here; only human beings and the demons of our own souls.  Those demons being war, hatred, oppression, prejudice, mistrust, the love of power and the desire for revenge.  It shows how grief and pain can be bottled up inside until they break you and allow those demons to take you over, and the ending shows how you can equally take that grief and pain and turn it outward into something positive.  It's a beautiful, brutal, bitter and uncomfortable film and it's the kind of film everyone ought to see. 

I must commend the actors as well, especially Naky Sy Savané, for her extremely powerful performance, and Rasmané Ouédraogo for absolutely embodying his character.  The film-making technique itself is nothing flashy, but Nacro takes time to develop her story, and is very good about showing the atrocities of war that you need to see without being overdone or in any way gratuitous.  She's done a great job and I would look forward to anything else she does.

There's a very definite Shakespearean quality to the film, being more a universal tale than a specific one.  I highly recommend it.  One of the most powerful films we've watched thus far in this marathon.

Bechdel Test: Pass

Overall: 4.5/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #66 on: April 16, 2013, 04:09:51 AM »
Where We Are:  Côte d'Ivoire
wikipedia

What We Watched:


Noirs et blancs en couleur (Black and White in Color)
Year of Release: 1976
Starring: Jean Carmet, Jacques Dufilho, Catherine Rouvel, Jacques Spiesser, Dora Doll, Maurice Barrier
Directed By: Jean-Jacques Annaud
Genre: Comedy, War

Overview:
Winner of the 1976 Academy Award™ for Best Foreign Language film, BLACK AND WHITE IN COLOR is a irrepressible and timely satire on racism, colonialism, and war. Set in the Ivory Coast during the First World War, a group of bungling French colonials learn that their country is at war with Germany. Spurred on by a capricious moment of patriotism, the Frenchmen decide to attack their German neighbors who reside in a colony up river, thus touching off a brutal series of hilariously unfortunate events.

My Thoughts:
While I haven't seen its rivals, judged solely on its own merit I can see why Black and White in Color won the Oscar.  It's a really well done film.  It reminded me a lot of Dr. Strangelove - obviously because both are satires, both are well done, and both are very funny.  The film has a lot of good points to make about the treatment of Africa by the West, but it's not just a film with a message.  It's also really entertaining.  It's clever and ironic and timeless.  Recommended.

Bechdel Test: Fail

Overall: 4/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #67 on: May 03, 2013, 06:08:47 AM »
Where We Are: Rwanda
wikipedia

What We Watched:


Munyurangabo
Year of Release: 2007
Starring: Rutagengwa Joseph, Ndorunkundiye Eric, Nkurikiyinka Jean Marie Vianney, Harerimana Jean Pierre, Uwayo B. Edouard
Directed By: Lee Issac Chung
Genre: Drama

Overview:
After stealing a machete from a market in Kigali, Munyurangabo and his friend, Sangwa, leave the city on a journey tied to their pasts. Munyurangabo wants justice for his parents who were killed in the genocide, and Sangwa wants to visit the home he deserted years ago. Though they plan to visit Sangwa's home for just a few hours, the boys stay for several days. From two separate tribes, their friendship is tested when Sangwa's wary parents disapprove of Munyurangabo, warning that "Hutus and Tutsis are supposed to be enemies."

My Thoughts:
I found Munyurangabo to be a good debut film for its director and actors. It shows its amateur status with its uneven camerawork, but it has a strong emotional core and is worth seeing.  One might consider the plot uneven, but it could also be viewed as more like real life, where things aren't always neat and reasons aren't always clear.  It's an authentic, gritty little film with a lot to say about friendship, family, violence and hatred, and the power of forgiveness.  The ending, unlike many films on subjects dealing with war and genocide, is one of hope. 

Recommended for anyone who enjoyed Hotel Rwanda.

Bechdel Test: Fail

Overall: 3.5/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #68 on: May 04, 2013, 05:17:40 AM »
Where We Are:  Cameroon
wikipedia

What We Watched:


Chocolat
Year of Release: 1988
Starring: Isaach de Bankole, Giulia Boschi, François Cluzet, Cecile Ducasse,
Directed By: Claire Denis
Genre: Drama

Overview:
"Erotic, sophisticated, and distinctive" (L.A. Weekly), this enthralling depiction of a family's struggle during the final years of French colonialism in Africa takes a profound look at the intricate nature of relationships in a racist society. A story of exclusions, betrayals and agonizing comprises, this "remarkable and quietly devastating" (The Boston Globe) film is truly "extraordinary" (Interview)!

Curious and observant seven-year-old France spends her days amidst the paradise of her family's estate. But behind the household's exterior beauty lies growing hostility brought on by France's always-traveling father, her bored, frustrated mother – and Protee, the noble, intelligent house "boy" who suffers the indignities of his status in silence. But when a plane makes an emergency landing nearby, bringing a motley collection of characters to the house, the heavenly façade soon begins to unravel. And a shocking explosion of rage, racism and forbidden passion threatens to tear apart the family forever!

My Thoughts:
Watching Chocolat is like watching a memoir, with the past playing out in a search for identity, meaning, and relationships, but there really isn't a plot, just vignettes about life in late colonial times.  It does have a lot to say there - about racism, boundaries, power, and the continuing legacy of colonialism in Africa.  This is very much a character driven film, and as such a lot is expected out of the leads, and all of them deliver.  Isaach De Bankolé and Giulia Boschi are outstanding as Protée and Aimée, whose relationship is one of the main foci of the film.  Cécile Ducasse is also excellent as the young France, whose relationship with Protée is the other focus. 

However, the film is very slow-paced, not much happens, and there is no resolution, just a look at colonialism, racism, and the effects on this particular family in this particular time, so I can only recommend this for aficionados of foreign films. 

Bechdel Test:  Fail

Overall:  3.25/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #69 on: May 04, 2013, 05:32:15 AM »
We have finally made it through Africa, watching films from seventeen different African countries.  Now we shall proceed to Europe, beginning with Portugal.

I have 2 films that are primarily from Portugal:

- Um Filme Falado (A Talking Picture)
- Viagem ao Princípio do Mundo (Voyage to the Beginning of the World)

They're both from the same director, Manoel de Oliveira, who has been making films since 1927 - and is still making them!  I think we shall watch Voyage, but we'll see how we feel when we get a chance to sit down for a movie again.
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Achim

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #70 on: May 05, 2013, 07:40:31 AM »
They're both from the same director, Manoel de Oliveira, who has been making films since 1927 - and is still making them!
:o

1927 is 86 years ago! An 86 year old director making movies is impressive already, but he certainly didn't start as an infant! He must be 100 years old or older! :stars:

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #71 on: May 05, 2013, 11:46:02 PM »
They're both from the same director, Manoel de Oliveira, who has been making films since 1927 - and is still making them!
1927 is 86 years ago! An 86 year old director making movies is impressive already, but he certainly didn't start as an infant! He must be 100 years old or older! :stars:
Yup!  He was born in 1908, and is 104 years old.  He currently has a film in pre-production.
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #72 on: May 12, 2013, 04:31:09 AM »
Where We Are:  Portugal
wikipedia



Viagem ao Princípio do Mundo (Voyage to the Beginning of the World)
Year of Release: 1997
Starring: Marcello Mastroianni, Jean-Yves Gautier, Leonor Silveira, Diogo Dória, Isabel de Castro
Directed By: Manoel de Oliveira
Genre:  Drama

Overview:
"One of the most beautiful films ever made about aging. VOYAGE TO THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD brings together 89-year-old Portuguese film maker Manoel de Oliveira and Italian icon Marcello Mastroianni, in what would be his last film. Playing a film maker clearly based on Oliveira, Mastolianni takes three actor friends on a driving tour of a mountain village, where one of the actors (Jean-Yves Gautier) is united with the elderly aunt he has never met. Family becomes the link between the past and present, in a film of great simplicity, dignity, and wisdom. Through Mastroianni, Oliveira speculates on the beginnings and endings (the village is in the North, where the Portuguese nation began), on what remains of the past (a primitive wooden statute, the meaning of which has been lost) and on what disappears (the ruins of a hotel). The cinematography, by Renato Berta, is at once radiantly clear and surrealistically devoid of detail - as if what we were seeing was already a recollection." - Dave Kehr, NY DAILY NEWS

My Thoughts:
This was a beautiful, poetic film, simple in execution, subtle and complicated in thought.  It's a study in character, in memory and origins, the meaning and hold of the past, whether that be the past of the individual, the family, or the country.  It's a film that takes it time - another person might say it's slow and talky.  There really isn't any action, all of the conflict is internal, and there are no heroes or villains. Instead it's a film about the search for identity, whether that search is focussed toward the family one comes from or things left behind from one's youth as age has taken over.

I found it to be an elegant little film with a lovely nostalgic atmosphere, but as much as I enjoyed the film, I would only recommend it for the art house crowd.  There is nothing to hold the attention of the Hollywood blockbuster crowd.

Bechdel Test:  Fail

Overall: 4/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #73 on: May 12, 2013, 04:47:31 AM »
Where We're Going Next:  Spain

I have 19 films that have Spain listed as the only CoO.  I'm thinking of watching either El amor Brujo, Death of a Cyclist, Sex and Lucia or Spirit of the Beehive, but I certainly wouldn't mind hearing any thoughts.

- El amor Brujo
- Bad Education
- El Bola
- Blood Wedding
- Carmen
- Cria cuervos...
- Curse of the Devil
- Death of a Cyclist
- Mondays in the Sun
- Night of the Werewolf
- The Orphanage
- The Sea Inside
- The Secret Life of Words
- Sex and Lucia
- South from Granada
- The Spirit of the Beehive
- Talk to Her
- Volver
- Werewolf Shadow
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #74 on: May 20, 2013, 04:46:44 AM »
Where We Are:  Spain
wikipedia

What We Watched:


El espíritu de la colmena (Spirit of the Beehive)
Year of Release:  1973
Starring:  Fernando Fernán Gómez, Teresa Gimpera, Ana Torrent, Isabel Tellería
Directed By:  Victor Erice
Genre:  Drama

Overview:
The Criterion Collection is proud to present Víctor Erice's spellbinding The Spirit of the Beehive, widely regarded as the greatest Spanish film of the 1970s. In a small Castilian village in 1940, directly following the country's devastating civil war, six-year-old Ana attends a traveling movie show of Frankenstein and becomes possessed by her memory of it. Produced as Franco's long regime was nearing its end, The Spirit of the Beehive is both a bewitching portrait of a child's haunted inner life and one of the most visually arresting movies ever made.

My Thoughts:
This was a beautiful film in every sense of the word.  Everything about it was excellent: the atmosphere, the direction, the cinematography, the performances.  It's a film of few words and much empathy, a film to relax and absorb and think about - one of the best sorts of films.  It has a slow, quiet, deliberate pace, and that sort of pace isn't for everyone. 

It's a film about isolation and alienation inside the family unit.  The father sees the bees in his hive working feverishly toward nothing - when it is actually his own family trapped in this  beehive, not the bees. It's a film about the innocence of childhood and how children see the world differently from  adults and that things we may dismiss as adults can have a profound effect upon a child.  It's a film about a child's desire for a father, but also a child's fear of her father.  It's also a critique of Franco's regime.

But most of all it's a really, really great film.  Highly recommended for art house film lovers.  One of the best films I've seen.

Bechdel Test:  Pass

Overall:  5/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield