November 20, 2019 || Vol. 92, No. 10 - page 9

9 The Outlook
November 20, 2019
In the 80-something articles
I’ve written for
The Outlook
the course of three years, not one
article has given me quite a head-
ache like this one. It’s hard to say
what the best ones are.
While I’ve enjoyed so many
movies, I wanted to include those
that have changed the way I look
at cinema. I’m sure I’ve forgotten
some, but these are the movies
that I think about frequently and
watch over and over again.
When it comes to watching
other films, I compare them to
Mamma Mia: Here We
Go Again!
Hear me out first. I loved this
movie so much I saw it four times
in the theaters and each person
I brought with me adored it too.
My father, the stern critic he is,
was tapping his feet in ‘Dancing
Queen.’ This is the ultimate feel-
good movie that’s full of fun and
excellent musical numbers. If you
don’t like this movie, you simply
don’t have a heart.
This is a beautifully cold dra-
ma that deals with heavy mate-
rial. In 1962 Poland, a young nun
named Ida is about to take her
vows when she discovers a dark
family secret dating back to the
years of the Nazi occupation. The
film is only 80 minutes with a
straightforward plot, yet it’s filled
with plenty of mystery and drama
to make every second important.
Don’t forget your coat and veil.
In a year where I was left con-
tinually disappointed,
was the medicine I needed. Set
in South Korea, it follows a poor
family who tell lies and formulate
elaborate schemes to work for a
wealthy family. It has a funny
premise, but the film takes you on
a rollercoaster you didn’t see com-
The Square
A museum curator hires a new
public relations team to push a
new exhibit, but the film pushes
us further. Swedish director Ru-
ben Östlund wants you to squirm
in your seat or bury your face in
hands to discover the limits of
your principles. However Östlund
encourages us to reflect upon how
we can improve our efforts to cre-
ate a society where each person is
there to bring the other up. After
watching this, you’ll start to think
The Square
Mission Impossible: Fallout
It’s strange to see a
Mission Im-
movie here, but it’s one
of the most compelling action
flicks ever made. The stunt work
is incredible from Cruise jumping
out of airplanes, to dangling by a
string off a helicopter. There’s cra-
zy action for all its two-and-a-half
hours, along with a lovable cast
and spider’s web story.
What Will People Say
Going into this, I had no idea
about the movie and left stunned.
Director Iram Haq gives an eye-
opening experience to show how
brutal growing up in such a strict
culture can be, which will make
you feel a range of emotions. Haq
shows how caring parents from a
traditional culture can be, but how
dated their methods are and the
damage it causes to a child’s up-
Hacksaw Ridge
Director Mel Gibson (yes, Mel
Gibson) tells one of the greatest
war stories of Desmond Doss,
who didn’t fire a single bullet, but
made the biggest difference in
WWII. It has an incredible story
that all should know with battle
sequences so harsh, yet so life-
like. Also, the performances are
so good that even Vince Vaughn
is great. It should be number one
for that alone!
La La Land
Here’s to the ones who dream
(and cry). Director Damien
Chazalle gives us a beautiful love
story between Mia and Sebas-
tian, yet breaks our hearts with
that ending. It has unforgettable
dance numbers, the perfect set-
ting of L.A., and pays homage to
the great Hollywood musicals.
John Wick Chapter 2
I could’ve said the whole tril-
ogy, but
Chapter 2
is a constant
action trip. It’s a thrill to watch
and I still find myself gasping
at Wick’s moves after my hun-
dredth time watching it. The
John Wick
films have changed
my outlook on how action mov-
ies should be done: with stunts,
hand-to-hand combat, clever
quips, and oh, Keanu Reeves.
The Girl with the Dragon
The Swedishmystery is a mas-
terpiece. Computer hacker Lis-
beth Salander, played by Noomi
Rapace, pairs with journalist Mi-
kael Blomkvist, played by Mi-
chael Nyqvist, to search for the
wealthy Henrik Vanger’s niece
who disappeared 40 years ago.
The story is filled with twists and
turns all up until the last minute.
Its characters in the story match
well together as Rapace and Ny-
qvist play two of the most unfor-
gettable roles in film history. It is
without question the greatest film
of the decade.
Where Do We Begin?
Beyond Subt i t l es :
W h a t M a k e s a F o r e i g n F i l m ?
Hate reading subtitles in mov-
ies? Well, the Academy wants
We’re approaching Oscar sea-
son, and countries are sending
their entries to the Academy in
hopes to receive nominations for
Best International Feature Film.
However, the Academy recently
rejected two highly praised sub-
missions distributed by
cause there was too much English
was rejected
for too much English, even though
their country’s dominant language
is English, as per Piya Sinha-Roy
The Hollywood Reporter
. The
same goes for Austria’s
, but
the country’s main language is
German, according to Scott Fein-
berg of
The Hollywood Reporter
Considering the requirement for
consideration must feature pre-
dominantly non-English dialogue,
this means that the films will have
no other choice but to compete for
a Best Picture nomination.
And since there’s much big-
ger competition in that category
with more influential Hollywood
films, the “foreign movies” don’t
have much of a chance to be rec-
The Academy’s move presents a
dilemma for cinema: what makes
an international film? Is it defined
just by the amount of how much
a foreign language is used or is it
about the cultures represented on
The two faculty members who
organize the World Cinema Se-
ries, Spanish and Latin American
Literature Professor PriscillaGac-
Artigas, Ph.D., and History and
Anthropology Professor Thomas
Pearson, Ph.D., both feel that the
Academy have put themselves in
a corner with the title and require-
ments of the award.
It’s true that watching an inter-
national film in its native language
gives it the feeling of authenticity.
When you read those subtitles, it
feels like you’re being transport-
ed to the other side of the world
where the film is taking place.
Gac-Artigas thought that an in-
ternational film’s native language
is a part of its culture. “Language
is the most sophisticated way
of expression of a people and its
culture, the predominant lens
through which that culture is ap-
prehended by others,” she said. “A
foreign language movie should be
defined as a film portraying a for-
eign culture with dialogue track
in the language of expression of
that culture.”
Pearson also said that reading
subtitles enhances the experience
of watching international films.
“Connecting the subtitles to the
images and sounds of the film
develops thinking in the brain
that is different (and thus, helpful)
than watching a film in one’s own
language, and such films are won-
derful introductions to foreign
cultures,” Pearson stated.
Reading the subtitles does keep
you constantly engaged through-
out a foreign film. If your eyes
leave the screen for a second, you
could miss something important.
That’s why international films
give you the greatest escape, be-
cause for its entirety, you’re locked
But it’s more than just the lan-
guage spoken in the film that truly
makes it an international film; it’s
about exposing the audience to a
completely different culture that
Hollywood can’t capture, no mat-
ter how much money they could
Pearson noted, “I feel a foreign
film is more defined by the repre-
sentation of the culture—and the
important themes/topics present-
ed in that culture—than by the
amount of non-English dialogue
presented in the film, which is why
we have occasionally shown films
primarily in English as part of our
World Cinema Series.”
He mentioned that two films
screened at the World Cinema
Series, 1977’s
The Message: The
Story of Islam
and 2013’s
The Re-
luctant Fundamentalist
, had Eng-
lish dialogue. However, “Students
attending both films claimed that
they learned a great deal about the
different perspectives of the Mus-
lim world,” Pearson said.
Because of the requirements,
the Academy is closing the doors
to a lot of countries who want to be
represented at the Oscars. Gac-Ar-
tigas noted that, “They got caught
in their own limited and constrain-
ing definition dodging the fact that
English is the official language of
three other countries besides the
U.S. (England, Australia, and New
Zealand) and it is
de jure
official language in 56 other
nations including Nigeria.”
The Academy’s definition of an
international film might be con-
sidered dated as well. “The de-
termination of a foreign language
film based on the percentage of
foreign (non-English) language
spoken in the film goes back to
the establishment of the best for-
eign language film award as a
separate category of the Academy
Awards (1956),” Pearson said.
He continued, “It is an arbitrary
rule that made more sense at the
time than today when post-World
War II decolonization, the spread
of technology, and the rise of the
global economy have changed the
way that we see the world.”
After over 60 years, it’s time for
the Academy to update their cri-
A foreign film shouldn’t be de-
fined by the amount of subtitles it
has, but rather, how far it can take
you, the cultures on display, and
the effort to push you out of your
comfort zone.
not receive consideration for the Acad-
emy’s Best International Film Award because the film’s dialogue
features over two-thirds of English dialogue.
IMAGES TAKEN from (left), (center), IMDb (right), and Osnat Fine Art (background)
Maria Mozdah gave
a powerful performance in
What Will People Say
was insane with
the help of Kang-Ho Song’s performance (middle). Also, no matter how many reboots they make of
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
, Noomi Rapace will always be the greatest portrayal of Lisbeth Salander (left).
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