Friday, August 01, 2008

Movies for atheists - #3

I hope you enjoy foreign films. I do and I’m going to recommend quite a few of them, simply because they consistently come up with more interesting human stories than American producers. I mean, in this culture of consumerism, who can blame the Americans? Hell, we are all about making a buck – not a thought-provoking movie.

But this one is definitely of the intellectual variety, even though it is a very personal and emotional tale. It’s called The Sea Inside and stars one of my new favorite actors – Javier Bardem. If the name is vaguely familiar, he was the psycho-killer in last year’s Best Picture “No Country For Old Men”. Bardem won Best Supporting Actor for the role. Make no mistake, this is such a wholly different role that I could only acknowledge that he seemed very familiar. I could never have placed him as being the same guy.

On to the "based on fact" film. Bardem plays the part of a middle-aged quadriplegic man who just wants to be free to die – his way, and not illegally. Spain, like most “secular” countries holds to the legal tradition that assisted suicide is a crime. This is an interesting position for a government to take, considering that the only possible way to defend the illegality is when examining it through religious glasses.

As usual, I will say no more other than “rent it”. I can assure any self-respecting intellectual secularist (you really need not be an atheist) that they will love the story and the acting and, most of all, the underlying message.

This is the Netflix synopsis:

Based on a true story, this moving film centers on a Spaniard, Ramon Sampedro (Javier Bardem), who's condemned to life as a quadriplegic. Determined to die with dignity, Sampedro leads a 30-year campaign to win the right to end his life. An extraordinary man, Sampedro inspires his lawyer, Julia (Belen Rueda), and a local woman (Lola Duenas) to reach for the stars, and through his inspiration, the women achieve far beyond their wildest dreams.


The Exterminator said...

I'm adding it to my Netflix list.

But aren't foreign films made by foreigners? What's wrong with American films? And where's your flag pin, f'Chrissake? While you're at it, why not admit that your full name is Evolutionary Hussein Middleman?

PhillyChief said...

Based on the Netflix description, it ironically sounds like an affirmation for denying suicide if while being prevented to commit suicide he inspired others. That's even a secular justification. Oops.

But you know, foreign films have subtitles and I ain't payin' to do no readin'! Readin' is what you do in the shitter.

John Evo said...

Philly - that's part of what makes the movie fascinating. As a viewer we relate to his friends and family who don't want him to win his suit on one level. But it's his life. And he truly wants to die. I think you have to respect that.

Take your laptop into the shitter and read the movie.

John Evo said...

Ex asked: why not admit that your full name is Evolutionary Hussein Middleman?

Because it wouldn't be true. I have birth certificate if you want me to produce it. "Evolutionary Che Middleman".

PhillyChief said...

Now I gotta buy a laptop? Foreign films are expensive

The Exterminator said...

For fuck's sake, don't you ever watch a comedy?

John Evo said...

@ Philly - Only if you want to watch them in the can.

@ Ex - not so much for fuck's sake. But for Evo's sake I do. I can give you an enthusiastic recommendation on a beautiful little French film, Amelie And Audrey Tautou is irresistible.

Anonymous said...

Looks like a good film. Unfortunately, the deacon hates reading subtitles. I don't mind them, but that's probably because I don't do all my reading in the shitter.

John Evo said...

Chappy, I don't LIKE reading subtitles. I endure it. If the movie sucks, the subtitles make it even worse. But I'd rather have subtitles than the old "dubbing" they used to do when we were kids. And I've seen many great foreign flicks that I would have missed if I simply said "I don't like subtitles". Now, if you tell me he has a reading problem, is dyslexic, his vision is bad with screens, etc. then that's different. If there is something going on that truly prevents him from at least gathering the gist of the story then I sympathize. Personally, I'm a notoriously slow reader, so the movies that talk fast is a bit of a problem. I don't like to pause, but sometimes I have to.

PhillyChief said...

What I find amazing is it took so long for someone to realize that you can't just put white text on the screen. Hello! Yeah, that works great for say something set in Alaska or anywhere you have snow everywhere.

White text, black border, and perhaps a drop shadow. What took so long? Of course the absolute best is not having the text on the film part at all, but having a letterbox film with black at the bottom where you can put your all white text without troubles.

Of course the problem really is translation. I know any time we watch Japanese movies or tv shows, the translations are always wrong. That then makes me skeptical of them getting any other language right.

One last thing - why does the Food Network dub Morimoto? He's speaking in English! I can hear him, and he makes perfect sense. I sometimes can't understand the French or Spanish chefs but no one tries to dub them. Wtf? Food Network is anti-asian. Any asian shows on there? No, unless you get someone white doing it. Why does Food Network hate yellow people?

Unknown said...

If you don't watch movies with subtitles then you missed a pretty decent action/fantasy flick a while back - Brotherhood of the Wolf.

Anyway, I'll add this to my list. As a warning it's worse than my book list (mostly because I don't watch movies as often as I read books).

Anonymous said...

I have already watched this movie because I don't mind reading my movies. Besides, since English isn't my husband's first language, we pretty much always have close-captioning on and I often have to force myself not to read the bottom of the screen. Anyways, this film was beautiful and heartbreaking and Javier Bardem is an awesome actor in any language.