I don’t go out to see movies all that much, maybe 7 or so a year. Going to see a movie, now costing around $10, maybe a bit shy of a ticket to a community theater, is an occasion. When I do, I usually stroll over to The Grand Cinema, a nonprofit extremely small co-op film house within a mile of my apartment. It’s even rarer to see a movie with subtitles. But, then I saw The Diving Bell and the Butterfly last spring and was awed. When it came to comprising my list, I wanted to open up my endorsement of modern arts by watching at least three foreign films at home. I started this task numerous times and failed. It appear I am too restless of watch foreign films at home. Alone and left to my own devices, I get up and out of my seat so many times that I miss too much, thus explaining my interest (I did make it through Cheuking Express in August). But for some reason, this weekend, I nailed out three foreign films: From France (Avenue Montaigne) Afghanistan (The Beauty School of Kabul) and Senegal (Binta and the Great Idea).
I am now hooked. The French film surprisingly bubbled. The love scenes sparkled with creativity, yet realism. I cheered for the drama queen. The Beauty school reminded me how women’s bodies can unleash healing, and simple acts, like a shampoo, can tip the scale of transformation, giving freedom, offering empowerment. And then there was little Binta…Binta and the Great Idea. The movie entails a young girl attempting to figure out how to help convince her cousin’s father to send her to school. The film weaves themes of diversity, and community through the universal hope discovered in children. Context Matters.
In a scene where Binta is coloring wide sweeping scene, she says”
I like to use the color green
But I like yellow a lot, too
But my favorite color…(and here the camera zooms on a filling in stick figure)
…is the color of skin
The words glued themselves to my core.
I am more in tuned with characters of foreign films, noticing their body language, the ecstasy or despair emanating in their eyes, the nonverbal unrequited interest or assertive denial. It is easier to empathize. To feel. Not to think or analyze, but purely experience it. Watching foreign films demands my entire attention, that I remain presently processing each moment.
Yep. Context matters. Where you are impacts Who you are. When is the last time you took a step out of your preferred medium?