Thursday, February 12, 2009

Why I love International Films...seeing Snow at the Portland International Film Festival

I cannot stop thinking about the Portland International Film Festival going on these three weeks. Last week, I went to see the Bosnian Film "Snow" at the annual film event with a friend and I have wanted to go back to see other international films since then, including a German and Austrian one, but did not end up making it there. I have been talking to other people about international films, finding common ground with certain friends on this -- there is something about international films.

They are mysterious and paced differently and do not give away all the answers and sometimes leave you with more questions than answers and there is plot and layer after layer and, like good poetry, you have to come to your own conclusion by thinking about the movie and talking about it and musing.

"Snow" follows the tale of a handful of women in a village after recovering from War in 1997. Some of the women are widows and many of their children have been executed by Bosnian Serbs who live nearby but the children’s bodies have not been found. All the women have are their memories and their homemade items they try to sell with little success. Two businessmen arrive with an offer to buy the residents out which gives the villagers a tough choice. Other hopeful elements are interwoven in this Critics’ Week Grand Prize Winner at the Cannes Film Festival. Snow is this year’s Bosnian submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

I found myself intrigued by this story of devastation after war, yet the film does not get political. Again, a difference that I see comparing American films with international films. American films tend, in general, to jam messages down people’s throats, while international films, again in general, will allow you to make your own conclusions or show several sides to a story.

Like good poetry – a bit of a mystery that intrigues and leaves you hungering for more.

When I mentioned my interest in the Portland International Film festival to my husband, he said he'd like to go with me, and so for Valentine’s Day [or the day before depending on when we can get a baby-sitter] we will find an international film to see. My husband mentioned two of his favorite films- which happen to be international - the 1986 French film "Jean de Florette" and its sequel "Manon of the Spring", two films that I had forgotten about but now that my husband mentioned them, I realize how much I too enjoyed them. The mystery of the heart and family and human nature were explored in those films.

The calendar for the PIFF is posted on line - . . . I will blog about which film we ended up seeing... stay tuned


Fantastic Forrest said...

You're right - international films are a great way to experience the world from a different viewpoint. Best of all is to travel to other countries, but this is a whole lot more affordable for people. And it gives a glimpse into things like this which we might not experience through travel unless we volunteered for an aid organization.

A number of my husband's college students went to Bosnia for the Balkan Sunflower program. You can learn more about it here:

The terrible toll that war takes on young people is something I don't believe most Americans fully understand. So many in this country view wars the same way they do sporting matches. It's a shame that most people who attend international film festivals are not the ones who could benefit the most from them. You and your friends undoubtedly already get that wars shouldn't happen.

Cornelia Seigneur - WriterMom Ink said...

Hey Holly - thanks for your response and wars are a hard thing and I do not understand them . . .and films like this help bring light to the other side of war, who is left-


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