Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Now it's time for (drumroll) Siskel and....Earlgirl?

That's right folks, I have some new movie reviews for you. I don't know exactly how new these movies really are, but they're new to me. Both of these babies can be found under the "watch instantly" section of my beloved Netflix. (you can see my other recommendations here)

I love movies that let you inside the skin of someone from a different culture. I'm so curious about other people. It drives me crazy when I'm grocery shopping. I'll pass someone from Africa, or hear a family speaking Russian and I'll be just dying to sit down with them and hear their life stories. These movies are like being able to do just that, peek inside their worlds and walk around in their shoes.

I present to you: Arranged. An Orthodox Jewish gal works in the public school system, and ends up working in the same classroom as a devout Muslim gal. During a social studies lesson on tolerance, one of the kids spouts out, "What about this Jewish lady here, you hate her, right? Don't Muslims hate the Jews?" A really interesting friendship develops from this. Both girls are preparing for their arranged marriages, and the similarities in their lives become so much more important than their differences. The result is hilarious, fascinating, and very satisfying to my hunger for other cultures.

Don't be put off by the title of this one. It means 'guests' in Aramaic. In fact, the entire movie is in Hebrew, with English subtitles. Still, don't let that intimidate you. This story takes place during a Jewish festival that only sounds vaguely familiar to me from early morning seminary- Succoth. Moshe, a Rabbi in Old Jerusalem, is flat broke. He desperately wants to be able to provide a enough for his wife to be able to celebrate the holy festival. His wife aches to be able to have children. They decide to pray for a miracle. They're doing their best to live righteous lives, and they combine their faith in some of the most heart-rending prayers I have ever seen. What happens next is a miracle, and a test that takes on Abrahamic proportions.

I have to honest with you: religious movies sometimes have a schlock factor that repels me. When I feel like my emotions are being played, I get really cynical. The whole Work and the Glory series left me wanting to scream "Die Steeds, Die!" Isn't that terrible?
What I mean is, this movie wasn't like that. It was simple, profound and very moving. I dare you to keep from crying at the end.


Home of the Muddy Kids said...

That's why I liked "Fighting the Giants," or "Facing the Giants," or whatever it is called. It was honest.

Anonymous said...

I love foreign movies,
I watched one lately titled "Turtles can Fly" about Kurds in Northern Iraq, maybe you've seen it already, or maybe not, it was somewhat sad but also showed the reality of that place, I think all of those who oppose our troops in Iraq should watch it to understand the regime oppressed the Kurds and how the US troops are both wanted and needed there.

I was going to post about this movie but couldn't make the time to do that, I was also afraid of writing too much about the story and spoil it, it's in kurdish.

Kersten said...

Thanks for posting this! I am always looking for great movies that make me cry at the end!

Jenn said...

No, I really thought the Steeds should have died too. I'm excited to watch those, though.

Anonymous said...

If you can get ahold of it, The White Balloon is a good one too, and timely besides (Persian New Year festivities).

lovecat said...

I love netflix! We were sick all this week and never left the couch. Why should we when we can waist beautiful hours on instant play? Thanks for the suggestions!

I never even made it through the books of the work and the glory, much less the movies. Yuck!

Jodi said...

Oh, I can't wait to see the first one! I know I would soak it in! Love these movie reviews!

Ms Renee said...

I thought I risked being booted out of mainstreamism when I couldn't find it in me to finish the "Work and the Glory". So nice to know I'm not alone. (although it is possible to debate whether I'm in the mainstream to be booted out of).