Sunday, April 29, 2007

Foreign Movies

I failed to mention Marion Cotillard who played Fanny Chenal in A Good Year. Gorgeous and talented.

What brings her to mind again is a piece in the newspaper about the French language film La Môme (La Vie En Rose in the US - opening in June, but previewing now) It's a biography of Edith Piaf, with Marion Cotillon apparently wonderful in the title role. I like Edith Piaf. I shall watch this movie when it comes out.

I've been looking out for Spanish movies - from Spain rather than Latin America - in Virgin. Penelope Cruz is not just a pretty (sorry - I mean drop-dead gorgeous) face. She works in Spanish, English & French: I know this because Virgin has at least two French language films with her in - and no Spanish ones at all!

And while I'm here - I really enjoyed Sabah, a grown-up Syrian-Canadian variation on My B.F.Greek Wedding. Written and directed Ruba Nadda, it stars the Lebanese actress Arsinée Khanjian who, in addition to being an established talent in her own right, is married to director Atom Egoyan. I'm going to look out for all three of those names in future - but I've promised myself - and Habibi - not to buy any more DVDs or books for the remaining 10 weeks (TEN WEEKS!) of our sojourn here.

Up to this point, though, I thought that all Arab movies were slapstick comedies featuring rubber-faced moustachioed men leaping about in their dishdashas. Actually, that's not true, because there are lots of Arab movies on satellite, but they seem stuck in a timewarp to me - though I'm probably tuning in to Arab Classic Movies.

Still, it's good to see a mainstream English language movie based in Arab culture: after a dozen years here, the arab-western mix is part of my way of life, so I really appreciate some straightforward cinematic storytelling that reflects this. Sabah is not, of course, an Arab movie: it's a cross-cultural piece which inevitably brings to mind other movies about immigrant identity and culture - such as Bend It Like Beckham, MBFGW, and Bhaji on the Beach; but we need cross-cultural film-makers.

I haven't lived in the Middle East, in this extraordinarily cosmopolitan town, for a dozen years, just to put all my experience and discoveries in a box marked 'Foreign' when I go back to Europe. These are not postcard memories to be brought out for visitors, but part of who I am, as English as I am. And I want to see movies that address that.

Uh-oh. Blogging past my bedtime again.

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