Saturday I had the opportunity to see the film The Counterfeiters and I was reminded once again how much I love movies from other countries. The Counterfeiters won the Oscar for best foreign film and is about a counterfeiter who worked in a concentration camp forging English pound notes and the American dollar to fund the Nazi war effort. This film had a bare bones quality about it, which is something foreign films do so very well. American audiences, generally speaking, like their films laid out for them- they don't want to figure the meaning out for themselves. In The Counterfeiters, the director laid the facts out for the audience to interpret. The film was simple and devastating, as Holocaust movies can be, but was never over the top- especially when portraying events in the camp. The events speak for themselves and a good director does not need to embellish them. Many friends of mine say they don't like foreign films because they "don't like to read at the movies". If you don't watch foreign films, then you have no soul (cinematically speaking). Seriously- you are missing out and probably do not know what movies are capable of. Now, I don't mean to say that American films can not achieve the full potential of this art form, I am just saying it can be rare. You don't know how much color affects story telling until you watch a Chinese film. You don't know a love story until you watch a movie from France or Italy. And don't get me started on those directors from South of the Border (Cuaron, del Toro, Inarrito- please add the appropriate accent marks as I don't know how to put them in!) Luckily for us, they are making films in the U.S. And Germany? Well, with The Counterfeiters, they have won the last two Oscars for best foreign film (Run, don't walk, and rent last year's winner, The Lives of Others. I give it an 11)
Go see The Counterfeiters - I give it a 91/2. If that is your first foreign film, I hope it is not your last; and if you are an experienced foreign film watcher, then you will know what I am talking about!