- To begin this feature I though of nothing better than to mention and review some of my favourites from around the world. I’ve tried to pick 3 from different countries for some variety but I can tell you it was nigh-on-impossible to narrow these down.
Cinema Paradiso - Italian
Possibly my favourite film of all time. I say possibly because I don’t like to be caged in with a definitive answer. For me it has it all: an adventurous, passionate child in Toto; an amazing yet grounded role model in Alfredo; an inspired capturing of first love; the haunting changes of adulthood; a caring family; the struggles of death; and the opportunities of a new life. The tale is magnificently displayed on screen and for me crosses any language barrier there is. It’s final scene is one of the very few times I have found myself in tears at the end of a movie.
The Lives of Others - German
The Lives of Others is an intensely suspenseful capturing of one man’s isolation ultimately resulting in obsession. Set in East Berlin, 1984, this veteran member of the Stasi, Captain Weisler, undertakes the role of monitoring a young playwright and his actress girlfriend. Left in an dusty room to listen over their most private conversations, Wiesler (played superbly by Ulrich Muhe) develops a sympathy for their situation. The director von Donnersmark takes us through this journey with an immense display of character development and a story that may seem to have little action ends up being a gripping film. Truly a must see!
Intouchables - French
A relatively recent picture, only released in 2011, this true story is transported onto the screen with two incredible performances from the lead actors. This collision of two vastly different men, from infinitely different backgrounds, results in one of the most beautiful friendships ever captured in a movie. A wealthy quadriplegic, Philipe, needing a carer picks the most unlikely candidate for the position, Driss, a young man from the suburbs just after his unemployment benefits. Told through a flashback it reveals how they show each other their own world and how this unusual exposure to one another enhances their views. The dancing scene alone is enough to make this list.