European films are just gorgeous. Cool, stylized, creative, exempt from preconceptions and schemes, the many exceptional films from Europe normally make me ask for more, search for more films by the same directors, learn about where the film was made, know more about the film‘s story
Director: Jaume Balagueró
Cast: Anna Paquin, Lena Olin, Iain Glen, Giancarlo Giannini, Fele Martínez, Stephan Enquist, Fermí Reixach, Francesc Pagès, Craig Stevenson, Paula Fern, Gemma Lozano, Xavier Allepuz, Joseph Roberts, Marc Ferrando, Josh Gaeta
Genre: World Cinema
Original Title: Darkness
Regina, a teenage girl, moves to a countryside house with her parents and her little brother Paul. Everything seems gorgeous and full of good things to be, plus her grandfather actually lives next door! Soon, Regina’s father suffers recurrent panic attacks, and her little brother starts seeing dead children in the darkness. What’s wrong with that house? Why is Regina’s family falling to pieces? Is there a strange, evil force in the darkness? Plus, a rare eclipse is going to take place soon, and a dreadful story of a ritual sacrifice performed in their house 40 years ago surfaces before Regina’s eyes…
Darkness is directed by Spanish filmmaker and scare-master Jaume Balagueró, also director of [REC] and [REC]2, the former later adapted into the shot-by-shot remake Quarantine. A sense of dread and fear pervaded me throughout the whole picture, as the countryside gave up its dreamy quality in favour of an everlasting, seemingly undefeatable terror. Anna Paquin is our heroin, while her mysterious grandfather is played by Giancarlo Giannini. Darkness had to be strongly edited to get a PG-13 US release. Get your hands on the Spanish director’s cut and prepare yourself to be scared and disturbed
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Cast: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar, Henrik Dahl, Karin Bergquist, Peter Carlberg, Ika Nord, Mikael Rahm, Karl-Robert Lindgren, Anders T. Peedu, Pale Olofsson, Cayetano Ruiz, Patrik Rydmark, Johan Sömnes, Mikael Erhardsson
Genre: World Cinema
Original Title: Låt den rätte komma in
Filmed in the chilling winter suburbs of Stockholm, Let The Right One In is the story of a shy young boy named Oskar, bullied in school by kids, who lives in an isolated and depressing apartment building where nothing ever happens. Oskar is sensitive and intelligent. Oskar’s life takes a spin for the better when Eli, a young peculiar girl, moves in next door with a man who seems to be her father. Eli is strange yet beautiful, an outcast just as much as Oskar. The two kids bond in a unique friendship, until the reason why Eli only comes out at night and looks abnormally pale is revealed, Eli is a litte vampire. Eli will teach Oskar to gain his schoolmates’ respect by standing up for himself, while inevitable murders start occuring in the neighbourhood whenever Eli needs to feed
Directed by Tomas Alfredson, Let The Right One In is a touching, frightening, sensitive story of friendship and love between two young and unusual people. It’s slow and moody, yet when violence breaks in, it does so with gruesome vengeance. Alfredson later went on to direct Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. The two kids, played by Kåre Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson, share a beautiful, haunted chemistry that kept me glued throughout the entire picture. The ending is breathtaking. Don’t miss this gem!
Director: Gabriele Muccino
Cast: Stefano Accorsi, Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Stefania Sandrelli, Claudio Santamaria, Giorgio Pasotti, Marco Cocci, Pierfrancesco Favino, Sabrina Impacciatore, Regina Orioli, Susanna Javicoli, Vittorio Amandola, Daniela Piazza, Lina Bernardi, Ines Nobili, Piero Natoli
Genre: World Cinema
Original Title: L’Ultimo Bacio
Did you ever find yourself being a successful 29 year-old man, with your dream girlfriend announcing she’s pregnant, and suddenly realized you weren’t ready for becoming an adult? This is just what happens to Carlo, who plunges deep in a crisis when Giulia reveals she’s expecting Carlo’s baby. Notwithstanding a sky-rocketing career in the advertisemnt world, Carlo recoils from his responsibilities and begins a relationship with Francesca, a light-headed but caring gorgeous 18 year-old. In the meantime, his friends Paolo, Adriano, Alberto and Marco are dealing with their own inabilities to rise up to their age. A womanizer, a man obsessed with his ex-girlfriend, a reulctant father unable to connect with his kid, and a newly-wed husband, the 4 are experiencing the same deep existential crisis that affects Carlo. Where will it all end up? Will they grow up and accept their roles in life? Will Carlo end his fling and go back to his fascinating love story with Giulia? What about his friends? Will they stay? Or will some of them leave everything – their problems, their families – and seek adventure around the world?
Directed by Gabriele Muccino, this Italian film did so exceptionally good at the Sundance Film Festival that Will Smith called the director and asked him to direct The Pursuit of Happyness first, and Seven Pounds later. The Last Kiss is shot with dancing cameras, dollies, tracking shots, a sparkling photography, sports gorgeous music and tremendous performances. Stefano Accorsi and Giovanna Mezzogiorno – playing Carlo and Giulia – immediately became stars in Italy, and the film smashed the box office for months. Uplifting, dramatic, insightful, deep, funny and terribly moving, The Last Kiss brought a light to European films that stayed for long
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