Two Recent Foreign Films

District B-13 (Banlieue 13) (France)

Grade: C+

There are a few cinematic industries out there that have the aesthetic and thematic diversity of French cinema. For every Look At Me there is an Irreversible, and for every Le Divorce there is a District B-13. French cinema can at one point be beautiful and another it can put on display some of the most hard-hitting and unimaginably violent images ever seen on screen. That quality is explored here in detail and it should have good results. With District B-13 director Pierre Morel and writer Luc Besson are trying to explore something completely different, as they mix sci-fi, action, and comedy into a dirty, kinetic, fast-paced, and sometimes unfortunately preachy film. It tells the story of Leito (David Belle) and Damien (Cyril Raffaefli) who are two unlikely partners banded together against a whole gang thugs that want to use a neutron bomb (it is 2010 after all). While the film is captivating from the first frame, reaching levels of excitement that are hard to see sometimes, the film doesn’t last all the way through. Besson and Morel want to send an overcooked message, and that really slows down the movie and reveals that it’s whole existence, as shallow and trashy as it is, is because it want to send a superficial message. Worthy of a rental at best.

Fanaa (India)

Grade: B-As recent Indian films go, I’d like to say that I liked this year’s Rang de Basanti to Fanaa because of it’s much better looks, and it’s deeper symbolism. Fanaa also thinks it’s an important and deep film, starting out as an epic and finishing as an over-the-top, manipulative love story with no justification for it’s script’s existence. In a way, this is a love it or hate it film. If you like upbeat romance movies, you will definitely hate this, but if you are a pessimist, you will love it. Unless you’re like me and see this film as one that goes as far as putting its characters into unrealistic situations to manipulate its audience to tears. That is something Rang de Basanti strayed away from and came off looking a lot smarter and more analytical. A thing I did admire about Fanaa is how it puts the feeling of love un on a pedestal and makes it as important to living life as the ‘basic’ needs that all people have. So if you are a rabid movie fan, this is definitely worthy of a rental, but if you’re just trying to find a good drama, stick to Hollywood fare that is easier to swallow and more enjoyable.

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