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Thanksgiving – Foreign Cinema

As an exercise in almsgiving over the next 40 days, this webpage will joyfully give up its praise and thanks for one aspect of life, and not always necessarily a religious one.


French cinema has a rule in place that a percentage of ticket sales of any movie which plays in their country must be used toward underwriting the French cinema industry. It is a very worthwhile investment, not just ensuring the French language will be preserved but, from a global perspective, a distinctive style of living and thinking totally foreign to Hollywood is offered to the world. Australia has a similar law in place for its radio industry, in that a certain percentage of the playlist must be devoted to Australian music and content. The upshot of this is that most Australian young people would have a good number of homegrown bands and artists on their iPod playlists, rather than from the traditionally dominant musical markets of England and the USA. This is protectionist, but if wisely funded, is essential to make sure we don’t lose our own voice for telling stories.

If you have never delved into foreign cinema and hate subtitles then there is good reason to think again. With the release of The Fast and Furious 7, Hollywood has revealed its hand at what is in store for you and unfortunately it resembles a viewing cul-de-sac. Retreads, formulaic films and franchises that go on even after the death of major cast members indicates they have all but surrendered on creativity and originality. If you do want something different, however, any number of foreign films will reward your spirit of adventure and often at the first attempt. These are films which will have you thinking more deeply and differently about life.

From Europe there are Italian classics like Nights of Cabiria, German films like Wings of Desire or The Lives of Others, or a whole slew of French offerings like Jean de Florette or Dinner for Fools (which was remade by America). From the other side of the globe there are Asian or South American delights like The Scent of Green Papaya or Nine Queens. If you like action films then John Woo’s series of Hong Kong made films can satisfy anyone who likes martial arts. If nothing else, foreign films are a cheap way to travel and experience another culture.

To all those filmmakers working in countries around the world, we say thank you for turning out films in direct competition to Hollywood. The culture and alternative views they have offered us a glimpse of are priceless.

Previous thanksgiving article: Silence

The season of Lent asks of us for sacrifice and the foregoing of many things, but an attitude of joy and gratitude should not be amongst them.

As an exercise in almsgiving over the next 40 days, this webpage will joyfully give up its praise and thanks for one aspect of life, and not always necessarily a religious one.

At the outset it should be made clear the viewpoints expressed here are a matter of individual opinion. If any one item doesn’t coincide with your own personal tastes then why not seek to better it with some thanksgiving of your own rather than a critique? You are always welcome to do so at the Archdiocesan website feedback mechanism.

So we invite you to come, walk with us awhile, and be thankful as we journey together to Calvary and beyond to Easter.

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