Languages: Arabic & Hebrew
This movie simply took my breath away. It was made by a Jew and an Arab working together, and man, it shows. Arabs, Palestinians, Jews, and Christians try to live together in an area where Omar, an Arab Israeli tries to save his family from a gang of extortionists through whatever means necessary but violence is often met with violence in this story about love, hatred, and personal freedom. The characters are so real, so wonderfully drawn and played. It illustrates very well the conflicts between even the Arabs within Israel, let alone between Israelis and Arabs. If you only see one movie I rec, see this one, seriously!
(other movies I rec from Israel and Palestine: Waltz with Bashir, Lemon Tree)
Boy (New Zealand)
Languages: English, some Maori
If you only ever see one NZ movie, see this one. It is so much of our culture, humour, and our yearning for the outside word and our sense of place encapsulated in one little story. A story of a very creative Boy living on the east coast, hoping his dad will come home.
(other movies: Whale Rider, The Piano)
La Historia Oficial (Argentina) – sorry I couldn’t find English subtitles!
A teacher slowly comes to the realisation that the military dictatorship may have more to do with her than she thinks – could her adopted child be one of the children of the many “disappeared”?
West Beirut (Lebanon)
Languages: Arabic, French
In April, 1975, civil war breaks out; Beirut is partitioned along a Moslem-Christian line. Tarek is in high school, making Super 8 movies with his friend, Omar. At first the war is a lark: school has closed, the violence is fascinating, getting from West to East is a game…. very good movie ensues!
(another great movie is Caramel!)
El Haimoune (Tunisia)
This is the first of a great trilogy by Nacer Khemir. I found them very intense yet interesting films. Poetic, epic, yeah, you should just see them! Some scenes on youtube for the curious 🙂
Moolaadé (Cameroon/Burkina Faso)
Languages: Bambara, French
Wow, well this is a movie about female circumcision, the rebellion of the women of a village actually, against the practice. It completely blew my mind, not only with how different the culture was to anything I know, but also the strength of the women 🙂