A new generation is welcomed to the world as a previous one is remembered in “Parallel Mothers,” a 2021 drama from Spain.
Directed and written by Pedro Almodovar, “Parallel Mothers” centers on Janis (Penelope Cruz), a photographer who also holds an interest in her family’s history. Specifically, she wants to excavate a mass grave in her home village in rural Spain, where her great-grandfather was killed during the Spanish Civil War.
She eventually meets Arturo (Israel Elejalde), an archaeologist who agrees to help with the project. The two also begin a relationship and Janis soon becomes pregnant. During her time in the hospital, Janis meets a young woman, Ana (Milena Smit), who’s also set to be a new mother. In the time after they give birth, something happens that continues to link the two women going forward.
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One of 2021’s longest films is also one of the year’s best.
“Drive My Car,” a Japanese film, centers on Yusuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima), a former TV actor who now works in stage productions. In the film, Yusuke has been hired as the stage director for a show in another city.
There, the company he works for has arranged for a driver, Misaki (Toko Mirua), to shuttle him across town. Over the course of the film, Yusuke and Misaki begin to form a friendship and discuss their pasts that still weigh on them.
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The social enjoyment of having drinks among friends along with the negative impacts of alcohol are both explored nicely in this 2020 foreign film.
A movie from Denmark, “Another Round” follows four friends: Martin (Mads Mikkelsen), Tommy (Thomas Bo Larsen), Nikolaj (Magnus Millang) and Peter (Lars Ranthe). All of them are middle-aged high school teachers who have settled down.
However, for their own reasons, they all appear to be stuck in a bit of a rut in their lives. Soon after celebrating Martin’s birthday, the four come across a university study that states humans have a blood alcohol level that is actually too low. With that in mind, they decide to put the study to the test and start having a few drinks during the day to see if they’ll function better.
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Director and writer Pedro Almodovar took inspiration from his own life to craft this impassioned piece of cinema.
Antonio Banderas plays the main character, Salvador Mallo, in “Pain and Glory.” Mallo is an aging filmmaker who’s well known for his talents, but hasn’t made a hit in some time. As he’s become older, both his career and body have slowed down, with the latter causing him back pains.
Additionally, Mallo has become addicted to drugs. His most recent troubles coincides with his meeting again with past colleagues and reflecting deeply on his own past.
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“Cold War” is a movie about trying to escape, but it’s certainly not escapist entertainment.
The picture tells the story of a singer, Zula (Joanna Kulig), and a composer, Wiktor (Tomasz Kot). Zula and Wiktor find themselves as part of a government funded music group in Poland, which is tasked with giving pro-Stalin performances.
The two soon find themselves in a romance, but they’re also in the Soviet Union during the Cold War, making things difficult. As a result, the two consider fleeing Poland. However, the power of the government and life in general throw a lot of issues at the couple.
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Like the very paintings featured in this movie, “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” is a true work of art.
Noemie Merlant portrays Marianne in this film, a young woman who arrives in a secluded area of France to work on a portrait for a family. Marianne soon learns that a woman, (played by Valeria Golino and only known as The Countess), her employer, wants a portrait of her daughter Heloise (Adele Haenel), who’s arranged to be married.
Heloise, though, has no interest in going through with the marriage and refuses to pose for a portrait. In an effort to connect with her, Marianne begins to take walks in the scenic coastal areas of France with Heloise and the two begin to connect. From there, the relationship only grows as the two understand each other more and a romance blossoms.
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“Parasite” is a
heartwarming story about a close-knit family of four, who just happen to start a con on another family.
A South Korean film, “Parasite” follows the story of a family including the father Kim Ki-Taek (Song Kang-ho), wife Kim Chung-sook (Chang Hyae-jin), their son Kim Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik) and daughter Kim Ki-jeong (Park So-dam). The family lives in a small, below ground level apartment and get by with low paying jobs.
Through a reference by one of his friends, though, Kim Ki-woo stumbles upon a tutoring job for a very wealthy family. Relying on quick thinking and street smarts, Kim Ki-woo ends up forcing out other staff who work for the wealthy family, the Parks, and gets jobs for his three other family members. Their con work gets off to a good start and the family becomes more comfortable, but as the movie wears on, a shocking discovery is made.
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