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Sophie Scholl-The Final Days-Movie Review *** 07/11/2010

Posted by Films to consider in Based on true story, Biographical, Drama, German language film, Movies.
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Sophie Scholl – The Final Days (German) 2005

Among other awards:
Nominee, Best Foreign Language Film, Academy Awards
Winner, Best Actress, European Film Awards
Winner, Best Actress; Audience Award, German Film Awards (LOLAS)

Starring Julia Jentsch, Fabian Hinrichs, Alexander Held

The true story of 21-year-old Sophie Scholl, a member of the White Rose student resistance group in Munich in 1943. Sophie volunteers to accompany her brother Hans to campus, carrying with her a suitcase filled with anti-Nazi flyers that they distribute. The pair (along with five others) are arrested, tried, and executed without the delay usually accorded to those accused of such crimes. Other members of the group receive harsh sentences. Later, White Rose leaflets were taken to England via Scandinavia and dropped over Germany in honor of the Munich students.

Jentsch’s striking (and award-winning) performance shows Sophie’s steadfastness to her beliefs in the face of interrogator Robert Mohr. Sophie’s last words to her brother: “The sun’s still shining.”

Highly recommended. The DVD also contains chilling footage of actual courtroom proceedings. There are also several books written about Sophie and Hans Scholl and about the White Rose student resistance.

120 min. Unrated.

A book written by Sophie’s sister, Inge:

The White Rose: Munich, 1942-1943

The Sea Inside-Movie Review *** 05/28/2010

Posted by Films to consider in Based on true story, Drama, Emotional Drama, Movies, Spanish language film.
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The Sea Inside (Spanish) 2004

Winner, 2004 Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film
Winner, 2004 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film

Directed by Alejandro Amenábar
Starring Javier Bardem as poet Ramón Sampedro

Based on the true story of Ramón Sampedro, a man seriously injured in a diving accident as a teenager. Destined to live his life as a quadriplegic, he refuses to use a wheelchair and fights for the right to legally end his own life. For nearly thirty years, with the beauty of the sea he loves tauntingly out of sight of his window, he remains bedridden. As he tries to find a way to convince someone to help him die, he touches the lives of those around him, whether they agree with his desire to end his life or not.

Sampedro left behind a book of poetry titled Cartas Desde El Infierno (Letters From Hell). The book is in Spanish. If anyone knows of an English translation, please let me know.

If you’re not already a fan of Javier Bardem before seeing this film, I think you will be afterward.

125 min. Rated PG-13.

Blind Mountain-Movie Review 05/04/2010

Posted by Films to consider in Based on true story, Chinese language film, Drama, Emotional Drama, Movies.
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Blind Mountain (Chinese) 2007

Winner, Grand Prix (Li); Prize of the Ecumenical Jury-Special Mention (Li), Bratislava International Film Festival
Winner, FACE Award (Li), Istanbul International Film Festival

Directed by Li Yang and starring Lu Huang.

Based on true events and set in Northern China in the early 1990s. A young female college graduate is kidnapped and sold as a bride in the back country of China, where she faces harsh treatment from her new husband and his family. With no money and no help from the other townspeople, her situation seems hopeless, but still she refuses to give in and accept her new life.

Not a light story but the fact that such an event was possible not long ago (and still might be) is frightening and infuriating. Worthwhile viewing.

95 min. Unrated. Adult themes.

 

The Class-Movie Review 03/26/2010

Posted by Films to consider in Autobiographical, Based on true story, Drama, French language film, Movies.
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The Class (French) 2008
Entre les murs (Between the Walls)

Among other awards and nominations:
Winner, Palme d’Or, Cannes Film Festival
Winner, Best Foreign Film, Independent Spirit Awards
Nominated, Best Foreign Language Film, Academy Awards

Based on the best-selling autobiography by François Bégaudeau, who stars as middle-school French teacher Monsieur Marin. His students are a mix of cultural backgrounds from a tough neighborhood of Paris. A gritty look at day-to-day life in the classroom.

Among other things, the film shows that English teachers in America are not the only teachers who face an uphill battle trying to teach grammar and writing.

128 min. Rated PG-13.