gaila: fight's losing me

Friday Five: Mulan (The Chinese Version)

So today's Friday Five question asks us to list our five favorite foreign language series or films, and I'm afraid I can't do that unless I count the semester I downloaded a bunch of Buffy eps that turned out to be in Dutch or try to claim that Wales is a non-English speaking country.

However, I can tell you my one favorite foreign film ever: the Chinese, live-action Mulan. The film is partly an attempt to reclaim the Chinese legend from Disney's rather appropriative clutches, but it's much more than a political statement. What I particularly loved is that Mulan's sex is barely even an issue. Sure, she and a general are attracted to each other, but the main conflicts focus on personal sacrifice and effective leadership. Through American eyes, the film is rather sad, but through Chinese ones, I suspect it registers more as a bittersweet coming-of-age piece wherein we get the consolation of knowing that each of the main characters discharged his or her duties admirably. Watching the Chinese and American versions back to back is fascinating, but most importantly, Mulan is an absolutely fabulous female character -- a much stronger role model and human being than the Disney film presents.

Sadly, the website I downloaded it from seems to have disappeared, but I am a pirating novice compared to you guys! It is out on DVD in the UK, and those of you in the US can probably find it online somewhere.
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Hm. My favorite foreign language film is probably the original version of The Eye, followed very closely by La Cage Aux Folles (with its problematic stereotypes and all).

The Eye scared the hell out of me; I haven't been willing to watch the American remake because: a) I don't see any way it could possibly improve on the original and b) I don't need the refresher. I still have nightmares related to this film.

There's also a Norwegian (I think) film noir that I saw in a film studies class I took years ago -- all I remember about it is that the whole thing was shot with a yellow filter, and it was raining all the time, and it was a disturbingly good film. I can't remember the title, the director, or anything useful to help me find the film, though. (You know, it's funny. I've taken several film studies courses, and I know we studied foreign film in all of them, but I can't remember ever seeing any Kurosawa.)

Isn't Mulan executed for her deception at the end of the story?
Okay -- then I had my legends mixed up!

(I will admit that I am now on a quest to find this film what you have recommended.) :)
Seeing how I live in Germany and how much stuff I've watched in English, 5 movies/series is pretty low. But if I exclude English stuff (and German of course, there are some nice German movies/series, though I haven't been watching too many recently and some of it is of course cheaper/worse knock offs of popular English series, though lots of those are of course on tv (dubbed) too) then I'd have to start thinking.
There are some, but to get a greater number (clearly above 5) I'd probably have to get into stuff I watched as a kid.
Would you be willing to rec some of the German series to me? I've been wanting to brush up on my Deutsch but I'm not sure where to start.
I don't have a tv here and I only watch English stuff right now, so I'm really not a good person to ask for recs.

One really good movie (got an oscar too) is "Das Leben der Anderen".

Other than that, German tv stations seem to have recent programming available over the internet, but available not just in Germany, so you could look around. Not that there's not plenty of crap in there and those sites can be a bit confusing, but you could give it a go.
http://rtl-now.rtl.de/
That's one site (for RTL) sites for other stations are google-able. (Sat 1, Pro7, lots of others, the two official stations are ARD and ZDF)

A series that got good reviews for portraying a Turkish/German family was: Türkisch für Anfänger.

A series I enjoyed:

Mit Herz und Handschellen (Two detectives (female, kind of spazzy somtimes and a gay guy) solve crime. It's got drama, but it's mostly a funny show.)


Slightly SF-fandom related:
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/%28T%29Raumschiff_Surprise_%E2%80%93_Periode_1
Funny movie. Totally ridicolous, includes elements from Star Trek and others.
There's another (earlier) movie by the same guy/crew, that's even funnier, called:
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_Schuh_des_Manitu
But that one might be kind of difficult to get, missing the context of the original "Winnetou" movies. And Winnetou and Karl May is another epic topic all by itself. (Short version: Westerns written by a guy who'd never been to the states, Winnetou being "the last chief of the Apaches". The whole thing is a cultural staple, but isn't very enlightened...)

Good (though I think not totally without problems) older movie about a women growing up with deaf parents and her playing the clarinet.
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jenseits_der_Stille

Some other movies that were popular:
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_Baader_Meinhof_Komplex
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keinohrhasen
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gegen_die_Wand
and if you care about football (soccer) at all:
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Das_Wunder_von_Bern

As I said, I'm really not the best person to ask. I remember watching some good stuff on tv but I can't remember what right now.
I really have to see that version of Mulan. I am sure I can find it somewhere. Oh wait, just looked and it's totally available on Netflix. Well, it will be available. Soon.

Anyway, I went through a stint in college where I watched a lot of foreign films (they showed a new one in the basement of my dorm every Tuesday). So here are five I really like:

1. Amelie (France)
This film is both romantic and adorable and Audrey Tautou embraces her role oh-so-well as the shy, creative, giving main character.
2. Y Tu Mamá También (Mexico)
Road trip movie! Coming of age! Figuring out sexual orientation! There isn't much not to love.
3. Run Lola Run (Germany)
Mostly I like this because you have to figure it out. Oh, and I really really love Franka Potente. She's awesome.
4. The Princess and the Warrior (Germany)
Another Franka Potente film that's thinky and hurty and wonderful.
5. Goodbye Lenin (Germany)
A look at Germany after the wall came down--a boy hides from his mother the fact that East Germany as she knows it is gone (goes to elaborate lengths in fact).

So now I want to go watch ALL of these. :)