Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Movie Reviews - Cautiva and Summer Palace

Two more movies reviews for the Orbis Terrarum film mini-challenge:

Cautiva (2003) - Argentina


A young Argentinian girl celebrating her 15th birthday is shocked to discover her parents have been lying to her. She is not their biological daughter - in fact, she was taken from her parents at birth. Her parents were some of the "disappeared", political dissidents who were imprisoned by the government, tortured, and never seen again. Cristina must come to terms with the truth of her birth, and try to accept her new family.

My thoughts:

A couple of years ago I watched The Official Story, another Argentinian film that dealt with similar subject matter. This movie seems to be its natural companion - The Official Story tells of an adoptive mother who finds out her daughter might be a child of the disappeared, and Cautiva tells of a teenaged girl who is told her parents are part of the disappeared. Each dealt with the heartbreak and guilt that would come with finding out such news, and each was a powerful movie in its own right. This movie is well acted and directed, and I do recommend it, although you should know it has some scenes of violence and nudity.

Summer Palace (Yihe Yuan) (2006) - China


A girl from a small town in China is accepted into the university in Beijing, where she falls obsessively in love with a boy, and is witness to the Tiannamen Square protests.

My thoughts:

This was likened to Doctor Zhivago - I see the comparison in the obsessive love affair, but I don't think it was nearly as good a movie. It had moments of being quite beautiful, but for the most part seemed long and plodding. The scene in Tiannamen Square, however, was riveting, and I'm glad I watched the movie for that alone. However, it does have prolific nudity and sexual situations, and I'm not sure I can recommend this one for a number of reasons.

And with these two movies, I have complete the Orbis Terrarum film mini-challenge - Yay!!

Here is the complete list of movies I've watched:

1 - Au Revoir Les Enfants (France)
2 - Journey from the Fall (Vietnam)
3 - The Namesake (India)
4 - The Band's Visit (Israel)
5 - 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days (Romania)
6 - Good Morning, Night (Italy)
7 - Let the Right One In (Sweden)
8 - Rudo y Cursi (Mexico)
9 - Cautiva - Argentina
10 - Summer Palace - China

This is a great challenge - I am already looking forward to next year. Thanks to Bethany for hosting the Orbis Terrarum challenge.

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