Famous Film Theorist and The co-founder of the influencing “Cahiers du cinéma” believed that “The cinema makes an imprint of the duration of the object”, that it embraces the objective reality of both the fictional and real world around it, even if confronted with cinematic manipulation like the montage. Russian realist Andrei Tarkovsky approved: Cinema is a mosaic made of time.
Talking about the inscape of a cinematic idea, there will always be contrasting values much like the choices in life. Whether someone identifies with the propagandistic ideologies of “The Triumph of the Will” and Russian montage theory or finds comfort in the visions of cinema’s realists, the power of film in orthodox and Revisionist history is irrefutable. The archiving activities of today will be the cultural cornerstone of tomorrow vis-a-vis the preservation of a society and its culture.
The cinema of the 21st century holds more power to act as a gateway of the ‘melting pot’, the influx of the homogenous culture in the heterogeneous society of today as people are becoming global citizen purposefully. One can know about the “Wuxia” and “Samurai” traditions of China and Japan, learn about the Indo Bangladesh division, Holocaust and its ramification in the ordinary life, hate the dictatorship Of Franco in Spain just from the comfort of a cinema hall or home.
Cinematic didacticism is more herculean than of Novel and Painting as “No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls”. It even bypasses the constraints of literacy problem in the developing countries in favor of education via the image and sound.
Even just for the sake of entertainment, the knowledge and accessibility of Foreign cinema offer a wider choice to its consumers. The debate of the supremacy between “Internal Affairs” and its American remake “The Departed” is possible today because of the accessibility of Foreign cinema. An individual gains the power to refute his national cinema, in favor of a better foreign picture, because of the worldview he can achieve by exploring a wide range.
This list is made for film buffs, so the name of the films and their respective makers will not be unfathomed; but even for the uninitiated, it is a good list to start with foreign cinema from 2019. Without further ado, here are the top 10 anticipated foreign films of 2019.
1. Pain and Glory Director: Pedro Almodóvar
The Epitome of female psychology, Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar has thought something different for this season. The prolific filmmaker’s next offering will be portrayed from the standpoint of a male protagonist, a departure from his comfort zone of female sexuality.
Titled “Dolor y gloria” in Spanish, It will star his longtime friend and collaborator Penelope Cruz who was last seen in the maker’s Cannes favorite “Volver” and Antonio Banderas who worked with Almodovar in “The Skin I Live In” and also started his career with the Spanish director’s “Labyrinth of Passion”.
As per the director, it will be a recounting of a veteran and retired fictional filmmaker and will tell of “the first loves, the second loves, the mother, mortality, an actor with whom the director worked, the ’60s, the ’80s, current times, and the emptiness, a sense of incommensurate emptiness, caused by the inability to go on making films.”
This naturally spiked discussion in the cinephile community as how much this film will embody the spirit of Almodovar himself i.e if it will be an unofficial autobiographical portrait or not; but the fellow devotees will have to wait till March 22nd when it will be released in Spain by Sony Pictures International.
2. Parasite Director: Bong Joon-ho
More than often, South Korea is attributed as a nation of thrills for their hyper stylised and darkly violent revenge thrillers. This became embedded in the collective conscience because of the ever withstanding popularity of the “Vengeance” trilogy of Park Chan-wook. It is impossible to dispute the quality of this trilogy, however much like most of the mass media stereotype, there is another side of the coin apart from all the violence and thrill. After all, it is the country Kim Ki-duk, Hong Sangsoo and the center of affection for this article, Bong Joon-ho.
Bong Joon-ho has worked with several genres and continue doing so in his career. He first gained wide praise as a filmmaker for his twisted crime drama “Memories of Murder”. He also tasted commercial success with his disaster film “The Host” in 2006 which was the highest grossing South Korean Film at that time.
Until today, the quality of his later pictures assures that he is a filmmaker to live in the world cinematic consciousness for long, which includes sci-fi action “Snowpiercer” and Netflix released drama “Okja”, which received 4-minute standing ovation in 2017 Cannes film festival. His upcoming film “Parasite” is naturally largely anticipated, which surprisingly doesn’t feature any parasite as per the makers’ word.
The language of the film will be Korean unlike “Okja” and believed to be a dysfunctional family tale with an unexpected twist. Song Kang-ho is the leading man along with Lee Sun-kyun and Cho Yeo-jeong and the film will be released in Korea and supposedly premiere in Cannes in 2019.
3. Benedetta Director: Paul Verhoeven
It is a tough time to live in and believe in one’s own faith, a time which is full of religious atrocities in all over the world in the name of god. Christianity, one of the dominating religions in the world, is always infamous for its orthodox views which becomes the subject of many a motion picture that deals with the loss of faith. The most recent example of this cinematic depiction is last years “First Reformed”. Things become more complicated when it comes to sexual liberation.
Lesbianism was always a difficult topic to deal with for Christianity and it will be another headache for the institution when Paul Verhoeven will release his film “Benedetta” in 2019, which tells the story of Benedetta Carlini, a 17th Century Italian Catholic nun and a lesbian. It will star Virginie Efira, who played a supporting role in “Elle”.
Verhoeven had lost his foothold in the industry in between which he regained again in 2016 with his film “Elle”. An auteur of many cult films like “Showgirls”, “Total Recall”, his 2019 offering is highly anticipated by the cinephiles. It will be released in France in 2019.
4. The Truth Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda
Not enough time passed by since Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters”, the deeply moving human drama, bowled the international film festivals over. It won the Palme d’Or in 2018 and was nominated as the best foreign film in the Academy Award.
The filmmaker, known for his films like “Like Father, Like Son” and “Nobody Knows”, will be releasing his first French film production in 2019 titled “The Truth”. It will star the ever mysterious Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche along with Ethan Hawke fresh off from “ High Life” and “First Reformed” respectively. The sheer brilliance of the casting choice and the poignancy of the Japanese maestro’s storytelling have made his latest, one of the most anticipated films for 2019.
5. J’accuse Director: Roman Polanski
A filmmaker who is much more discussed in the social media as a Pedophiliac, than of his achievements and contributions in the film industry, Roman Polanski’s case is a sad one. Whether art should be separated from a person’s real life or not, this notion is disputable, but not easily dismissible is the quality of his films starting from “China Town”, “Rosemary’s Baby” to “The Pianist”. Last seen in the director’s chair in 2017, his 2019 outing will be a chance for amnesty from the film community since his dismissal from Academy membership.
This believably will be a deeply personal project and maybe a symbolic one, as the film revolves around the infamous Dreyfus affair: Alfred Dreyfus the Jewish officer who was falsely accused of treason in 1894. The film will star Jean Dujardin as Dreyfus, best known for “The Artist”, Louis Garrel and Polanski regular, his wife Emmanuelle Seigner. It will be commercially released late this year and supposedly be screened at this year’s Venice Film Festival.
6. Matthias and Maxime Director: Xavier Dolan
It was a surprise when Xavier Dolan, the vicenarian, decided to premiere his latest film “The Death and Life of John F. Donovan” in the 43rd Toronto Film Festival in spite of having an invitation from Cannes Film Festival, his usual routine festival to release films due to unfinished editing. Although this film is globally panned, it is a rare misstep from the youngest filmmaker in this list.
Dolan started his career as a child actor and gradually ventured into filmmaking with his own earned money. His first film “I Killed My Mother” was screened in the Cannes Film Festival in the directors fortnight section and Won César award for best foreign film, the French equivalent of Academy awards, beating the like of Denis Villeneuve’s “Polytechnique”.
Since then he has always been a Cannes Darling with the exception of “Tom at the Farm”, premiered in Venice Film Festival and his most recent which is discussed in this article above. He also achieved the rare feat of sharing the Jury Prize of Cannes with Jean-Luc Godard in 2014 for his film “Mommy”.
His 2019 film is titled “Matthias and Maxime”, an indie Canadian gay drama with the protagonists in their early twenties. Along with Dolan himself, the film will star “Anne Dorval”, Dolan’s frequent collaborator and Antoine-Olivier Pilon who earlier featured in the maker’s 2014 film “Mommy”. This film is rumored to be premiered in this year Cannes Film Festival again.
7. About Endlessness Director: Roy AnderssonComic, Absurdist, Nihilist – words fell short to describe the personal style of Roy Andersson, The Swedish auteur, whose cinematic style is proved to be simple yet difficult to imitate. Known for taking abyssal time in making his feature films, 2019 is going to be an event that his latest film will be released titled “About Endlessness” following the “Living Trilogy”. He is best known in the international film circle for his brilliant “Living Trilogy”: “Songs From the Second Floor”, “You, the Living” and “A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence”.
If the promotional pictures and rumors to be believed, it will retain the flavor of his trilogy and comprises a series of stories with Adolf Hitler, a lady who loves champagne etc. 2019 is going to be an exciting year of cinema for sure.
8. Wicked Games Director: Ulrich Seidl
Another filmmaker renowned for his excellent “Paradise” trilogy, Ulrich Seidel, The Austrian, has a distinguishable style which borderlines fiction and reality. His 2019 outing “Böse Spiele”, titled “Wicked Games” in English will be a work of fiction which will narrate the stories of two brothers who reunites in their hometown to bury their mother and catches up with life afterward but unable to forget their haunted past. The film has been shot in Germany and Romany and is supposed to be released in the Berlin Film Festival.
9. The Wild Goose Lake Director: Diao Yinan2019 will be a year for many returns. This year will house the Film of Prominent Chinese Director Diao Yinan after a 5-year break from filmmaking, titled “The Wild Goose Lake”. Diao’s last film “Black Coal, Thin Ice” won several accolades including the Golden Bear in the 64th Berlin international Film Festival defeating the likes of Wes Anderson, Alain Resnais, and Richard Linklater.
This film will be a Gangster Drama which will reunite him with his several “Black Coal, Thin Ice” collaborators, including actor Liao Fan, Cinematographer Jingsong Dong who amazed us in the last year with his “Long Day’s Journey into Night” and Zhang Yang.
10. Vitalina Varela Director: Pedro Costa
The last filmmaker in our list has been named as the “Samuel Beckett” of cinema by The Guardian. The immensely talented Portuguese Filmmaker Pedro Costa will release his film, curiously titled “Vitalina Varela” in 2019, which is borrowed from the name of the lead actress Vitalina Varela. Pedro is known for filming with ultra modest budget constraints with a significant Neorealist style. The subject of the film is yet unknown but this mysterious title will pull several viewers for sure.
Lastly, If the above-mentioned list is any indication, 2019 is going to be a fascinating year for cinema.
Author Bio: Spandan Banerjee,a vicenarian, hails from Kolkata and always prefers solitude over friends. The closest cinematic depiction of his persona will be a mixture between Gil of “Midnight in Paris” and Travis Bickle of “Taxi Driver” except the looks.