Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Foreign Films: The Sea Inside

Welcome to a new weekly feature here at Movies With Abe. In the absence of new film reviews for a given week, I’d like to take the opportunity to spotlight a foreign from the past decade or so that might have gone unnoticed or unremembered by most. Theatres in New York City show foreign films almost as often as they show American films, and, as a result, I’d had the chance to see a number of excellent international movies in my six years here. Please add your thoughts on the film and suggestions for future inclusions in the comments section below!

The Sea Inside
Directed by Alejandro Amenabar
Released December 17, 2004

This Oscar-winning 2004 film from the writer-director of “The Others” is a mesmerizing onscreen realization of the story of Ramon Sampedro, a quadriplegic man who fought for his right to die for thirty years. Javier Bardem delivers what may just be his finest performance – counting “No Country for Old Men” – as the subdued, sincere man determined to die a dignified death. The image of him bedridden and balding is contrasted with flashbacks to a younger man with flowing hair diving into the ocean right before a fateful and tragic accident. In addition to its trophy for Best Foreign Film, the film also earned a well-deserved Best Makeup nomination. The film, like “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” after it, is prone to dreamlike sequences, which help to give it a magnetic and captivating feel. Amenabar handles this serious, moving story with delicacy and grace, making it among the most memorable foreign imports from the 2000s. The trailer embedded above perfectly and beautifully captures the film's tone.

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