I’ve posted before how I’m in the habit of picking films to watch on Youtube. It’s free but it’s not at all easy. Finding good ones is usually down to luck and the idiosyncratic character of niche channel subscribers. But finding a good one has its rewards as it’s rarely a mainstream film rather than something off the beaten track, something you might normally overlook if the choice was broader or if you had to pay.
The one downside is when you’ve hit pay dirt and found a certain film which carries along other similar recommendations, it only lasts a short while before you’re back to digging a little harder amongst the dross and bad copies to find more gems.
Also, I have an good interest in worldwide cinema which, for me, means having subtitles. Being an international platform, Youtube content isn’t guaranteed to have English captions, something which often brings disappointment. However, not to be deterred, I have watched some entertaining foreign language films recently.
La Moustache. French, 2005
This has to be one of the most challenging, surreal, mind twisting films I’ve ever watched.
It begins quiet normal, mundane even; a middle-class, possibly professional couple are getting ready to visit friends for dinner. The man is shaving whilst taking a bath, and the woman is coming in and out, while dressing. They’re happily conversing like any normal couple. Nearing the end of his shave, he calls out to ask whether he ought to shave off his moustache, the implication being he’s had it a long time. Unconcerned and slightly disinterested, his partner replies she might not know him without one. So, for mischief, he shaves it off and for the rest of the time they’re getting ready, he hides the deed from her.
She doesn’t notice and still doesn’t despite his prompts. Then during dinner when even the friends don’t seem to notice, he becomes offended and then thinks they must be double pranking him. When they continue to deny the existence of a moustache, he begins to get anxiety about his identity, slowly, by stages, going off the rails.
The thing is while he’s having a breakdown, the drama is ambiguous. It’s not clear whether what we see is really happening or whether we are seeing a POV reality of a mentally stressed man. The whole thing arrives at an end without a clear conclusion. What just happened? It’s the kind of film I like.
Written and directed by Emmanuel Carrère and stars Vincent Lindon and Emmanuelle Devos as the couple.
Die Wand. German, 2012
Die Wand, in English, The Wall, unusually for this male dominated medium, it casts a woman as the lone hero, in this fantasy survival drama. She’s holidaying with an older couple in the Alps. When the couple head off to the village, she stays in the house. When they don’t return, she decides to walk along the quiet road between the hills. Suddenly, inexplicably, she literally walks into an invisible barrier; she can’t get past it. Turning back, she eventually discovers she is surrounded by this wall. In desperation, she drives her car down the road at the wall but only wrecks the car, the wall remains.
Thereafter, the plot continues with her living out her life, surviving as a kind of Alpine Robinson Crusoe, keeping a journal, as Crusoe did, in the holiday house with a found milk cow and a stray dog. It’s a tough and intriguing drama.
It’s been some time since I watched this and it’s getting hazy enough for a worthwhile second viewing.
Directed by Julian Pölsler and stars Martina Gedeck as the woman. Pölsler also wrote the screenplay, based on the 1963 novel of the same name by Marlen Haushofer.
A record of watchable full-length films I discovered on Youtube can be found here,
B-tube @ Pinterest
It’s an ongoing list. Unfortunately, some have since been struck off or taken down, such is the way of the internet. It will be evident by following the link. It’s possible they have been reinstated elsewhere. All have something worthwhile about them. I haven’t posted any duff ones, at least in my honest opinion. Happy hunting.