Rated: R

        The percentage of Americans that enjoy foreign films is shrinking. There are many speculated reasons for this occurrence. One is that people just don’t want to read their movies (meaning the subtitles of course). Another theory is that people don’t like what’s uncomfortable to them and that foreign films have too unfamiliar a feeling in their humor and whatnot. Yet another blames the American movie making machine for bullying out foreign market share.  In my mind it’s probably for all of these reasons and more that less and less people are watching foreign films.
 I also think this lack of interest may have a little to do with stigma. It may be hard for some people to overcome the mental image of stereotypical yuppies in their sweater vests eating whatever snacks they brought to the theater (undoubtedly something organic) watching something depressing out of some little somewhere with glazed looks in their eyes. Yes I eat organic foods and yes I watch foreign films, but yuppie I am not. But even if I was, what would it matter? It’s not like when I go to a theater (most likely The Music Hall or The Loft) to see a foreign film I’m socializing and working the room. I’m there to see a movie, nothing more. It’s no different than heading to the stadium seating at the local multiplex to see the latest high action blockbuster. I mean really, unless you go with friends or family to begin with, how many people do you actually converse with and get to know at the movies? I’m willing to bet that, besides buying your tickets and food, its none.

        What all of this means is that wonderful little films such as
Micmacs and The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared don’t reach as many people as they should. These films are as good, if not better than a lot of their American made counterparts and deserve a wider audience. I urge you all to give them a go at some point. I believe you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

        And now, to give you a little more motivation to see it, here’s what
Micmacs is about: Bazil has had an unfortunate life. His father was killed by a land mine when he was young, which drove his mother crazy and left him an orphan. 30 years later he’s put his past behind him and enjoys his job working at a small video rental shop in Paris.  One night, while at work, Bazil hears a commotion outside. When he goes to the door to see what the fuss is about he’s hit by a stray bullet. He survives, but loses his job and his home. Bazil’s luck turns for the better though, when a group of outcasts take him in as one of their own. Bazil then, aided by his new family, hatches a plot to get revenge on the two arms dealers that have caused him so much pain and tragedy.

        Although I know that summary doesn’t seem very funny,
Micmacs IS a comedy, and a delightfully quirky one at that. That seems to be what writer/director Jean-Pierre Jeunet is best known for, both here and in France. His other titles, Amelie, Delicatessen and The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet are equally artistic and comedic. Jeunet certainly has an unmistakable style, no matter what project he’s working on. It reminds me a bit of Wes Anderson, not because their styles are similar, but simply because there’s no question as to who directed the films when you see them.

        Whether it’s
Micmacs or not, I urge you all to take a small step outside of your comfort zones and see at least one foreign film in the next month. If you can’t find anything you think you’d like, the local library is an invaluable resource as far as foreign films are concerned. That’s where I end up going to find most of them.

        Micmacs is rated R, was written and directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and stars Dany Boon, Andre Dussollier, Yoland Moreau, Dominique Pinon, Julie Ferrier and Omar Sy. Its available now on Blu Ray, DVD and digital download.