Foreign Film Failure

I am a failure.

I want to watch and love foreign films, but I don’t.

There, I said it – the shameful truth. It isn’t that I’m uninterested in foreign film – quite the contrary. I have a decent number on my Netflix queue right now. But if history is any guide, unless it stars Audrey Tautou, that little red envelope will get returned with an unwatched disc inside.

So what’s my problem? The movies sound great when I read other people’s reviews. The subject matter of the ones I choose interests me. Sometimes I’m even familiar with the actors and like them. So what gives?

In the spirit of full disclosure I have to admit that I really don’t like subtitles. I find it hard to enjoy a movie when I’m reading one thing and hearing something else. I don’t have that problem with closed captioning (which I use all the time so I can keep the volume low – watching movies after everyone else is in bed) but when it’s not English, I’m distracted.

I also seem to have problems with some of the conventions in foreign film. Truly, I am just that mono-cultural. I’m so accustomed to films made in the US that I struggle with the new and different. I don’t think I’m alone. It’s hip and cool to love foreign film, but for some of us it feels inaccessible and difficult. Yet I keep trying because I feel like I’m missing something (and I probably am).

One day I hope to move past my American built movie biases and embrace the beauty that is diversity in culture, language and custom in film. Until then, I’m glad that I at least have Audrey Tautou.


–S. Millinocket


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