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Review: Amour, Jagten and Beasts of the Southern Wild

What do these three movies have in common? I saw them all at independent cinemas over the weekend, and they all make you think and reflect on life, love, and social justice issues.

I started Saturday afternoon with Amour. My main reason was its nomination for the Academy Awards’ Best Motion Picture of the Year despite it being a Foreign movie. I didn’t find out until later that it had already won several awards, including the Palme d’Or of Cannes Film Festival. Truth be told, about twenty minutes into the movie I was shifting around in my seat, despising it. I guess drama isn’t exactly my kind of movie, and the slow-paced silent moments (apparently the director’s signature) were driving me insane. I sat through it though, and it took me quite some time afterwards to shake the solemn bubble away, a bubble that was there because for two and a half hours I had been witnessing the lives of two very strong individuals slowly fading away with age as their world becomes confined to the walls of their apartment. This “love” isn’t a glittery fairy tale, but despite many depressing elements of it (and some rich symbolism), in the end you realize that it was a beautiful story of a very deep commitment.

Amour

The movie highlights questions of aging, parent-child relationship especially after the child becomes an adult as well, achieving your dreams versus helping others achieve theirs, what it means to live a fulfilling life and also the question of euthanasia, still relevant albeit not having been discussed as much in the last few years.

Jagten

The second movie, Jagten or “The Hunt” was recommended to me during a training on preventing child abuse, and rightly so as the movie deals with the life of a man wrongfully accused of child molestation. Yes, welcome to yet another somber movie, and one that lowers your faith in humanity drastically. Issues of social dynamics and social perception dominates, with an undertone of teaching and parenting problems as well as a glimpse into children’s minds. The Guardian talks all about the children issues highlighted by this movie in their review. By the way, I think the little girl who plays Klara should be nominated for some sort of award! She’s so good it’s really scary!

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Speaking of children actresses, the third movie I saw, Beasts of the Southern Wild basically owes all its praises to little Quvenzhané Wallis (who is the youngest nominee for Oscar’s Best Actress ever — and I actually kinda hope she wins, although maybe it would be nice to give it to the oldest nominee ever, Emanuelle Riva, who did quite an awesome job in Amour… considering that Quvenzhané probably has a lifetime of awards ahead of her). Well, her and a story that weaves issues of indigenous people, global warming and its impact on nature, human suffering, parenting against all odds, as well as a wonderful, poetic understanding of the universe and how we all fit into the bigger picture into a movie that makes you cry, smile, dream and think.

Because The whole universe depends on everything fitting together just right. If one piece busts, even the smallest piece… the whole universe will get busted. (Quote from Hushpuppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild).

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