Beyond Words - Language Blog

Now Playing: Foreign Language Films at the Theater, June 2010

A new monthly feature by Beyond Words, Now Playing highlights some of the best foreign films currently playing at the theater. American attendance at foreign language films dropped exponentially during the last decade, with foreign film ticket sales accounting for less than 1 percent of business at the US box office. We don’t want foreign films to disappear from the American movie landscape– they remain a great way to expose American moviegoers to new languages and cultures. So, we’re providing you with a few plot synopses and trailers. All you need to do is make your way to a local art house and enjoy these films on the big screen.

Mademoiselle Chambon

Director: Stéphane Brizé, Language: French
Véronique Chambon (Sandrine Kiberlain) leads a quiet, assuming life in provincial town, earning her living by teaching elementary school and seemingly spending much of her free time in the quiet of her rented apartment. Having asked the parents of her pupils to visit her classroom to talk about what they do for a living, she encounters Jean (Vincent Lindon), a class parent and home builder who somewhat shyly explains his daily routine. Somehow, a certain spark ignites between the proper young teacher and the gruff contractor. Both sense the impossibility of their attraction, but neither lets it fade. Stéphane Brizé carefully constructs the elegant, moving tale of unexpected romance with enormous patience and delicacy, sensitive to the rhythms of this special relationship full of misconstrued signals and ambiguous feelings. And, Kiberlain and Lindon (divorced in real life) are both simply superb. A hit in France and winner of the César award for Best Adapted Screenplay, Mademoiselle Chambon is a timeless romance. –© Lorber

The Father of My Children

Director: Mia Hansen-Love, Language: French
Grégoire Canvel has everything a man could want. A wife he loves, three delightful children and a stimulating job. He’s a film producer.

Discovering talented filmmakers and developing films that fit his conception of the cinema-free and true to life-is precisely his reason for living. His vocation. It fulfills him and Grégoire devotes almost all his time and energy to his work. He’s hyperactive, he never stops. Except on weekends, which he spends in the country with his family-gentle interludes, as precious as they are fragile. With his bearing and exceptional charisma, Grégoire commands admiration. He seems invincible. Yet his prestigious production company, Moon Films, is on its last legs. Too many productions, too many risks, too many debts. Storm clouds are gathering. But Grégoire plows on at all costs. Where will his blind obstinacy lead him? One day, he is obliged to face the facts. In one word: failure. He is overwhelmed by fatigue. Which soon, secretly, turns into despair. –© IFC


Director: Thomas Balmès, Languages: Baby, English, Herero, Japanese, Mongolian (Note: No Subtitles)
Directed by award-winning filmmaker Thomas Balmès, from an original idea by producer Alain Chabat, Babies simultaneously follows four babies around the world – from birth to first steps. The children are, respectively, in order of on-screen introduction: Ponijao, who lives with her family near Opuwo, Namibia; Bayarjargal, who resides with his family in Mongolia, near Bayanchandmani; Mari, who lives with her family in Tokyo, Japan; and Hattie, who resides with her family in the United States, in San Francisco.

Re-defining the nonfiction art form, Babies joyfully captures on film the earliest stages of the journey of humanity that are at once unique and universal to us all. –© Focus Features

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Original source photo provided by The Powerhouse Museum Collection

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