Hollywood vs world movies

May 22, 2007

    One great thing about the Cannes film festival is watching films made around the world.
 French humorists Omar and Fred at Cannes
    Later this week, Cannes rolls out the red carpet for Hollywood flick, “Ocean’s Thirteen.” The movie, about a group of con artists robbing a Las Vegas casino, is fast-paced, features expensive sets and has global stars like Brad Pitt and George Clooney. There is little doubt it will do huge numbers at box offices, but does that make it good?
    Here at Cannes, Mexico’s “Stellet Licht” is exactly the opposite of “Ocean’s” with a slow tale of a Mennonite farmer in an adulterous affair, and it relies on few words to evoke complicated emotions. French musical “Les Chansons d’Amour” tells of a young man whose menage a trois ends disastrously but causes him to grow as a man.
    It is unlikely “Stellet Licht” or “Chansons d’Amour” will reach theaters in many other countries. If they do, it is just as unlikely they will play outside small, arthouse cinemas. Their box office figures will pale next to “Ocean’s.” But does the fact few people see them make them bad movies?
    In 2006, all of the top 20 films were released by a major Hollywood studio. But was “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” which was 2006’s No. 1 box office draw with more than $1 billion in global ticket sales, good? Most critics did not think so. Some fans did; others did not.
    Moviegoing is subjective. What one person likes, their best friend may hate. Not all box office hits are good. Not all small, arthouse films are bad. The opposite is just as true.
    So, this week when the third “Pirates” film opens in theaters, think for a moment. Even though your best friend may be going, do you want to? There may be some foreign language flick playing down the street that has no queue outside, and it may be far more thought-provoking and entertaining. Or, maybe not. That would be up to you to decide.


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After reading your June 26, 2007 article, I’m just wondering how Evan Almighty is a “Christian comedy?” First of all, it’s based on the Old Testament character of Noah. Not Christ, his disciples, apostles, etc. Second, such a description would suggest that it’s promoting Christianity which it really doesn’t. Or did I miss something in the movie? Maybe its a “religious spoof”, but calling it a “Christian comedy” seems far-fetched.

Posted by Donovan | Report as abusive

Thanks for asking. I’ve had several questions about that. In short, use of “Christian comedy” stems from several items. The old testament is still part of the Christian bible. The director describes himself as a “Jesus freak” and openly talks about his faith and the movie in interviews (See Reuters story, June 18, “God and animals share spotlight in “Evan Almighty.”) And the film studio marketed the movie directly to Christian groups, along with mainstream audiences.

Posted by bob tourtellotte | Report as abusive