Need movie suggestions for a paper

DavidJ

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I need help coming up with possible movies that fit the criteria in one of the questions below:

a.Consider at least two films by U.S. directors that are set in or deal with another part of the world such as Latin America, Europe, Africa, or Asia. How do these films portray place, cultural interaction, and/or regional identity? To what extent do the films propagate stereotypes and/or misconceptions? OR
b. Consider the works by two non-US directors that are set in or deal with the U.S. How do these films use visual images to portray the U.S.?

For some reason I am drawing a blank, and I was hoping the kind folks of the HTF would be able to help me with some suggestions. This is for a paper my wife has to write for one of her grad classes.
 

ThomasC

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For (a):

Edward Zwick: The Last Samurai
Rob Marshall: Memoirs of a Geisha
 

DavidJ

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Thanks Thomas. I like the suggestion of The Last Samurai. We had also thought about In America. Any other suggestions?
 

Terry St

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  • Coming to America (If a fictional african kingdom will do...)
  • *Any* Spaghetti Western. e.g. The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, etc..
  • Casablanca
  • "Give Us This Day" a.k.a. "Christ in Concrete" (Suppressed UK film made by black-listed american talent to look like it was made in the US)
  • Leon (French film, french director, set in america and deliberately made like an american film)
  • How Green Was My Valley (U.S. movie about an Irish Coal-mining town)
  • Any of the Indiana Jones flicks (no shortage of stereotypes there!)
  • The Mission (Got to love DeNiro playing a Spaniard with a Brooklyn accent.)
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Out of Africa
 

DavidJ

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We are considering Crash since Haggis is Canadian, but somebody "less western" would be better.
 

Shane Gralaw

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Well as for US directors exploiting stereotypes, you probably couldn't do better than "Lost in Translation." Sophia Coppola not only exploits most stereotypes, she makes up a new one (the Japanese confuse their "Ls" and "Rs" - totally untrue the Japanese don't have a L sound in their language, which it why it's hard for them to pronounce- so the "Lip my stocking" scene would NEVER happen).

ok - random obscureish other ones-

John Sayles' "Men With Guns" - set in Latin America and almost entirely in Spanish.

Gregory Nava (US director)' "El Norte" - about Guatemalan immigrants trying to illegally immigrate to the US - interesting as it also provides a US director's take of the Guatemalan perspective of both the US and Mexico. Also a really great film - just hard to find now. This needs the Criterion treatment so bad, it hurts.

Alex Cox (actually a Brit - the director of Repo Man and Sid and Nancy)'s "Highway Patrolman." It's basically a Mexican movie about a young cadet who slowly becomes corrupt as a highway patrolman.

Christian Johnston's "September Tapes" - a faux documentary supposedly filmed in Afghanistan about some journalists who risk their lives to get the story. I don't know enough about Afghanistan to say what's real or a stereotype or what - anyway, might be interesting for a look at that part of the world.

some non- US directors making films about the US:

There's a Finnish film called "Leningrad Cowboys Go to America" that's sorta fun. A group of hugely pompadoured dead-pan Finns (who are so famous in Finland they have their own brand of beer) travel on a tour of the US and look glum a lot.

Ok- really strange is "Killer Condom" aka "Kondom des Grauens" - a really silly German film, set in New York, about an American detective investigating a rash of murders by a condom that's on the loose with the teeth of a pirana. I know Americans always make films set in other countries where everyone inexplicably speaks English - well this one is New York where everyone inexplicably speaks German.

Also from the Germans- Monica Truett's "The Virgin Machine" where a young German lesbian travels to San Francisco and learns to drop her inhibitions as she explores San Fran's gay scene.
 

Richard Kim

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For option b), I would suggest Lars von Trier's most recent films, Dancer in the Dark, Dogville, or Manderlay (I think Dogville is the best choice of them all). Von Trier is Danish and these films all deal with American society and issues, but some have criticized him for never setting foot on American soil (he's afraid of flying) and Roger Ebert has accused Dogville as being "anti-American."

I think these are good choices, or maybe it's because I'm taking a course on von Trier this semester.
 

SteveGon

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I'll second Shane's recommendations for Men With Guns and Leningrad Cowboys Go America (though the latter is only available on VHS or R2 DVD).

Wim Wenders' last two films have been set in the U.S.: Don't Come Knocking and Land of Plenty (the latter would be the better choice).
 

ChrisWiggles

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I was going to suggest "Cannibal Tours" but it is by an Australian. A pretty fascinating little documentary though.

The sayles Men with Guns suggestion is a great one, I'd forgotten about that movie.

There is an argentianian film, which unfortunately I forget the title, which is about a family who comes to New York. I only saw the preview, but that might be an excellent kind of film to look at.
 

ChrisWiggles

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I also was thinking of something like Black Rain, a classic film which is also pretty stereotypey.

Any Spielberg movie.
 

Shane Gralaw

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Oh, another great one I forgot to mention- Paul Schrader's "Mishima". It was written and directed by Schrader, but had a Japanese cast and crew. It tackles an interesting figure, Yukio Mishima, the author who was a radical and unusual character that to this day is sorta an embarrassment to the Japanese, but of endless fascination to Westerners. It is an unusual and theatrical film that features some crazy sets by Eiko Ishioka (who won an Oscar for Francis Ford Coppola' "Dracula") and Philips Glass's first narrative film score. It is a Japanese film, through and through, but one that only could have been directed by a Westerner.
 

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