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Best International Features: Shannon Loves "The Worst Person..."

The field of nominees for Best International Feature Film at the 2022 Oscars is one of the most contentious races out there. Who has the stuff to take the gold statue home? I am worried that a certain 3-hour snooze fest might snag the honors when there are far better films to choose from. Here is my recap of how I saw this year’s nominees.
Drive My Car B- (Original Review Feb 16, 2022)
Well…let’s start with the fact that it is 3 hours long! 179 minutes to be exact. And if there were things happening in the movie to warrant 3 hours, I would sing a little Hakuna Matata , but that is not the case. If you were to take all of shots of the car and HALF of the shots out the windshield and out the back window (seriously, I am so car sick from this movie) plus all of the scenes where people are running lines for a production of Uncle Vanya, you would have a movie that is about 40 minutes in length! Yowza! It is one long commercial for vintage Saab, to the point where during one painfully long, masturbatory shot of the car our ENTIRE theatre cracked up! Oye! Oye! Oye! And this thing got nominated for Best Picture and best director over C’mon C’mon and Tick, Tick, Boom??? Barf, just BARF. Yes, there were some good moments in the film, if you can tolerate a very slow burn on character development. I encourage you to miss this in the movie theatre and watch it on HBO Max starting on March 2.
The Hand of God B+ (Original Review January 8, 2022)
Another coming-of-age memoir! This one is Italian. This film gets off to a truly chaotic start and takes its time revealing whose story is being told. I didn’t mind that as much as feeling like I needed a score card to keep track of who the characters were and what their relationships were to each other. Repeatedly I found myself asking, “Wait, who is that again?” Even in the last minutes of the movie! But there is so much good in the film, I persevered. As with the other memoirs of the season there seems to be a hitch at the 3/4 mark that stalls the movie. In The Hand of God this is evident in a scene, plucked from nowhere, where a character yells, “Do you have story to tell?” It’s what every viewer wants to ask the filmmaker in that moment. Ironic? Brilliant? I don’t know, but I was ready for the film to end. Which it did, with absolutely no imagination. It is worth the watch, great performances, stunning Italian scenery, interesting directorial choices but not an A.
Flee A- (Original Review February 6, 2022)
This is a Danish Documentary that is told mostly through animation. It is based on the true story of a man whose family fled Afghanistan in the 80’s and became refugees. If you feel like you are having a rough day, put yourself in the shoes of a young boy who is realizing he is gay, needs to get out of Afghanistan, and flees to Russia. Yeah, that’s some serious (blank). The animation with the actual audio from interviews makes this a compelling watch. Hearing the toll fleeing takes on a child’s life makes this a hard but required watch. Interestingly enough, this film will likely be nominated in the animation, documentary and foreign language categories, and although I think it deserves noms in each of those categories, I think there are better films that will steal the awards.
Luana: A Yak in the Classroom A- (New Review)
This is a very special, charming movie about an aspiring singer who is young, a little immature, and a lot dissatisfied with the teaching job he is forced to do. When his supervisor calls him out for his lackluster performance as a teacher, he doesn’t hesitate to tell her that he’s not really into it. He is rewarded by being sent to teach at the most remote school in the world. What follows is breath taking. His journey of self-discovery is just delightful. You can not help but fall in love with every inch of the storytelling. The cast is delicious and authentic, many of them, including the main child in the film, are actual inhabitants of this remote location. I genuinely hope the world doesn’t flock to this beautiful, unspoiled, remote location now…even though we will all want to. I was not in love with the ending of the film, but I now want to be a Yak farmer, so my opinion might be a little skewed. I urge you to see this film.
The Worst Person in The World A+ (New Review)
I loved this movie so hard. OMG. I was absolutely swept away, into the life of Julie, a young woman in the time for her life when everything is possible, and nothing is sure, when you don’t know who you are, and everything feel so…everything. Sigh. It was beautiful, it was heartbreaking, it was funny and frustrating. It was clever and innovative, but it never, ever veered from its mission to tell the story. The performances! Total mic drop. The three main leads. WOW. WOW. WOW. The script, the direction…all brilliant. Ask me how I really feel? I just LOVED it. It’s the kind of movie that when it’s over you just want to find the people who are responsible and say, “Thank you.”
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