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Different in all the right ways
The sort of innovation seen in Lucia has been missing from American cinema for many years. In fact, I have seen no more than five films ever, that can be compared to Lucia's fast pace and edgy feeling. When I watched this, it did not take long for it to be clear that what I was watching was different from almost everything that I had seen previously. It reminded me of films like Fight Club, Oldboy, and Night of the Hunter in that all of these films are strikingly different from everything else. In this way Lucia is truly refreshing, but it is far more than that. It is impossible to watch Lucia without being impressed by its plot which can really only be described as awesome. The story is complex but never difficult to follow and the characters always come first. Lucia is easy to relate to even across countries and languages because it examines common themes of love and life, and easy to be impressed by because it takes on these ideas in an altogether new fashion.
The Searchers (1956)
A Well Made FIlm that Nobody Should See
The Searchers is an excellent combination of the hallmarks of John Wayne and John Ford, but it's bright spots cannot make up for its insensitivity which is pathetic, corrosive, and antiquated. If you want to watch a Western, watch The Good, The Bad and the Ugly or Once Upon a Time in the West and if you want to see "Indians", watch Dances With Wolves. The Searchers is well crafted, but unacceptable by modern standards - not of political correctness, but of essential human understanding. Many people may say that they can look past the racism and watch the movie for its artistic merit, but really looking past racism, is overlooking racism. It is true that a film is entitled to say whatever it wants, but when the message (or at least the general theme) is appalling as it is in The Searchers, viewers should not be compelled to watch it. Therefore, I do not compel you to watch this film, for even though it was such a long time ago and "we all know better now", racism should not be honored even if it is well crafted and has all the hallmarks of John Wayne and John Ford.
Love and loss in the slow-motion of old age
It is a shame that the odds of Amour winning best picture are so slim. It is a love story and a tragedy; a treasure of modern film-making in its acting and directing. The pace is appropriately slow and the camera angles are simple yet unique. From one of the opening shot of an audience watching a performance that lasts multiple minutes, I knew that Amour deserved at least Outstanding Achievement in Directing. Michael Haneke guides the audience through the lives of Georges and Anne, an old couple savoring the sweetness of old age, recounting the frenzy of youth, and crumbling under the sorrow of loss, with unflinching precision. For his art and his storytelling Haneke deserves the academy's thanks.