Monday, March 23, 2009

Guest Blogger: Sarah O.

It's Monday morning. I know I should write a blog but nothing's coming to me. I open my inbox and Sarah wants to share something about some great new movie options at the library. Perfect. My co-workers really help me out. I get by with a little help from my friends and all that. Take it away, Sarah!

Outside Hollywood
The Cleveland Annual International Film Festival is almost at a close. Many locals make the pilgrimage once a year to Tower City to get their yearly dose of foreign film, and then forget about them for the rest of year. Is this because once a year is enough, or is it because they don’t know where else to go to get this type of material?

Well, if you’re part of the latter group, Mentor Public Library is looking to expand its DVD collection by adding a number of foreign films, starting with the innovative styling of Hong Kong cinema. I will be highlighting some of these “new” releases each week. I say “new” because some of these films are older, and have not been readily available in the USA until now, or are re-releases, with new bonus features and glossy booklets.

Why (Not) Foreign?
Language Barrier – My friend once told me that if he wanted to read, he would read a book. Guess what? My friend really doesn’t read books either. Once one can get over this hurdle, viewing options will increase, and whole new collections will suddenly become available. Prints that were once thought lost forever are being unearthed and brought to DVD. Believe me, watching a movie with subtitles is less distracting than the English voice-overs, where lips and words forever struggle to match.

Innovation – There is a thriving film industry outside of the USA, but why only one category at the Oscars for Best Foreign Film? Maybe Hollywood is afraid of the competition. Hong Kong films take risks, and have influenced many American movies, from hand-held camera cinematography to choreographed fight scenes. In fact, directors Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez are heavily influenced by the movies of Hong Kong, the grittiness and the cinematic techniques.

Education – Watching a film from another country allows access to different cultures, ways of living, fashion, and viewpoints of the world. Movies have a way of bringing people together, and this is no exception when it comes to foreign ones. In my experience, seeing a movie from someone else’s country creates an immediate bond, in that I have some knowledge of their culture or language. There is no easier (or less expensive) way to gain an introduction or understanding of another culture than to watch a movie made by their natives.

If you don’t want to drive to Cleveland and pay for the tickets, or, if you think you’ve seen everything and are getting restless with the selections Hollywood churns out, look Outside Hollywood: Mentor Public Library’s newest media collection.

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