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I’m not a prolific movie-watcher, but I do like movies. In fact I probably spend more time listening to people talk about movies than I do watching them; I often listen to Mark Kermode’s Film Podcast, or The Guardian’s Film Weekly, while on the subway, or at the gym.

While I can enjoy a good blockbuster, I’ve always found foreign films- although often more serious- to also be more interesting, engaging and memorable. Of course to lump all non-English cinema in as “foreign films” is to do it a disservice- and to say that foreign films cannot become blockbusters equally so. Yet to engage with a movie in a language other than your own is to learn something not only from what the director intends, but from a culture that you are unfamiliar with. Also- crucially- foreign language films often lend themselves to great discussion, and as a blogger this is what I’m after.

Since it’s been a while since I’ve watched a load of movies, and to prove that this blog can deal with topics other than Hanshin Tigers’ baseball games, I thought I’d make my way through the 2008 Oscor shortlist for best foreign film, as well as throwing in a couple of others, and review them here. The movies are:

Okuribito (Departures), Japan
– The Baader Meinhof Complex, Germany
Entres Les Murs (The Class), France
Revanche, Austria
– Waltz With Bashir, Israel

The extra two movies are:

– Oldboy, South Korea
Le Graine Et Le Moulet (The Secret Of The Grain), France

I’ll get back to you once I’ve watched them. First up is Japan’s Okuribito, or “Departures”, winner of the 2008 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.