World Cinema: Not Just in English

As American moviegoers, we often like to stay in our comfort zone of what is familiar to us as far as our cinema experience goes.

Whether you enjoy action, comedy, or romance, you probably are watching American movies with American slants and messages that are in accordant to mainstream American culture.

So naturally, we have a bias when it comes to viewing something that was made in Hollywood over a movie that was made in Bollywood (India).

Language barriers can also be a turn off because honestly who wants to read during an entire movie?

But sitting down and getting past the subtitles of a foreign film can be beneficial in seeing the world from a different perspective.

It also gives another country a chance to tell their side of the story artistically and world events that you may not have heard in their historical context.

Watching a foreign flick could also give you an appreciation for aesthetics and different filming and editing techniques, as in the chaotic camera movements that symbolize Cuban frustration and struggle in the events leading up to Castro’s revolution in I am Cuba (Soy Cuba), which was ironically shot by Russian Director Mikhail Kalatozov.

Yet, melodramatic films like these can also serve as evidence for propaganda under the guise of “national cinema,” leaving the viewer to question where truth is consistent and where it is stretched in not only foreign films, but those made in the U.S. as well.

But if you’re not in a world cinema class like I am and do not have time to delve into great imported cinema here are a few recommendations:

Photo credit: Anthony Estrada 3 Iron, (Empty House)
Photo credit: Anthony Estrada 3 Iron, (Empty House)

1. 3 Iron (Empty House) (2004), is a Korean romance film about a young man who tapes menus to door knobs and lives in unoccupied dwellings while the owners are gone or are on vacation. American audiences will be glad to know that this is a heavily visual film (Not a lot of subtitles in this one).

2. Stalker (1979) is a Russian science-fiction/quest that follows a “Stalker” (guide) as he leads a writer and a scientist into the “Zone” where a man’s most inner desires can come true.

3.  Rome, Open City (1945), is an Italian war drama that gives insight of Rome during Nazi occupation in 1944.

4.      Red Tent (1969), an Italian/Russian co-production that demonstrates the national pride and attention that surrounded the fatal 1928 Italian expedition to the North Pole. This film was made in Russian, Italian and English and even features Sean Connery (James Bond himself) to entice American moviegoers, though possibly due to Cold War tensions was overlooked.

5.      I Am Cuba (1964), a Russian/Cuban co-production as mentioned above, is about the Cuban revolution against Batista, but also features highly noted long camera shots before cuts are made.  

Though, these movies are influenced by the magic of Hollywood, it is interesting to see how other countries express themselves with the medium. Which can be just as ambitious and entertaining as any American-made film.

Why Everyone Should Work in a Restaurant at Some Point

From dish washing to waiting, the food service industry is one that often gets misunderstood and overlooked at. It is commonly seen as a service, where the customers are aiding businesses by bringing their hunger to them. Where no mistakes can be made, because it is a simple job, no matter the position.

On the contrary, it is not an easy job. There’s much more to working in a restaurant than most people think. It is like a machine, where it takes many components to work right, and being a part of that machine has taught me valuable things that can be incorporated into the real world.

Photo credit: Joserolando Bravo

1. Appreciation

Working in a restaurant lets you see the hard work it takes to make it run well. You learn to appreciate the host’s warm welcome, the bus person keeping your table clean, and the time a server takes to make sure your are enjoying your dinning experience. Lets not forget the food; the staff in the kitchen never stops working including the dishwasher that receives dirty dishes almost nonstop.

2. Patience

There will be difficult customers that will make it seem impossible to work with, regardless of age or gender. Lashing out or speaking your mind is not an option. Patience is a virtue, and one you’ll definitely gain working in the food industry.

3. Dynamics

Human interaction is inevitable, and working in a restaurant is a great way of building skills that will become beneficial. Courtesy, respect, and politeness are a necessity, and sometimes people tend to forget that. “Treat customers as if they were guests in your own home,” says Nate Johnson, Chef and owner of The Kitchen Table in Chico Calif.. Great food and great service will help build relationships, along with regular customers.

4. Communication

Probably one of the biggest gains in working in a restaurant is gaining the ability to properly communicate, not only with customers, but with coworkers as well.

5. Teamwork

Most jobs you will obtain will require the ability to work with a team. Leadership skills and being able to follow are both characteristics of teamwork, and a restaurant is a perfect place to learn that.

Working in a restaurant is something that everyone should do at some point in their lives. The things learned from it will benefit you greatly, and are something that will carry on to the rest of your life.