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films to watch

so i saw a post listing films in foreign languages and i thought i could expand on the list a little bit but my addition got so massive i decided to move it to a separate post. this list will focus on my target languages and feature a little bit of french as well just to spice it up. 

films are good for several reasons

  • usually quite fun
  • actually challenging if u watch w/o subtitles and the easiest way to achieve immersion in the privacy of your home
  • “productive procrastination”
  • might give u cultural insight as well
  • or encourage you to learn some history!!!!
  • i’m really tired of people watching almodóvar and being like uuuuuuhuuuu look the great spanish director and forgetting that not only are there spanish films not directed by almodóvar but also that spanish is spoken in other countries as well and GUESS WHAT they produce culture

ok here we go!!!!! im really lazy and my computer is agonizingly slow so i can provide no links. if something interests you search for it et voila

WARNING!!!!! long post 

spanish

  • magia salvaje - this is an uber cool colombian film showing largely unexplored areas of colombia which i think is the most beautiful country on earth. it was recommended to me independently by a friend from my spanish class and my colombian pen pal gal. from its website: “magia salvaje es la cinta del mundo natural más ambiciosa realizada en el país (…) [realizada en] 85 locaciones y 20 ecosistemas. (…) un tributo a la belleza de colombia“ tl;dr: cool shit u should watch, it’s available on yt
  • señor ávila - a p good series filmed by the mexican hbo starring tony dalton as an exemplary father and husband that starts working as a paid killer for the mafia, but it’s not all peachy because it affects his personal life and his son gets into some really deep shit. gets a bit grim at times but good nevertheless
  • retrato de un comportamiento animal - really cute indie film made in uruguay. an unlikely couple on a trip to brazil. expect nice landscapes and voseo
  • relatos salvajes - dark humour from argentina, a series of episodes in which people go absolutely bonkers over the most petty shit and also get p violent when you wouldn’t expect them to be. produced by pedro almodóvar if that serves as any recommendation.
  • la historia oficial - another one from argentina. drama. set during the dictatorship and based on true events, follows a family through a period when they would literally tear lil kids from their mothers and drown the parents if they were enemies of the state. watch it
  • juana la loca - spanish historical drama about their queen joan the mad
  • el laberinto del fauno - can we just, omg, ok, i love that film so much. fantasy, set during the civil war in spain. a little girl discovers this world with monsters and other creatures and it’s scary as shit but she goes through these adventures because she cares for her family. watch itttt
  • doce hombres sin piedad - this is the spanish version of the american classic 12 angry men, recorded in 1973. you can watch it on youtube.
  • gran hotel - spanish tv series, historical drama sort of downton abbey style. weird shit is happening in this lovely hotel, what do we do??? apparently available on netflix
  • como agua para chocolate - cute film “about how life used to be in mexico” (imdb) based on the p famous novel by laura esquivel. lovely colours, romantic love and a lot of nice food
  • los diarios de motocicleta - starring gael garcía bernal in an adaptation of che guevara’s memoir in which young che travels the world on his motorbike
  • no - ok this is some amazing shit (oscar nomination holaaaa). it’s a chilean film with gael garcía bernal set in the 1980s. in 1988 pinochet held a referendum in which basically if u said “yes” he stayed as te country’s official and lawful leader and if you said “no”, well, he went. the film is about the campaign that sought to get rid of him
  • talento de barrio - sorry but i couldn’t omit that one. it has daddy yankee in it, period.

italian

  • la dolce vita - please do yourself a favour and watch it
  • la grande bellezza - as above. this is my favourite film of all time. look for the soundtrack on yt and you will know why
  • il bidone - early fellini follows petty thieves in rome
  • il prefetto di ferro - set in the 1920s. giuliano gemma as cesare mori aka the iron prefect who comes to palermo to deal with the gangs. good shit
  • ladri di biciclette - directed by vittorio de sica, set in post-ww2 rome, “a masterpiece of italian neorealism” (wiki). a desperate family needs their bicycle to survive
  • amarcord - comedy/drama, set in the 1930s. coming-of-age. “Fellini skewers Mussolini’s ludicrous posturings … that <<imprisoned Italians in a perpetual adolescence>> by mockig himself and his fellow villagers in comic scenes tha underline their incapacity to adopt genuine moral responsibility or outgrow foolish sexual fantasies” (wiki). won oscar for foreign language.
  • gomorra - tv series based on famed novel by roberto saviano. rival mob clans. good shit
  • il vangelo secondo matteo - “trattando in maniera antidogmatica un argomento di carattere religioso, l’opera fece sensazione e scatenò un aspro confronto intelettuale sulla stampa, proseguendo le non sopite polemiche per le accuse di vilipendio della religione” (wiki). three oscar nominations.
  • una vita violenta - poor kid in rome attempts to transform his life after leaving prison
  • la notte - marcello mastroianni in a study of a deteriorating relationship
  • la nostra terra - cute film which is literally my aesthetic aka people working the land. educated guy from bologna comes down south to start a community and sell organic veg he will grow himself. featuring creepy mafia guy freshly released from prison and sneaky southerners
  • la mafia uccide solo d’estate - drama but also a comedy fresh from palermo. lil boy observes how the mob influences people’s lives
  • il capitale umano - drama. a car accident ties together the lives of two families. people go crazy. great performance by valeria bruni tedeschi
  • il rosso e il blu - follows the lives of three school teachers as they get really involved in the fucked up lives of their students. confusing but oddly satisfying
  • latin lover - fun comedy of how a famed actor dies leaving behind a shitload of lovers, wives and children who all meet for his funeral.

portuguese

  • trash - an AMAZING brazilian film about two favela boys trying to solve a criminal mystery and unearth corruption before an ill-willed police officer gets to them; all thanks to a wallet found in the dumpster they work in. really good cinema with appearances made by rooney mara and martin sheen
  • singularidades de uma rapariga loura - modern portuguese film based on a short stories by eça de queirós. a blooming romance meets an unexpected obstacle. spot on aesthetic and cleverly blended cultural references. directed by manoel de oliveira who is THE MAN, check out his ther shit such as the p recent o convento starring john malkovich and catherine deneuve
  • saneamento básico - p straightforward but fun brazilian comedy in which a small town community will do anything to raise money to fix their sewer system
  • this is embarrassingly short i will make a separate post to expand 

french

  • farinelli - an AMAZING film based very loosely on the life of the most famous castrato singer, farinelli. loooveeeee
  • la religieuse (2013) - a really stuningly made adaptation of denis diderot’s novel about a girl thrown into a convent against her will and desperate to get out who discovers some dark family secrets.
  • tom à la ferme - weird indie canadian film with xavier dolan, a gay man travelling to meet his dead boyfriend’s family and terrorised by said’s boyfriend’s horrible brother. more dark family shit for u
  • yves saint laurent - nice biographical film with pierre niney
  • dans la maison - terrifying and fascinating drama about how one seductive teenager ruins some families. 10/10 would recommend
  • les choristes - really good film about how a music teacher transforms the lives of a class of “difficult” boys. set in the 1940s to spice it up
  • les liaisons dangereuses (1959) - adaptation of laclos’ classic novel, set in the present day. directed by roger vadim.

that’s it - I hope at least one person finds it interesting/helpful!!!

i once promised a crash course in polish thing and i know i’m delaying it horribly but sometime next week i will prepare a similar post about polish films (if u folks are interested, ofc)

nature.com
Collapse of Aztec society linked to catastrophic salmonella outbreak
DNA of 500-year-old bacteria is first direct evidence of an epidemic — one of humanity's deadliest — that occurred after Spanish conquest.

One of the worst epidemics in human history, a sixteenth-century pestilence that devastated Mexico’s native population, may have been caused by a deadly form of salmonella from Europe, a pair of studies suggest.

In one study, researchers say they have recovered DNA of the stomach bacterium from burials in Mexico linked to a 1540s epidemic that killed up to 80% of the country’s native inhabitants. The team reports its findings in a preprint posted on the bioRxiv server on 8 February1.

This is potentially the first genetic evidence of the pathogen that caused the massive decline in native populations after European colonization, says Hannes Schroeder, an ancient-DNA researcher at the Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen who was not involved in the work. “It’s a super-cool study.”

Dead bodies and ditches

In 1519, when forces led by Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortés arrived in Mexico, the native population was estimated at about 25 million. A century later, after a Spanish victory and a series of epidemics, numbers had plunged to around 1 million.

The largest of these disease outbreaks were known as cocoliztli (from the word for ‘pestilence’ in Nahuatl, the Aztec language). Two major cocoliztli, beginning in 1545 and 1576, killed an estimated 7 million to 18 million people living in Mexico’s highland regions.

“In the cities and large towns, big ditches were dug, and from morning to sunset the priests did nothing else but carry the dead bodies and throw them into the ditches,” noted a Franciscan historian who witnessed the 1576 outbreak.

There has been little consensus on the cause of cocoliztli — although measles, smallpox and typhus have all been mooted. In 2002, researchers at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City proposed that a viral haemorrhagic fever, exacerbated by a catastrophic drought, was behind the carnage2. They compared the magnitude of the 1545 outbreak to that of the Black Death in fourteenth-century Europe.

Bacterial genomics

In an attempt to settle the question, a team led by evolutionary geneticist Johannes Krause at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany, extracted and sequenced DNA from the teeth of 29 people buried in the Oaxacan highlands of southern Mexico. All but five were linked to a cocoliztli that researchers think ran from 1545 to 1550.

Ancient bacterial DNA recovered from several of the people matched that of Salmonella, based on comparisons with a database of more than 2,700 modern bacterial genomes.

Further sequencing of short, damaged DNA fragments from the remains allowed the team to reconstruct two genomes of a Salmonella enterica strain known as Paratyphi C. Today, this bacterium causes enteric fever, a typhus-like illness, that occurs mostly in developing countries. If left untreated, it kills 10–15% of infected people.

It’s perfectly reasonable that the bacterium could have caused this epidemic, says Schroeder. “They make a really good case.” But María Ávila-Arcos, an evolutionary geneticist at UNAM, isn’t convinced. She notes that some people suggest that a virus caused the cocoliztli, and that wouldn’t have been picked up by the team’s method.

The question of origin

Krause and his colleagues’ proposal is helped by another study posted on bioRxiv last week, which raises the possibility that Salmonella Paratyphi C arrived in Mexico from Europe3.

A team led by Mark Achtman, a microbiologist at the University of Warwick in Coventry, UK, collected and sequenced the genome of the bacterial strain from the remains of a young woman buried around 1200 in a cemetery in Trondheim, Norway. It is the earliest evidence for the now-rare Salmonella strain, and proof that it was circulating in Europe, according to the study. (Both teams declined to comment on their research because their papers have been submitted to a peer-reviewed journal.)

“Really, what we’d like to do is look at both strains together,” says Hendrik Poinar, an evolutionary biologist at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada. And if more ancient genomes can be collected from Europe and the Americas, it should be possible to find out more conclusively whether deadly pathogens such as Salmonella arrived in the New World from Europe.

The existence of Salmonella Paratyphi C in Norway 300 years before it appeared in Mexico doesn’t prove that Europeans spread enteric fever to native Mexicans, says Schroeder, but that hypothesis is reasonable. A small percentage of people infected with Salmonella Paratyphi C carry the bacterium without falling ill, so apparently healthy Spaniards could have infected Mexicans who lacked natural resistance.

Paratyphi C is transmitted through faecal material, and a collapse of social order during the Spanish conquest might have led to the poor sanitary conditions that are ripe for Salmonella spread, Krause and his team note in the paper.

Krause’s study offers a blueprint for identifying the pathogens behind ancient outbreaks, says Schroeder. His own team plans to look for ancient pathogens in Caribbean burial sites that seem to be linked to catastrophic outbreaks, and that were established after the Europeans arrived. “The idea that some of them might have been caused by Salmonella is now a distinct possibility,” he says.