Kavi (my wife) & I have a liking for mystery, thriller, and horror movies. We have searched for “best thriller movies” or similar at least over a hundred times. Our routine goes like this:
We google a list of movies and zero in on one after reading its synopsis. Then, we search for it on YouTube, Prime or Netflix. We watch the movie if we find it or move on to the next in our list until we find one.
But, once in a while, Kavi would name an old movie she had seen and would suggest we watch it together. I like the fact that she never insists or forces me into watching it. Instead, she politely proposes the idea and lets me make the decision. I know it is not a trick. Her attitude is genuine and it works. I’d resist initially and eventually agree. Fair play to her.
Recently, I watched two great movies on her recommendation and they were stunning that I HAD to share my experience.
RUNTIME: 87 mins | Watch here
This is a 1997 Iranian film about the bonding between a brother Ali and his sister Zahra, and their adventures over a lost pair of shoes.
The plot is simple. Ali loses Zahra’s shoes while fetching it from the cobbler. As his family lives a poor south Tehran neighborhood and struggles financially, Ali pleads Zahra not to tell the parents.
So, they come up with a plan. Zahra would wear Ali’s shoes to school in the morning and they’d exchange it midday so Ali could run to school in the afternoon. As this arrangement becomes uncomfortable, Ali decides to participate in a 4-kilometer foot-race as the 3rd prize is a pair of sneakers.
I am not a movie critic but this film looks so real. It is also said that the shooting crew attempted to film secretly to capture a more realistic image of the city. The love between the siblings makes it a heartwarming adventure. Be it when you see the pain in the brother’s eyes every time his little sister wears the over-sized shoes or when Zahra tries to hide the ragged shared shoes to be not noticed, I promise you’d be heart-wrenched.
Only 15 minutes into it and I forgot I was watching a movie. The movie shows how – regardless of the lack of money – the kids find happiness in small things (blowing soap bubbles and helping their neighbors) and show compassion.
In 1998, it became the first Iranian film to be nominated for an Academy Award. This is a drama not to be missed, and readily available on YouTuBe as 11 parts.
RUNTIME: 84 mins | Watch here
Another family drama, another masterpiece. Warm spring is a 2003 Chinese film. When a kid runs away from her abusive foster parents, a poor, illiterate old man takes her with him.
But his son and daughter-in-law (who can’t conceive) don’t approve of this and they create all sorts of troubles – ill-treating the old man, and even trying to sell the little girl. Despite all struggles, the elderly man does everything in his power to protect the young child.
What happens to the girl and her grandpa forms the crux of the story.
This is a tearjerker. The whole movie is about sharing what you have and reiterates the fact that the only way to live a rich life is through your generosity and not scarcity. The love between the girl and her grandpa leaves you teary-eyed. Apparently, the movie was promoted by offering refunds for any viewers not moved to tears.
I genuinely cried at least twice during the course of the movie and Kavi has since recommended the movie to others on the basis of my crying.
Wulan Tana, the director, won the Golden Rooster Award for Best Directorial Debut in 2003 and the movie was named one of 3 Best Films at the 2004 Hundred Flowers Awards. This is also available on YouTube.
If you have got 3 hours and you are looking to watch fulfilling movies with your family, we highly recommend these two gems and confidently assure you won’t regret the time spent. After all, life’s about the small things that make you happy. Share, and spread the joy.
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– Kavi & Ninja