If you feel like a night in with the girls but also fancy a change from the same old bland Hollywood plots, you might like to host a chick flick night with a multicultural twist. If you're willing to read subtitles, there are so many more beautiful love stories out there to see.
In addition to the usual must-haves for a chick flick night (a comfy couch, a box of tissues, chocolate and microwave popcorn) you might like to serve some food and drink from the countries your chosen films come from, eg. noodles or yum cha for In the Mood For Love, maybe some champagne for Priceless etc. Then it's time to sit down and enjoy these wonderful, romantic films from around the world.
Directed by Wong Ka Wai, In the Mood for Love is about two neighbours in a crowded Hong Kong apartment block who discover by chance that their spouses are having are having an affair with each other. Bonding over this shared hurt they are tempted to turn their own close friendship into something more. Slow moving and ponderous, this movie is kind of a mood piece. It's very beautiful to look at and would be worth watching for Maggie Cheung's wardrobe alone. She seems to be in a different slinky silk dress in every shot.
Although it is set in Australia, this film is about a meeting of cultures and two people coming to understand one another despite a language barrier. Toni Collette plays a software designer assigned to act as a tour guide for a Japanese businessman in the Pilbura desert in Western Australia. I can't say much more about the plot of this one for fear of spoiling it. Suffice it to say that I saw it a few years ago and it has haunted me ever since. Like In the Mood for Love, Japanese Story is slow paced and has beautiful cinematography as well as a very memorable soundtrack. Toni Collette's performance is spell binding.
This light-hearted, playful film is like a modern, French version of Breakfast At Tiffany's. Audrey Tatou (who you may know from Amelie and The Da Vinci Code) is even a dead ringer for Audrey Hepburn. She plays the gold digger Irene, who lives on presents from wealthy men. Visiting a hotel bar late at night she mistakes Jean (Gad Elmaleh), the hotel barman, for a millionaire and winds up spending the night with him. Jean becomes obsessed with her, which eventually costs him his job. He then takes a leaf from Irene's book, becoming the toyboy of a wealthy widow with Irene coaching him on how to coax money and expensive gifts out of his patroness. With each of them depending on someone else for money how can they be together? Hopefully you will enjoy finding out as much as I did.
Fireworks (HANA-BI) (1997) (Japan)
Fireworks was written, directed, edited and starred in by the Japanese actor Takeshi Kitano and features a very beautiful score by the renowned Japanese composer Joe Hisaishi. Kitano's character, the police detective Nishi retires from the police force to take care of his wife, Miyuki who is dying of leukemia. Nishi has borrowed money from the Yakuza to help pay for his wife's treatment and doesn't know if he can pay it back. He and his wife go on a road trip to do things she enjoys while they still have some time together. The film is full of artwork painted by Miyuki during her illness (which was actually painted by Kitano himself during his recovery from an accident), giving it a striking visual style. You will definitely need that box of tissues for this one, and it might be an idea to watch something a little more light-hearted afterwards.
Better Than Sex (2000) (Australia)
It's another Australian one, but I couldn't help but put this one in, well, because of, David Wenham. If you ever wondered what he might look like in a wedding dress, then this is the film for you. It's the story of two ordinary people, Josh (Wenham) and Cin (Susie Porter), who meet at a party the day before Josh is due to fly back to London to live. The two have a one night stand which somehow never quite ends. Be warned, there is a lot of nudity in this one, but if you don't mind that it's a joyful romp that will cheer you up nicely after the misery of HANA-BI.