2008's Best Non-Hollywood Flick

The Academy Awards are coming, and an Indian movie, "Slumdog Millionaire," could win best picture. But what are we overlooking? What's the best non-Hollywood movie you saw this year?

Posted by David Ignatius on February 9, 2009 12:34 PM

Readers’ Responses to Our Question (22)

Shiveh Author Profile Page :


There are only two probable endings to this conflict. Either Arabs and Israelis find a way to live in peace together or they will build up their militaries to the point of mutual destruction. This makes giving up on peace a hard thing to do!

It is easy to conclude that the amount of hatred is so much that makes living in peace impossible, if you only consider the fierceness of the hostilities without being closely familiar with the culture and history of the people involved. It is true that many Jews and Arabs hate each other, especially if they are personally injured by the conflict but contrary to Tom’s assertion, I believe that this hatred is overblown in the West.

I have lived with both Arab and Jews and I’ve known them to be generally decent, kind and hospitable people. The feeling they have toward each other is complicated. Let me put it this way, if you take an average Jewish family, pair them with an average Arab family and send them to a week long vacation, I bet my last dollar that they’ll become friends and enjoy their vacation together.

Arabs may hate Jews and vise versa, but the hatred is toward a collective not individual persons. During recent fight in Gaza, some Gazan children were cared for in Israeli hospitals. I can imagine the atmosphere inside those hospitals and the interaction between Jewish healthcare providers and Arab families to be respectful and companionate. It is wrong to think of them as animals that can not be put in the same cage.

These people have lived close to each other for centuries. They can do it again in peace if and when they get competent leaders with foresight; leaders that can look beyond this bickering and see a way out; leaders who have the courage to take the way out. The current generation of people living in the west and Middle East are lacking such leadership. It is a while that we have been led by imposters. That is the source of most of our problems and the main reason for our current downfall.

TomW2 Author Profile Page :


Yes, a strong military has always been Israel’s best (only) hope, and it remains their only hope for the future. I don't believe the Swiss model is viable for Israel. Here’s part of the problem. UN Resolution 242 calls for Israel to withdraw from territory with the “…right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force…” (land for peace). Israel gave captured land back to Egypt under those conditions with a peaceful settlement, however, when Israel withdrew from Lebanon and Gaza, those areas were used by “terrorist” to attack Israel. So, in effect, Israel traded “land for terrorism”.

Israel will not withdraw from the West Bank and allow that territory to be used as a launching pad for attacks against Israel - that‘s a certainty. The recent elections assure that the elected right wing government will not make the same mistake with the West Bank that even the left in Israel acknowledges was a mistake in Gaza. No one should expect Israel to trade land for terrorism in the West Bank. The question then becomes, how do you assure security for Israel with a Palestinian state?

I agree that the long term prospects for Israel (the way things are going) are not particularly bright - especially with a nuclear armed Iran, but what can Israel do but continue to militarily assure that Israelis remain secure. In my opinion, the West (primarily the left) underestimates the tenacity of the Islamic movement against a Jewish state in Palestine (not just the occupied West Bank). Regime change in Iran could change the dynamics in the Middle East, but that’s going to have to come from within Iran, and right now, that’s not a remote possibility. Building alliances will be important for the future of Israel.

The creation of a viable Palestinian state would really help Israel, but how long would it take before Hamas came to power? An Islamic state on Israel's border would seem untenable for Israel.

blund Author Profile Page :

I really hate this notion that criticizing Israel makes one an Anti-Semite. Israel's actions, reactions and inactions should be open to the same scrutiny as any other nation. Religous bigotry exists on both sides of the Arab/Israel conflict. I don't know who hates the others religion more and it doesn't matter. However, there a large number of us around the world who scrutinize both sides and opine about their actions while only factoring in religion. I assume the vast majority of Muslims will hate the Jews in Israel. I also assume the Israeli's will point this out every chance they get while at the same time hating the Muslims. This has been and will continue to be a religous war where all outsiders, like myself, try to apply political solutions to varying degrees.

Posters like Shiveh still believe peace can break out in the ME under the right set of circumstances. Tom hasn't come right out and said it, so correct me if I'm wrong, but a strong Israel (militarily) is the best chance of Israel securing a lasting future and at some point forcing the Arabs/Muslims into something that resembles a peace or co-existance if nothing else. I think Tom's argument would continue to state this is also in the best interests of the US as it will cement an ally in the ME.

My problem with Shiveh's argument is it does not take into account the innate hatred both sides have for each other. Outside entities such as the US and EU have been able to negotiate short term cease fires, but I would argue in most cases this was agreed to so the two sides could take a break and re-arm.

My issue with Tom's argument is it fails to take into account two factors. First, there are only 5 plus million Jews in Israel and their population isn't going to have a significant increase in the next 100 years. They are ridiculously outnumbered in this conflict. Second, as time goes on the probability of various groups and countries in the region arming and training themselves to the point where Israel is no match for the overwhelming numbers they face. Israel's existance has been predicated on being better organized, better equipped, better trained and subsidized by outside interests. As long as these factors continue Israel will prevail. When the Arab/Muslims close the gaps in these factors Israel will be in serious trouble.

daniel12 Author Profile Page :

To Shiveh from Daniel. See Vic van meters post in Zakarias article about the arabs in Israel. It was something like post number 208. Hell, I will outline it for you now. It was a brilliant post.

Vic van meter suggested that all conflicts should stop there (in the vicinity of Israel)--especially around Jerusalem--because that place is a potential gold mine of tourist attraction.

He estimated that the revenue from tourism to that area would result in an economic boom for all. Is that a satisfactory answer for you concerning Israel in the middle east? Again, I thought it was a brilliant post.

Vic van meter brought his point home by saying that God is potentially big money. The three great monotheistic religions (of course Islam, Christianity and Judaism) meet in Jerusalem and instead of conflicts about such the three great religions should meet there and bring big money to all in the area. God as economic boom and not nuclear blast.

Shiveh Author Profile Page :


The Arab-Israeli question is not about what has happened in the past as much as it is about how it can be resolved in the future. Also, the Jewish populace of Israel can not simply get rid of the Arab population in that country; they need to persuade the Arabs to leave if Israel is to remain a Jewish state. Palestinians in the refuge camps of Gaza and also in the west bank do not have much to lose by continuing the status quo. By fighting back they are keeping their hopes alive and their dignity intact. My suggestion was to give the Palestinians something they would not want to lose and the Arabs inside Israel an attractive alternative to move to. If you have a better suggestion, let’s hear it!


Thanks. No new post regarding the Awards question in 3 days suggests that we are not the only ones!!

TomW2 Author Profile Page :


Thanks for the response. I'm just happy we're not discussing the academy awards.

daniel12 Author Profile Page :

How ridiculous your notions of the middle east are Shiveh! See my post right now--posts number 186 and 187--on Zakarias article about the Arabs of Israel.

The one thing I will say to you now is that the Palestinians have had ample opportunities over the decades to improve their economy--but they choose to fight Israel. Israel on the other hand has created the best economy in the middle east, and would like nothing better than to continue on said course without fighting Muslims--and it is all Muslims which despise Israel.--And not because the Israelis have dispossessed the Palestinians.

No, the true crime of Israel is that they have returned to their homeland and Mohammed did not foresee that--and the Muslims despise what they see as a foreign power on their god given land.
Hell, the Muslims are so low that they have succeeded in making it seem as 7 million or so Israelis are perpetrating a holocaust in the middle east when they, the Israelis are surrounded by incalculably more Muslims than the Israelis.

The holocaust the Jews suffered in WW2 was a true holocaust--the Jews were vastly outnumbered and could do nothing. But the Muslims say no holocaust occurred in Germany and they, the Muslims have succeeded in making it seem as if the Israelis are perpetrating a holocaust when it is the Muslims who are either attacking Israel or trying to outbreed her and overwhelm her through sheer demographics.

And I certainly do not share your view of Iran. For all of history the peoples on Iranian soil have been third rate losers. They lost to the Greeks in ancient times and they have lost ever since. I do not trust whining, bitter losers with nuclear weapons.

Shiveh Author Profile Page :


Iran has gone through a revolution with all the mayhem associated with revolutions and is now struggling to come out of it may be better than it was before the revolution. I’m sure you are familiar with the histories of revolutions in the world; from France to U.S. or Russia and China, revolutions have gone through more or less similar route and have come out stronger, with better educated and more industrialized people. All I’m saying about Iran is that beneath all the arrogance and agitation you see from what is left of the revolutionaries of 30 years ago something new and better is evolving; something worth waiting for.

Israel has two dilemmas, what to do with Iran and what to do with her Arab populace (see Fareed Zakaria’s article.) I have simple suggestions for both of them. With Iran, wait! For her Arab populace, provide a better alternative, i.e. go back to U.N. recognized borders and rebuild!! Palestine. Help Palestinians prosper, give their children college scholarships so that they can learn and go back to build a homeland, buy from Palestinian shopkeeper and merchants so that they can bring a smile to their children’s faces. Give them something they refuse to lose and someday, there will be peace and a place that Arab populace of Israel prefer to be. Now If this is in tune with European leftist ideas, I do not find them so bad! What is the alternative? War with Iran and forced immigration of Arab-Israelis? That is a recipe for disaster- for Israel.

TomW2 Author Profile Page :


Roger Cohen writes for the New York Times but provides a European perspective on the world. Like the European leadership, Cohen believes “negotiations” can solve any problem. In addition, Cohen (a true Euro-leftist) makes misleading statements such as this one from a recent article (which you probably read) “The Other Iran”:

“…But axis-of-evil myopia has led U.S. policy makers to underestimate the social, psychological and political forces for pragmatism, compromise and stability. Iran has not waged a war of aggression for a very long time.
Tehran shares many American interests, including a democratic Iraq, because that will be a Shiite-governed Iraq, and a unified Iraq stable enough to ensure access to holy cities like Najaf…”

Iran is most certainly pragmatic, that’s for sure, but not waged a war of aggression for a very long time? Pragmatic in the sense that the Iranian Shiite government will support the Sunni terrorist organization, Hamas in their war to destroy Israel (eventually). Pragmatic in their creation of Hezbollah - another terrorist organization. Note that Iran has been implicated in the planning of the attacks against the Jewish community centers in Argentina carried out by Hezbollah. Pragmatic in fomenting civil war in Iraq. Pragmatic in kidnapping British sailors - two acts of war. Pragmatic in their Islamic pledge to rid the Middle East of a non Muslim country. Pragmatic in sponsoring the Holocaust Denial Symposium….etc.

I definitely feel for the people of Iran who are the most westernized people in the greater Middle East, but the theocratic Iranian leadership has complete control of the Iranian nation, and there is little hope that will change in the near future.

Despite what Obama and Hillary say, the military option is off the table. Obama will not give up his image of “good will” toward the Muslim world. Will Israel bomb Iran? I doubt it based on the sheer amount of protest against the Gaza operation (and the rise in anti Semitism that has reached epidemic proportions around the world), but the population of Israel voted to the right, so anything is possible.

I don’t agree with the Christian bigot, Cohen, but I read most of his columns because he provides good information about various cultures around the world.

Shiveh Author Profile Page :

Roger Cohen of the NY Times has a series of eye-opening reports from Iran in recent issues of the paper. In this one published today he beautifully sums up all that I have tried to say about Iran's future in the PostGlobal.


Daho Author Profile Page :

After a long trip abroad, I realize that the best 'film' I saw is the sad show given by the all the MBA's and other 'professionals', who made millions, during the years they controlled banks, hedge funds, investment banks and other financial groups, and were able to bankrupt them. To crown it all, a lot of them are still at the head of these financial institutions and making millions and the others who left have left with millions. In conclusion it is the governments around the world and their taxpayers who are footing the bill to keep them alive. Unforunately, the end of the film is still to come.

Brookelynzoo Author Profile Page :

Movies are supposed to be an enjoyable escape from reality. If I wanted to remind myself of all the horrors of the world I would turn on the news for two hours instead. What about some uplifting, fun movies, that make you feel good about people, and life? Is that allowed, or is it too serious for this discussion. I think this movie was from this year, but The World's Fastest Indian was one of those movies. Hardly a future classic, but a really enjoyable, feel good movie. They seem to be hard to come by these days.

jasone Author Profile Page :

Auf Der Anderen Seite (Edge of Heaven) by Fatih Akin was far an away the best movie I saw last year. Brilliant, brutal and devastatingly honest, I saw this movie twice in the theater and rented it on DVD as soon as it was released. I get more out of it everytime I see it. A contemporary classic.

CyberPost Author Profile Page :

The movie Under the Same Moon is one of the best films I saw last year. It tells the story of 9-year old Carlitos, whose mother is illegally working in the US cleaning houses, while he lives in Mexico waiting for years to see her mother again. Carlito’s grandmother takes care of him in Mexico. After his grandmother dies, Carlitos decides to embark in an arduous and dangerous trip to the US to find her mother. He meets various malevolent and kind characters along the way. One hopes that during the movie he will realize his dreaming of finding her mother.

eruffing Author Profile Page :

Couple of my favorite were "Happy, Go Lucky' and "Frozen River". was very pleased to see both actresses receive recognition during the awards season. now if Hollywood only had the courage to nominate the films. Also enjoyed "Tell No One" but found the ending a bit far-fetched. The daughter would have at least been curious as to whether her husband had actually died and pursued that.

abbylyne Author Profile Page :

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.

mjg-law Author Profile Page :

"The Edge of Heaven" by the Turkish director Fatih Akin is a stunning film. It is shocking to me that the Academy totally ignored it.

LDMJR Author Profile Page :

Come on, people, this isn't about TV news, it's about the ART of CINEMA, which is an escape-entertainment medium, only occasionally relevant as "documentary". The subject is the Best Non-Hollywood movie you saw this year, not what's wrong with the American spirit of distraction.

I have no trouble answering the question. For me the hands-down winner is "Were the World Mine" directed by Tom Gustafson. While an absurdist fantasy on a Shakespearean McGuffin, this film deals with truly significant human issues powerfully while remaining constantly entertaining and hopeful. While produced on an incredibly low budget, this film surpasses most of the products of the big-budget film industry and belongs with the most important films of the year. A future classic.

To learn more about this important film, consult Wikipedia and view http://speakproductions.com/ for trailer and info.

mharwick Author Profile Page :

"TELL NO ONE" AND "IN BRUGES" the former being a great film.

When SAG gets through arguing with the producers maybe Hollywood will get back to work and make more great films. During tough economic times we need the spending and we also need the diversion from the pain.

Let's all sing Obama, Obama we love you Obama you really know how to play...

yousufhashmi1 Author Profile Page :

Let us talk about those movies which are specifically made for world theaters and performed by top leaders as stars. The script is written where no body knows and it is available every day in news channels.

This year we have many super hit films. Election of US president, Economic collapse, Rise of Taliban,Hunt of Bin Laden,Gaza strikes,Bombay attacks,Fall of Pervez Musharraf etc.

All movies have thrill, drama Charisma and the script is very well written.

Out of which I think the best movie is the Economic collapse caused by the financial institutes. since it also has a twist in story . the peoples who were responsible got billions of $ in bonuses and in the end they are being awarded with hundreds of billion $ bail out package.

daniel12 Author Profile Page :

Unfortunately I have not seen any recent movies. My best friend moved away so I really never go to the movies now--I read and write, listen to music, etc. instead. I used to go to the movies with my best friend and watch videos at his house, but unfortunately no more.

I can tell you though the best non-Hollywood movie I saw this year: A recent airing on American movie classics of the old Spaghetti Western "The good, the bad and the ugly". That counts as a non-Hollywood movie right? It was made in Italy with a lot of Italian extras right? It is one of my favorite movies of all time. And I can say with a pretty good deal of certainty that my favorite movie character of all time is the character Tuco in the good, the bad and the ugly played by Eli Wallach. He is just the ordinary man caught between the bad and the good. Ok, not just an ordinary man, he is extremely resourceful, but he is not archetypal like the bad and good in the movie.

Come to think of it, I think that Tuco is a pretty good character for hard economic times.

yeolds Author Profile Page :

The panel creating this blog is on KOOL AID:

World economy collapsing, USA on verge of Deporession with some copmpqany from East Europe and UK, there are at least 3 wars in progress by USA/her proxies: Iraq, Afganistan Gaqza/West Bank,l the USa is on verge of default or hyperinfalation [no entity in the word, or collection thereof has the wherewithal to finace USWA coming deficit. Global warming, depletion of oil, falling production due to age of major fields, etc.

Then the pqanel worries about circus [Ceasar Augustus bread and circus?] the panel is not interested in bread only circus.

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PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.