Are European movies good?
What Girls Said 2
Yup. They are different than american-style movies, but still good if you're open minded about styles of filming.1
What Guys Said 1
Yes, there are many good European movies. I especially enjoy German movies (I might be a little biased though, since my mother tongue is German and I come from a country with an influence of German culture). However, if you're American, you have to be open enough to adapt to the German style of films. One big difference is the pace. Contrary to typical Hollywood movies, German movies contain way less heavy action. There are no bombs exploding and cars flying around. German movies tend to be very calm. The emphasis is usually put on the dialogue and the development of the story and the characters. Also, German movies tend to be pretty serious (they reflect our mentality/temperament very well ;-)). If you watch German movies, definitely go for dramas. Most of the comedies are bad but many dramas movies are really awesome. Germany is especially good at producing great and authentic historical movies. A few examples would be: Der Untergang ("Downfall"), Sophie Scholl - Die letzten Tage ("Sophie Scholl - The final day"), Das Leben der Anderen ("The Lives of Others"), Goodbye Lenin ("Goodbye Lenin"), Barbara ("Barbara"), Luther ("Luther"), and Das Boot ("Das Boot"). But there are also some very good dramas without any historical background. German dramas (especially the historical ones) can sometimes be very excruciating to watch because of their long, uncut scenes and the blunt, authentic and seemingly emotionless way they show certain things. For example one time I watched a German drama in which a person was killed by hanging. Instead of just showing the brutal part of it and then quickly going to the next scene as a Hollywood film would have done, the director made me go through an estimated 5 minutes (it felt like two hours) of watching the guy having to take of his clothes, the hangman putting the noose around his neck, and then the guy very slowly suffocating and people standing around and watching. I wanted to run out of the cinema but that was exactly the point. German directors love to make you go through really tough scenes and come out at the other end. The reward you get is a huge amount of catharsis at the end of the movie. There's usually little physical violence to see but a lot of psychological torture for the viewer (in a nice way though ;-)).
Swedish films can be somewhat similar. They tend to be a bit less psychologically tough but also quite calm and serious. French and Spanish films can be quite funny but also really strange sometimes.1
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