You choose 12 movies, either randomly or based on a theme of your choice. Pair them up to present them as a mini film festival, two movies per day. Then choose five other bloggers to do the same, and links go around like a crazy game of online Twister.
On a whim, I've decided to take a "contemporary" movie trip to six different countries (some may only be set in that country, and they're by no means definitive). These are the countries and "contemporary" movies that popped up in my head right away for no apparent reason (it's actually an interesting exercise - pick a country and try it for yourself):
Germany - The Edukators and Run Lola Run
Two films exploring the modern ideals and dreams of young Germans in Berlin. The Edukators was one of my favorite movies of 2005, and Lola Rennt was one of the first movies that made foreign films "cool" for my generation. This would be an outstanding double bill to open the festival.
Mexico - Y Tu Mamá También and Amores Perros
Take your pick: Admire the beauty and innocence of young Mexicans on a fateful road trip, or recoil at the gritty underworld of Mexico City. In addition to giving us glimpses into vastly different segments of Mexican society, these two films also kickstarted the careers of three members of the new Mexican A-list: Alejandro González Iñárritu (Amores Perros), Diego Luna (Y Tu Mamá También), and Gael García Bernal (both films).
England - Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Notting Hill
More than anything else, screening these would give me the chance to see them in a theater for the first time. The styles of these movies couldn't be more different, but they're linked in that their characters are presumably crossing paths on the same London streets. Might make for a funny mashup movie. Note that 10 years later, Jason Statham is still playing the same charming criminal (The Bank Job) and Hugh Grant is still playing the same dopey dude (Music and Lyrics).
South Africa - The Gods Must Be Crazy and Tsotsi
What would Coca-Cola be without The Gods Must Be Crazy - a tiny little soft drink company? Maybe not, but the exposure they received from the infamous glass bottle is legendary. While The Gods Must Be Crazy is quite ridiculous and ripe for misinterpretation (it was banned as racist material in at least one country), at the very least it brought attention to one of the countless cultures inhabiting our globe. In one way, Tsotsi accomplished the same goal, showing us that a contemporary African story (in an urban setting no less) can contain as much drama and symbolism as any cookie cutter American version. I'll add to this list whatever Nick Plowman does in the future.
India - Vanaja and Water
Two young girls from two very different times and two very different parts of India have two very similar experiences. Although Vanaja features beautiful colors and traditional dancing, the unfortunate treatment of a young girl can't be ignored. Water - well, it's about an even younger girl forced to live in an ashram after her husband dies. These two films might not be the most uplifting of this bunch, but they may be the most educational. Also, Water isn't actually contemporary, but I chose it over something like Bride & Prejudice. Actually, Hava Aney Dey might have been a good choice as well.
France - Ratatouille and 2 Days in Paris
In 2007, we saw two versions of Paris (plus Paris je t'aime) - the bright, romantic city on display in Ratatouille, and the somewhat more bleak urban setting where romance just about died in 2 Days in Paris. You can imagine which one will be the crowd-pleaser, but I don't think enough people gave 2 Days in Paris credit for being a truly funny capture of a relationship on the rocks.
To continue the madness I'll choose five blogs - this is not a popularity contest - who I don't think I've seen "tagged" and who I think might carry it on:
Miranda @ Cinematic Passions
Hedwig@ As Cool As a Fruitstand
Christian @ Oh My Blog (This meme originated from this post, and I believe Christian frequents the New Beverly Cinema in L.A.)
Alexander @ Coleman's Corner in Cinema
Evan/Luke @ MovieZeal