Mirrored Emotions

Penned by Nafisa Jasdanwala 

One of my earliest encounters with international cinema was the iconic movie ‘Home Alone ’, and it felt just like watching my family on TV. Seeing a house filled with cousins and extended family turning into chaos was familiar, yet it seemed so different. The story of the movie was just as entertaining as it was fascinating to me. And slowly that fascination for watching English movies turned into curiosity for cinema in other languages. I started from lists like “The 100 Best Movies of All Time” and kept discovering more to watch.

As I explored, I began to understand why watching a movie in a language I don’t understand, from a region I knew nothing about still moved me the way it did. The realisation that no matter how much cultural difference, the core emotions remained universal. For example, one of my favourites, ‘Pan’s Labyrinth ’, a Mexican Spanish film, speaks about feelings of loneliness and loss, the most universal of emotions. 

But movies also tend to reflect the personality of the region, the mentality of the people and how they treat emotions. For example, when watching ‘The Children of Heaven ’, you feel the tension as you see the world from the perspective of an Iranian child. Similarly, you will notice how the mentality of the people of Italy is reflected within the screenplay of ‘Life is Beautiful ’.

For me, the real bliss of exploring global cinema is to find all the intriguing distinctions in cultures, languages, and regions, ultimately seeing that cinema transcends it all. Exploring cinema from countries like Iran, Korea, Italy, Japan, Germany, and more just showed me that movies are simply stories. And the best stories reflect the most real of emotions.

Read also: Lights, Camera, Inclusion: Queer Representation in Cinema