Toto the Hero is an excellent 1991 Belgian movie about the lives of Thomas, Alice (his sister), and Alfred (a neighbour). It happens to have a minor character in it who has Down's Syndrome, but that is not the reason I want to recommend this fine film. It is a tragic but heartwarming tale of love, jealousy, murder, arson, incest, and shoplifting.
For many years (ever since enjoying the little-remembered French rom-com Romauld et Juliet at the Glastonbury festival) I have been an advocate of foreign language movies. I am not saying that all foreign language movies are better than all movies in English, but I have been known to argue that if you are going to watch 50 movies made in any given year, then rather than choosing the top 50 movies in English you would be better off watching the best 40 movies from English-speaking countries, plus the best 10 movies from around the rest of the world. In recent years this philosophy has led me to some excellent movie experiences like Koyla, The Orphanage, Hidden, and Let the Right One In. However, it has also backfired spectacularly many times, and I have found myself enduring art films that seem to be designed to annoy the viewer, such as Uzak, The Death of Mr Lazarescu, 2046, and The Science of Sleep (during which, with pleasing irony, I fell asleep). Toto the Hero however, belongs firmly in the former category. It is one of my favourite ever foreign language movies.
|A world cinema classic. No bull.|