God, Multilingualism and Jinni

February 21st, 2013 by Ran

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there are quite a few languages in the world. Have you ever wondered why that is? Well, I’ll tell you. It all started when Man had this crazy idea to build a tower that could reach God and Heaven. At first, construction went along great. They got a great price on cement and everybody got along just fine, because they all spoke the same language (with no accents, either.) God saw this audacious plan, and waited for his moment to teach us a lesson. So when Man was all psyched that he was about to reach The Almighty, He/She came down upon us, gave us many languages, and suddenly nobody understood anybody or knew why they were even building this damn tower in the first place. Everybody went their own way, scattering upon earth… The beginning. The moral of the story is: God is Number 1! All those foam hands are abominations and an affront to Him/Her. You are number 2, guys, deal with it. There can’t be single with no plural, dude… Think about it… (Did I just blow your mind or did I just blow your mind??) So this is why we have many languages, and I say: the more the merrier! Anyway, today is International Mother Language Day, and here at Jinni we’re all about multilingualism. No matter which language you speak, we want to know what you like to watch, so we can recommend stuff to you. For this purpose, the Jinni Genome was translated into many languages: French, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, German, Russian, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish and Korean. And this is only the beginning.


And so, I have collected for you, people of the world, some prominent titles from each language; here they are:

1. Français: Le fils (2002)

Main Plot Genes: Se confronter à la mort, Retour sur le droit chemin (Dealing with Death, Going Straight)

Mood: Sincère (Sincere)

the son

This amazing film comes from Belgium (where the speak French), directed by the Dardenne brothers (think Coen brothers, but with more gloom and realism). A man who is dealing with the death of his son, begins obsessing about a troubled teenager who he’s supposed to help get back on track. The Dardenne regular, and all-around amazing actor, Olivier Gourmet stars as the tormented man turned stalker, and you’ll get more than your regular bleak foreign drama, with a tense atmosphere that will not let you go.

2. Vlaamse or Nederlands: Rundskop (2011)

Main Plot Genes: Gangsters, Achtervolgd door het verleden (Gangsters, Haunted by the Past)

Mood: Spannend (Suspenseful)


Apparently steroids are also a problem in Belgium, and this thriller delves into the the growth hormone mafia. A small-time hormone dealer, who (smartly) uses it on himself, finds himself knee deep in a cop killing investigation. It’s bleak and rugged, but has good psychological depth.

3. Español: El laberinto del fauno (2006)

Main Plot Genes: Reino imaginario, El bien versus el mal (Imaginary Kingdom, Good versus Evil)

Mood: Emotivo (Emotional)

pans labyrinth

Guillermo Del Toro directed this stylized but bleak fantasy, which is basically a family film gone awry. All the elements are there: the young heroine, the imaginary kingdom, the legend about a lost princess – but the setting – 1940s fascist Spain – the oh so creepy villain (Sergi Lopez) and the nasty looking creatures, make it anything but suitable for kids. For adults, dare I say, it’s essential.

4. Italiano: Terraferma (2011)

Main plot genes: Società, Famiglia in crisi (Society, Family in Crisis)

Mood: Ansioso (Tense)


Italian society has found it hard to deal with immigrants from Africa and other parts of the world coming to live there. This film tries to tackle this problem head-on, and does it successfully. The story is how the inhabitants of a Sicilian village deal with refugees coming to its shores. Director Emanuele Crialese never resorts to clichés or preaching, nor does he claim to give a solution. It will make you think, though.

5. 한국어: Bin-jip (2004)

Main plot gene: 운명, 사랑과 로맨스 (Destiny, Love and Romance)

Moods: 양식화된, 오프비트 (Stylized, Offbeat)


This Korean drama tells the story of a drifter who breaks into people’s homes… only to feel at home, make his laundry and leave. One day he encounters an woman who is stuck with an abusive husband, and a magical love story begins… Kim Ki-duk wraps his films with a Zen atmosphere of sorts that gives you a sense of calmness mixed with wonder. He is a unique director, and this is one of his best films.

6. Deutsch: Alle Anderen (2009)

Main plot genes: Paarbeziehung, Leben jenseits der 20 (Couple Relations, Twentysomething Life)

Moods: Aufrichtig, Fesselnd (Sincere, Captivating)


In my book, being authentic beats being original, and this German Dramedy about a young couple dealing with their relationship serves as a great example for that. Great dialogues and a relatable story that will speak to most of us; this is all that is needed to make a captivating film. Well done.

7. Русский: V tumane (2012)

Main plot genes: Моральная Дилемма, Жизнь во время войны (Moral Dilemma, Wartime Life)

Moods: Созерцательно, Уныло (Contemplative, Bleak)


Russians and existentialism go together like white on… Russian. In this wartime drama set in WWII, a man who is falsely accused of treason confronts his executioner and gives him pause. It’s a great tale of morality and human nature that does justice to the master of Russian cinematic existentialism, Andrei Tarkovsky.

8. Svenska: Bron/Broen (2011)

Main plot genes: Polisutredning, Mord (Police Investigation, Murder)

Mood: Stämningsfull (Suspenseful)

the bridge

A body found on the bridge connecting Denmark and Sweden is at the heart of this Scandinavian TV series. One detective from each side are partnered to investigate – a laid-back Dane and an uptight Swede. The intricate plot and the conflict between the two characters make this a gripping watch, in spite of its slow pace.

9. Norsk: Oslo, 31. august (2011)

Main Plot genes: Avhengighet, Menneskenaturen (Addiction, Human Nature)

Moods: Tungsindig (Gloomy)

31 sugust

A day in a life of a recovering addict, during which he comes back home to meet his friends and family and has to deal with his past and future. Joachim Trier’s sophomore feature, after the excellent Reprise, is a more reflective film, dealing with missed opportunities, social expectations and the frailty of human nature. It’s all done in a very delicate way and includes a great performance by Anders Danielsen Lie.

10. Suomi: Kukushka (2002)

Main Plot Genes: Kulttuurien yhteentörmäys, Kolmiodraama (Culture Clash, Love Triangle)

Moods: Humoristinen, Nokkela (Humorous, Witty)


There’s no better film to celebrate multilingualism. In the wilderness of Lapland, a woman whose husband went to war, encounters two enemy soldiers: a Finnish sniper left to die for being a pacifist and a Russian captain accused of anti-Soviet ideas. They speak three different languages, so they don’t really understand each other. They’re also supposed to be enemies, so a culture clash is inevitable. Out of this, an unlikely friendship and a bizarre love triangle is formed. It’s a fun film with great dialogue and the strong-willed Lap woman is just wonderful.

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