Saw a couple of really good DVDs lately that I wanted to share with you. Hachi: A Dog's Tale and An Education.
Hachi is based on a true story of an akita in Japan who was so loyal to his late human that he returned every day to the train station to wait for ten years. Lasse Hallstrom, who also did Chocolat, Cider House Rules, and What's Eating Gilbert Grape? was the director. The story has been tranplanted to a suburb of Rhode Island, but the spirit of the story is universal. It's about loyalty and unconditional love and acceptance. Richard Gere does an excellent job as the the music professor who takes in the stray akita pup and forms an amazing bond. The dog trainers did great work with the akita actors, who are adorable. The story is heartwarming and heartbreaking without being at all sentimental.
An Education was done by Lone Scherfig, a Danish woman who directed Italian for Beginners. It's set in a London suburb in the late fifties/early sixties. An innocent and brilliant young woman at a girl's school is preparing for entrance exams to Oxford when she meets an older man who opens up a more sophisticated world to her but ultimately deceives her. She learns from her experience and all ends well. It's a common enough journey but it is told with great delicacy and nuance and is a wonderful portrait of the coming of age of the girl and of postwar Britain into the modern world.