CoraSmith

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Everything posted by CoraSmith

  1. CoraSmith

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    I didn't keep a separate list for this, but here are some films I discovered recently: High and Low (1962) by Akira Kurosawa is a thriller about a kidnapping, but at the same time it's a portrayal of different layers of Japanese society. The title has a double meaning: the house of businessman Gondo lies literally on a hill, but it also refers to higher and lower classes. During the search for the driver's kid we see laborers, a garbage man, junkies and young peopple at a rock 'n' roll party. The bald policeman looks like a Japanese Kojak. The Women on the 6th Floor (2011) by Philippe Le Guay is also about class, but this time the poorer people live higher. After a quarrel with his wife a Parisian businessman in the 1960s (Fabrice Luchini) finds out he feel better in a small room on the sixth floor among the Spanish working women. Something starts to blossom between him and the young Spanish maid Maria (Natalia Verbeke).
  2. CoraSmith

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    Victoria was remarkable for being shot in one take of 138 minutes. I was afraid for a broing, static result, but it turned out to be a very dynamic story of a young woman who gets involved with a bunch of smalltime crooks during a night in Berlin. Rams (Hrútar) is an Icelandic drama about two brothers who live a very isolated life as sheep farmers. They haven't spoken to each other for years and don't have much contact with other people. When an epidemic of scrapie hits their village all their sheep have to be destroyed, but they refuse to cooperate.
  3. CoraSmith

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    Some unusual countries make my top 10 this year... Victoria, Sebastian Schipper, Germany Rams, Grimur Hákonarson, Iceland A War, Tobias Lindholm, Denmark Virgin Mountain, Dagur Kári, Iceland Mediterranea, Jonas Carpignano, Italy Ixcanul, Jayro Bustamente, Guatemala Black, Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah, Belgium Masaan, Neeraj Ghaywan, India Tanna, Martin Butler & Bentley Dean, Australia/Vanuatu Mustang, Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Turkey
  4. CoraSmith

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    Difret is my favourite Ethiopian film of all time. It's the story of an abducted girl and the lawyer who defends her. It's a protest against rape and arranged marriages of young girls. The teen actress is convincing; Meron Getnet is charismatic as the lawyer who challenges the system. The film, based on a true story, was banned in Ethiopia. Labyrinth of Lies (Im Labyrinth des Schweigens) is set in West Germany in the 1950s. Alexander Fehling plays a young, idealistic public prosecutor who's interested in former WWII criminals. He finds out that an Auschwitz camp commander is now living a normal life as a teacher. He wants to bring this man to justice, but that means a long and hard struggle against the bureaucratic institutions.
  5. CoraSmith

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    Two Days, One Night, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Belgium Wild Tales, Damian Szifron, Argentina Difret, Zeresenay Mehari, Ethiopia The Lesson, Kristina Grozeva & Petar Valchanov, Bulgaria Labyrinth of Lies, Giulio Ricciarelli, Germany Stations of the Cross, Dietrich Brüggeman, Germany White God, Kornél Mundruczó, Hungary Les Combattants, Thomas Cailly, France The Wonders, Alice Rohrwacher, Italy Coming Home, Zhang Yimou, China Summer of Sangaile, Alante Kavaite, Lithuania The New Girlfriend, François Ozon, France Girlhood, Céline Sciamma, France
  6. CoraSmith

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    So we've reached page 150! Here are two films that deserve a bit of attention: In Bloom (Grzeli Nateli Dgeebi) is my favourite Georgian movie of all time. It's a realistic drama about an arranged marriage. It's set in 1992, just after the country gained independence from the Soviet Union. Themes are the political tension with Russia and women's rights. The traditional folk culture is present in the dancing and singing at the wedding. Not often does a fat girl play the leading role in a film, but it's the case in Paradise: Hope (Paradies: Hoffnung). A teenage girl is sent to a health camp for overweight girls. They are not motivated to lose weight, and Melanie ges a crush on the doctor. It's the third part of Ulrich Seidl's loosely connected trilogy - Melanie's mother was the main character in part 1.
  7. CoraSmith

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    Blue Is the Warmest Colour, Abdellatif Kechiche, France In Bloom, Nana Ekvtimishvili, Georgia Paradise: Hope, Ulrich Seidl, Austria Wakolda, Lucía Puenzo, Argentina Venus in Fur, Roman Polanski, France The Tale of Princess Kaguya, Isao Takahati, Japan Windstorm, Katja von Garnier, Germany Il Futuro, Alicia Scherson, Italy Child’s Pose, Cãlin Peter Netzer, Romania Qissa, Anup Singh, India
  8. CoraSmith

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    A breakthrough role of Swedish actress Alicia Vikander was in the Danish historical drama A Royal Affair (En Kongelig Affaere). She plays the English princess Caroline Matilda, who married the Danish King Christian VII in 1766. He had a mental illness. Mads Mikkelsen plays the German doctor Struensee, who had progressive ideas influenced by the Enlightenment. It's a good mix of romance, history and beautiful interiors. In the Mexican drama After Lucia (Despues de Lucía) a man moves to Mexico City after his wife Lucia has died in a car crash. His daughter goes to a new school, where she becomes a victim of cyberbullying. Some of the scenes are filmed by a static camera on the back seat of a car, which gives an unusual point of view.
  9. CoraSmith

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    A Royal Affair, Nikolaj Arcel, Denemarken After Lucia, Michel Franco, Mexico The Hunt, Thomas Vinterberg, Denmark Wadjda, Haifaa Al-Mansour, Saudi Arabia Helter Skelter, Mika Ninagawa, Japan Sister, Ursula Meier, Switzerland Love Is All You Need, Susanne Bier, Denmark The Attack, Ziad Doueiri, France Beyond the Hills, Cristian Mungiu, Romania Three Worlds, Catherine Corsini, France
  10. CoraSmith

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    The Skin I Live In, Pedro Almodóvar, Spain Le Havre, Aki Kaurismäki, France Goodbye First Love, Mia Hansen-Love, France The Dirty Picture, Milan Luthria, India Monsieur Lazhar, Philippe Falardeau, Canada Sleep Tight, Jaume Balagueró, Spain A Separation, Asghar Farhadi, Iran The Untouchables, Olivier Nakache & Éric Toledano, France Tomboy, Céline Sciamma, France Clandestine Childhood, Benjamin Ávila, Argentina Combat Girls, David Wnendt, Germany Back to Stay, Milagros Mumenthaler, Argentina
  11. CoraSmith

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    On the Path, Jasmila Zbanic, Bosnia and Herzegovina In a Better World, Susanne Bier, Denmark The Invisible Eye, Diego Lerman, Argentina Black Venus, Abdellatif Kechiche, France The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec, Luc Besson, France Confessions, Tetsuya Nakashima, Japan Dear Prudence, Rebecca Zlotowski, France Bo, Hans Herbots, Belgium The Love of the Hawthorne Tree, Zhang Yimou, China Lights Out, Fabrice Gobert, France
  12. CoraSmith

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    Only France and Denmark are represented twice. More countries than ever are making good films. Lust, Caution (2007) Ang Lee, China Machuca (2004) Andres Wood, Chile Sex and Lucia (2001) Julio Medem, Spain After the Wedding (2006) Susanne Bier, Denmark In the Mood For Love (2000) Wong Kar-Wai, Hong Kong The Page Turner (2006) Denis Dercourt, France The Baader Meinhof Complex (2008) Uli Edel, Germany Open Hearts (2002) Susanne Bier, Denmark Swimming Pool (2003) Francois Ozon, France Grbavica (2006) Jasmila Zbanic, Bosnia and Herzegovina 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007) Cristian Mungiu, Romania Samaria (2004) Kim Ki-duk, South Korea Black Book (2006) Paul Verhoeven, Netherlands Slovenian Girl (2009) Damjan Kozole, Slovenia Little Otik (2000) Jan Svankmajer, Czech Republik
  13. CoraSmith

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    Slovenian Girl (Slovenka) is the best Slovenian film of all time - not that there's much competition. A young woman moves from a village to the capital Ljubljana. To finance a nice apartment she starts secretly working as a call girl under the name Slovenka, but things go wrong. The contrast between country and city lifestyle is well depicted. Tales from the Golden Age (Amintiri din Epoca de Aur) is a Romanian anthology film by five different directors. One of them is Cristian Mungiu, from 4 Months... The title is ironic, because these are anekdotes from the era of Nicolae Ceausescu. In one story the local newspaper editors have to manipulate a photo to make the dictator look like a strong leader. In another two con artists use a far-fetched trick to collect bottles for the refund money. Storm is a court drama about the Former Yugoslavia Tribunal in The Hague. Kerry Fox plays the prosecutor whi tries to convince a Bosnian woman (Anamaria Marinca) to testify about the atrocities, but this would put her life in danger.
  14. CoraSmith

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    Slovenian Girl, Damjan Kozole, Slovenia The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Niels Arden Oplev, Sweden Tales from the Golden Age, Hanno Höfer, Cristian Mungiu e.a., Romania Storm, Hans-Christian Schmid, Germany/Netherlands Don’t Look Back, Marina de Van, France About Elly, Asghar Farhadi, Iran Air Doll, Hirokazu Koreeda, Japan Broken Embraces, Pedro Almodóvar, Spain The Wind Journeys, Ciro Guerra, Colombia Micmacs, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, France
  15. CoraSmith

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    The Baader Meinhof Complex, Uli Edel, Germany The Class, Laurent Cantet, France The Sicilian Girl, Marco Amenta, Italy Troubled Water, Erik Poppe, Norway Departures, Yôjirô Takita, Japan The Wave, Dennis Gannsel, Germany Waltz with Bashir, Ari Folman, Israel Mark of an Angel, Safy Nebbou, France Welcome to the Sticks, Dany Boon, France Lion’s Den, Pablo Trapero, Argentina Jodhaa Akbar, Ashutosh Gowariker, India The First Day of the Rest of Your Life, Rémi Bezançon, France
  16. CoraSmith

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    Lust, Caution (Se, Jie) is a Chinese film by Ang Lee, who's better known for Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi. You could see it as the Asian Casablanca - in one shot you can even see a poster of that film. It's a spy thriller set during World War II, when China was occupied by Japan. A young woman joins the resistance and has to seduce a collaborator. It has suspence, romance, a psychological dilemma and beautiful images. Wei Tang and Tony Leung are excellent. Fermat's Room (La Habitacion de Fermat) is a Spanish movie about a group of mathematicians locked up in a room. They have to solve a number of riddles before the walls close in on them. It's not very realistic, but if you like logical puzzles and riddles you must see it. Tricks (Sztucki) is a Polish film by Andrzej Jakimowski. A six-year-old boy and his older sister live in their own fantasy world, playing games and using "tricks" to influence the future. The boy thinks a man at the train station is their father, who left them many years ago. It gives a more colorful image of Poland than what we're used to. Funuke, Show Some Love You Losers! (Funuke Domo, Kanashimi No Ai Wo Misero) is a Japanese dark comedy about a family in a small village. The eldest daughter dreams of making it in Tokyo as an actress, but she's not very talented. The youngest daughter on the contrary has a real talent for drawing mangas. She uses material from real life, including incidents with her jalous older sister. Those manga images are well integrated, resulting into a weird movie. The Secret of the Grain (La Graine et le mulet) is a French drama by the Tunisian born Abdellatif Kechiche, better known for Blue Is the Warmest Color. It's about a sixty-year old, divorced Tunisian immigrant who wants to start a restaurant on a boat, where he wants to serve couscous and mullet fish. Helped by the daughter of his lover he tries to overcome all the bureaucratic hurdles and the bad luck.
  17. CoraSmith

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    Lust, Caution, Ang Lee, China 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, Cristian Mungiu, Romania Fermat's Room, Luis Piedrahita, Rodrigo Sopeña, Spain Tricks, Andrzej Jakimowski, Poland Funuke, Show Some Love You Losers!, Daihachi Yoshida, Japan The Secret of the Grain, Abdellatif Kechiche, France Water Lilies, Céline Sciamma, France Persepolis, Vincent Paronnaud & Marjane Satrapi, France/Iran The Edge of Heaven, Fatih Akin, Germany/Turkey La Vie En Rose, Olivier Dahan, France
  18. CoraSmith

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    The Page Turner (La Tourneuse de pages) is a French drama about the tension between classical musicians. The experienced Catherine Frot plays a professional pianist; the young Belgian Déborah François plays the failed pianist who becomes her page turner. The stress and conflicts of the environment are well depicted, with the many hours of practice and the stage fright. The characters are not what they seem. The pianist turns out not to be so confident, the page turner not so innocent. [Screenshot in the previous post.] Grbavica ("Gr-bá-vi-tsa") is a post-war drama by the Bosnian director Jasmila Zbanic. The title refers to a district in the capital Sarajevo where women were systematically abused during the Bosnian Civil War in the nineties. A single mother tells her daughter that her late father was a war hero or shahid. The daughter will find out that the truth is more complicated. It's an intense portrayal of people trying to rebuild their life after a traumatic period. After the Wedding (Efter Brylluppet) is a family drama by Susanne Bier. Her style is realistic but emotional. Mads Mikkelsen plays an idealist who founded a foster house in India. In need of money he returns to Denmark to visit a businessman who might make a donation. This leads to the unraveling of a family secret. Sidse Babett Knudsen (Borgen) plays the wife of the businessman. After his Hollywood days Paul Verhoeven returned to the Netherlands to make Black Book (Zwartboek). It's a spy thriller set during the occupation in World War II. Carice van Houten excells in the role of a Jewish revue singer who dyes her hair blond to infiltrate in the Sicherheitsdienst - the security service of the Nazis. It's hard to find out who can be trusted in this suspense story with several plot twists.
  19. CoraSmith

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    A very strong year. My general top 4 is non-English. The Page Turner, Denis Dercourt, France Grbavica, Jasmila Zbanic, Bosnia and Herzegovina After the Wedding, Susanne Bier, Denmark Black Book, Paul Verhoeven, Netherlands Dark Blue Almost Black, Daniel Sánchez Arévalo, Spain We Shall Overcome, Niels Arden Oplev, Denmark Volver, Pedro Almodóvar, Spain The Banquet, Feng Xiaogang Feng, China The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Mamoru Hosoda, Japan Fireworks Wednesday, Asghar Farhadi, Iran
  20. CoraSmith

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    The Bow, Kim Ki-duk, South Korea L’Enfant, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, Belgium Adam’s Apples, Anders Thomas Jensen, Denmark Sophie Scholl - The Final Days, Marc Rothemund, Germany Tsotsi, Gavin Hood, South Africa Accused, Jacob Thuesen, Denmark The Method, Marcelo Piñeyro, Argentina Verlengd Weekend, Hans Herbots, Belgium Mongolian Ping Pong, Hao Ning, China What Iva Recorded on October 21st, 2003, Tomislav Radic, Croatia
  21. CoraSmith

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    Machuca, Andrés Wood, Chile Samaritan Girl, Kim Ki-duk, South Korea Brothers, Susanne Bier, Denmark Moolaadé, Ousmane Sembène, Senegal The Edukators, Hans Weingartner, Germany House of Flying Daggers, Zhang Yimou, China Lila Says, Ziad Doueyri, France As It Is in Heaven, Kay Pollack, Sweden Maria Full of Grace, Joshua Marston, Columbia Downfall, Oliver Hirschbiegel, Germany Kamikaze Girls, Tetsuya Nakashima, Japan The Life Awaiting for You, Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón, Spain
  22. CoraSmith

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    Take My Eyes (Te Doy Mis Ojos) is the story of a woman who's physically abused by her husband. With her little son she flees to her sister's house. Now the question arises whether her husband is capable of change and deserves a second chance after going into anger management therapy. Laia Marull has the fragility to play the wife; Luis Tosar has the right face to play the agressive husband. The Inheritance (Arven) is a Danish drama by Per Fly. Ulrich Thomsen, known from The Celebration, plays the son of a businessman. After his father's suicide he returns from Stockholm for the funeral, where his mother asks him to take over the steel factory. This leads to tension with his wife, a theater actress who wants to stay in Stockholm, and with his brother-in-law, who wanted to take over the business himself. Under heavy strain his behaviour changes completely. The Alzheimer Case (De Zaak Alzheimer) is a Belgian thriller by Erik Van Looy, based on a novel by Jef Geraerts. An aged Jan Decleir (photo) plays a hired killer in Antwerp; Koen De Bouw plays the police detective. The hitman is faced with a dilemma when he's hired to kill a child. The lack of efficiency in the police force is criticized. A green light filter helps to set a dingy mood.
  23. CoraSmith

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    Swimming Pool contains some English, but French is its main language. Swimming Pool, François Ozon, France Take My Eyes, Iciar Bollain, Spain Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring, Kim Ki-duk, South Korea The Inheritance, Per Fly, Denmark A Tale of Two Sisters, Kim Jee-woon, South Korea Nathalie…, Anne Fontaine, France Misa Mi, Linus Torell, Sweden The Memory of a Killer, Erik Van Looy, Belgium The Green Butchers, Anders Thomas Jensen, Denmark Caterina in the Big City, Paolo Virzi, Italy Strayed, André Téchiné, France Los Debutantes, Andrés Waissbluth, Chile
  24. CoraSmith

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    Open Hearts, Susanne Bier, Denmark Talk to Her, Pedro Almodóvar, Spain My Mother Likes Women, Daniela Féjerman & Inés París, Spain 8 Women, François Ozon, France The Son, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, Belgium Hero, Zhang Yimou, China Bella Bettien, Han Pos, Netherlands Intimate Stories, Carlos Sorín, Argentina Every Stewardess Goes to Heaven, Daniel Burman, Argentina Twin Sisters, Ben Sombogaart, Netherlands
  25. CoraSmith

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    Monsoon Wedding by female director Mira Nair was a major success in India. It shows the preparation of a huge wedding party by the Punjabi community in New Dehli. Storylines around the bride (Vasundhara Das), her family members and the servants are romantic, comical or painfully dramatic. There are beautiful images of cultural traditions and of the monsoon rain. There's some English in it, but the main language is Hindi. Das Experiment by Oliver Hirtschbiegel was inspired by a real social experiment in Stanford Prison in 1971. Volunteers were divided into guards and prisoners, and were asked to spend a number of days in jail. Moritz Bleibtreu plays an undercover journalist with a hidden camera in his glasses who becomes one of the prisoners. What starts as an innocent experiment soon gets out of hand, with the guards taking their dominant role all too seriously and the prisoners rebelling.

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