Bogie56

Your Favourite Foreign Language Films from 1993

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The 1989 winner of France’s Cesar Best Picture Award …

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Too Beautiful For You (1989) Bertrand Blier, France

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The 1989 winner of Sweden’s Guldbagge award was …

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The Miracle In Valby (1989) Ake Sandgren, Sweden

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Denmark’s 1989 Robert Best Picture Award went to …

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Memories of a Marriage (1989) Kaspar Rostrup, Denmark

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The 1989 winner of Belgium’s Joseph Plateau Best Picture Award was …

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Blueberry Hill (1989) Robbe De Hart, Belgium

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The 1989 winner of the Goya Award for Best Spanish language Foreign Film was …

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The Beauty of the Alhambra (1989) Enrique Pineda Barnet, Cuba

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The 1989 Canadian Film Award winner …

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Jesus of Montreal (1989) Denys Arcand, Canada

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The Parade - This Polish documentary offers a glimpse inside North Korea. The dialogue narrated by Andrzej Fidyk is only what the regime officially approved. Fidyk provides an anti-totalitarian masterpiece in a very clever way. He gives the lines that praise the leadership while the images on screen show the mediocre reality of the situtation. For example, while filming Kim Il Sung's birthplace the narrator mentions how "Kim Il Sung dreamt of destroying the Japanese invaders here as a child." The image on the screen then shows the very mediocre cabin home with the very strict and regulated behavior of the guide as they try to present a not very convincing good portrayal of the place. Because all the dialogue is only what was officially approved the North Korean government was at first supportive of the film and gave it some awards. After they found out it was secretly mocking the nation and was an anti-authoritarian film it was of course banned within the country. Last I checked this one was on YouTube with English subtitles. Good documentary masterpiece and highly recommended. 

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Tetsuo, the Iron Man is an absurdist art-house science-fiction lo-fi industrial-grunge cyberpunk freak-out head-trip. Many (most?) viewers will hate it. It has a nearly senseless plot. It has grainy, de-saturated B&W cinematography. The acting consists largely of looking scared, looking disgusted, looking confused, and/or screaming. The special effects are do-it-yourself primitive, and the soundtrack a cacophonous symphony of thundering drums, screeching sound effects and atonal mechanical squeals.

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The basic plot concerns a man (Tomorowo Taguchi) who begins mutating into a bio-mechanical monstrosity, with diodes erupting from his flesh and metal and wires emerging from places best left unmentioned. His girlfriend (Kei Fujiwara) takes the brunt of his transformation, for the worse. Eventually, we learn that it has something to do with a revenge plot by another man (writer-director Shin'ya Tsukamoto), who is also a man-machine hybrid. This leads to an incoherent "battle" and a bizarre final scene.

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When this came out, there had never really been anything like it seen. It was a favorite in the American home video market (it was almost always checked out at the places I worked), and it bred a large cult following. Much of the imagery will have lost its impact to modern viewers, as the tweeked-out, manic energy and techno-horror aesthetic has been used in dozens of music videos and more mainstream films. An underground masterpiece not for the faint of heart or narrow of vision.

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The 1989 winner of Mexico’s Ariel Best Picture Award was …

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Goitia, A God For Himself (1989) Diego Lopez Rivera, Mexico

 

The 89/90 winner of Mexico’s Ariel Best Picture Award was …

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Red Dawn (1989) Jorge Fons, Mexico

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The 1990 National Film Awards of India Best Picture was …

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The Tiger Dancer (1989) Buddhadev Dasgupta, India

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The 1989 winner of Japan’s Academy Award was …

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Black Rain (1989) Shohei Imamura, Japan

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China’s Hundred Flowers Awards for Best Picture of 1988/89 included …

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The Village of Widows (1989) Jin Wang, China

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South Korea’s Grand Bell Best Picture Award of 1989 went to …

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Come Come Come Upward (1989) Kwon-taek Im, South Korea

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The 1989 Hong Kong Film Award for Best Picture went to …

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Beyond the Sunset (1989) Chi Leung ‘Jacob’ Cheung, Hong Kong

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The Church is another Italian supernatural horror movie, from director Michele Soavi, and co-producer/co-writer Dario Argento. Restoration on a medieval Gothic cathedral in Germany unknowingly unleashes demonic forces buried beneath the structure by Teutonic Knights centuries earlier. The film stars English-speakers Hugh Quarshie as a priest and Tomas Arana as the church librarian. There's also an appearance by Feodor Chaliapin Jr. as a bishop. Argento's daughter Asia, age 13 when filming, has a large role, too. It has some good atmosphere and a few stand-out moments, but it's not the best from either Soavi nor Argento. In another case of confusing Italian sequels (see the history of the Zombi films), this film was considered the third part of the Demons film series, after the 1985 and '86 films from Lamberto Bava, even though this movie bears no connection to the earlier two. To make matter worse, a 1991 film entitled Black Demons has also been released as Demons 3, despite having no connection, either. Surprisingly enough, The Church has played on TCM.

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Lady Terminator was among my also-seens, but it may actually be my second favorite movie on the list. It's an Indonesian fantasy/horror/action film. Indonesian sex goddess The Queen of the South Sea uses her bedroom prowess to rob men of their manhoods. When one potential victim tricks her and escapes unscathed, she curses his family line. Many years later, American anthropologist Tania (Barbara Anne Constable) discovers the Queen's resting place and becomes possessed by her evil spirit. She then goes on a murderous rampage (vaguely inspired by Schwarzenegger in The Terminator [1984]) in an attempt to kill the man's descendant, a terrible pop singer. This movie contains a lot of outrageous stuff, from cartoonish violence, to absurd and graphic sexuality, to really bizarre characters and 80's action silliness. Highly recommended to fans of weird cinema.

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1. Homework  Abbas Kiarostami, Iran

2. Kiki's Delivery Service  Hayao Miyazaki, Japan

3. City of Sadness  Hou Hsiao-Hsien, China (Taiwan)

4. The Asthenic Syndrome  Kira Muratova, Soviet Union

5. My Twentieth Century  Illdiko Enyedi, Hungary

6. Jesus of Montreal  Denys Arcand, Canada

7. Marriage of the Blessed  Mohsen Makmalbaf, Iran

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The Puppeteer - Omar Sharif was very good in this one. A puppeteer father played by Omar Sharif is estranged from his son who disobeys him at every turn. Politics and personal matters push the two even further apart and the son must think of his family and his friends before going forward. This later film of Omar Sharif is very good and is worth a watch. 

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The 1990 winner of the The Los Angeles Film Critics Best Foreign Film …

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Life and Nothing But (1989) Bertrand Tavernier, France

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Life and Nothing But (1989) by Bertrand Tavernier takes place just after WWI.  Its theme is about people who are unable to let go of the past.  Philippe Noiret is an army man who has the job of identifying the bodies of unknown soldiers.  Sabine Azema stars as a woman looking for her lost husband.  Recommended.

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The 1990 winner of the Boston Society of Film Critics Best Foreign Film Award …

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Monsieur Hire (1989) Patrice Leconte, France

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Sandrine Bonnaire and Michel Blanc star in Patrice Leconte's Monsieur Hire (1989).  Blanc plays the lonely reclusive Hire who watches the lovely Bonnaire in the apartment opposite his each night.  He discovers that she has been caught up in a murder plot by her current boyfriend and endeavours to save her.  This one is pretty good too.

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The winner of the 1989 Prix Louis Delluc Best Picture was …

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Love Without Pity (1989) Eric Rochant, France

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The winner of the 1989 Prix Jean Vigo was …

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China, My Sorrow (1989) Sijie Dai, China

 

The winner of the 1990 Prix Jean Vigo was …

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Mona and I (1989) Patrick Grandperret, France

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Michael Gebert’s Golden Armchair Award for the 1989 foreign film was …

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Jesus of Montreal (1989) Denys Arcand, Canada

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The 1989 Argentinian Film Critics Association Best Picture Award went to …

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La Ciudad Oculta (1989) Osvaldo Andechaga, Argentina

 

The 1990 Argentinian Film Critics Association Best Picture Award went to …

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Last Images of the Shipwreck (1989) Eliseo Subiela, Argentina

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