Bogie56

Your Favourite Foreign Language Films of all time

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Deprisa, Deprisa (1981) Carlos Saura, Spain - 3/10-Drugged up Spanish teens mess around Madrid and plan robberies to get by on. Things go bad during a botched robbery attempt. This is like a proto-City of God film except more boring and less graphic. Supposedly it used real criminals and drug users from lower class Spain.

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The New Land, Jan Troell, Sweden (1972)  -  7/10

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I think everyone else said that they've already seen this, but I finally caught up to this follow-up to The Emigrants, with Max Von Sydow and Liv Ullmann as Swedish settlers in Minnesota circa the mid-19th century. It was good, but very long (203 minutes, although for some reason IMDb lists it with a 102 minute runtime). Ullman, Von Sydow, and Troell regular Eddie Axberg are all very good. Some of the cinematic techniques haven't aged well, and the massacre scene is fairly over-the-top, but I enjoyed the film overall.

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1 hour ago, LawrenceA said:

The New Land, Jan Troell, Sweden (1972)  -  7/10

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I think everyone else said that they've already seen this, but I finally caught up to this follow-up to The Emigrants, with Max Von Sydow and Liv Ullmann as Swedish settlers in Minnesota circa the mid-19th century. It was good, but very long (203 minutes, although for some reason IMDb lists it with a 102 minute runtime). Ullman, Von Sydow, and Troell regular Eddie Axberg are all very good. Some of the cinematic techniques haven't aged well, and the massacre scene is fairly over-the-top, but I enjoyed the film overall.

And Eddie Axberg had the distinction of being the location sound recordist for these two films as well.  I'm not sure I could name another actor who does that sort of double duty outside of student or very low budget films.

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Look Who's Back, David Wnendt, Germany (2015)  -  6/10

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Muddled, obvious satire based on a best-selling novel, with Adolf Hitler (Oliver Masucci) miraculously transported through time from 1945 Germany to 2014 Germany. He quickly acclimates to the massive changes that have taken place in the world, and soon finds himself a major TV celebrity, playing on anti-immigrant sentiments among the populace. 

The film starts out as a clumsy Borat-style goof, with Masucci in his Hitler guise interacting with real Germans who provide many cringe-worthy comments. However, the obvious editing used, and Masucci's apparent lack of improv skills, undercut much of this. It also switches over to scripted bits with obvious professionals playing "real people" quite frequently, casting even the genuine guerrilla-style interviews in a dubious light.

The second half is a slog, with Hitler becoming an unlikely TV star (shades of Howard Beale in Network), and tedious scenes of the various network staff and their uninspired romances and machinations. The satire here is stale, as well (calling out ubiquitous reality TV programming as vacuous garbage isn't exactly daring commentary). The film also relies on a lot of German cultural in-jokes, with real TV celebs playing themselves having awkward interactions with Hitler, much of which falls flat for anyone unaware of who these people are. There's also a lot of then-current political skewering, but beyond Angela Merkel, I was unaware of who these people were, so for me it didn't work. And of course I wasn't crazy about the scene where Hitler kicks and then shoots a small dog. However, that bit was mitigated by it being poorly-done CGI.

The filmmaking itself isn't interesting, with flat, digital-video cinematography which often (purposely?) looks amateurish. The score is mainly sourced classical snippets, with some oddities thrown in ("The Gonk", most famously used in the mall in the original Dawn of the Dead, is heard at one point").

All that being said, I still laughed a little at some bits.

 

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I really like the part where the studio head's rant over his show ending is done in a style of the famous Der Untergang, Hitler rantscene. :lol: Yeah, the dog shooting scene was a bit much but it was mainly to set up his downfall in the press and being accused of an animal abuser. The irony of ofcourse is that it's the real Hitler and the only thing they accuse him of wrongdoing is hurting an animal.

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Also the bits on reality TV and mass media I really connected to Donald Trump and Boris Johnson and AFD and the way those groups try to use those forms of media to their advantage. Especially the part where Hitler rants about "foolish" forms of entertainment being used to distract the people. That's how I saw it. I think the movie has a very good message about politics and media in our current age. 

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55 minutes ago, Gershwin fan said:

Also the bits on reality TV and mass media I really connected to Donald Trump and Boris Johnson and AFD and the way those groups try to use those forms of media to their advantage. Especially the part where Hitler rants about "foolish" forms of entertainment being used to distract the people. That's how I saw it. I think the movie has a very good message about politics and media in our current age. 

I think my problems with the film came from heightened expectations. The film (and book's) chief point was the ease at which a Hitler-type could come to power in the current German political climate, with heightened nationalism and the immigration crises. In that respect, one couldn't be more on-the-nose than to depict such a leader as literally Hitler himself. The funny thing is, like in many satires of this sort, there is a portion of the audience who actually agrees with Hitler, and for whom the point is lost, twisted or ignored. 

It's gutsy that the movie was even made. I wonder how big a release it was in Germany?

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13 hours ago, Gershwin fan said:

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Deprisa, Deprisa (1981) Carlos Saura, Spain - 3/10-Drugged up Spanish teens mess around Madrid and plan robberies to get by on. Things go bad during a botched robbery attempt. This is like a proto-City of God film except more boring and less graphic. Supposedly it used real criminals and drug users from lower class Spain.

I like how Saura shows the lives and violence of the delinquents in a more personal way in a rather detached style to make a point about life in the slums and Spanish society in general.

One of the leads, José Antonio Valdelomar died in a prison hospital of a heroin overdose. Jesús Arias Aranzueque also had a long police record even after the movie was released and died of an overdose, too.

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2 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

It's gutsy that the movie was even made. I wonder how big a release it was in Germany?

It was fairly successful earning 3.3 million roughly and was one of 8 German movies nominated for the "Foreign Language" submission from Germany but it did not win (I think Toni Erdmann was submitted that year?) I would have probably voted for it if I was on that committee though. 

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Singapore (1960) Shakti Samanta, India & Malaysia - 6.5/ 10 - Ramesh disappears after inheriting a rubber farm with a hidden treasure on it and his friend Shyam must find him. Shyam has the help of his woman and Lou Costello-type comedic sidekick "Cha-Choo." It is soon found out that Ramesh has been kidnapped by a Fu Manchu style Chinese gang and they must get him back. This one is silly fun and of course like many of these films has the characters wearing thin disguises that the enemy gang is miraculously fooled by. The musical numbers are usually catchy but one problem is that there are too many of them. The plot is also a bit convoluted and the film could have been shorter. Overall, this is fun and a good way to spend two hours.

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9.  Inside (2007) Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury, France

Thanks for the tip to watch this one.  Was that you, Lawrence?

A really well done thriller about a pregnant woman who must fend off a very intent home invader.

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5 hours ago, Bogie56 said:

9.  Inside (2007) Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury, France

Thanks for the tip to watch this one.  Was that you, Lawrence?

A really well done thriller about a pregnant woman who must fend off a very intent home invader.

Yeah, that was my recommendation. One of my favorites of the 00's. I recall renting the DVD and not expecting anything, as I hadn't heard of it, and it was released here under the "Dimension Extreme" label, which tended to be trashy low-rent stuff. Instead, I was blown away by it, and was stunned when I realized that the intruder was Beatrice Dalle from Betty Blue

It was remade in 2016 with Rachel Nichols and Laura Harring in the leads, but I haven't watched it. Much like the American remake of Martyrs (2008/2015), I'm not sure if I want to see it.

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Westerplatte Resists (1967) Stanislaw Rózewicz, Poland - 6/10- Historical reenactment of the first battle of WWII where the Germans staged a false flag with the intention of invading Poland. The battle lasted 5 days before resulting in surrender. This one is okay but the characterization is a bit flat. Like many of the Eastern Bloc movies, the focus is more on the collective group than on the individuals so the characters all sort of mesh into one and none stands out. Maybe worth a watch if you come across it but I wouldn't actively seek it out. 

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Kriss. the Sword of Death (1932), Armand Denis, Andre Roosevelt, France/ USA/ Bali- 5/10- This one is more well known under the title it was released under in France and the US ("Goona Goona"). Based on a native folk tale and with an all Balinese cast, it is about a lower class woman and a high class prince who marry. After he goes out on his wedding night on business, she is drugged by his evil nemesis with the Goona Goona drug from a shaman. He leaves his "kriss" ceremonial sword there and is soon found out. A simple romance film that includes interesting footage of the Balinese customs of that era, including a ceremonial dance with dragon costumes. This one was edited to hell and back because of the nudity so some of the plot is disjointed and shots are out of focus. This was also originally shot in two-strip technicolor but the version I saw was in B&W. I imagine the technicolor must have looked gorgeous.

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2008

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2.  Fallen Angels (2008) Morten Tyldum, Norway

Another well-made Scandanavian murder mystery.  It’s star, Trond Espen Seim won the Amanda Award for Best Actor.

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The Woman in the Moon (1929) Fritz Lang, Germany- 7/10 -Most of you already saw this one so I won't write up a long review. Yeah, I thought it was a really good sci-fi film that came on the heels of Metropolis' success. The effects are good for 1929 though the science isn't exactly right (atmosphere on only one side of the moon :blink: ).

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Sarajevo (2014) Kurt Mündl, Andreas Prochaska, Austria - 7/10 - In 1914, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand is assassinated by Gavrilo Princip and a Jewish detective is charged with finding all the co-conspirators ("the Black Hand") and bringing them to justice in court. He does this despite anti-semitism coming from the very people who employed him. Things are even more complicated when he falls in love with a Serbian woman whose exiled from the country for patriotic beliefs. I like historical movies and found this one enjoyable though it also sort of implies that the assassination of Ferdinand was an inside job that was allowed as pretext for an invasion of the country to set up a lucrative train business through the area. A decent movie and recommended for those interested in the beginning of WWI.

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Right Now, Wrong Then (2015) Sang-soo Hong, South Korea

I thought this winner of the Locarno Film Festival was dreadful in every sense.  The first hour is incredibly boring and stupid and then, wait for it … it all starts again and every scene is repeated with slightly different dialogue and an outcome that has changed a tiny bit.  You may want to punch the main protagonist in the face by the end of it all.

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Girls und Panzer der Film (2015) Tsutomu Mizushima, Japan (dubbed) - 6/10- In the streets of an emptied town, two schools of tankfighters battle it out. The winning team is still closed down despite promises otherwise, leaving them sad but they are allowed one last chance to do another tank battle to win their school back. My favorite team is the St Gloriana School which uses WWII era Churchill tanks and obviously represents the British. The soundtrack to this is largely traditional military marches such as British Grenadiers, Glory, Glory Hallelujah and Katyusha that work as leitmotifs for the tanks on screen. The film is a bit long at two hours and the plot is bare. I did find one episodic moment funny when they visit a museum dedicated to "Punchy the Bear" -a fictional toy that is constantly beaten up by other toys and covered in bandages. What I truly disliked is the heavy use of CGI instead of traditional animation which I prefer.

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My top FF films of 2016 of the 23 that I have seen are ….

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1.  The Salesman (2016) Asghar Farhadi, Iran

2.  The Handmaiden (2016) Chan-wook Park, South Korea

3.  Elle (2016) Paul Verhoeven, France

4.  Train to Busan (2016) Sang-ho Yeon, South Korea

5.  Julieta (2016) Pedro Almodovar, Spain

6.  Tramontane (2016) Vatche Boulghourjian, Lebanon

7.  Strangled (2016) Arpad Sopsits, Hungary

8.  The Unknown Girl (2016) Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Belgium

9.  Les Innocentes (2016) Anne Fontaine, France

10. Toni Erdmann (2016) Maren Ade, Germany

 

Hotel Salvation (2016) Shubhashish Bhutiani, India

Kalinka (2016) Vincent Garenq, France

Your Name (2016) Makoto Shinkai, Japan

The Lovers and the Despot (2016) Ross Adam, Robert Cannan, UK [only about 20% is in English tops]

Raman Raghav 2.0 (2016) Anurag Kashyan, India

I’m a Killer (2016) Maciej Piepzyca, Poland

Under the Shadow (2016) Babak Anvari, Iran

Devil’s Bride (2016) Saara Cantell, Finland

My Life as a Courgette (2016) Claude Barras, France

 

and I’ve also seen …

It’s Only the End of the World (2016) Xavier Dolan, Canada

Aquarius (2016) Kleber Mendoca Filho, Brazil

I, Olga Hepnarova (2016) Petr Kazda, Tomas Weinreb, Czech Republic

Aloys (2016) Tobias Nolle, Switzerland

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  1. The Handmaiden, Chan-wook Park, South Korea
  2. Sami Blood, Amanda Kernell, Sweden
  3. The Commune, Thomas Vinterberg, Denmark
  4. Elle, Paul Verhoeven, France
  5. The Unknown Girl, Dardenne & Dardenne, Belgium
  6. The Salesman, Ashgar Farhadi, Iran
  7. Your Name, Makoto Shinkai, Japan
  8. The Innocents, Anne Fontaine, France
  9. Chocolat, Roschdy Zem, France
  10. The Red Turtle, Michaël Dudok de Wit, France
  11. The Fury, André van Duren, Netherlands
  12. The Olive Tree, Icíar Bollaín, Spain
  13. Perfect Strangers, Paolo Genovese, Italy
  14. Toni Erdmann, Maren Ade, Germany
  15. Heartstone, Gudmundur Arnar, Iceland
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1. The Handmaiden, Chan-wook Park, South Korea

2. Train to Busan, Sang-ho Yeon, South Korea

3.  Les Innocentes, Anne Fontaine, France

4. 1898, Our Last Men in the Philipinnes, Salvador Calvo, Spain

5. Julieta, Pedro Almodovar, Spain

6. Neruda, Pablo Larraín, Chile

7. Your Name, Makoto Shinkai, Japan

8. The Lovers and the Despot, Ross Adam, Robert Cannan, UK

9. Shin Godzilla, Hideaki Anno & Shinji Higuchi, Japan

10. The King's Choice, Erik Poppe, Norway

11. Elle, Paul Verhoeven, France

12. Toni Erdmann, Maren Ade, Germany

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2016

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  1. Train to Busan, Sang-ho Yeon, South Korea
  2. The Salesman, Asghar Farhadi, Iran
  3. Personal Shopper, Olivier Assayas, France
  4. The Handmaiden, Chan-wook Park, South Korea
  5. The Wailing, Hong-jin Na, South Korea
  6. Raw, Julia Ducournau, France
  7. Operation Mekong, Dante Lam, China
  8. Elle, Paul Verhoeven, France

I've also seen:

  • Shin Godzilla, Hideaki Anno & Shinji Higuchi, Japan
  • Under the Shadow, Babak Anvari, Iran
  • Shelley, Ali Abbasi, Denmark/Sweden
  • Headshot, Kimo Stambeol & Timo Tjahjanto, Indonesia
  • Toni Erdmann, Maren Ade, Germany
  • Bad Black, I.G.G. Nabwana, Uganda

 

1001 Movies You Must See

  • The Handmaiden, Chan-wook Park, South Korea
  • Toni Erdmann, Maren Ade, Germany
  • Under the Shadow, Babak Anvari, Iran

 

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 1.  The Salesman  Asghar Farhadi, Iran

 2.  The Handmaiden  Park Chan-wook, South Korea

 3.  Personal Shopper  Oliver Assayas, France

 4.  Nocturama  Bertrand Bonello, France

 5.  Slack Bay  Bruno Dumont, France

 6.  The Unknown Girl  Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Belgium

 7.  The Wailing  Na Hong-jin, South Korea

 8.  Things to Come  Mia Hansen-Love, France

 9.  Your Name  Makoto Shinkai, Japan

10.  After the Storm  Hirokazu Koreeda, Japan

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