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CineMaven

BEST Foreign Language Film Ever Made.

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My tip ten foreign films in no particular order. I could list a million but these few are near and dear. Listing foreign animation could be its own list. It seems I've seen more French and Hapanese films than anywhere else with Italy and Germany coming after. If you don't mind newer films the Greek film Kynodontas is mind blowing and the Kazakh film Tulpan is a very sweat film indeed.

 

La R?gle du jeu - Rules of the Game (1939) France

Touch? Pas Au Grisbi -Hands Off the Loot (1954) France

Oldboy (2003) South Korea

Les Yeux Sans Visage -Eyes Without A Face (1960) France

Pigs and Battleships (1961) Japan

Hidden Fortress (1958) Japan

Kynodontas -Dogtooth (2009) Greece

Dr.Mabuse der Spieler -Dr.Mabuse the Gambler (1922) Germany

I Vitelloni (1953) Italian.

Tulipan (2008) Kazakh

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My favorites in no particular order are:

 

The Seven Samurai

Das Boot

Dersu Uzala

Cinema Paradiso

The Tin Drum

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*BEST* Foreign Language Film *EVER* made is merely an opinion or perception of the viewer while viewer's options/perceptions will vary - some of the most enjoyable foreign language films I've had the pleasure of viewing and would recommend (in no particular order) to others are as follows:

 

*Woman in the Dunes (Japan) 1964* - Jumpei Niki, a Tokyo based entomologist and educator, is in a poor seaside village collecting specimens of sand insects. As it is late in the day and as he has missed the last bus back to the city, some of the local villagers suggest that he spend the night there, they offering to find him a place to stay. That place is the home of a young woman, whose house is located at the bottom of a sand pit accessible only by ladder. He later learns that the woman's husband and child died in a sandstorm, their undiscovered bodies buried somewhere near the house. The next morning as he tries to leave, he finds that the ladder is gone - he realizing that the ladder he climbed down was a rope ladder which is anchored above the pit - meaning that he is trapped with the young woman as the walls of the pit are sand with no grip. He also realizes that this entrapment was the villagers and the young woman's plan for him to stay there permanently to be her helper in the never-ending task of digging out ...

 

*Cinema Paradiso (Italy / France) 1988* - A famous film director remembers his childhood at the Cinema Paradiso where Alfredo, the projectionist, first brought about his love of films. He returns home to his Sicilian village for the first time after almost 30 years and is reminded of his first love, Elena, who disappeared from his life before he left for Rome.

 

*Das Boot (Germany) 1981* - It is 1942 and the German submarine fleet is heavily engaged in the so called "Battle of the Atlantic" to harass and destroy British shipping. With better escorts of the Destroyer Class, however, German U-Boats have begun to take heavy losses. "Das Boot" is the story of one such U-Boat crew, with the film examining how these submariners maintained their professionalism as soldiers, attempted to accomplish impossible missions, while all the time attempting to understand and obey the ideology of the government under which they served.

 

*Fitzcarraldo (West Germany / Peru) 1982* - Fitzcarraldo is an obsessed opera lover who wants to build an opera in the jungle. To accomplish this he first has to make a fortune in the rubber business, and his cunning plan involves hauling an enormous river boat across a small mountain with aid from the local Indians.

 

*The Passion of Joan of Arc (France) 1928* - The sufferings of a martyr, Jeanne D'Arc (1412-1431). Jeanne appears in court where Cauchon questions her and d'Estivet spits on her. She predicts her rescue, is taken to her cell, and judges forge evidence against her. In her cell, priests interrogate her and judges deny her the Mass. Threatened first in a torture chamber and then offered communion if she will recant, she refuses. At a cemetery, in front of a crowd, a priest and supporters urge her to recant; she does, and Cauchon announces her sentence. In her cell, she explains her change of mind and receives communion. In the courtyard at Rouen castle, she burns at the stake; the soldiers turn on the protesting crowd.

 

*The Battle of Algiers (Italy / Algeria) 1966* - A film commissioned by the Algerian government that shows the Algerian revolution from both sides. The French foreign legion has left Vietnam in defeat and has something to prove. The Algerians are seeking independence. The two clash. The torture used by the French is contrasted with the Algerian's use of bombs in soda shops. A look at war as a nasty thing that harms and sullies everyone who participates in it.

 

*M (Germany) 1931* - Someone is murdering children in Berlin. The Police search is so intense, it is disturbing the 'normal' criminals, and the local hoods decide to help find the murderer as quickly as possible.

 

*Dersu Uzala (Russian) 1975* - A Russian army explorer who is rescued in Siberia by a rugged Asian hunter renews his friendship with the woodsman years later when he returns as the head of a larger expedition. The hunter finds that all of his nature lore is of no help when he accompanies the explorer back to civilization.

 

*Le Schpountz (France) 1938* - Meeting a movie team on location near his house, a young man saw a lots of encouragment for his dreaming carreer as a movie star in what was only sarcasm from the members of the team. (This is the caracteristic of a schountz: someone who see himself as a born movie comedian and is blind on the critics to his dream) After he has signed a fake contract which he blindly take as genuine even if it is ridiculous, he starts to Paris without money to make his carreer.

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a dvd copy of this flick is available at my library.

 

i'll give it a view despite my only tolerating marcello mastroianni playing any role.

 

Cinemaven, here are some good foreign films that I strongly recommend;

I Soliti Ignoti(1958, Italy) One of the funniest film I have ever seen about a group of incompetent thieves planning an elaborate robbery of a pawn shop. The delightful comedy of errors was directed by Mario Monicelli.

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a dvd copy of this flick is available at my library.

 

i'll give it a view despite my only tolerating marcello mastroianni playing any role.

 

I would never try to answer a question like the one for this thread since I don't have enough experience with foreign film.

 

e.g.   if one hasn't seen at least 50% of all foreign films made (ok,  even if only French,  Italian and German films),   how can one say which is the best.

 

So to me the better question here is;   Best foreign film one has seen.    Of course in many people cases that reduces the number of choices by 90% or more.   i.e.  I assume most people at this forum has seen less than 1 in 10 of all the foreign movies released in the last 70 or so years.

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Yes, there are many great dramatic, foreigh films.

 

How about "foreign films" made in Europe [and elsewhere] for American audiences?

 

Like "The Third Man" with Orson Welles, Joseph Cotton and Trevor Howard?

 

Anyway, for comedy, Audrey Tautou's "Amelie" does it for me...great flick!

 

Cheers!

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I would never try to answer a question like the one for this thread since I don't have enough experience with foreign film.

 

e.g.   if one hasn't seen at least 50% of all foreign films made (ok,  even if only French,  Italian and German films),   how can one say which is the best.

 

So to me the better question here is;   Best foreign film one has seen.    Of course in many people cases that reduces the number of choices by 90% or more.   i.e.  I assume most people at this forum has seen less than 1 in 10 of all the foreign movies released in the last 70 or so years.

 

Yes, the choice of words is bad. The idea of all these films being comparable is also misguided. But essentially we get the point that the OP is making. Just replace the word best with favorite, and ever made with you've seen.

 

I just skimmed the whole thread, and I'm surprised at the absence of Fellini. Nights of Cabiria is a contender for my favorite film overall. One of the most perfect and moving films I've ever seen.

 

Many of the films mentioned here are ones I've not seen, though. My interest has been sparked in I Soliti Ignoti, recommended by jcbjcb, and Smiles of a Summer Night from laffite. Unfortunately neither available from my library, but I'll keep my eye open.

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I am so tempted to post a list of all of the world films that I have to watch every time they’re on, but I’ll narrow it down to 12 – couldn’t do it in 10 -- (in no particular order):

 

Black Orpheus (Orfeu Negro) 1959

To Live (Huo Zhe) 1994

Seven Samurai (Shichinin No Samurai) 1954

Throne of Blood (Kumonosu-jô) 1957

The 400 Blows (Les Quatre Cents Coups) 1959

Diabolique (Les Diaboliques) 1955

The Cranes Are Flying (Letyat Zhuravli) 1957

Wings (Krylya) 1966

Through a Glass Darkly (Såsom i En Spegel) 1961

Nights of Cabiria (Le Notti di Cabiria) 1957

The Grand Illusion (La Grande Illusion) 1937

Metropolis (1927)

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Far too many great films to be reduced to a mere 10 or 12, whether your category be the "greatest" or simply your "favorites."  My list easily expands to at least 50 minimum.  There are the films of Satyajit Ray, Tarkovsky, Eisenstein, Buñuel, Godard and the whole New Wave, Bergman, Kurosawa, Ozu, Oshima, Imamura, Mizoguchi, Cocteau, Pasolini, Fellini, De Sica, . . . let me catch my breath . . . 

 

In NYC in the 80s, many of the old cinemas were converted to art houses and would show a different foreign film every day.  I spent a lot of my days in grad school at the movies in the old Metro, on B'way (the lobby can be seen in Annie Hall, when Woody Allen pulls Marshal McLuhan into the scene to settle an argument).  It was just wonderful to be able to see all these films on the big screen.

 

Today, TCM is one of the few places that preserves this great heritage of filmmaking, but I wish it would get behind the Foreign Imports segment, reschedule it for a better hour, and promote it more.

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...

 

Today, TCM is one of the few places that preserves this great heritage of filmmaking, but I wish it would get behind the Foreign Imports segment, reschedule it for a better hour, and promote it more.

 

Hear! Hear!

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I subscribe to Hulu and with the Criterion Collection watch so many memorable foreign films.   Here is my list:

 

Jules and Jim

Elevator to the Gallows

Diabolique

Breathless

La Strada

Nights of Cabiria

The Bicycle Thief

Umberto D

Ikiru

The Idiot

No Regrets for our Youth

Tokyo Story

The End of Summer

The Exterminating Angel

Viridiana

The Red Desert

La Notte
Pickpocket

 

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Far too many great films to be reduced to a mere 10 or 12, whether your category be the "greatest" or simply your "favorites."  My list easily expands to at least 50 minimum.  There are the films of Satyajit Ray, Tarkovsky, Eisenstein, Buñuel, Godard and the whole New Wave, Bergman, Kurosawa, Ozu, Oshima, Imamura, Mizoguchi, Cocteau, Pasolini, Fellini, De Sica, . . . let me catch my breath . . . 

 

In NYC in the 80s, many of the old cinemas were converted to art houses and would show a different foreign film every day.  I spent a lot of my days in grad school at the movies in the old Metro, on B'way (the lobby can be seen in Annie Hall, when Woody Allen pulls Marshal McLuhan into the scene to settle an argument).  It was just wonderful to be able to see all these films on the big screen.

 

Today, TCM is one of the few places that preserves this great heritage of filmmaking, but I wish it would get behind the Foreign Imports segment, reschedule it for a better hour, and promote it more.

 

I thought that Annie Hall scene was shot at the Beekman, on the East Side, which has since closed (another theater has taken the name, though). Woody Allen's movies often premiered at the Beekman in NYC.  The Metro was on 99th Street and B'way. I once looked at a beautiful apartment in that building, but it was a tough time. The Metro was then a porno house, and there had been a knifing in the building. So I didn't take the flat. That was about 1980. Perhaps the external shots were done at the Beekman, the lobby scene at the Metro? Though I'm not sure it was the Metro.

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I have always had high regard for the Michelangelo Antonioni trilogy - "L'Avventura", "Eclipse" and "La Notte".

 

Today, watching them, I sometimes think that they are a bit much - especially "La Notte" - but the directorial vision is so strong that the films still remain captivating.

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Not the best, but 15 "favorites" not in English... and sticking to sound films recorded in foreign languages here. Yeah, there are so many masterpieces, but certain ones you go back to for repeated viewings even if they aren't the same ones the High Brows keep going back to.

 

Le Roman De Renard (Tale Of A Fox)

France: Ladislas Starewicz/UFA 1937, completed '31

Perhaps my favorite animated feature (actually stop-motion). He needed German money to release it, which may be one reason why it didn't get enough attention post-war.

 

Il Giardino Dei Finzi Contini (The Garden Of Finzi Contini)

Italy/W. Germany: Documento/CCC 1970

Nostalgic and dreamy portrait of 1938-43 Ferrara Jewish life. Eventually visited the town since it is cheaper to stay there than Venice. Some of the soft-focus and slight tinting appears to have been repeated, at least on a subconscious level, in The Way We Were, The Great Gatsby, The Godfather saga and other "happier" films that don't involve most of the cast being shipped off to concentration camps.

 

Condemné A Mort S'est Echappé (A Man Escaped)

France: Nouvelles Editions/Gaumont 1956

This prison escape drama runs an hour and 40 minutes. The Great Escape and The Shawshank Redemption seem to run forever...

 

Hitori Musuko (The Only Son)

Japan: Shôchiku Ofuna 1936

Mommy-Son relationship picture that isn't quite as happy as its Criterion DVD Daddy-Son companion-piece There Was a Father. I know post-war Kurosawa is the one we are all supposed to like and, yes, I've seen Rashomon, Seven Samurai and most of the others... some at least twice. The Ozu films tend to be the ones that "stick" to me a bit more... maybe it is because his were mostly contemporary and he does a great job showcasing the generation gaps in family life. Granted, I think Kurosawa's Ikuru is probably best Ozu film not made by Ozu.

 

Biruma No Tategoto (The Burmese Harp)

Japan: Nikkatsu 1956

Again... I feel so guilty not including Kurosawa here because, yeah, he is that country's greatest export aside from Godzilla. Yet this is one fascinating little war picture... and from an ex-animator too. (Kon Ichikawa initially wanted be Walt Disney.)

 

Jeder Für Sich Und Goit Gegen Allen (Every Man For Himself And God Against All / Mystery Of Kasper Hauser)

W. Germany: Filmverlag der Autoren/Zweite Dausches Fernseher 1974

Only Herzog would dare to make a mockumentary later on Loch Ness. I like these oddball "unexplained mystery" sagas. Where did this boy come from?

 

Jules Et Jim

France: SEDIF/Films Du Carrosse/Cinédis 1961

For some reason, Truffaut's films are the most likable of the "new wave" for me, probably because they are the ones the British and Americans imitated the most. This film has some of that "pop art" editing resembling the later A Hard Day's Night and mid-to-late sixties TV. The ending is a bit of a downer though.

 

Fanny Och Alexander

Sweden: Svenski 1982

Probably should have won Best Picture, but the Academy considers Bergman too... "foreign".

 

Utomlennye Solnstem (Burnt By The Sun)

Russia/France: Studio Trite/Camera One/Studio Canal 1994

The good ol' Stalin years of the 1930s when even being a war hero couldn't spare you.

 

Charulata

India: R.D. Bansal 1964

Not quite Bollywood (i.e. where's all of the music?) but a nice precursor to Merchant Ivory in its 19th century romantic setting

 

Salinui Chueok (Memories Of Murder)

S. Korea: Sidus Pictures/CJ Entertainment 2003

I had to include a Korean film here... and this is one of the most entertaining cop investigation films made in America.... oops! Wrong country. Nope... they don't always succeed.

 

Decameron

Italy/France/W. Germany: PEA/Artistes Associés/Artem 1970

Passolini at his more "lovable". Boy! Those medieval Italians knew how to enjoy themselves! The scene with the nuns and the "gardener" who gets exhausted supplying the heavenly satisfaction (which I'm sure the Vatican didn't approve of) is downright hilarious. Also one must wonder if the Rubio or Cruz households would be as "open minded" if they found one of their daughters spending the night "listening to nightingales" on that roof top...

 

Ossessione

Italy: ICI 1943

I don't know why so many Italian films are so... well... frisky. As much as I love John Garfield and Lana Turner in their U.S. version, Massino Girotti and Clara Calamai really should have gotten a room. Oh wait a minute... they did.

 

Die Fälscher (The Counterfeiters)

Austria/Germany: Babelsberg Film/Beta Cinema/Josef Aichholzer/Magnolia/Zweite Dausches Fernseher 2007

This was an interesting "chapter" in Nazi history... concentration camp residents are spared because they were good at faking-the-finances during the war, much as Schindlers List spared those faking-the-factory-production during the war.

 

Císaruv Slavík (The Emperor's Nightingale)

Czechoslovakia: Bratri v Triku/Filmove Studio Barrandov 1949

Oh... I don't know why I needed another stop-motion animated feature here, especially since the most widely available version has Boris Karloff dubbing in English.

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Very interestingl iist, Jlewis, what do you think of Robert Bresson's "Mouchette" and Pier Paolo Pasolini's "Teorema"?

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Awwww thanks!

 

I saw the latter (which was interesting if a bit disjointed), but only read about the former. There are a LOT of movies I still haven't seen yet.

 

This is why I am choosing "favorites" for now. These are films that I have gone back to. All of us try our best to "like" the films that are favorites of the critics... or at least appreciate them. Then there are some that I never cared for, like Godard's Weekend... and I still don't understand their appeal.

 

By the way, I have L'Avventura on DVD and do like that one even if it seemed a bit predictable, only because it inspired some other films I had seen before it. Sometimes we do not see the innovators until after the imitators.

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Awwww thanks!

 

I saw the latter (which was interesting if a bit disjointed), but only read about the former. There are a LOT of movies I still haven't seen yet.

 

This is why I am choosing "favorites" for now. These are films that I have gone back to. All of us try our best to "like" the films that are favorites of the critics... or at least appreciate them. Then there are some that I never cared for, like Godard's Weekend... and I still don't understand their appeal.

 

By the way, I have L'Avventura on DVD and do like that one even if it seemed a bit predictable, only because it inspired some other films I had seen before it. Sometimes we do not see the innovators until after the imitators.

Trying to appreciate Jean-Luc Godard has always been a problem for me.

 

And, it's only been in recent years, that I have been able to appreciate the early ones, especially "Pierrot Le Fou".

 

I was always able to appreciate Michelangelo Antonioni.

 

His films were anti-narrative - and his people were so overwhelmed by the pain of living.

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1930s

 

M

GRAND ILLUSION

THE TESTAMENT OF DR. MABUSE

THE FANNY TRILOGY

A NOUS LA LIBERTE

LA BETE HUMAINE

THE RULES OF THE GAME

BOUDOU SAVED FROM DROWNING

UNDER THE ROOFS OF PARIS

LE MILLION

 

 

1940s

 

LATE SPRING

STRAY DOG

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

BICYCLE THIEVES

ROME, OPEN CITY

DRUNKEN ANGEL

DAY OF WRATH

PAISAN

NO REGRETS FOR OUR YOUTH

OSSESSIONE

 

1950s

 

SEVEN SAMURAI

WAGES OF FEAR

TOKYO STORY

IKIRU

WILD STRAWBERRIES

RASHOMON

UMBERTO D.

THE SEVENTH SEAL

THE BURMESE HARP

A MAN ESCAPED

 

1960s

 

HARAKIRI

LA DOLCE VITA

YOJIMBO

8 1/2

KWAIDAN

THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS

Z

LE SAMOURAI

THE SWORD OF DOOM

L'AVVENTURA

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1970s

 

THE CONFORMIST

THE DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISIE

SOLARIS

THE STORY OF ADELE H.

DERSU UZALA

HAUSA

LADY SNOWBLOOD

CRIES AND WHISPERS

TRISTANA

AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD

 

 

1980s

 

RAN

DAS BOOT

KAGEMUSHA

VAGABOND

VIOLENT COP

BETTY BLUE

THE KILLER

TETSUO THE IRON MAN

THE STORY OF WOMEN

THE LAST METRO

 

 

1990s

 

PUSHER

RUN LOLA RUN

CRONOS

HARD BOILED

LA FEMME NIKITA

CYRANO DE BERGERAC

AUDITION

SONATINE

EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN

RAISE THE RED LANTERN

 

 

2000s

 

OLDBOY

CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN

PAN'S LABYRINTH

INSIDE

AMELIE

IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE

TALK TO HER

HERO

THE WHITE RIBBON

 

 

2010s

 

13 ASSASSINS

RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE

THE RAID: REDEMPTION

THE SKIN I LIVE IN

AMOUR

 

I haven't seen enough yet from the current decade to make a top ten.

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