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Bogie56

Your Favourite Foreign Language Films

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The 2018 Boston Society of Film Critics Best Foreign Film Award …

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Shoplifters (2018) Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan

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The 2018 National Board of Review Best Foreign Language Film …

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Cold War (2018) Pawel Pawlikowski, Poland ****

 

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Burning (2018) Chang-dong Lee, South Korea

 

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The Guilty (2018) Gustav Moller, Denmark

 

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Happy as Lazzaro (2018) Alice Rohrwacher, Italy

 

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Shoplifters (2018) Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan

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The 2018 National Society of Film Critics Foreign Film Award included …

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Roma (2018) Alfonso Cuaron, Mexico  ****

 

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Burning (2018) Chang-dong Lee, South Korea

 

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Cold War (2018) Pawel Pawlikowski, Poland

 

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Shoplifters (2018) Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan

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On 11/3/2019 at 12:49 PM, Bogie56 said:

he 2018 winner of Spain’s Goya Award for Best Picture was …

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Champions (2018) Javier Fesser, Spain

I love this movie. It never gets preachy or overly sentimental. And it's very funny. The final match is a revelation for the coach and the rest of us.

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My favorite foreign language film of 2018, and my favorite movie of 2018 was Christian Perzold's Transit.  Here is Stuart Klawans' review at the Nation's website.

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Although it’s common in the theater to transpose historic plays into modern dress, filmmakers seldom make the prince of Denmark prowl a Manhattan office building, as Michael Almereyda did in his Hamlet, or have Beatrice and Benedick go at each other in a suburban California house, as they did in Joss Wheedon’s Much Ado. The usual practice in movies is to adapt freely, like Cocteau in Orphée or Alfonso Cuarón in Great Expectations, or update facetiously in the Coen brothers’ manner. Only rarely does a filmmaker attempt a true double vision, calling up the original period in its integrity and at the same time showing us our present condition.

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This is the brilliant, unsettling feat that Christian Petzold pulls off in Transit. He takes the characters and events of the 1944 novel of the same name by Anna Seghers and sets them without comment or explanation in present-day Paris and Marseille. A young German man, Georg (Franz Rogowski), is on the run in occupied France. He slips in among the desperate people crowding the US and Mexican consulates, where they wait day after day for exit visas. Policemen—exactly like those you’d see now—prowl the streets, demanding papers and throwing people into vans. In the bistros—exactly like those you’d sit in today—rumors circulate that the “cleansing” has reached Lyon and will soon get to Marseille. Nobody goes into detail about the forces that have occupied France (though it’s clear they’re German) or what the cleansing might be. Although the people in the consulates talk obsessively about the documents they need, they don’t say too much about why they must be on the ship that sails tomorrow—the one that, for all they know, might be the last. And so, as the movie opens up in your mind, the Nazi occupation stops being a relic of history and starts happening in the here and now, where today’s multitudes of stateless people hold on in the shadows against their own imminent cleansing.

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To be in focus, a dual vision requires an immaculate style. Petzold weighs the effect of each image in Transit, never faltering in his camera placement, never cluttering the action with an unnecessary shot. The edits are crisp, the soundtrack precise with its jabs of ambient noise, the lighting clear and pitiless in the play of shafts and gloom, and the compositions as full to the edge as Edward Hopper’s with physical detail and loneliness. Action scenes unfold with unforced drama—this is, of course, a film about people on the move—but as the protagonist settles more deeply into Marseille, extended moments of interpersonal negotiation come to predominate, each as complex as a bomb needing to be defused.

 

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Giving life to all this, Rogowski brings a combination of athleticism, shrewdness, and brooding vulnerability to Georg. A wiry, dark, sharp-featured man who sometimes resembles the young Joaquin Phoenix, Rogowski is a dancer and choreographer as well as an actor, who moves with a self-confidence that you imagine might enable him to evade the police, or hold his own in a fight. When he speaks, though, it’s in a light, slightly choked tenor that betrays Georg’s exhaustion and disillusionment. A communist of working-class rather than intellectual formation, Georg has made it out of two prison camps and evidently would no longer care to follow his principles into a third. Circumstances have given him a chance at escape through a false identity, but also have presented him with emotional complications he doesn’t want. Instead of slipping invisibly through Marseille, he becomes involved first with a young Arab boy (Lilien Batman) and then with Marie (Paula Beer), a beautiful, enigmatic woman who likes Georg but turns out, ironically, to be faithful to his phantom double.

 

Living phantoms are everywhere in Transit. They present dubious papers, occupy cheap hotel rooms off the books, and tell stories about themselves that probably aren’t true (and wouldn’t matter if they were). Many people are also phantoms in potential, since nobody knows who might disappear next, and some are already dead, though nobody knows that either. Everything is at once pressing and insubstantial; there’s no time to waste, and nothing to do but wait. Add to this ghostliness the vision of a time past that’s also present, a time present that’s out of place. There you have the sorrow and fascination of Transit, an imaginary trip through the anteroom of two genuine hells.

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The winner of the 2018 Prix Louis Delluc Best Picture …

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Sorry Angel (2018) Christophe Honore, France

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The winners of the 2018 Prix Jean Vigo were …

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Knife + Heart (2018) Yann Gonzalez, France

 

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Sheherazade (2018) Jean-Bernard Marlin, France

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The winner of the 2017 Lumiere Best Foreign Film Award was …

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Girl (2018) Lukas Dhont, Belgium

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The 2018 Belgium Film Critics Association Best Picture Award went to …

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Cold War (2018) Pawel Pawlikowski, Poland

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The winner of the 2018 London Critics Circle Best Picture Award was ….

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Roma (2018) Alfonso Cuaron, Mexico

 

The winner of the 2018 London Critics Circle Foreign Language Film Award was ….

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Cold War (2018) Pawel Pawlikowski, Poland

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This one I don’t get.  Roma wins the Best Picture award over Burning but loses to Burning in the Foreign Film category.

 

The 2018 Toronto Film Critics Association Best Picture Award …

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Roma (2018) Alfonso Cuaron, Mexico ****

 

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Burning (2018) Chang-dong Lee, South Korea

 

 

The 2018 Toronto Film Critics Association Best Foreign Film Award …

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Burning (2018) Chang-dong Lee, South Korea ****

 

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Cold War (2018) Pawel Pawlikowski, Poland

 

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Roma (2018) Alfonso Cuaron, Mexico

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The 2018 Washington DC Film Critics Association Best Foreign Film …

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Roma (2018) Alfonso Cuaron, Mexico  **** [also winner of Best Picture]

 

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Burning (2018) Chang-dong Lee, South Korea

 

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Capernaum (2018) Nadine Labaki, Lebanon

 

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Cold War (2018) Pawel Pawlikowski, Poland

 

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Shoplifters (2018) Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan

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The 2018 Broadcast Critics Best Picture and Best Foreign Film ….

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Roma (2018) Alfonso Cuaron, Mexico  ****

 

The 2018 Broadcast Critics Foreign Film nominees ….

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Burning (2018) Chang-dong Lee, South Korea

 

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Capernaum (2018) Nadine Labaki, Lebanon

 

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Cold War (2018) Pawel Pawlikowski, Poland

 

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Shoplifters (2018) Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan

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The 2018 Argentinian Film Critics Association Best Picture Award went to …

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The Angel (2018) Luis Ortega, Argentinia

 

The 2018 Argentinian Film Critics Association Best Foreign Film Award winners included …

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A Twelve Year Night (2018) Alvaro Brechner, Uruguay

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The 2018 Danish Bodil Award for Best Picture went to …

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Holiday (2018) Isabella Eklof, Denmark

 

The 2018 Danish Bodil Award for Best Non-American Picture went to …

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Roma (2018) Alfonso Cuaron, Mexico

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Italy’s Nastro d’Argento Film Journalists 2018 Best Picture winners included …

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Dogman (2018) Matteo Garrone, Italy

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My second favorite movie was the Chinese movie Long Day's Journey into Night, which has nothing to do with the O'Neill play of the same name.  Here is Glenn Kenny's review from the New York Times:

 

Midnight movies are no longer the attraction they were back in the late ’70s and early ’80s. This sometimes seems like a shame. “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” the second feature by the Chinese director Bi Gan (whose 2016 debut “Kaili Blues” made an impression in art houses the world over), would make exemplary late-night communal viewing. Very often, and particularly in its second half, watching it feels like dreaming with your eyes open.

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This is not just because of the imagery, which, in the first half, is heavy with depictions of water — raining on windshields and inside musty rooms, rippling in puddles, trickling in a tear down a character’s cheek. The narrative that engulfs the movie’s male protagonist Luo Hongwu (Huang Jue) is replete with elements of film noir. There’s a photo with a phone number on the back, hidden behind the back plate of a wall clock. There’s a mysterious woman in a green dress (Tang Wei, of “Lust, Caution”) who frequently asks for a light for her cigarettes. There’s a past filled with secrets.

“I might never have gone back to Kaili had my father not died,” Luo says in voice-over early in the film. If that’s not an invitation to a dark, fatalistic journey, I don’t know what is.

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However, Bi Gan’s film elides actual plot elements far more than it articulates them. It’s almost as if the point is to compel the viewer to ask, “Am I missing something?” You are — and you aren’t. The movie’s second half, presented in often-startling 3-D, pulls together many of the peculiar threads dropped in prior scenes. But not in a conventional fashion.

This cinematic journey is all about subterranean associations. The movie’s English-language title derives from Eugene O’Neill’s play, but almost nothing in it has a direct relation to O’Neill’s modes of content or dramaturgy. (Its Mandarin Chinese title translates to “Last Evenings on Earth,” the name of a novel by Roberto Bolaño, and it’s the same deal there.) But both halves of the movie are virtual compendiums of references to the filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky. Visual allusions to “Ivan’s Childhood,” “Andrei Rublev” and “Stalker” are carried off beautifully, but do little more than affirm Bi Gan’s aesthetic principles — or, to put it more colloquially, give you a look inside his head.

 
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Not since David Lynch’s “Inland Empire” has a filmmaker in such proximity to what we can call the independent mainstream undertaken quite as radical a challenge to linear narrative. And the achievement is all the more awe-inspiring given that the movie’s second half, a 3-D film-within-a-film (of sorts; it could just be Luo’s dream of one) is contained within what seems to be a single continuous shot of nearly an hour in length. What could be more linear than that? And yet its various components defy logical arrangement both as viewed and in retrospect. What they build up to is even more seductive than anything that led up to it — a moment of breathtaking romanticism that’s as intoxicating as it is unexpected.

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The Winner of the 2018 Berlin International Film Festival was this foreign film …

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Touch Me Not (2018) Adina Pinitlie, Germany

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The 2018 Chicago International Film Festival’s Best Picture Award went to this foreign language film …

 

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Happy as Lazzaro (2018) Alice Rohrwacher, Italy

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The winner of the 2018 Cannes Film Festival was this foreign language film …

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Shoplifters (2018) Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan

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This foreign language film won at the 2018 Venice Film Festival ….

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Roma (2018) Alfonso Cuaron, Mexico

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The 2018 Locarno International Film Festival foreign film winner was …

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A Land Imagined (2018) Siew Hua Yeo, Singapore

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This foreign language film won the 2018 San Sebastian Film Festival …

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Between Two Waters (2018) Isaki Lacuesta, Spain

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Nobody seems to have seen my third favorite movie of 2018:  Sunset.  I wasn't as big a fan of Hungarian director Laszlo Nemes' previous movie Son of Saul, but here his unique style worked in a more subtle context.  Here is Simon Abrams' review from rogerebert.com: 

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Unlike most costume dramas, "Sunset"—a moving Hungarian character study set in Budapest during 1913—isn't a movie you can easily get lost in. The movie's disorienting and visually austere style takes some getting used to: dark, but warmly lit hand-held cameras draw viewers' attention beyond the immediate foreground (almost always in focus) towards the camera frame's out-of-focus background. That kind of showy, subjective camerawork is a little daunting (Can't I decide where I want to look for myself?). But I have to admit: by consistently denying viewers an objective God's eye of events, writer/director Lászlò Nemes ("Son of Saul") also immediately establishes his movie's character-driven, low-key tense atmosphere. This is the world according to Irisz Leiter (Juli Jakab), an emotionally withdrawn young woman who struggles to understand and re-join a (high) society that she was never really part of. Irisz's point-of-view is sometimes a little stifling, and more than a little disorienting—but it's also rather powerful. 

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In that sense, your interest in Irisz's story depends on your willingness to feel your way around Nemes' visually elaborate, dialogue-light movie. Nemes and his team of collaborators—especially cinematographer Mátyás Erdély—put a lot of effort into choreographing and arranging Irisz's story (as it was scripted by Nemes and co-writers Clara Royer and Matthieu Taponier). And it shows in the way that Irisz, from her very first scene, struggles to assert control over her own story. 

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When we meet her, Irisz is already in a haze. An array of women's hats are presented to her, but she's not really interested in any of them. Irisz suddenly remembers why she came to this department store (which bears her estranged family's name): she's looking for a job. "You should have said so before," an employee sneers as she fetches her supervisor.

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This introductory scene is a good table-setter: things just sort of happen to Irisz, so she has to constantly struggle to re-orient herself to the customs and niceties of the upper-class. Her parents have died under mysterious circumstances, so their department store is now run by strangers (to Irisz): Brill (Vlad Ivanov) and Zelma (Evelin Dobos), both of whom are only as cordial to Irisz as they need to be. Brill and Zelma do not have a position available for Irisz. They are also clearly intimidated by her; they often fidget and try to avoid her. And, when they can't avoid her, they make a big show of showing her off at social functions, if only to preemptively stop their neighbors from gossiping.

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Irisz often has to insert herself into situations whenever she is not welcome (and that's often). She insists on asking unsolicited questions and refuses to be dissuaded, either by well-intended advice or inexplicable violence. Everybody tells her the same thing: there's no reason to dig up the past. Your parents died and your brother—the one that you never knew you had—is a disgrace. There's no fortune or security here in Budapest. Stop asking questions and go back to Trieste: this is not your world and you are not welcome here. But Irisz never considers going home and is therefore constantly threatened by unwelcome scrutiny and exclusion. 

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Thankfully, Irisz's story—determined as it is by her refusal to accept things as they are—is commendably presented without much hand-holding. She's not a prototypical feminist or an ahead-of-the-curve standard-bearer because she lives in a constant state of uncertainty and is therefore not particularly introspective. Instead, Nemes simply asks us to join Irisz as she struggles to be (and to see) more than she's allowed. So we follow Irisz, waiting in a constant state of low-level panic and hoping that whatever happens next isn't as bad as it seems. Nemes' suggestive, impressionistic approach takes some getting used to, but "Sunset" is worth the extra effort.

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This film won Best Film at the 2018 Montreal World Film Festival …

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Curtiz (2018) Tamas Yvan Topoanszky, Hungary [not sure how much of this is in English]

 

This film won the Most Popular Film Prize at the 2018 Montreal World Film Festival …

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T For Taj Mahal (2018) Kireet Khurana, India

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