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Your Favourite Foreign Language Films


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My favorite foreign language film would be 1981's Quest for Fire.

I have no idea what languages were being spoken but I loved that I knew everything that was going on anyway - even though there were no subtitles at all.

Anthony Burgess did a masterful job creating those languages.

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14 hours ago, Sukhov said:

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Two Monks (1934) Juan Bustillo Oro, Mexico - 5/10 - Two monks recount their stories of the time they fell for the same girl. This is only notable for being a rare pre-Rashomon multiple POV film. Some decent cinematography isn't enough to save it for me. Was dull and the image I saw was washed out and completely faded. Almost put me to sleep. Wouldn't recommend. 

I saw it some time ago and I liked it. I thought it was pretty good. I hope there's a decent copy somewhere so I can watch it again, but I doubt it.

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On 7/2/2020 at 8:32 PM, nakano said:

LE COLONEL CHABERT 1994 by Yves Angelo with Gerard Depardieu Fanny Ardant Fabrice Luchini.From a story by Honoré de Balzac.Set in Paris 1817 a colonel assumed dead for many years comes back to meet his remarried wife.Very good drama. 7.5/10

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I hate to be so vague on this, perhaps I shouldn't even post. A prominent reviewer years ago credited Depardieu with one of the greatest acting moments of all time. A scene where he was standing in front of a seated questioner telling his story. Maybe someone will actually remember  the scene. I don't. But I thought it one of the greatest tributes and actor has ever received. Let me know if someone knows what I'm talking about.

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2 hours ago, Arsan404 said:

I saw it some time ago and I liked it. I thought it was pretty good. I hope there's a decent copy somewhere so I can watch it again, but I doubt it.

IMDB says it is a "horror movie" so I was expecting something like Nosferatu. The only thing horror related was a demon possession at the very beginning which is what it must be referring to I guess? Either way, wasn't expecting a long romance tragedy. 

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16 hours ago, laffite said:

I hate to be so vague on this, perhaps I shouldn't even post. A prominent reviewer years ago credited Depardieu with one of the greatest acting moments of all time. A scene where he was standing in front of a seated questioner telling his story. Maybe someone will actually remember  the scene. I don't. But I thought it one of the greatest tributes and actor has ever received. Let me know if someone knows what I'm talking about.

The might be a bit of a stretch but Depardieu as Chabert made my top ten of 1994.  I think his Cyranno was probably a better performance but the role is much showier.

Fabrice Luchini in Colonel Chabert is a revelation.

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365 Days (2020) Barbara Bialowas, Tomasz Mandes, Poland - 2/10 - Weak S&M film from Poland. Massimo is a gangster who kidnaps Laura with the intention that she falls in love with him in 365 days. Of course, he rapes her and this is played as if it's supposed to be good. This is the kind of "Fifty Shades of Grey" S&M trash made for bored housewives. The technical aspects of the film are not much better. The Michele Morrone soundtrack is also exceptionally godawful and it never stops. Conversations will stop mid-sentence and the mumbley soundtrack will start up. There are also like fifty costume montages which helps pad the weak story to almost two hours. A terrible film all around. 

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2007

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Formidable (2007) Dominique Standaert, Belgium

Two men who have both lost their jobs and wives meet by chance and become reluctant friends.  Thankfully it does not try to rely on quirkiness which can be the kiss of death for me.  Not bad.

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3 hours ago, Bogie56 said:

2007

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Formidable (2007) Dominique Standaert, Belgium

Two men who have both lost their jobs and wives meet by chance and become reluctant friends.  Thankfully it does not try to rely on quirkiness which can be the kiss of death for me.  Not bad.

Excuse me for what I fear is density on my part, but may I ask what you mean by "quirkiness." I know, I should know this, so don't laugh. Actually, it's a serious enquiry and there is no innuendo behind it. It's just that naive minds want to know. : - )

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Three Brothers (1981) Italy, Dir: Francesco Rosi - The title trio (Philippe Noiret, Michele Placido, and Vittorio Mezzogiorno), each dealing with personal and professional issues, are summoned to their hometown by their aged father (Charles Vanel) after the death of their mother. Excellent performances and some nice directorial touches make this worth seeing, but I wasn't as blown away by this as many seem to have been.  (7/10)

 

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Too Early/Too Late (1981) France/Egypt, Dir: Jean-Marie Straub and Daniele Huillet - Arthouse documentary comprised of long-take shots of French and Egyptian landscapes while off-screen narrators read passages from works by Friedrich Engels and Mahmoud Hussein. It's supposed to be a meditation on the relationship between the land and the plight of the struggling people that live there. I found it to be a tedious bore. Others call it a brilliant, cerebral masterpiece.  (5/10)

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20 hours ago, laffite said:

Excuse me for what I fear is density on my part, but may I ask what you mean by "quirkiness." I know, I should know this, so don't laugh. Actually, it's a serious enquiry and there is no innuendo behind it. It's just that naive minds want to know. : - )

A forced oddity for comedic purposes.  

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A Question of Silence (1982) Netherlands, Dir: Marleen Gorris - A female psychiatrist (Cox Habbema) is assigned by the police to interview a trio of women (Edda Barends, Nelly Frijda, and Henriette Tol) who are accused of murdering a shopkeeper. As the doctor learns the life stories of the individual women, she must confront issues in her own personal life. This feminist fable is a blend of domestic drama, political statement, courtroom procedural, and black comedy. The production values are meager. but the performances are good, and I enjoyed the score.   (7/10)

 

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Yol (1982) Turkey, Dir: Serif Goren & Yilmaz Guney - Five prisoners are granted leave to visit their families, each struggling with difficulties caused by their incarceration and the political turmoil of post-coup Turkey. Guney, a noted filmmaker for many years, wrote the film while in prison, with his assistant Goren directing filming. Guney escaped and edited the film in Switzerland. The film was very controversial in Turkey, and was banned for many years. I enjoyed the varied look at Turkish culture, and the 80's-era score with electronic flourishes was a highlight.   (7/10)

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The winner of China’s Golden Rooster Award for Best Film of 2019 was …

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The Wandering Earth (2019) Frant Two, China

 

The winner of China’s Golden Rooster Award for Foreign Film of 2019 was …

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Romy’s Salon (2019) Mischa Kamp, the Netherlands

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2009

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The Reverse (2009) Borys Lankosz, Poland

The film takes place in Communist Warsaw of the 1950’s and everyone is spying on everyone and people are carted away in the middle of the night by the secret police.  A young woman living in a small apartment with her mother and grandmother works as a poetry editor for the State and longs for a relationship.  As Don Adams would say, “missed by that much.”  It was okay but not nearly as good as it could have been.  It won Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress at the Polish Film Awards.

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Un Cuento Chino (Chinese Take-Away). 2001. Argentina/Spain. Comedy. Directed by Sebastian Borensztein. With Ricardo Darín, Huan Sheng Huang (credited as Ignacio Huang),  and Muriel Santa Ana.

A lonely and gruff owner of a hardware store helps a stranded Chinese young man, who doesn't speak a word of Spanish,  find his family in Argentina.

I found this movie online by accident and I liked more than I thought I would. It has a good screenplay, it's well directed, and both Darín and Huang give very good and funny performances.

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2011

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8.  The Monk (2011)  Dominik Moll, France

It takes place in the late 1500’s at a remote Spanish monastery.  Vincent Cassel who was brought to the monastery as an infant orphan has grown up to be the leader.  The film starts off really well.  It’s very atmospheric and it has many interesting threads.  My problem with it was that those disparate threads didn’t really come together and the end was a bit of a mess.  But Geraldine Chaplin has a very small part as a mean nun and she is very good.

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The 2019 Washington DC Film Critics Association Best Picture and Best Foreign Film Award …

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Parasite (2019) Joon-ho Bong, South Korea

 

Other 2019 Foreign Film nominees …

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Atlantique (2019) Mati Doup, Senegal

 

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Monos (2019) Alejandro Landes, Columbia

 

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Pain and Glory (2019) Pedro Almodovar, Spain

 

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Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019) Celine Sciamma, France

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The Wave (Bølgen). 2015. Norway. Thriller. Directed by Roar Uthaug. With Kristoffer Joner, Ane Dahl Torp, Jonas Hoff Oftebro, and Edith Haagenrud.

A geologist warns his teammates that a massive landslide that can flood the area may happen soon.

This is an excellent disaster movie.  It is also very humane. The movie smartly focuses on its characters, allowing us to get familiar with them and care about them when they are in peril. Technically, The Wave is topnotch. The collapse of the fjord and the following tsunami are amazingly recreated. The especial effects, cinematography, and sets are outstanding, with some hellish images that depict and accentuate the tragic events. There were moments when the movie reminded me of The Impossible, a favorite movie of mine.

The director and the main cast reunited in 2018 in Quake. I hope to find it soon.

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MODERATO CANTABILE 1960 Directed by Peter Brook adapted screenplay by Marguerite Duras from her book. Jeanne Moreau Jean Paul Belmondo. A married woman is a witness in a murder,falls in love with another witness.Slow but a good ending.Moreau won the best actress award au the 1960 Cannes Festival.7/10Moderato_Cantabile.jpg

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LAMIEL 1967 By Jean Aurel from an unfinished story by Stendhal,screenplay by Cécile St Laurent(Caroline Chérie writer) Erotic comedy with a great cast: Anna Karina in the title role is beautiful and has some nude scenes.Robert Hossein JC Brialy Michel Bouquet Bernadette Lafont Pierre Clémenti Claude Dauphin, released at 95 minutes in 1967, the print i have seen had some bad  editing and was 88 minutes in length,This film was shown on cable a super rare showing , actually never seen on tv here!-no ads- no release on video or dvd. 6/10 Karina's beauty is a 9..MV5BZDZiY2Y3ZTEtYTdjMC00YTc3LTk0NGEtYmRk

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2013

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The Wind Rises (2013) Hayao Miyazaki, Japan [dubbed version]

I gave this one another go and took it out of my top ten.  Arguably beautifully done it is nonetheless very dry and plodding.  As lip sync hardly mattered in this animation I chose to watch the English language version again.  Werner Herzog’s voice is instantly recognizable as ‘the German’ but boy he cannot carry a tune.

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Kliou the Tiger (1937) Henri de la Falaise, Vietnam - 7.5/ 10- This silent film is the first film of Vietnam (then Indochina) and also is considered the last American film of the silent era, both according to IMDB. It was made by Constance Bennett's husband Henri de la Falaise. The cast is entirely composed of native "Moi" Vietnamese speaking in their language with French officers speaking to each other at the introduction and end, setting up the story. Bhat is a goofy boy in love with Dhi though her father does not think much of him. After her father is grievously wounded by Kliou the tiger Bhat travels through the jungle and kills him, winning the girl and the respect of the town. The French officers then look over the skin of the tiger. I am a sucker for these travelogue films so I rated it highly. The film has some very beautiful shots of the Vietnamese jungle too. It also depicts the native customs such as preparing the Urari poison for their arrows. Overall, a very good film and a rare look into the Indochinese country of that time. There seems to be some debate about the release of the film which my DVD says is 1937. I consider this my new favorite of 1937. Warning: this film does contain some native animal violence (they kill and eat some animals and kill the tiger obviously) and also topless nudity as was common in Asia at that time. 

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2014

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9.  Li’l Quinquin (2014) Bruno Dumont, France

Produced as a television mini-series but also released to festivals as a feature film.  A pair of bumbling detectives investigate a series of bizarre murders in a French sea-side town and farming community.  The inhabitants are all as strange as those in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks.  I liked it.

 

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Stations of the Cross (2014) Dietrich Bruggermann, Germany

The film is made up of 14 very long takes.  A young girl is pushed to the edge by her religious fanatic mother and an uncompromising priest.  It is a very slow build but I thought it paid off quite well.  Interesting.

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