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Your Favourite Foreign Language Films


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3 hours ago, Bogie56 said:

2011

9.  Dark Blue World (2011) Jan Sverak, Czech.

The story of Czechoslovakian pilots in WWII who make it to Britain to fly for the RAF.  It’s quite well done but not exactly thrilling.  I was more interested in trying to determine where the aerial photography of real vintage planes meets modern day CGI and that was very well done.

I've been on the lookout for that one for a while. It's on the "101 Best War Movies" list.

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At the top of the list would have to be La Femme Nikita.  A stylish action movie that made me a lifetime fan of Luc Besson.   A French film for people who think they don't like French film.

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Wings of Honneamise is about putting the first man in space in a world that's not quite our own.  The world they created for the film is the real star.

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Yes, I have a weakness for beautifully crafted fictional worlds, and for animation.   April and the Extraordinary World is set in an alternative steampunk France.

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One that doesn't get nearly enough attention is Technotise: Edit & I.   Serbian cyberpunk with an interesting style that is kind of a mix of Japanese anime, and more traditional Eastern European animation. 

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The winner of China’s Golden Rooster Award for Best Film of 2020 was …

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Leap (2020) Peter Ho-Sun Chan, China

 

The winner of China’s Golden Rooster Award for Foreign Film of 2020 was …

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200 Meters (2020) Ameen Nayfeh, Jordan

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2013

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The Eternal Zero (2013) Takashi Yamazaki, Japan

The grandchildren of a Kamikaze Pilot investigate his time in WWII.  This won Best Film at the Awards of the Japanese Academy.  Though very well done I found it a bit overtly sentimental and cliched at times.  Some of the CGI is spectacular and some of it is simply OTT.

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Brutal Sorcery  (1983)  Hong Kong/Thailand/Dir: Pang Ling  -  Outrageous supernatural horror concerning a cab driver who gets possessed by evil spirits after unknowingly giving a ride to two ghosts. The cab driver and his family seek help from the medical community as well as various spiritualists. 

This fast-paced phantasmagoria is filled with unusual imagery and shocking moments. Unfortunately, the characterizations are thin and the plot is near incoherent. There's also music lifted from the 1980 Flash Gordon.   (5/10)

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Alien 2: On Earth  (1980)  Italy/Dir: Ciro Ippolito  -  Unauthorized sequel-in-name-only that concerns a fallen meteorite, actually an alien egg, that is carried into a deep cavern by a group of vacationing spelunkers. Eventually the "egg" hatches and chaos ensues.

Writer-producer-director Ippolito decided to make this dumb rip-off after the success of Lucio Fulci's Zombie (aka Zombi 2), an unauthorized "sequel" to Dawn of the Dead. That movie was pretty good, though, while this cheapjack waste of time is slow, poorly acted, badly edited and just plain terrible. I did like some of the score, though.    (3/10)

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Angel Dust  (1994)  Japan/Dir: Gakuryu Ishii  -  After a series of bizarre murders occurring on crowded trains, the police enlist profiler Dr. Suma (Kaho Minami) to try and catch the culprit. The investigation leads to Suma's old mentor, controversial psychiatrist Dr. Aku (Takeshi Wakamatsu) and his cutting-edge "reverse brainwashing" techniques used to deprogram former cult members.

The overly-familiar subject matter is enlivened a bit by stylish cinematic techniques, although some of those (like a repeated audio clip) can be more distracting than illuminating.   (6/10)

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2014

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3.  Not My Type (2014) Lucas Belvaux, France

As modern romance films go this one has to be right up there.  A hairdresser and a philosophy teacher …. will it work?  Emilie Dequenne (Rosetta 1999) won Belgium’s Magritte Best Actress Award for this and is very very good.

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Prey  (2021)  Germany/Dir: Thomas Sieben  -  Five friends go on a hiking trip through a remote forest where they become the target of a sniper. Weak characterizations, poor pacing and an unimaginative script make this a dud.   (4/10)

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2015

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8.  Diary of a Chambermaid (2015) Benoit Jacquot, France

An interesting remake with additional flashbacks of the previous positions held by maid, Celestine.  Lea Seydoux is good in the part but the film falls a bit short of the Bunuel version.

 

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The Summer of Sangaile (2015) Alante Kavaite, Lithuania

I guess this is called a coming of age film.  A 17 year old girl must overcome her vertigo to fulfill her dream of flying.  But the main story is about her first love affair which happens to be with an older girl.  It is well shot.  Perhaps a bit pretentiously at times and the whole thing is a tad dull.

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2016

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Lost In Paris (2016) Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon, France

Fiona Gordon plays a colossal Olive Oyl-like twit who flies from snowbound frigid Canada (in the summertime!) to visit her Aunt in Paris.  The humour is very silly.  For me one of the highlights was the use of the McGarrigle Sisters rendition of Louden Wainwright III’s Swimming Song.

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Angel's Egg  (1985)  Japan/Dir: Mamoru Oshii  -  Strange animated tale about a young girl in a post-apocalyptic wasteland who wanders around looking for supplies, while also protecting a large egg. This brief (70 minutes) science fiction story is deliberately vague, relying on striking visuals and little plot. I found it a mixed bag, but it has a fervent fanbase.   (6/10)

 

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Star Virgin  (1988)  Japan/Dir: Ichiro Omomo  -  Science fiction/action comedy about a modest young woman (Eiko Kuroki) who, in times of stress, can transform into the title character, equipped with a high-tech bikini and a slew of super powers. She battles alien menaces and monsters over the course of the movie's meager 57 minutes. It's all very silly, although not nearly as lewd or exploitative as one would imagine.   (6/10)

 

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The Puppetmaster  (1993)  Taiwan/Dir: Hsiao-Hsien Hou  -  Unusual blend of documentary interviews and dramatic re-enactments telling the life of master puppeteer Li Tien-Lu, from his birth through the end of the Japanese occupation of Taiwan. Some moments tend to drag, but overall I found it all compelling and interesting.   (7/10)

 

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The Consequences of Love  (2004)  Italy/Dir: Paolo Sorrentino  - A dour, lonely man (Toni Servillo) leads a monotonous existence, living in a hotel in Switzerland, spending his days sitting in a coffee shop and staring out the window at the people that pass by. However, beneath his stolid exterior, there's much more going on, as we learn more about his past, his present, and his daydreams regarding his future. I've seen a few of Sorrentino's other films (Il DivoThe Great BeautyThis Must Be the Place), but this was the first one that I really liked. It's a bit slow, and more than a little pretentious, but the style grew on me, and Servillo's reserved performance is very good. Recommended.   (8/10)

 

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Ghost Stories  (2020)  India/Dir: Zoya Akhtar & Dibakar Banerjee & Karan Johar & Anurag Kashyap  -  Supernatural anthology featuring four tales. In the first, a young woman starts a job as an elder care nurse and encounters more than she bargained for with her new patient. In the second, an expectant mother has an unusual relationship with her nephew. In the third, a man wanders into a small village that has been beset by flesh-eating monsters. And in the final story, a newlywed learns some dark secrets about her new husband, his family, and their large, forbidding manor estate. I enjoyed the third tale, the first and last were fairly weak, and the second was a complete miss.   (5/10)

 

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2017

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1.  Monsieur and Madame Adelman (2017) Nicolas Bedos, France

Not only did this just become my favourite FF of 2017, it also become my Best Picture period.  It is a fun and inventive comedy that looks at a couple over the course of about 30 years.  He is an undiscovered writer and she wants him.  Real life couple Nicolas Bedos and Doria Tillier star.  Recommended.

 

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7.  Let the Sunshine In (2017), Claire Denis, France

Interesting film about a beautiful single divorcee played by Juliette Binoche who is desperately seeking love.  I think the audience is one step ahead of her all the way in determining that the men she chooses are all wrong for her which for me was not a good thing.  Thankfully though the film doesn’t go down the Mr. Goodbar road.  Gerard Depardieu has a nice cameo.

 

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8.  Jeune Femme (2017) Leonor Serraille, France

This film won Best Picture at the Stockholm International Film Festival.  It concerns a very erratic woman who has just been thrown out of her apartment by her boyfriend.  Will she survive or become a street person?  The film is stylish but ultimately not very satisfying IMO.

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The Boxer's Omen  (1983)  Hong Kong/Dir: Chih-Hung Kuei  -  Bizarre horror/action/fantasy starring Phillip Ko as a Hong Kong gangster who vows revenge after his professional fighter brother is permanently paralyzed in a match against vicious Thai opponent Mr. Ba Bo (musclebound Bolo Yeung). However, his quest takes an unexpected turn when our hero begins getting visitations from a ghostly Buddhist monk who enlists him to do battle against a black magic priest.

This totally off-the-wall wonder is both cheap-looking and wildly imaginative. The effects are often primitive yet memorable. There's also a fair amount of cartoonish gore and some surprising nudity. This would make a great double bill with The Seventh Curse (1986).    (7/10)

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I KNEW HER WELL,  a 1965 Italian movie, which I consider to be a brilliant film, is finally coming to TCM ...

...but in the middle of the night. AIEEE! How can they do this?  I have seen it and besides it is on the Criterion

Channel but I have been all geared up to highly recommend it to all if it ever showed up on the channel.

But many will not be able to see it.

Oct 6 4amEDT

😭

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Brelan d'As 1952 France Aka Full House   Directed by the great Henri Verneuil Michel Simon Raymond Rouleau.Three separate crime stories with three different detectives :Simon impersonnate Maigret his story screenplay is by Simenon.The first story with Rouleau is the best one,Rouleau is fantastic with witty,snappy dialogue, a real joy. Remastered 2020 4 k   118 minutes 7/10

 

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Abismos De Pasion  1954 Mexico aka Wuthering Heights  Directed by Luis Bunuel with Jorge Mistral Irasema Dillian.Very good adaptation of the Emily Bronte's classic book,more faithful to the story,very good acting and direction,another good one by Bunuel. 90 minutes 8/10

 

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The Garden of The Finzi-Contini  1970 Italy Directed by Vittorio De Sica.Dominique Sanda Fabio Testi Helmut Berger. One of the last films directed by De Sica and one  of his best.Set in Italy in 1938 the ordeal of a Jewish Italian family when the racial laws are imposed in the country by Mussolini .Beautiful cinematography.Oscar best foreign film 94 minutes 8.5/10 

 

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11 hours ago, nakano said:

Brelan d'As 1952 France Aka Full House   Directed by the great Henri Verneuil Michel Simon Raymond Rouleau.Three separate crime stories with three different detectives :Simon impersonnate Maigret his story screenplay is by Simenon.The first story with Rouleau is the best one,Rouleau is fantastic with witty,snappy dialogue, a real joy. Remastered 2020 4 k   118 minutes 7/10

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Alas, the blu ray does not appear to have English subtitles though.  Sounds good.

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