Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Your Favourite Foreign Language Films


Bogie56
 Share

Recommended Posts

the 1920’s

 

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQek1PWsYsStPUpTDyrWuv

The Red Inn (1923) Jean Epstein, France

I usually cut a lot of slack for silent films but this one is just dreadful.  Slow doesn’t adequately describe it.  It takes place post French Revolution.  At a small dinner party one person regales the others with a story about a man who takes refuge at an Inn full of shady characters during a storm.  The traveller tells everyone that he is a diamond merchant and is on his way to Amsterdam.  Then before bed he even shows off his huge stash of gems.  Shocking surprise spoiler ahead …  He is murdered in his sleep.

 

1951

L-auberge-rouge-decouvrez-la-veritable-e

5.  The Red Inn (1951) Claude Autant-Lara, France

Like its silent predecessor this period film is about an Inn that preys on travellers.  That is where the similarities end.  This one is a comedy and all of the staff at the Inn are serial killers.  A carriage breaks down during a winter storm and everyone takes shelter at the Inn to the delight of the owner.  But a Monk played by Fernandel arrives and he hears the confession of the Innkeeper’s wife.  So what to do?  Say nothing and let everyone perish or break his sacred oath.  Yves Montand sings the opening and closing narration.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I watched Flee (2021) yesterday. I was particularly curious given it's unique status as a nominee for the Animation, Documentary and Foreign Language Oscars. It was decent, but I couldn't help but feel that the mixed format distracted from the story.  (6/10)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, LawrenceA said:

I watched Flee (2021) yesterday. I was particularly curious given it's unique status as a nominee for the Animation, Documentary and Foreign Language Oscars. It was decent, but I couldn't help but feel that the mixed format distracted from the story.  (6/10)

Agree.  It didn't do much for me.  The real story seemed to be so much more powerful than the film.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

fee-aux-chou.png

The Cabbage Fairy  (1896)  France/Dir: Alice Guy  -  This under-2-minutes short marked the directing debut of pioneering woman director Guy. A smiling woman pulls babies out of a cabbage patch. Ahead of it's time by 85 years.   (6/10)

319db-wonderful-absinthe-1899-8.jpg?w=72

Wonderful Absinthe  (1899)  France/Dir: Alice Guy  -  Another from Guy, this one less than a minute long. A man orders a drink at an outdoor café. He's served absinthe, the taste of which shocks him, causing him to yell at the waiter. The latter responds by spraying seltzer in the former's face. Classic.   (5/10)

MV5BZDhmOGMzNDctMjU0Mi00YWFmLTlhYTUtOTA1

Nero, or the Fall of Rome  (1909)  Italy/Dir: Arturo Ambrosio & Luigi Maggi  -  14-minute short film that very broadly details the reign of Nero (Alberto Capozzi). He falls for proto-femme fatale Poppea (Lydia De Roberti), creating a scandal that leads to his downfall. Italy was producing some of the most sumptuous productions in the world at this time, and this features terrific costumes and inventive sets.   (6/10)

196-270x400.jpg

The Nativity  (1910)  France/Dir: Louis Feuillade  -  The birth of Christ in 14 minutes. Highlights of this relatively well-produced version of the oft-told-tale include a really old, bald Joseph; an actual black actor cast as one of the 3 Wise Men; Herod in silly blackface makeup; and a blessedly brief runtime.   (6/10)

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

MV5BN2YxMzViODItZmRmYi00N2Y3LWI2ZDktNWZl

Big Bug  (2022)  France/Dir: Jean-Pierre Jeunet  -  Predictably quirky sci-fi comedy. Set in a high-tech future, a group of vacuous humans find themselves trapped in their automated house when the ubiquitous robots that run everything decide to take over. Jeunet's patented blend of childlike humor and R-rated sexuality is on display, for better or worse, depending on your taste. It all plays like a lesser mash-up of ideas from Idiocracy and WALL-E. I was annoyed for the most part, although I thought the special effects and production design were well done. I also enjoyed the performance of Francois Levantal as the villainous Yonyx-model robots.   (5/10)

bigbug.png

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

the-privilege-netflix-review.jpg

The Privilege  (2022)  Germany/Dir: Felix Fuchssteiner & Katharina Schode  -  High schooler Finn (Max Schimmelpfennig), still struggling with the lingering trauma from a childhood incident, begins to suspect that a sinister supernatural force is targeting his fraternal twin sister. 

This cliché-packed horror thriller is slick-looking, with good cinematography and CGI effects, but the story is a messy mash-up of tropes from a dozen or more earlier, better movies. It lurches from spiritualism and exorcism, to corporate conspiracy and nature-gone-wild body horror. I've seen worse, but I've seen a whole lot better.   (5/10)

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1951

paris-toujours-paris-large.jpg

39360c21e9bac9dad26c449a9d153af4.jpg

10.  Paris Is Always Paris (1951) Luciano Emmer, Italy

Frankly this was a disappointment given the premise and everyone involved.  It’s essentially an ensemble piece about a group of Italian tourists arriving in Paris for a weekend.  The cast which includes Aldo Fabrizi is undermined by a weak script.  Marcello Mastroianni has a supporting role but another Italian actor dubbed his voice.  As was the custom virtually the entire movie is dubbed so perhaps Mastroianni wasn’t available when this happened.  The highlights are seeing Eartha Kitt in a cabaret number and Yves Montand playing himself as a singer in a dance hall.  This was before his career as an actor really took off and his act is a bit like that of Tom Jones, or rather vice versa.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

51jCLqeAfPL._SX300_SY300_QL70_ML2_.jpg

The Black Dream  (1911)  Germany/Dir: Urban Gad  -  A jeweler and a nobleman vie for the affection of an equestrian trick-rider (Asta Nielsen). This minor melodrama was one of the first feature length films for Nielsen, who was one of Europe's biggest movie stars of the decade. It's not much to look at now, being of only historical value.   (5/10)

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

image-w1280.jpg

The Mystery of the Rocks of Kador  (1912)  France/Dir: Leonce Perret  -  A devious Count (writer-director Perret) schemes to get the inheritance of a young woman (Suzanne Grandais). When the plot leaves the girl an amnesiac, a pioneering doctor uses unconventional methods to try and restore her memory. Perret displays a deft skill at the cinematic form of the time, while also showing innovation with his use of a film-within-a-film.   (6/10)

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

sddefault.jpg

The Dwarf  (1912)  France/Dir: Louis Feuillade  -  An anonymous person is leaving plays at a theater, where they bring much acclaim to the star (Renee Carl). When she tries to track down the mysterious author, she learns he has a secret, which is given away by the title. This 16-minute short is well-made for the time, and may be of some historical value for its sympathetic treatment of those with dwarfism.   (6/10) 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7otTjDlky5Hs6T5qfZb4TFYhccm.jpg

Ingeborg Holm  (1913)  Sweden/Dir: Victor Sjostrom  -  Social issue melodrama with Hilda Borgstrom as the title woman, a devoted wife and mother. When her husband suddenly gets sick and dies, he leaves the family in crushing debt. Ingeborg is forced into the poorhouse, and her children are removed to separate foster families. As she struggles to get her family back, she faces setback after setback.

Sjostrom's highly-successful tearjerker actually elicited real systemic change in his home country, with reforms made to debt laws and the implementation of more social security safety nets. The film is also considered a landmark in narrative form, and was highly influential throughout the world.   (7/10)

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

fantomas-juve-against-fantomas

Fantomas: The Man in Black  (1913)  France/Dir: Louis Feuillade  -  Part two in the 5-film Fantomas cycle, following immediately after Fantomas: In the Shadow of the Guillotine (1913). The master criminal and master of disguise known as Fantomas (Rene Navarre) continues on a robbery and murder spree, chased by dogged police inspector Juve (Edmund Breon) and his loyal compatriot, the journalist Fandor (Georges Melchior). 

Feuillade's proto-serial continues at a brisk pace, with excellent production values and good set-pieces. The scenes shot on the Paris streets have enormous historical value. Followed by 3 more installments, this one is also known as Fantomas: Juve Against Fantomas.   (7/10)

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

murderous-corpse.jpg

Fantomas: The Dead Man Who Killed  (1913)  France/Dir: Louis Feuillade  -  Part 3 in the Fantomas series sees investigative journalist Fandor (Georges Melchior) take the lead in the effort to thwart master criminal Fantomas (Rene Nevarre), who this time around has taken the identity of a man he's framed for multiple crimes. At 97 minutes, this is the longest of the Fantomas films, and has the most fleshed-out story and characterizations thus far. Also known as Fantomas: The Murderous Corpse.  (7/10)

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

fantc3b4mas-the-mysterious-fingerprint-1

Fantomas: The Mysterious Fingerprint  (1914)  France/Dir: Louis Feuillade  -  4th installment in the Fantomas series. Inspector Juve (Edmund Breon) returns to the scene, but is accused of being Fantomas, so he's imprisoned. Journalist Fandor (Georges Melchior) sets out to unmask the real Fantomas (Rene Navarre) and free his friend. The series continues with more excellently crafted action and adventure. Also known as Fantomas: Fantomas versus Fantomas.   (7/10)

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

fantc3b4mas-the-false-magistratele-faux-

Fantomas: The False Magistrate  (1914)  France/Dir: Louis Feuillade  -  5th and final chapter in the Fantomas series. Master criminal Fantomas (Rene Navarre) has been captured and imprisoned, but police Inspector Juve (Edmund Breon) and journalist Fandor (Georges Melchior) allow him to escape in an effort to track down the rest of his gang and shut down his operations once and for all. Things come to a rousing conclusion here, with the highlight being an exciting set-piece in a bell tower.   (7/10)

I want to give praise to the 2-disc Kino Blu-ray release that I watched. The picture is pristine, and the new score is well done. It also includes the two Feuillade short films that I posted about above. Recommended to all silent film fans.

51dgaB4uuxL._SX342_.jpg

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

MV5BNTkwZmU1OTYtM2I5ZC00MmFmLTljMjAtNTU5

After Death  (1915)  Russia/Dir: Yevgeny Bauer  -  A nervous young man (Vitold Polonsky) makes a rare venture into society to see a stage performance. He becomes infatuated with the star performer (Vera Karalli), but she dies suddenly, and the young man becomes obsessed with her memory. 

Director Bauer had a short but important career in films. He innovated several cinematic set-ups, and the film looks great, with interesting compositions for the time. Unfortunately, Bauer died from a brief illness in 1917, and over half of his film output is believed lost. Critic Kenneth Turan is quoted as calling Bauer the "greatest director you've never heard of".    (7/10)

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9307-judex-0-230-0-345-crop.jpg?k=c809d7

Judex  (1916)  France/Dir: Louis Feuillade  -  12-chapter serial about a mysterious man known as Judex (Rene Creste) who targets a crooked banker and a criminal gang in a complicated revenge plot. Feuillade's follow-up to Fantomas (1913) and Les Vampires (1915) changes up the formula by making the hero the flamboyant masked character, rather than the villains. This was a deliberate move, as he'd been accused of glamorizing criminals with his previous two hit film series. His original script owes a lot to The Count of Monte Cristo, while this serial itself would prove immensely influential all over the world, with some citing it as the genesis of the costumed hero genre. There was a sequel serial the following year, as well as condensed remakes in the '30's and 60's.   (7/10)

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2.jpg

The Dying Swan  (1917)  Russia/Dir: Yevgeny Bauer  -  Another melodrama of obsession from director Bauer. This time a half-crazed artist (Andrey Gromov) becomes enthralled by a mute ballerina (Vera Karalli), and hopes to use her in his "masterpiece". Featuring exceptional shot composition and excellent sets.   (7/10)

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

J'accusePoster.jpg

J'accuse  (1919)  France/Dir: Abel Gance  -  Famous antiwar epic that uses a melodramatic love triangle between two men and the woman they both love to frame a narrative about the futility of war. Gance's massive WWI battle scenes were shot with active duty soldiers while the war was still happening, with many of his extras actually dying in the war shortly after. The fantasy ending is justly famous. My new pick as best film of 1919.  (8/10)

MV5BYjQ2ZjIzNDItZmU0OC00MmYzLWI2MzEtYzcx

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

hixCaSWhy70MBqqDIm138PUbJ9-1200-1200-675

The Parson's Widow  (1920)  Denmark/Dir: Carl Theodor Dreyer  -  An ambitious young man (Einar Rod) is selected to be the new pastor of a small village. However, as is their custom, he is also expected to marry the preceding parson's elderly widow (Hildur Carlberg). This is especially complicated due to his being in love with the young Mari (Greta Almroth). 

This period picture features something usually absent from Dreyer's work - humor. The situation is played for laughs, and is largely successful, while still demonstrating Dreyer's talent for shot composition.    (7/10)

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Phantom_1922_film,_german_poster.jpg

Phantom  (1922)  Germany/Dir: F.W. Murnau  -  Melodrama in which a mild-mannered clerk and aspiring poet (Alfred Abel) becomes obsessed with a wealthy woman (Lya De Putti) after she hits him with her carriage. He goes to increasingly extreme lengths in hopes of winning her hand, even taking up with a lookalike (also De Putti). Also featuring Lil Dagover, Grete Berger, Anton Edthofer, and Hans Heinrich von Twardowski.

This was lesser Murnau, but still worth seeing. The psychological aspects are intriguing, especially given the time in which the film was made. The cast is also outstanding. Berger would later be killed in a concentration camp, while the beautiful Lya De Putti led a short, tragic life that ended in 1931at the age of 34. Despite the title, there are no horror or supernatural elements to the film.    (7/10)

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

© 2022 Turner Classic Movies Inc. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...