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BEST Foreign Language Film Ever Made.

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The first time that I saw Alain Resnais' famous film, "Last Year At Marienbad", I had to wait on a long, long line - it seemed that every film buff who was into foreign films wanted to see this one.


Of course, at the time, I can honestly say that I had never seen anything like it.


Did I like it?


Well, I was intrigued and mystified.


Seeing it many years later, on DVD, I found it so bizarre and claustrophobic and I could barely get through it.


Did they meet last year?  Didn't they?


I really didn't care.


The approach was much too - baroque.




What's the story of "A" (above), "X" and "M"?

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  • 1 year later...

In making my top ten list of all time, as part of a Backlot profile, I included at least five or six foreign films and then was told that they were disqualified from this particular list because of TCM Imports, so now I have a chance to list my favorite foreign films that I have seen:


Seven Beauties, Lina Wertmuller

That Obscure Object of Desire, Luis Bunuel

Un Chien Andalou, also  Bunuel and Salvador Dali

Trainspotting, Danny Boyle

Diva, Jean Jacques Beineix

Oh Lucky Man, Lindsay Anderson

8 1/2, Federico Fellini

La Dolce Vita, also Fellini


These are in no particular order but they have left lifelong impressions on me and I watch them any chance I get.

BTW, I first saw Chien Andalou at a 1976 David Bowie concert. He was in his "Thin White Duke" phase and he showed the 20-minute silent before the concert. It was fascinating and surreal, (as was intended by the greatest Surrealist Dali) and I will never forget it, (the license plate slashing the eyeball) and the concert. What a combo and what a night. I was in heaven.

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These mentions I classify as "rare." This might be a word for really, really, really, good movies that have not, for a reason or other, been transferred to DVD. The third one below has been transferred.

La Nuit de Varennes (1983). Some of you are already sighing since I have lamenting this for years, not being transferred. King Louis XVI is followed during his historical flight from Paris, by Restif de la Bretonne (Jean-Louis Barrault) a writer known for his risque writings that included a column called Revolutionary Nights. He is joined along the way by Casanova (Marcello Mastrianni) who has thematic resonance. He is aging and when telling a story in a coach to his companions, loses his train of thought while glancing at animals in a pasture. Great change occur not only in great States but individuals as well. Harvey Keitel portrays Thomas Paine. Lovely Hanna Schygulla plays a young woman, partial to the King, whose tearful devotion to the throne might incite the love for Royalty. In one scene Hannah finds it necessary to slap the upstart American Harvey in the face, and then unfortunately tells him why. So disappointing, it was fairly obvious why and would have played much better if she had kept her mouth shut.

Allonsfan (1974) Another set in revolutionary times. Fulvio (Marcello Mastrianni) is a member a ragtag rebellion during the Neapoleonic Wars. The situation has become hopeless. Fulvio tries to leave the group. His roots are higher class than some of the others and thoughts of returning to his good digs dampens his erstwhile revolutionary ardor. But trying to do this, all he has to do is turn a corner to see a ragtagger who will say, "Who's going to get the guns?" Music by Morricone some of which was re=used in Inglorious Basterds years later. Movie made by the Taviani brothers (The Night of the Shooting Stars). There is a comic element to this, but also some serious scenes some of which seem rather cryptic. Not on DVD.


The Time of the Gypsies (1998) A Bildungsroman of sorts. A young teenager, Perhan, living in a squalid tenement slum in Sarajevo (but think Dodes Ka-den) is a sensitive and caring (unlike his brother  [think Sonny from The Godfather] who in a fit of pique rips the roof of their already threadbare domicile) and loves (Perhan, that is) a village girl whose parents hate him. Realizing there is no future here he becomes vulnerable to the fat cats who come periodically in their modern motor cars to incite children to assist in their nefarious goings-on the City (Think Fagin). It takes awhile for that to actually happen but there is a lot amusement as well as lyricism in some of the early scenes. Watch the scene where the gypsies swim in the lake to music and ritual. Watch Perhan play catchy tunes on his accordion and then exhibit his telekinetic powers by making things rise and hover just by looking at them. The devotion he has for his younger and crippled sister is touching. He will change throughout the story, but how much? This is on DVD.



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