The MoFo Top 100 Foreign Language Film Countdown

→ in
Tools    





TETSUOOOO!
Akira is great but I have a separate list for animated movies.
Akira 1988 25th Anniversary Edition Dolby TrueHD 5.1/Blu-ray/English (Re-watch)


What's cooler than being cool? Ice Cold! Coolest title to appear on the countdown so far. I have one more Melville on my ballot and like Sean, I'm also a bit doubtful it will make an appearance on the countdown.

Movies Seen: 35/72

My Ballot: 10/25
25. Mongol (1-pointer)
22. The Wages of Fear (#67)
21. Fireworks (#78)
19. In The Mood For Love (#34)
17. High and Low (#41)
11. Le SamouraÔ (#30)
7. Samurai Rebellion (#79)
6. The Battle of Algiers (#56)
5. War and Peace (#59)
2. La Haine (#53)




Sso glad it made it! Le Samourai was my #20 on my ballot.

Le SamouraÔ (1967)

I absolutely loved this film. I was engaged, engrossed and encapsulated by it for its entire runtime. Not one false step in this movie. There's nothing I would've changed about it...and rarely do I not find at least some issue with a film...but not here!

Le Samourai is everything I could want in a film watching experience. I loved it's slow, still approach and it's solid determination. Even it's lack of narrative information was a plus. Watching the events unfold in almost real time was rewarding for me. It was like I was along for the ride and was waiting to see what would befall our unlikely protagonist next. The director skillfully builds sympathy for an otherwise unsavory character and he does this without dipping into the cliche bargain bin of director's tricks. I'm impressed with Melville's film making instincts!

I read online that Le Samourai has influenced a lot of film makers and their movies. That's not surprising as the style and story narrative are quite unique and striking.



But...am I the only one who sees a striking similarity between Le Samourai (1967) and This Gun for Hire (1942) starring Alan Ladd as an emotionless hitman with no friends except his cat. Just look at that photo I used above. No that's not Alain Delon/Jef Costell that's Allan Ladd with the same cold, distant look in his eyes. Both men look remarkable alike. The narrative of both films are very similar, as is the modus operandi for both characters. As far as I know Alan Ladd's portrayal of an emotionless, loner hitman was unique at the time and not a character trope.




cricket's Avatar
Registered User
Maybe there's more room than I thought? Probably missing some big hitters too

Seven Samurai
Rashomon
8 Ĺ
La Dolce Vita
Seventh Seal
Persona
Stalker
Spirited Away
Parasite
Pans Labyrinth
Amelie
Aguirre
City of God
Come and See
Samurai
Ran
Oldboy
Rules of the Game
M
Breathless
Late Spring
Rublev
A Separation
Shoah
Cranes are Flying
Ikiru
Bicycle Thieves

That leaves 3 slots
I would take out Throne of Blood and say Andrei Rublev got no votes. Some of those others I'm skeptical about but I'm not sure. I'm thinking Bitch in the Dunes is a lock, with other possibilities Grande Illusion, Downfall, The White Ribbon, Joan of Arc, and Jeanne Dielman.



cricket's Avatar
Registered User
I like Le Samourai for the most part, but unless I'm missing something I have a big problem with it. You got a slick professional supposedly, but after a job when he knows the police will be on the lookout, he doesn't change his easily recognizable and memorable clothing? I see it as utterly stupid and it bothers me for the rest of the movie.

Akira is ok I guess but it's not for me.



I would take out Throne of Blood and say Andrei Rublev got no votes. Some of those others I'm skeptical about but I'm not sure. I'm thinking Bitch in the Dunes is a lock, with other possibilities Grande Illusion, Downfall, The White Ribbon, Joan of Arc, and Jeanne Dielman.
This is assuming the same people who voted Rublev last countdown did the same here. It was in the 60s on the all timer.



I like Le Samourai for the most part, but unless I'm missing something I have a big problem with it. You got a slick professional supposedly, but after a job when he knows the police will be on the lookout, he doesn't change his easily recognizable and memorable clothing? I see it as utterly stupid and it bothers me for the rest of the movie...
WARNING: "Le Samourai" spoilers below
I take it that the hitman was resolved to the reality that he would be killed or captured eventually. That's kinda evident from him waltzing into the nightclub at the end, he was sure to not escape that situation...but fatalism is the thing there.




cricket's Avatar
Registered User
WARNING: "Le Samourai" spoilers below
I take it that the hitman was resolved to the reality that he would be killed or captured eventually. That's kinda evident from him waltzing into the nightclub at the end, he was sure to not escape that situation...but fatalism is the thing there.

Didn't he take some precautions? Keeping the same clothes on is like turning himself in, which he could have done if he wanted. By the end of the movie sure, but it could have been different.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
One more from my list at #12, Monsieur Cool Kat --



Le SamouraÔ

[hitman enters the room of the bar owner]
Bar Owner: Qui Ítes vous? Who are you?
Jeff Costello: «a n'a pas d'importance. Doesn't matter.
Bar Owner: Qu'est-ce que vous voulez? What do you want?
Jeff Costello: Pour te tuer. To kill you.
[shoots him]

I am in FULL agreement with everyone so far: this IS the epitome of Cool.

I was introduced to this film during the 60s Countdown. Opening the door to other like films such as Le Cercle Rouge as well as a number of Melville as well and I'm scarcely skimming the top of his films.
I very easily see the inspiration for the following generations of film makers. One in particular, for me, would be Luc Besson in his early films like La Femme Nikita and Lťon. Specifically the secret knock Jeff uses for the card game. Three knocks, two knocks, one knock; I'm sure Besson used it as a salute in the pivotal hotel scene before the explosive confrontation with the entire police force.

When I rewatched this film I enjoyed delving deeper into the nuances in the comfort of familiarity as opposed to the captivated first watch where I hungrily delved into every composition of procedures that Melville is very capable of showcasing WITHOUT slowing down any of the pacing or story line one iota. An incredible feat that few can truly pull off and definitely not at this caliber.
With Alain Delon as Jeff Costello, those subtle nuances are expressed beyond the minimalist dialogue. We see it in his eyes in so many scenes. Such as the first time he is stealing a car, using a large key ring of some outrageous amount of keys. We see the almost nervous concern as he stays utterly motionless above the sight of the windows, trying key after key. The tension is far more real then the bravado of most action heroes that act nonchalantly; leaving nothing beneath the Hollywood faÁade.
That inner turmoil beneath the veneer is seen in other people of this film and, like the scenes themselves, express far more on a variety of levels.

A seriously top notch crime film as well as a very, very seriously top notch film altogether.



Akira

This had always been, for me, for the longest time, THE go-to film for Japanese Animation whenever someone wanted to explore such films.
Even though, as a tyke I saw a few Americanized animated TV shows like Speed Racer and Kimba; The White Lion, when this came out, it was pretty mind-blowing when it came to animation. At that time in the 80s, this was the next generation of Japanese artwork and still comes up in conversations when talking about Anime.
Also, this is on a VERY small list of films that I will select Dubbed instead of Subtitles. It just sorta works here for me. And trust me, I PREFER subtitles.

But, enough of that.

Opening up with an incredible fight on motorcycles through the streets of Tokyo, we hit the ground running in this action/sci-fi of a futuristic city (2019) and the clash of these delinquents and a genetic experiment that is accidentally unleashed on one of them.
Bouncing from the corrupt scientists, to the Military attempts to contain it all, to Radicals looking to rebel the system and expose the secret of said experiment, to the psychic children who are the most recent subjects of it, the pacing moves quickly. And at first, may seem a little confusing. Especially as we move toward the final act and the grandiose battle as the experiment takes over the young gang member, Tetsuo.

Interspersed throughout the swearing, violence and psychic battling we do have, at it's core, the need for finding one's self that is a strong aspect of being a teenager. Albeit set in a science fiction/Militant existence. But still, very much there.



Movies Seen: 37 of 72 (51.38%)
1. Severely doubt it
2. Still possible

3. Shoplifters (2018) #72
4. Rome, Open City (1945) #93
5. Rififi (1955) #76
6. Army of Shadows (1969) #90
7. Definitely
8. Yojimbo (1961) #42
9. Quite possible
10. Not gonna happen

11. Harakiri (1962) #37
12. Le SamouraÔ (1967) #30
13. Samurai Rebellion (1967) #79
14. Definitely
15. Very possible
16. Sincerely doubt it, but who knows

17. The 400 Blows (1959) #35
18. Hell no
19. Paprika (2006) #100
20. Hell yes
21. High and Low (1963) #41
22. Pretty [email protected] good odds
23. No idea --

24. Wild Strawberries (1957) #33
25. In This Corner of the World (2016) One Pointer

Rectification List
1. Grave of the Fireflies (1988) #43
__________________
What to do if you find yourself stuck with no hope of rescue:
Consider yourself lucky that life has been good to you so far. Alternatively, if life hasn't been good to you so far, which given your present circumstances seems more likely, consider yourself lucky that it won't be troubling you much longer.



Didn't he take some precautions? Keeping the same clothes on is like turning himself in, which he could have done if he wanted. By the end of the movie sure, but it could have been different.
Frankly, I just think itís the style over substance thing mark mentioned. I love the movie, but I love it because itís cool and stylish. Sometimes thatís enough, for you it isnít in this case. I donít think the movie is doing much thematically or trying to be realistic. Itís just a cool story about a cool gangster, doing cool stuff



cricket's Avatar
Registered User
Frankly, I just think itís the style over substance thing mark mentioned. I love the movie, but I love it because itís cool and stylish. Sometimes thatís enough, for you it isnít in this case. I donít think the movie is doing much thematically or trying to be realistic. Itís just a cool story about a cool gangster, doing cool stuff
And that's why I do enjoy watching it for the most part.



Didn't he take some precautions? Keeping the same clothes on is like turning himself in, which he could have done if he wanted. By the end of the movie sure, but it could have been different.
I don't remember the specific details of the movie, I've only seen it once back when Siddon nominated it. But what Sean wrote pretty much sums it up for me too.

Frankly, I just think itís the style over substance thing mark mentioned. I love the movie, but I love it because itís cool and stylish. Sometimes thatís enough, for you it isnít in this case. I donít think the movie is doing much thematically or trying to be realistic. Itís just a cool story about a cool gangster, doing cool stuff



Re: Le Samourai being style over substance

WARNING: spoilers below
It seems light on story/characterization at first glance, but this film, as well as Melville's Army of Shadows, has a deeper thematic undercurrent which runs throughout the film. It explores how a hitman's life of solitude is disrupted and challenged by those around him. Throughout the first act, he doesn't say much dialogue, nor does he seem concerned or stressed out about his task. It's assumed he's done the same job multiple times and he has the procedure necessary to complete it with memorized like clockwork. He also doesn't appear to have any meaningful relationships with other people. He seems cold and distant from the men he works for and seems uninterested in pursuing a romantic relationship of any kind with Jane, even though she seems eager to do so. All he wants from her is her alibi. Nothing more. The opening act gives us a sense of what's going to be disrupted.

On the surface level of this disruption, there's the threat of being caught by the police and having the other men he works for turning on him (presumably, this is the first time he encountered these threats to such a significant degree). Valerie threatens his life of solitude the most though. She lies to the police to get him off the hook and is revealed to have ties to his boss, someone who wanted him dead. Since she refuses to answer his questions on why she lied to the police and since little is known about her motives or her status with his boss, it's clear that he's unable to make any sense of her motives and - more importantly - is unable to understand his relationship with her. There's a suggestion that he was romantically interested in her in a way which he didn't understand (in contrast to how he rejected Jane's potential sexual advances in the final act), thus preventing him from killing her at the end.

It's been much too long since I've see Le Samourai, but this interpretation all feels like my experience with Melville. His rigid formalism frequently seems as if it has trapped and is suffocating his characters. Very much the reason that I think there is a lot to think about in regards to Samourai's style. Yes, it is coolly enigmatic. But I think there is much to be found in a character that gives us so little. There is a sadness to its chic sheen.



Welcome to the human race...
Akira was my #1. I've written enough about it on here over the years so I'll just let the ranking speak for itself.

Le Samourai did not make my list, but I did revisit it earlier this year and found it held up very well indeed.
__________________
I really just want you all angry and confused the whole time.



There are 28 spots left and around 109 more movies I'm sure that are gonna make it.

Not from my list though. Akira wasn't on my list but I've seen it around half a dozen times - it's not afraid to get crazy and is one of only a handful of animated films I really like. That's 20 I've seen. I need 13 from the last 28 to reach my goal. I'm confident.

I'm not confident for all the films on my list though. Since other people have done this, I'd like to have a go :

1. I was sure of this one a few days ago. 100%.....99%
2. 100%
3. 95% now
4. Grave of the Fireflies
5. How could this one not show up?? Still...sheez...I don't know 70%
6. Surely. 98%
7. Earlier on I would have been 100%. That's been cut down to 50%
8. I know some people here love this film. I do too. What's going on??? 35%
9. Again. I was sure. Even after 50-60 films. Now? 30%
10. Wild Strawberries
11. 100% sure.
12. 100% sure.
13. No way in the world. Not even close. The only votes this film got were from me.
14. Not gonna show. A long shot from the start.
15. I'm 97% sure
16. 100%
17. No way. 0% This film deserves a lot more love.
18. Started at around 95% -- now....maybe 10%
19. I've heard a lot of praise for this film since I've been here. I loved it too. Then where is it??? Not here. 5%
20. Another one I was pretty sure of. Now 5%
21. Memories of Murder
22. No way in the world. Wicked horror film - hard to get through. 0%
23. Run Lola Run. Oh my God. I did vote for this!
24. 0% A two-pointer
25. Audition.

I'm pretty shocked that I indeed voted for Run Lola Run. I was so sure I hadn't voted for it - I didn't check my list.






151 points, 10 lists
28. The Cranes are Flying


Director

Mikhail Kalatozov, 1957

Starring

Tatyana Samoylova, Aleksey Batalov, Vasili Merkuryev, Aleksandr Shvorin









156 points, 13 lists
27. La dolce vita


Director

Federico Fellini, 1960

Starring

Marcello Mastroianni, Anita Ekberg, Anouk Aimee, Yvonne Furneaux




Reply to Topic